Dear Jess: How should I deal with my teen dating an older man?


Q. Our 19-year-old daughter is dating a 40-year-old man who’s not much younger than her father. We are horrified. Surely a decent man of his age would see that this is not right. What can we do?

A. Mortified Mother, I understand your shock. This man should stick to women closer to his own age. Indeed, if either of my daughters decide to date a much older bloke (when they’re “grown up”), I would be furious. However, I have a confession.
When I was 17, I dated a 37-year-old nightclub owner. I was convinced it was true love! My poor mum had a conniption and forbid me from seeing him. Not surprisingly I ignored her, behaving like a typically stubborn teenager, deluded into believing that I knew best.
Eventually I came to my senses and realised there were far more appealing guys closer to my age with much less saggy bottoms. Tell your daughter your concerns but don’t ban her from seeing him. She will come to her senses.
Q. My sister-in-law believes she is an expert in everything: child rearing, cooking, entertaining and running an organised household. I feel like she looks down on me when we get together for family occasions. She tells everyone about her perfect children, and I often see her rolling her eyes when she looks at my kids to observe how they behave. Help!
A. Perfectly Imperfect, smugness is a quality that I cannot tolerate in people. How dare your sister-in-law decide she can behave that way with you. Her behaviour says so much about her and her insecurities. One of my favourite life lessons comes from the legendary Eleanor Roosevelt. She wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Don’t allow your smug sister-in-law to get under your skin any more. Tell her in the nicest possible way that life is far too short and exciting to waste time on a tidy house and perfectly cooked meals.
These answers are simply my views, and I am far from perfect. I struggle through some days better than others with the help of my family, cats, chocolate and antidepressants. Unfortunately, I cannot personally reply to questions.


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