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Is there a possible happy ending or am I not accepting reality?


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*** I just spent the last 2 hours typing everything you'll see below. I can't believe I just did that. However, I actually feel a little better that I got it all out of my system, so even if no one replies to this, I already feel a little better, just getting it out of my system. But I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. Sorry it's so long, I wasn't planning on that happening.****



I'm 37, divorced with 6 year old son who is my best friend. Been divorced for 4 years now. A little over a year ago I met a girl who was 22 (she's 23 now, obviously) We don't work together but but in the same small town. She was beyond gorgeous and at first I chuckled to myself that this was God's way of giving me something good to make up for all the crap I had gone thru with my ex-wife who cheated on me and wanted a divorce even though I tried to still make our marriage work. So this new young girl and I started texting for a few days, and the whole time I felt like this was completely wrong because of our ages and even though we don't work together, we both know a lot of the same people in town and her parents also work in the same industry and we are usually in the same professtional work circles. I didn't want to be known as the dirty old man chasing after girls that are almost 14 years younger than him. And I figured we'd have nothing in common and she'd be wanting to go out all the time, which I don't think is a bad thing, but my son always comes first and I have him 50% of the time. And I kinda thought she thought I was younger than I am and that she didn't know about my son. So I finally told her via text "look, I'm 36, divorced and I have a son. But I'm still the same funny guy you've been texting for the last week, so we can still do that, but I understand if you don't" Her response was "Yeah, I know all of that, your FaceBook page is public, I researched you and your son is a cutie. If that stuff was an issue I would've stopped texting you a while ago." Sweet. As we texted more I came to realize that I didn't view her as a 22 year old, we had similar interests and she seemed very funny and very smart, also very mature.


After a week of texting we decided we'd hangout and go out for a drink. I still felt weird about the age difference and how people would perceive that and she was deathly afraid of her over-bearing parents finding out. So we then agreed that she would just come over to my house to hangout. Again, I felt like this was wrong due to the age difference. But she came over and we talked and laughed for hours. She left and was texting me before she got out of my driveway. She came over again and we had a great time again and even fooled around a little bit on my couch. After she left I had this weird feeling like I was a dirty old man. I texted her and apologized and she assured me there was no need to apologize and that if she didn't leave when she did we would've been doing a lot more than just fooling around. So she came over a lot over the next week (only on nights when i didn't have my son) After that time of feeling like a dirty old man, I never again viewed her as a 22 year old, she was so mature and smart and very self driven. I viewed her as an equal, heck, I would joke to her that we got along because even though I was older, she was smarter and more mature than me. The next time she came over she said to me "hey, you don't have any expectations of anything right? I mean, I think we're just hanging out having fun and whatever happens will happen" I completely agreed with her and to myself I felt like she was a winning lottery ticket that I didn't deserve so in my mind I thought soon she's gonna wake up and realize she can do a lot better than me and she'll move on so I should just enjoy what I have for now. She said that she could tell that no matter what happens, we would always be really good friends and that she felt like I'll always be there for her for advice on life. I agreed and thought that was great, though I still thought eventually she'll wake up and realize she can have any guy she wants and I'll end up being a memory. Then she told she had to be honest and told me that there was another guy in the picture, her boyfriend from college who lived over an hour away but they had really drifted apart over the last 6 months and now they don't even text or talk every day and instead of seeing each other every weekend it was now like every other weekend or once a month. I asked why she doesn't just end it, but she said she knows that they'll end up married and they have this plan for the future of when they'll get married and where they'll move to etc. I told her that my honest objective opinion was that was so wrong and that I knew from experience that you don't marry someone based on a "plan". I knew I only got married because I knew I wanted to get married and have a family and once I bought my first house when I was 25 I knew I would marry whoever my next girlfriend was and that's what I did and it was a mistake. I told her you marry someone because you love them and they're your best friend and you can't live without them. Not because they are part of your "plan". She understood my point, but she wanted to keep things the way they were, she would keep the relationship with the long distance relationship with the boyfriend and she would hangout and have fun with me. I know was wrong to be involved with her and realized that I was the bad guy, but I couldn't cut it off with her. For the next 4 months she came over my house whenever I didn't have my son. At work we would text back and forth all day. When she would go see the boyfriend I'd tell her that I would give her space and not text while she was there but she spend the whole weekend texting me.


