Worth Staying with Much Older Boyfriend?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My much older boyfriend is going through a messy divorce. He wants to be with me, but has a troubled son my age. I met my 45 year old boyfriend about a year ago. We weren’t thinking and I ended up in a situation where I was his VERY young (21) mistress. He’s the love of my life, but he already has children – something I’ve wanted of my own. They are sons roughly my age, and one is VERY rude and troubled. I was scared that he wouldn’t want to have children with me in the future, so I left. Later that week he finally separated from his wife, like he kept saying he would.

I feel a certain sort of guilt to stay with him now. Even though I love him, I’m scared that his mentally unstable ex-wife and older son will try my happiness. He says he would love to have children with me, and he claims he’d love them as much as his first two sons. I feel like I would always come 4th and my children wouldn’t be treated like they were special, or even loved.

I feel like I deserve the traditional love – someone my age who can share first experiences with me. I want to know if I’m being unreasonable by still wanting to be with him. I also want tips on being able to like his older son – who I can’t personally stand at the time. Thanks!

A: Guilt is one of the worst reasons I can think of for staying in a relationship. Trust your instincts. Your concerns are not unreasonable. They are coming from somewhere. If your boyfriend hasn’t been willing or able to insist that his son treat you with courtesy, it’s a red flag. If you really want a traditional love, it’s likely that you will resent not having it.

Yes, it’s hard to let go of a love relationship. I’m sure there are very sweet sides to this man or you wouldn’t be involved. But it is also true that you fell in love with him when you were only 21. You are now a year older and wiser. Now that you are past that intoxicating period of new romance, you may quite reasonably be rethinking the situation and whether it’s really for you over the long run.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Worth Staying with Much Older Boyfriend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/18/much-older-boyfriend-has-troubled-son/