Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dismaying Story #132: Yet Another Age Gap Question

Dear Andrew,

I am 50; she is in her 20's; we met at work recently. She is single, I am not happily married. I have been training her in different aspects of our job - both in the office, and outside, "in the field." Her beautiful eyes and smile have kept me in a trance. I can't believe I told her that her eyes were terrific. She just thanked me (Whew, no lawsuit!) But... her personality, looks, wit and knowledge... all are great. When I see her interact with younger guys at work, I am so jealous! I hate them! I can tell she's more relaxed around them than she is with me. Yeah, I know this is a fantasy, but it hurts! The times we work together are great, she treats me so well. I just don't know what to do once the training is over in 2 months.

Signed, So Close and Yet So Far Away

Dear Not Really All That Close,

Let me see if I can line up all the reasons why you should give your head a hard shake and forget about this.

1) You are married. Okay, so you say you are unhappy. Then work on your marriage! Sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your wife. Go see a counselor. Read a Dr. Phil book. No, I take that back – Read the Dismaying Stories on this site, particularly the posts like this one about commitment.

I have a firm and clear policy about when it is okay to entertain thoughts of spending time and affection on another woman – at a minimum this should happen after you have exhausted all reasonable efforts to make your marriage work, after your efforts have failed, after you have fully and publicly split up, after sufficient time has passed to allow some healing to take place and for the sake of common decency, and after you have fully looked after the needs of any children affected by the split. Since you are still married, you clearly do not fit these criteria. You owe your wife and any children you may have better than this.

2) You are a co-worker and trainer for this young woman, which means you are in a supervisory position. Tossing unwanted attention her way is a BIG no-no, not only personally but also legally...

3) ...and trust me, your attentions ARE almost certainly unwanted. How many 20-somethings yearn to take up with a married 50-something? So few that the chances of her being one fall somewhere between slim and none. Your fantasy is her gross-out.

4) This yearning is unhealthy for you. It has you tied up in knots to the extent that you have resorted to consulting an Internet relationship advice guy, so obviously it is a significant stress in your life. You are wasting your emotional energy worrying about a relationship that should not, cannot, will not ever happen. Along the way you are risking divorce, ridicule, losing your career, and being sued for sexual harassment.

I could go on but I think my message is clear.

Despite the title of this post, notice I have not said anything about the age gap. I have no problem with two grown adults who really love each other having an age gap relationship. As I indicated in this post there are even dating services for such relationships. The problems here lie elsewhere.

You must stop this unhealthy obsession. See a counselor or psychologist if you need the help, but find a way to stop, for your sake, for her sake, and for your wife’s sake.

All the best,


  1. It has you tied up in knots to the extent that you have resorted to consulting an Internet relationship advice guy LOL.

    There isn't much that can be added to this advice. I suspect you already know better.

    If you don't feel like you can trust yourself around this girl, then the mature thing to do is hand her training off to someone else.

  2. (Whew, no lawsuit!)

    You are obviously aware of the risks Mr. So Close.... If you value your job and reputation - act accordingly. You seem to be something of a gambler.

    What would you be saying to one of your colleagues in a similar situation?

    Andrew's advice and Mary Paddock's are wise, and the only way to go - and you know it, deep down.

  3. Very good. I couldn't add anything to your advice, Andrew, except to also agree that if he doesn't have the self-discipline to avoid making moves on this co-worker, he should hand off her training as suggested above.

    "Happily married" takes work. ` It sounds like this guy is looking for an easy out, instead of rolling up his sleeves...

  4. Excellent advise.

    I would say that he might be on denial regarding his marriage and the easy way out is to have an obsession. I am not judging him, but sometimes when we do not want to see the truth we escape from it doing different things.

    May be this is the right time to do a good therapy and find out what is really going on inside .

  5. Andew, as usual, said it concisely and accurately.

    In her eyes, you're just a really old guy with zero appeal.

    At 20 something, she'd even find a 30 year old a geezer !

    You're not a kid with a kid's body/skin/muscle tone/energy/things in common, nothing.

    You seriously need to work on yourself and your marriage, and find someone within 5 - 10 years of your age if you and your wife do split up.
    This young girl isn't it.

  6. Hear, hear! Sound advice - what is this old men after young women all the time thing anyway?

  7. what Andrew said!

  8. I think Mr. So Close is having a mid-life crisis. It's much easier to go buy a red convertible and do what Dr. Andrew on your marriage. You'd be surprised at how great it is to be married to your original partner when you are in your 70's. We have 55 years coming up next week and are still nuts about each other, but both of us have changed a bit since 1953.

  9. Someone needs to get laid real bad.
    A one way love afar is like mental masterdation that will do more damage than just going blind.

    I got to agree with you on the age and your advice.
    He is only goig making himself look like a fool chasing his own imagination and probably making his home life more sour than it actually is.

  10. Glad to see you're back. I'm still pretty f*cked up, but, hey, I accept it -- or recognize it. It's a start, right?

  11. Anonymous9:59 PM


    I am so saddened when I hear people say they are "unhappily married" and yet they do nothing to make that marriage work. They always seem to look to the "other" person to make them happy...when really, it won't.

    I've been there, done that and I know that the other person will not make your current situation better. It's within the individual.

    I understand both aspects of this situation...but am sad for each. I can only hope that the reasonability that comes from our BRAIN instead of our heart, prevails.

    I wish this person the best of luck. It is hard to be somewhere you do not want to be...

  12. Anonymous5:26 PM



    Are you still here????

    Been a long time!!!! ;)

  13. Amen to all you said, Andrew. As the recipient of more than one older man who felt compelled to comment on some part of my anatomy, I thank you for telling it like it is. It IS creepy, and it brands this guy as a stalker or worse, a pathetic loser.

    She's his ideal only because it's the life he wish he had. And his jealousy over a woman he's not with is just weird. That's mighty possessive to begin with even if she were married to him or coupled with him - trust issues! The fact that she's simply an object of obsession makes me wonder just how close to a fatal attraction this guy is.

  14. yeah! - it really is not Rocket Science, mister. Either try to fix your marriage, if it is not fixable, LEAVE... i am so sick and tired of cowardly young and old men, preying on single (and sometimes married) women because they are "unhappily married"...well boo hoo, we all have problems, DEAL WITH IT!

  15. Where are you, Andrew ??? Hope you and your family are okay -- it's been a few weeks since you posted...

  16. Happy New Year 2009 to you and your family, Andrew !

  17. What the--since when is LHD back?
    Is it back? No updates since October...

    Anyway, hi Andrew.