I only told one of my friends about this secret relationship. Like a typical guy he immediately said how happy he was that I was sleeping with a hot 22 year old, I told him that it was more than sex and how great it was when we just hung out and watched movies or talked all night. He then advised me not to fall in love because I could end up gettting hurt. I told him that wouldn't happen because I knew sooner or later she would wake up and walk away so I'm just enjoying this time and I won't get attached. I really felt this way because I knew there was no way she'd really fall in love with me. But then it happened: she started falling in love with me. She told me that she couldn't stand talking to the boyfriend or being near him anymore and that she thougt about me constantly and that she was so confused because she was falling in the guy (me) who would be best for her but that it was impossible and it could never work. Once I knew she was falling for me, I completely fell for her. I told her that we could make it work, I didn't care about the age gap and I didn't care if anyone else cared about it. To her, the issue was her parents and that they would never approve based on other relationships she's had and her sister had. She also told me that another problem for her was that my ex wife is still involved in my life due to our son and she didn't think she could spend her life with me because my ex would always be involved. She had met and adores my son, but the issue was my ex would still be a part of our lives. So we just kept our secret romance going without telling anyone. Every night I went to sleep with an "I love you" text from her and I'd wake up to an "I love you" text from her. She also kept the rocky relationship with the boyfriend because that was the "plan". I figured eventually our relationship would fizzle out once she got closer to the boyfriend and I would be hurt, but I promised myself that I since I knew what I was getting into, I told her that no matter what happened we would definitely still be friends and ALWAYS keep in touch for the rest of our lives.


After a couple more months went by of our continued romance, she then started to get a little a distant. She wasn't coming over as often. She said between work and the accelerated Master's Program she was going thru, she didn't have as much free time. But I did notice that she was hanging around with a guy she worked with who she had told me before was kind of like a secret boyfriend for a couple months before she met me. I realized that even though I always gave her credit for being so mature, this was an example of how immature she was when it came to relationships. See, everything was good with her real boyfriend when they were in college and around each other all the time, but after college they were now over an hour away from each other and she was living with her parents. So needs the attention of a guy all the time, hence the secret boyfriend before me and then me. Though she told me she hung out with him a lot and they kissed alot but they never had sex, they almost did but he stopped for some reason. (I also kinda know this guy and I always thought he was gay, everyone that knows him thinks this) But anyways, now she wasn't hanging out with me as much but she was hanging out with him. I started questioning her about it and she would swear there was nothing going on, he was just her only friend at work and that she because her parents had always been so over-protective and over-bearing she never really had any close friends, which I always did realize and wondered why she never had any close girl friends. She never went out. She was either at work, school or with me or would go see the boyfriend. So she told me that this guy at work she was hanging out with was juest a good friend now and neither of them have any romantic intentions with each other. She would go to his house because he lived with his parents and he had 3 sisters who became friends with her so this was the first time she had actual girl friends. I believed her about having anything romantic going on with him because I still to this day think he is gay and just hasn't come out yet. But it did bother that she had time to go to his house and but suddenly didn't have time for me. We still texted every day but she stopped coming over. Keep in mind, she lives 2 minutes away from me. Every week last summer I would tell her which nights I didn't have my son and ask if she wanted to hangout, but every time she couldn't or didn't have time. This was killing me. I swore I wouldn't let it happen, and I wouldn't get hurt, but now it happened. But she still would tell me she loved me and I couldn't walk away because I kept thinking we would go back to the way we were.


Finally in September, I decided I needed to do something, so I met a girl through a friend of a friend and we started texting and emailing. I was still in daily contact with the now 23 year old love of my life. I told her about this new girl and that I'd probably being going out with her soon. I did like this girl, but I didn't know if I was just using her as a distraction or if I really liked her or if I was just hoping it would make the 23 year old jealous and want me back. The 23 year old made it clear she wasn't thrilled about me dating but she understood. I went out a date with this new girl and it was ok, but there was no spark and she definitely didn't compare to the 23 year old. I didn't go out with the new girl again. Then a couple weeks later 23 asked if she could stop by my house to say hi to me and my son (he asks about her all the time) so I said yes. She came over and it was nice, my son was happy to see her. Then when she left I walked her out to her car and gave her a hug, it lasted for a while and before I knew it we were making out in my driveway. I told her I had to back inside and she agreed and left. She then texted me about how amazing the kiss was and how she missed me. A few nights later I wasn't supposed to have my son, but I ended up switching nights with my ex. The 23 year old calls and says she's about to drive by and wanted to stop in to see me. I told her my son was home and she said she'd come in for a minute. I walked her out to her car and again we started kissing and she said she came over because she thought I would be alone and we could do more than just kiss. I told her to come back the next night but she couldn't. I started to think we would go back to how we were, but then she got distant again. A few weeks later she stopped by when I was alone and we just talked and watched a football game, but then we started fooling around and really getting into it and then she stopped and said she had to go home. We texted that night and I made a joke about not having sex for awhile and then I made another comment the next morning about it, again in jest but she got upset and said that she's not just some booty call and she never ever viewed me that way and always felt that it was more than just sex when we were together. This reaction was weird because we always used to joke around sex, but I apologized and then she was back to being distant again. So I started talking to another girl and went out on another date to try and get over the 23 year old. Again, no spark in this date and there wasn't a second date. I know it was because I comparing her to the 23 year old. I just couldn't get myself to move on.


