HELP! We’re Four Months Into Our Age Gap Relationship and He’s Too Getting Clingy. What Do I Do?

QUESTION: I’ve been dat­ing an older guy now for about four months and he’s really great. I had never been in an age gap rela­tion­ship before, but we met through a mutual friend and hit it off right away. He takes really good care of me and I’m very happy with him. But I’m start­ing to notice that he’s get­ting really clingy. He always tries to deter me from going out with my girl­friends and ques­tions every­thing I’m doing. Is that nor­mal? I know that a big age dif­fer­ence in a rela­tion­ship can cause prob­lems some­times, but I never thought this would be one of them. Do you think it could be the age gap that’s caus­ing it? I by no means want to end the rela­tion­ship, but how do I get him to loosen the reigns a little?

CHELSEA SAYS: It sounds to me like he’s a lit­tle inse­cure, and that might be stem­ming from the fact that this is an age gap rela­tion­ship. Maybe he’s wor­ried about los­ing you—to some­one younger per­haps? Like you said, a big age dif­fer­ence in a rela­tion­ship comes with its own set of issues and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen an older man worry about los­ing his younger woman to some­one she’s closer in age to.

It’s not always a bad thing and he might not even real­ize he’s doing it. Maybe he’s just so infat­u­ated with you that he’s unknow­ingly mis­tak­ing clingi­ness for love and affec­tion. In his mind, he’s show­ing you that he’s so crazy about you that he wants you all to him­self, but he doesn’t real­ize how he’s actu­ally com­ing across.

That being said, I also know of many age gap rela­tion­ships that are work­ing out very well, so while the age dif­fer­ence might be con­tribut­ing to his inse­cu­ri­ties, I think it has more to do with per­son­al­ity. This has to be stem­ming from some­where, because not every mature man in an age gap rela­tion­ship with a younger woman is going to act like this. Has he been cheated on in the past? Is he gen­er­ally con­fi­dent and secure about other aspects of his life?

In my opin­ion, your best bet would be to address it. Let him know gen­tly that his behav­ior both­ers you, but at the same time, reas­sure him that you’re not going any­where and make sure he knows that you’re very happy with him. The trick is to not make him feel like he’s wrong for act­ing the way he is. Tell him that you appre­ci­ate the sen­ti­ment, but that you still need space to do your own thing. He should know that you’re with him because you want to be with him.

Hope­fully by bring­ing it to his atten­tion, he’ll be more aware of it and start to loosen up a bit. I’m a firm believer that hon­esty is always the best pol­icy when it comes to address­ing age dif­fer­ence in a relationship.

TRENT SAYSNo, that is not nor­mal, unless by “nor­mal” you mean inse­cure, anx­ious, and ner­vous?  Those are typ­i­cally the kind of traits we put in the “neg­a­tive” col­umn of our dat­ing wish list.

Cer­tain things are givens when we date younger women—some things are just expected when there’s an age dif­fer­ence in a rela­tion­ship. One of them is that men her age will most likely hit on her when she is out. Another is that she has friends and will want to spend time with.  But wait a minute—that could hap­pen in any rela­tion­ship, let alone an age gap relationship.

The age gap isn’t mak­ing your older boyfriend act like this.  He’s act­ing like this because this is who he is. Some­thing tells me he’d be like this even if you two were the same age. Yes, every­one gets a lit­tle jeal­ous, is inquis­i­tive, or feels needy from time-to-time. But no one wants to be with some­one who takes these traits on like it’s their full-time job.  You can forgo this age gap rela­tion­ship and be with a guy your own age who acts like that, but why would you want to?

Ask him why he doesn’t want you to see your friends or why he doesn’t trust you. If he can’t han­dle you going out with friends and doesn’t trust you, then he’s clearly not mature enough to date you.