Dear Dr. Archer,
I fell for someone I met on the Internet. I am 33 years old, single, and have no problem getting dates. However, I am a bit of a party girl, and normally meet guys who share the same interests. Most are handsome, single, and not very serious.
I guess you can say I’m tired of being in the same rut. So I stopped clubbing altogether, and just go out with friends for a drink. I made a new rule: I wasn’t going to have a relationship with any guy I met in a club.
It was good to break the cycle, and I started enjoying other interests, like going to museums, orchestra performances, plays and readings, which I used to enjoy, but no longer had the time for.
I was feeling so good up until the time I met this guy on the Internet. I was on a gaming site, playing against him; we’d always seem to bump into each other online. One thing led to another, and we started talking. We friended each other on Facebook, and got to know each other.
I trust this guy. We seem to share a bond, and we’re able to finish each other’s sentences. The only problem is that he’s way younger than me. He’s only 23.
We were both open about our ages, in the beginning, and there was never anything romantic. It was always fun and friendly. We started talking in December of last year, and, recently, he confessed that he had feelings for me.
To be honest, I didn’t expect this, and fought against it, because of our age difference. In fact, I decided to be sensible, and stop talking to him — I started going out on dates again, and even met a good guy. But I can’t stop thinking about this younger guy who made such an impression.
Although I make sure I won’t catch him online, I read his emails, in which he says I should at least give him a chance, regardless of the age factor.
Do you think I’ve lost my mind to even consider this? Please help.
No, I don’t think you’ve lost your mind. The age difference doesn’t bother me at all. If both parties are over 18, age is irrelevant. The question is, do you share the same goals and plans for the future?
Age is a number. The question is, what’s the maturity level? Some 23-year-olds are as immature as a young teenager, while others are thoughtful and mature beyond their years.
There are many stigmas put on women for a variety of reasons, with age being one. If a woman dates an older man, she is a gold digger; if she dates someone younger, she’s a “cougar.”
The truth is, its no one’s business whom you date. If you consider the age difference to be an obstacle, then an obstacle it will be. If it doesn’t bother you, then you have a chance for a loving relationship.
However, one thing must be clarified. Have you ever met this guy in person? Meeting him face to face is a must before deciding how to proceed. Often, when relationships begin on the Internet, when the parties actually meet, it’s a disaster. To give this relationship a chance, meet first, without making any promises. If you’re happy with each other, then great, give it a shot.
But dating a “good guy” while thinking of another implies that this good guy may not be right for you. Your Internet friend may or not be, either, but you won’t know that if you don’t meet, right? If you meet this guy, like what you see, and accept him for who and what he is, then enjoy. Don’t let age be an excuse not to find love. Good luck.
Dear Dr. Archer,
I have been with my husband for 17 years, and we’ve been married for six. We work different shifts, and during the day, when he isn’t working, he’s contacting other women.
I have asked him about it, and let him know how I feel, and how it hurts. He says it’s nothing, and asks when he would have time to actually be with someone else. You would think that if he knew it bothered me, he would stop. He does for a while, but then it starts again.
Whenever I bring up this subject, he won’t talk to me for days. He gets angry because I have looked at his phone, but he considers it OK when he looks at my phone.
I just don’t know what to think anymore. I love him, and would like to think he wouldn’t cheat, but I really don’t know. Just today, he was texting someone pretty all day.
Your husband is wrong, wrong, wrong. Trust is of the utmost importance in a relationship, and a marriage cannot last if there is no trust.
Unfortunately, our culture, and the instant social media world we live in, makes flirting with others very easy. This is a common problem in today’s world. He may think this is entertainment, and not a big deal, but it’s a huge deal, and he might lose his marriage if he doesn’t stop.
Truth is, he should have stopped the moment he found out how much this hurt you. Evidently, he’s not going to stop on his own. You’re going to have to give him an ultimatum.
For him to ever take you seriously, you must be serious, and be willing to carry the ultimatum out if he doesn’t stop what he’s doing immediately.
Have a talk with him at a time when you can have his full attention — no distractions, television, phone calls or people around. It’s time for your husband to grow up. From now on, everything must be transparent.
Make it very clear to your husband that you want this to stop, and tell him that if it doesn’t, then you will leave — period. Everything from now on needs to be out in the open and transparent. After you have this talk, the ball is in his court.
I normally don’t like to use ultimatums, but sometimes it’s simply a last resort. The main thing I want to stress is to give the ultimatum, and then stand by it. Good luck.
Dr. Dale Archer is a board certified psychiatrist who founded the Institute for Neuropsychiatry in Southwest Louisiana. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN Headline News and other national TV programs, and is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Better than Normal. Visit him at DrDaleArcher.com.