At this point I knew the best thing for me to do would be to cut off all communication with the 23 year old and try to move on. But I couldn't. We still kept texting everyday. She continued to be very distant and it felt like now we were just text buddies. Just after xmas she texted me that she needed to talk to me, it was a night I had my son so I told her I'd call her after he went to sleep, she said she'd text me later. She finally texted but said she couldn't tell me, I told her she could tell me anything that it didn't matter. So she then told me that an old boyfriend from years ago had called her out of the blue and on a whim she went and met up with him and had sex with him. She felt awful about it and hated herself for it. At first it felt like getting punched right in my heart. I was about to text her good bye forever. But then I thought that I should be more mature and keep my promise about always being friends. So I decided right then that it was definitely over and I was cutting off all of my feelings for her. I mean, what was I holding onto? She has a boyfriend, a guy from work that she hangs out with all the time and now she just went and hooked up with some other guy. Why or how do I still have feelings for her? She begged me not to be mad and not to hate her. I told her I wasn't mad and didn't hate her, she made a mistake that a lot of people make and I told her that I was impressed that she told me what she did. She said she felt like she had to tell me. I told her it was good for our friendship that it will make our friendship stronger. She hated me saying that because she felt like it meant I was saying that my feelings for her were gone now and that I just viewed her as a friend. I told her it wasn't fair to me that she expects me to still be in love with her when she doesn't return the love. She said she did love me and that was why she had gotten distant with me over the last 6 months because she was scared because she knew we couldn't have a future but she never loved anyone like she loved me. And those 2 times she stopped by to see me she said it scared her because all the old feelings came back and she didn't know what to do so she would then be distant and avoid me. She didn't know how to handle it or know what to do. At this point I was completely lost. I didn't know if I totally believed her and I definitely knew that I was still hopelessly in love with her. After a couple days, she got distant again and didn't text me at all for a day (this had never happened before) so the next I asked what was up and she just said "sorry I didn't mean to disappear like that". I decided enough was enough, I had to do something.


I called another girl who I know is interested in me and several of my friends and co-workers have been trying to get me to go out with her for months. So she and I went out the next Saturday night. It was nice but no great spark. However, I realized that there doesn't have to be a great spark right away and we agreed to go out again soon. I was very distant with the 23 year old and we didn't text each other that weekend. Then on that Monday I texted her asking if she could stop by so my son could give her his xmas present he got her, she said she definitely would do that and couldn't wait to see him. I convinced myself that I was over my obsession with her and I would try to make it work with this new girl. I just needed to get this xmas present from my son out of the way to give me the final closure I needed. I promised myself after this I would not contact her but if she texted me I would reply and if we stayed friends that was fine, and if we didn't I was ok with that too. I was a little worried about the effect on my son because he does like her, because he's only 6 and he views her as "Dad's friend" and I really don't think it would have a huge impact on him if he never saw her again. So that night she stopped over and he gave her his gift, everything was fine though I was slightly different then usual, I didn't sit near her and I didn't really look at her much or talk directly to her. My son announced he was going to the bathroom and I said to her "oh you probably have to get going" she said yeah and said good bye to my son and he went into the bathroom I walked to the front door and gave her a hug and that was it. Later she texted me how nice it was to see me and him. Then she told me that over the weekend she went to see the boyfriend and they officially ended things forever. Whoa. Great timing. STill this didn't change anything in my mind, so I then told her that who I went out to dinner with over the weekend, she knows this girl and knows that she really likes me. She was upset, but oh well, I needed to move on. This was 2 weeks ago.


Since then, I haven't gone out with that new girl again, yet. We've talked about it, but I just really dont' feel it with her. For the last week the 23 Year Old and I have been texting more and I've been helping her as she's looking for a new job since she finished grad school in December. She would make little digs about me dating but then apologize and she'd say how she hopes everything works out for me. She said she's focused only on work and getting a new job and moving out of the area. She hasnt' talked to the old boyfriend since they broke up and she barely talks to the work friend. Our friendship was suddenly better than ever, we were texting all the time again. I was trying to keep focusing on how I need to let go and move on and just be friends with her. Then a couple nights ago we both went to the same work-related function that all the businesses in the area were going to. The day before she mentioned how she was excited to be seeing me there. Then that afternoon she didn't respond to any of my texts and when I got to the event she was there with people from her work including the guy friend she hangs around with. I had a couple drinks before the event with my buddies from work and when I got there I had a good buzz. I don't know if it was just seeing her, or the alcohol or combination of the 2, but all the feelings were coming out, how much I loved her and missed being with her and all the hurt I had been feeling from not being with her. We talked and she was upset because she knew I was drinking, she is not a big drinker at all. She said she couldn't texts on her phone all afternoon because her phone is her work phone and they were switching plans or something so she said the only way she could text would be using an instant message service like "WhatsApp". So she told me to use that for the rest of the night. With my emotions and the alcohol, I decided i just wanted to drink and not think about her. She left early and told me to very careful because I was driving. I told her not worry and go have fun with your "work buddy".. she didn't like that, and I didn't care at the point.


