I'm dating a man who is much younger. He is very mature, I feel appreciated, and I am having fun. How serious can/should I get? And at what point will my subtle concerns quite down? Seeing Mariah and Nick fail after so much promise has me very nervous.
Dear Unaccepting Cougar,
All potential partners bring a sense of doubt with them. We can all sit around asking, "What if..." but if we want to be happy, if we want to be in the moment and enjoy what is happening in our lives, we must focus on the now and not the vast unknown of the future.
There are countless examples of relationships between couples with large age differences working out just fine, just as there are many examples of those sorts of relationships not working at all! The same goes for all relationships, regardless of age or other circumstances. But, here is a concept I want you to adopt: just because two people don't stay married or decide to go their separate ways and be with other people, doesn't mean their relationship didn't work out! I know this idea is counterintuitive but let's take a closer look at it.
What is This Obsession with Forever?
Everyone is clamoring for a timeframe they will never meet. How long is forever? When does it happen? When will you get there and what does it look like? Forever has become this goal for people, women especially, and when relationships end before either party has died, they somehow feel they have failed. Your example is Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, so let's make a look at their relationship, in brief.
Here are two people who met, dated, fell in love, got married, and had children, grew in different directions, and decided to not be miserable together, but happier apart. I don't see a problem here! The thing is, relationships never end, they only change, and once you have children, there is nothing on earth that can undo that bond. Mariah and Nick can fight all they want, but none of that bickering is going to change the fact that they were together, that they loved, and made two children.
Their relationship, just like all your past relationships, worked out just fine! People come into your life for a reason and just because that reason isn't this fabled destination called forever, doesn't mean it was all a waste or that it didn't work out exactly the way God planned. That being said, your relationship with this younger man doesn't have to become any more than it is or turn into forever for it to be worth it.
My point is, who cares if your relationship with this young man doesn't last! You could be with a man exactly your age and it not last, either. It's not about age; it's about being with the man God has chosen for you. No matter how old, if this man is not the man God has intended, he won't be around too long. If he is the man God has chosen, his age will never matter. So, you see, you are asking the wrong question!
Here's Your Homework:
- Envision your true and righteous husband. Think about who he is, what he does, and how he treats you. If you could design your perfect life partner, what would that look like?
- Make a list of all those traits, characteristic, habits, goals, and the quality of life you want this man to have and leave your current boyfriend out of it! Start fresh. Clean slate. What does your man look like? Does he pray? Where does he work? Is he educated? How does he treat you? Write it all down.
- Now, go down this list and treat it like an exam. Put a red 'X' next to every trait on your list that your current man does not have or exhibit. Then, grade this paper. If you have a list of ten things, worth ten points each, and your current flame has missed four items on that list, he has earned a sixty-percent (60%), which we all know is a 'D'. That's not an acceptable grade in school and it's not an acceptable grade in life or love
Here's What Will Happen:
When you switch your focus from the age difference to the difference between what you have and what God wants for you, you will begin to pay attention to what really matters. The scrutiny you give your relationship will go from trivial to substantial and your concerns will be worth the energy. And who knows, maybe this young man is who God wants for you and you'll feel silly of worrying about his age! Or, maybe this young man isn't the man God wants for you and you'll still feel silly for worrying about his age!
We tend to make life and love harder than they have to be. Simplify your relationship by just enjoying it versus analyzing it along the way. What is mean to be will be and there is nothing you can do about that.
Have you ever been involved with a younger person and wondered how far the relationship can go? Have you ever been so caught up on the idea of forever that you fail to live fully in the now? Sound off in the comments section below!
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.