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Is it age, or is it me?

Vince wrote:

I am a 41 year old man who is dating a 22 year old woman. We met about a year ago. She was a waitress at a restaurant that I go to frequently. We became very good, close friends. She is a good person. I was attracted to her from the start, but she was engaged to another man (Who, by the way, was ten years older than her). She told me that she only thought of me as a good friend, like a brother.

Well, about 6 or 7 weeks ago, she and her fiance broke up (it
had nothing to do with me, but other problems in their relationship). I was there for her as a support. We spent a lot of time together.

Well, three weeks later we were dating. We spend a lot of time together -- I spend most nights at her place. But, I know that she
is still very upset about her ex-fiance (There is no chance of them getting back togther). And we've had a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Lately, she has been hinting that she is reconsidering the relationship (I think). When I ask her what does she mean, she doesn't say much except that she is not interested in any other guys (She is a very attractive woman and there are many guys interested in her) and that she doesn't want to say "good-bye". But, she also says that she doesn't know where her future lies and
she wants to give it more time.

I do not want it to end. I have become very attached and involved (We spend almost all of our spare time togther). If it ends, she is the one who will have to end it. Sometimes I think that it will work, but other times I think that it won't work.

I wonder if this is just a rebound relationship for her. Is she just with me because I give her comfort, support and security at a difficult time? Sometimes she seems so young and confused. And I too am confused. I deal with a very high level of anxiety (a problem for over ten years -- I am on medication for it). In my past, I have choosen women who were not good for me -- women who cheated on me (Not that I think she would do that) or lied to me or who were just not good for me.

Am I once again following my pattern of chosing a woman who
is only going to hurt me? Or could she truly be developing feelings for me? Any advice would be truly appreciated.

Dear Vince

First, I don't think the age thing has a lot to do with it; partly because, as you say, her previous boyfriend was older than her - partly because age only really matters when friends and relatives make an issue of it. You have not mentioned that, so I'm guessing it has not been a major issue.

Second, yes, she quite likely did come to you 'on the rebound' - but if there's really no chance of her returning to the old boyfriend (is that really that certain?), then that's not a long term issue. the very fact of him being 'out' however might be a short term issue - she's entitled to mourn, and though people don't call it that, it certainly is not unusual.

I suspect you need to to look at the relationship itself. What are the problems; how serious are the misunderstandings and miscommunications - and why do they occur?

I'm a little surprised at how fast the relationship has moved - and perhaps she is too. Are you pushing her too hard? One age thing is the ability to see the big picture; you might see a clear future ahead - but remember that she might not. Are you making her claustrophobic?

Finally, you are very quick to blame your previous failures on the women - possibly fairly, but are you sure? Is it time to learn from your past mistakes?

You live with your anxiety; but are you allowing your anxieties to put her under pressure? I understand that separating strands of your life is not easy, but you may need to to do what us older folk find hard ... give a little!

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