How Do You Get Your Parents to Accept That You’re Dating an Older Man?

QUESTION: I met an amaz­ing man a few months ago and it’s prob­a­bly the best rela­tion­ship I’ve ever been in. The only thing is that he’s quite a few years older than I am, but the age dif­fer­ence has never mat­tered to either of us. Unfor­tu­nately, when I told my par­ents about him, they weren’t very happy. They’re con­vinced that this is just a phase or a fling, and that I’ll “come to my senses” about our age dif­fer­ence soon enough. How do I get them to accept that I’m actu­ally in a seri­ous rela­tion­ship with this man? I haven’t intro­duced them yet because I’ve been too scared, but will intro­duc­ing them help them to take our rela­tion­ship seriously?

CHELSEA SAYS: Par­ents are always a point of con­tention with May-December rela­tion­ships. First of all, you can’t really blame them because, at the end of the day, they’re just look­ing out for their daughter’s best inter­ests. Yes, May-December rela­tion­ships have become more accepted these days, but not there’s still that per­cep­tion that an older man is just win­ning you over with his charm and his money because he’s using you for sex. It can be hard some­times for par­ents to accept that an older man can gen­uinely be inter­ested in a younger woman for more than her body. Putting your­self in their shoes and under­stand­ing their side will make it a lot eas­ier to address.

If you’re absolutely sure that you want to com­mit to a long-term rela­tion­ship with this man, then I def­i­nitely think that you need to intro­duce him to your par­ents. They need to see for them­selves what you see in him. Intro­duce him as you would any other man. It’ll make it eas­ier for them to accept that your May-December rela­tion­ship is seri­ous once they wit­ness what kind of a per­son he is, and how much he cares and looks after you. And make sure you keep it mature when they meet—you don’t want to make this even harder for your par­ents by act­ing like a cou­ple of lovestruck teenagers who can’t keep your hands off each other. As long as you and your older man are both polite and respect­ful, your par­ents should start to warm up to the idea of you as a cou­ple. Don’t give them a rea­son not to fall in love with him, too.

After­wards, ask them what they thought of him. Inquire about their con­cerns and address them with a mature attitude.

TRENT SAYS: I’ve been on the receiv­ing end of this sit­u­a­tion before. It’s not very fun. Unfor­tu­nately, words only carry so much weight. Like any rela­tion­ship that oth­ers dis­ap­prove of, there are a num­ber of ways you can show oth­ers that you’re in a lov­ing, com­mit­ted relationship—time and actions.

Phases and flings don’t stand the test of time. If your rela­tion­ship is seri­ous, it will last longer than your par­ents’ con­cerns. At some point, they’ll have to admit it’s real. Or maybe it’s already at that point and they’re just blinded by the age gap. Would they say it’s just a “fad” if you were six months into a rela­tion­ship with some­one your own age? Then why is it “just a phase” if you’re six months into your rela­tion­ship with him? You might want to bring this to their atten­tion, gen­tly, of course.

While you may have told your fam­ily how great your rela­tion­ship is going, or how much fun you’re hav­ing, or how you con­nect with him, it’s prob­a­bly not get­ting through to them. I think it’s a great idea to intro­duce him to your fam­ily. Not doing so might make it look like you have some­thing to hide. Take the high road and plan a get-together. Let them see that you two are great together, and that you’re in a lov­ing, respect­ful relationship.

This doesn’t mean your first meet­ing won’t be a lit­tle awk­ward. But then again, you’d prob­a­bly feel a lit­tle ner­vous intro­duc­ing any boyfriend to your par­ents for the first time anyway.

Com­pat­i­bil­ity is impor­tant when it comes to mak­ing a rela­tion­ship work. The fact of the mat­ter is that a lot of younger women are tired of dat­ing men their own age because they are imma­ture. You just hap­pen to have fallen in love with a man that’s older than you; one that is fun, ambi­tious, and con­fi­dent; and one who makes you feel loved. And that’s what’s most important.

  • mrcanada976

    Finally an objec­tive arti­cle on this subject.

  • Court­ney B

    What if it is a long dis­tance relationship?