Is it wrong to date a younger man?

Q: I am recently separated and been dating for five weeks now. My problem is that I am 41 and my guy just turned 32. We love each other, and the age gap doesn't bother him or me. But it's our friends. His mates kinda teased him about me and even tried to discourage him. It didn't work, but I'm scared that they will keep doing it -- and that they might succeed. I am a bit self-conscious as I am older and, well, the boobs don't stay where they should, and so on. It doesn't bother him, though. He likes them! But recently I've noticed a few things about me that I never saw before, and this makes me a bit wary. I dread meeting his friends. I know that I have to because we do want to go out, and we are always sure to bump into his buddies. God, I'm scared of what they'll say to me.

Then there's the problem of telling my ex and my son. When should I do it, if ever? They know that I have had my guy visit, but they think that he's only a friend. What the heck do I say?

A: Hi sweetie. Can I tell you a secret straight up? I'm 38, and my boyfriend is 29. Coincidence, eh? Exactly the same age difference as you two. I've been dating my guy for about five months now, and quite frankly, I never ever notice the age difference, and no one else does either. In the beginning, though, I did feel a bit self-conscious. Like you, all I saw in the mirror was wrinkles and signs of aging, and (horrible but true), I prayed that not only would my wrinkles fade but his would arrive (immediately) and his hairline would recede (immediately). Naughty, but we'd have to be not human not to think such things.

Having said all that, though, I want you to completely forget the age difference thing, because, quite frankly, I honestly don't think people care these days. You think they'll be nudging each other and pointing at you in the street, but unless he looks incredibly young for his age and you look incredibly old for yours, it's not that much of an age gap - particularly at this stage of your life. Tongues would wag if you were 26 and he was 16, but that's hardly the case, is it? If anyone does give you a hard time about it, laugh and say, ''You're jealous.'' If anyone gives him a hard time and criticizes you, say, ''You know what they say about older women'' (they're much better in bed). Don't worry about his friends ribbing him. If it does make him up and leave you, he wasn't worth having in the first place, was he? There's no need to point out the age gap to your ex-hubby; it's none of his business anyway. As for your kids, again, I swear they won't notice. If they do, tell them that you really like this guy and don't really think it's important. The older woman/younger man combination works well in lots of ways. Relax and enjoy rather than sabotage this.

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