Is It Right to Continue a Relationship with an Older Military Man Who Has a Teenage Son?

QUESTION: I’m dat­ing a really suc­cess­ful man who’s 12 years older than me. He is really kind and good to me, but he has a 13-year-old son who I have yet to meet. Do you think it is right for me to go on with this rela­tion­ship or become a mother to his son at this age?

CHELSEA SAYS: First of all, whether or not the rela­tion­ship is right is really up to you and your man. We’ve had a lot of ladies ask sim­i­lar ques­tions, but every rela­tion­ship is dif­fer­ent and very circumstantial.

In your par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, it really depends on the nature of your rela­tion­ship. Have you been together for a long time? Have you both expressed an inter­est in a seri­ous, com­mit­ted long-term rela­tion­ship? All of this plays into whether or not this is going to be an issue. It also depends on your boyfriend’s rela­tion­ship with the boy’s mother—is she still in the pic­ture? Are they on ami­ca­ble terms?

The fact of the mat­ter is that when you’re enter­ing a rela­tion­ship where there are kids involved, you need to be both con­scious and cau­tious, espe­cially when they’re young, and even more so when they’re teenagers. You and your suc­cess­ful man have to decide together how you’re going to han­dle it.

If the two of you have been a cou­ple for a while now, and he’s made no men­tion of meet­ing his son, why not have a con­ver­sa­tion with your suc­cess­ful man about it? Ask him what his thoughts are. At the end of the day, a rela­tion­ship can only work if the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are open, espe­cially when it comes to some­thing seri­ous like kids.

Ide­ally, your boyfriend should be the one to let you know when he feels is the right time to meet his son. It’s his kid after all; he knows what’s best for him and (I’m assum­ing) will only have his best inter­ests at heart.

If your rela­tion­ship is still very new, then it’s prob­a­bly a lit­tle early to be wor­ry­ing about becom­ing a step­mother. I under­stand that you don’t want to waste your time in a rela­tion­ship that can’t go any­where, but I think you need to at least give it some time to see where it can go.

TRENT SAYS: Con­grat­u­la­tions! From the out­side, it sounds like you’ve found a suc­cess­ful man that you con­nect with, one that treats you well. Regard­less of the age dif­fer­ence, life would be bet­ter if every­one could be in a rela­tion­ship like that.

I’m not sure about the par­tic­u­lars of your rela­tion­ship, so I can’t really say if it’s right for you to date him. And frankly, it’s not really my place to say one way or the other. You just have to ask your­self if the rela­tion­ship makes you a bet­ter per­son. Do you bring out the best in each other? Do you love spend­ing time together? Does he want to know what makes you, well, you? Remem­ber, there’s more to a happy, suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ship than age. And it sounds like you’ve found some of the cornerstones.

Now on to the issue of his son. When you date some­one who’s sig­nif­i­cantly older than you, there’s always going to be the chance that they have kids who are rel­a­tively close to you in age. It comes with the ter­ri­tory, and it’s some­thing you and the gen­eral need to discuss.

Keep in mind that he wanted to be with you. So, he’s clearly pon­dered this sce­nario to some degree. Because he wants the best for all of you, he’ll decide when is the best time for you to meet his son.

Also keep in mind that his son didn’t choose for his par­ents to break up, and he didn’t choose you to be his dad’s new girl­friend, so it will take time for the two of you to build a friend­ship. The age of 13 is usu­ally an awk­ward time even in the world’s most per­fect sce­nario. So, just be patient.

It’s easy to have a mediocre rela­tion­ship, but who wants that? Suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships need to be nur­tured; they don’t just hap­pen. Embrace your rela­tion­ship with your suc­cess­ful man and take the time to cul­ti­vate a mean­ing­ful friend­ship with his son when the time comes.