I’m 51, She’s 35

March 1st, 2004

“I am 51 she is 35. I feel she is embarrassed of my age, never tell her family or friends about me, its as if I don’t exist. She has a 2 and 3 year old, is it a disaster?”

Jorge Herrera

Liam’s Answer

Jorge, things are not all hopeless.

If you’re 51 and she’s 35, you’re certainly in breach of the Raised Eyebrows Rule. This rule states that if the man is more than 7 years older than the woman or more than 3 years younger, your friends will raise their eyebrows in a look of shock when you first tell them you’re dating.

But the Raised Eyebrow Rule is only about eyebrows, not about whether the relationship will work or not. Of course with a 16 year age difference, you are a little concerned. 16 years is a long time. You were learning to drive when she was learning to talk, for goodness sakes. You’d have to wonder how much you have in common.

But the age difference is not an issue. You’re only as old as the woman you feel, so you’re not 51, you’re only 35. The exact same age as she is.

The children are very young. Two and three. About as old as your girlfriend was when you became entitled to vote. That’s not a problem now. But flash forward. When they’re 18, you’ll be 67. You’ll be lucky if you can stay awake until the guests arrive for their birthday parties at that age. You should think seriously about whether you want to be known as “Grandpa” to your own kids, that’s for sure.

But the real disaster is that she hasn’t told anyone you exist. So, what you need to do is tell them for her. One easy way to do this is to photograph yourselves having sex, then ‘accidentally’ send the photos to all your friends in an email. This will alert them to the existence of the relationship, and make any embarrassment about the age gap virtually disappear.

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I’m 51, She’s 35