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I'm 23, and she's 52


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A few months ago, I met an older woman on an online chat program. I'll be turning 24 in October, while she just turned 52 in May. From the beginning we'd hit it off great. So much so that we've exchanged photos to put a face to the name and have each other's phone number--and had practically been inseparable on there since. Nearly from the beginning, we'd had an understanding that neither of us cared about our age difference or what people thought about us when they saw us flirting in chat rooms--namely that they thought that we were in a relationship or dating, though technically we weren't.


However recently, for me, it changed and although I knew we agreed it was nothing more than fun and flirting...I fell in love with her, in spite of everything I knew about her past--a few failed marriages (one in which lasted 10 years and was highly abusive on all counts) and engagements.


Because of this, she has closed her heart off to serious relationships and ends up pushing people away when they get too close, like she did with me not too long ago. We have both said we loved each other, but while I'd come to mean it romantically, she said she meant it more in a friendly way when I talked with her after she'd been distancing herself from me the last few days.


I'm hesitant to try and pursue this any further since she just wants to be friends, while I still love her. I don't know if it could be anything long term, but I know how I feel. I know she doesn't want to be hurt again, which is why I think she said she doesn't love me the same way (and now all of a sudden let someone's comment about her being old enough to be my mother influence her when she said she doesn't care what people think about us), but I think we could have something really special if she allowed herself to love and be loved.


I've said I could just be her friend like how we've always been and move past these feelings I have for her, but I'm having second thoughts. How do I know for sure she isn't just saying she only loves me as a friend as a means of protecting herself?

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How do I know for sure she isn't just saying she only loves me as a friend as a means of protecting herself?


You can't know that for sure, but you also can't presume to know someone else's feelings better than they know their own. She has clearly told you where her boundaries lay, and it's up to you whether you feel that you can respect those boundaries (which it sounds as though you can't). If she is interested in pursuing something deeper, then she will let you know. She knows how you feel, so leave it at that.

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Why not meet in person and see if the connection is there in person. If she says she's not interested in persuing anything...whether she's protecting herself or not, it would be wise to focus your attention elsewhere, even while it may be painful at first.

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I'm sorry for your predicament.


You can't make someone see, feel or want something they don't just because you do.


Age gap relationships are tough... very tough... they take an insurmountable amount of patience because if would become a couple you will be mistaken by those who don't know you as a mother/daughter duo. That wears on people... it wears on commitment. You try to think you don't care what others think but in the end constantly defending what you have allows insecurities to creep in.


She may just feel at 52 having loved and lost in the past that she isn't up to the challenge of such a relationship. I know I wouldn't be.


I would believe what she says... she loves you as a friend. If you have more profound feelings it may be best to cut contact... at least for awhile so your heart can mend. Staying in a one-sided relationship only brings more heartache.



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I can and have been respecting her boundaries if this is what she wants. As I said, I'm just a bit confused because all of a sudden she's changed her mind about what people might think about what is or isn't going on between us. I don't presume to know what her thoughts and feelings are beyond what she herself has told me. Yes, I'm hurt--but I'd rather have her as a friend than nothing at all, if this is how she wants it to stay. No one ever means to fall in love, but I can move on in time if that's the only choice I have. I've never been in this kind of situation before, so I'm open to any advice.

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