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Parallax - Advice            October 30, 2000

  Love & Distance - Friend or Foe?

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This week we meet a teenager who wants to know if she should distance herself from her thirty-something boyfriend; a man who wants to maintain a special long-distance relationship; and a woman who says she moved the distance to live with her Internet chat-mate, but now he won't communicate. Can our astute advisors help them find direction?

She's a teen and he's in his thirties - is it love?
Her family says, 'No!'  What does our duo say?
 Date: 10/30/00

She moved away, but they're still trying to go the distance.
Can he keep this relationship exciting?
 Date: 10/30/00

They met in a chat room and moved in together - now they don't talk.
What's causing their distance?
 Date: 10/30/00

More from last week...

She's a teen and he's in his thirties - is it love?

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend I'm eighteen and my lover is thirty-seven. He and I fell in love when he managed the restaurant where I waitress (he has since switched jobs.) At eighteen, I may be short on experiences, but I possess above-normal intelligence. I've always been 'different'- slightly eccentric and introverted. So is my lover. When I talk to him it's like talking to myself - he feels we're soul mates. I have no qualms about our age difference. He's expressed fears that he might 'rob' me of life's experiences, but I've assured him that I want him and am devoted to him. I saw my parents' divorce, and the subsequent resentment, regret, and bitterness, so I never thought I'd have a husband or children. But when I look into his eyes I see a future that includes marriage, children and life-long love.

My family, however, thinks he must be perverted, and that I'm making a huge mistake. I've asked them to be happy for me but my mom gets sick just thinking about it. I am very beautiful, and my lover is an attractive, intelligent and talented individual. It hurts me to think my mother perceives him as something so awful. Am I really too young and dumb to know what love is? I've been with boys before and 'in love' for a year or so, but nothing's ever made me float this way and let such untouchable dreams drift into the realm of possibility. I need to hear someone's thoughts on the situation. Is something wrong with him? Or me? Or are we two unconventional people who've finally found what we thought we'd never have?

Her view:

Dear Miss Match,

What you have here is called infatuation. It may be love, or it may not be. You'll have to wait it out to know for sure. Now eighteen is really quite young - you're barely out of high school, if that. It is true that love knows no boundaries and age can be irrelevant when finding the love of one's life. However, I have to say that your mom is on to something here.

He is twice your age, which is a huge difference. You're barely old enough to know what you want. This should be a period of 'just beginning' for you, where you start to think about what you'd like in a boy. No, you're not being stupid, but maybe a little ignorant, which - frankly - is true of every eighteen-year-old.

This is why it's sometimes best to rely on the judgment of your parents. After all, they have the benefit of an extra twenty years experience. You haven't had enough life experiences to give you a real perspective on your needs. I fear you may regret the decision to make your most important life choices now - there is so much to think about.

Why don't you take it slowly? Think about other things you'd like to pursue. Focus on yourself (job, school, whatever) and make sure you are growing into the person you want to be.

I agree with your mom - this is irresponsible of him. He knows better, and is potentially taking advantage of you. It sounds as if he's already told you this is wrong for you - I think he's probably right.

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His view:

Dear Miss Match,

This whole thing is not about love. It's about marriage, and children. It's about life-long consequences. It doesn't sound to me as if you've thought about this rationally. You should.

I know of several couples who share an age difference of nearly twenty years. All these relationships are on the rocks. Most of them lasted until after the kids were grown up, though the last few years were miserable - for the couple and the kids. The main problem was that, even though they 'synched-up' their lives, their age differences never disappeared. Also, people want to do different things at different ages. If you don't understand what that means, or you think it's not true, then you're not ready to make this decision.

Of course, you may be one of those exceptional young-old couples that never suffer from their age delta. After all, if you're beautiful, smart, and unconventional - why not lucky too?

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You Vote! 53% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 47% with HIS VIEW.

60% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 40% with HIS VIEW.

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