A few hours later she IM'd me and asked if I was ok. I told her I was still out and she said she knew because she had gone to my house twice to see if I made it home ok. I got home a little while later and we exchanged IM's and she told me how she hated that I drove after drinking and she hated that I was drinking because I was rude to her. I told her I was drinking to try to get away from my feelings for her and she said " don't blame me, you're the one that is dating people now, not me, clearly you're the one moving on". I then told her how hard everything was for me because my feelings for her are still so strong and I CANT move on and that I'm trying to be a good friend to her without my feelings getting in the way. So the last couple days we've been texting but it's awkward and different. I feel like I need to just go into complete NO CONTACT mode with her and move on with my life. I think that's the right thing to do because I know we can't have a future together but at the same time I do want to maintain a friendship with her as we do have a close bond. And I can't get that little feeling out of my system that says she came into my life for a reason, that she is the ONE and there is a chance for us. But then I look at how she had a boyfriend and cheated on him with me, she stopped hanging out with me and hangs around with another guy she works with, just 2 weeks ago she went slept with a different guy and she is still distant with me unless I get distant with her, then she reaches out to me AND there is the age difference, I mean I must be CRAZY to still have feelings for her. Why can't I let go and move on? Does anyone see any possible chance that at some point I might get the fairy tale happy ending that I want with her? I know that is completely stupid, but I can't make myself understand it. I guess I'm asking for help, but I know the answer is to just move on and try to forget her. Any suggestions?

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Man I don't know, This is a tough one, I think it could go either way honestly. I wish I had better advice for you but I don't. I think she is young. I think you will need to be very understanding and patient. I don't think anyone knows what they really want before the age of 25. It all changes. Just my personal opinion. I think do what makes you happy. If it does work out I see it happening in a few years probably not anytime soon. She has too many changes coming her way. Best of luck to you!

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I want to point out all of the issues and explain what they mean. Then I'll give you what I think the outlook is.


1. The age gap. She is only 23. We have to understand this. 37 is not very old for a man, but considering the way your two ages contrast, it is very old... Right now. The reason she said she wants to be friends with you for a long time is so that when she is 30 and you are 44, the age gap will be comparably smaller. She hopes that you two will be close for a long enough time that eventually the two of you will seem closer in age. Now, about that. 7 years is a long time, but not a long time. It will be difficult on your heart to hold back feelings for this girl for that long considering that you seem to want to have an official relationship with this girl and you do not seem to be okay with the way she is acting. If you can learn to accept her behavior now and give her more time, you might have a chance.


2. Sex. Sex is the reason she met you. You were her booty call at the beginning of the relationship. She realizes this and that is why she was so offended when she felt she was turning into a booty call. It is possible that you can have a friends with benefits sort of situation with this girl but it would mean relinquishing the opportunity for a serious relationship in the time you are waiting for this girl to mature.


3. Her feelings. She likes you. She wants maturity in her life and you are the source. She also cares about you but she clearly wants you to support her as well. Her relationships with other men exist because you are not supporting her emotionally as much as she desires.


The age gap creates a problem in the short-term. You will have to be incredibly patient with her if you eventually want your relationship with this girl to be serious. This means waiting for her to age and mature. She enjoys sex with you because you are probably the best sexual partner she has ever had. It has been slow, but the two of you are beginning to bond. Just beginning. The two of you are still emotionally distant. That is why the apparent double-standard exists. She wants to be emotionally close with you but cannot yet does not want you to become emotionally close with someone else. She feels that the two of you can be friends in order to grow closer over time. If I were you, I would approach the situation with slight indifference, but do not let your indifference show. Treat her special, involve yourself as much as you can but always keep in you mind the reality of the situation. Always understand that your son is the love of your life and that she is secondary but do not let her know. Make her think she is the one. But, for the next 7 or so years, love your son as much as you possibly can while he still loves you. I would not worry about dating other women. If you can handle it, don't worry about being serious with anyone for a long time. I really think that you can make your relationship work with this girl, it just will not be the relationship that you wanted it to be. It will take more time and patience than you expected. If you do not think you can hold out as long as it may take, then yes, break off all contact with the girl. But, if you can handle waiting 7 or more years knowing that she may potentially lose all interest in you, then keep trying. Time will either bring you two closer or make evident that you two were not meant to be together. And finally, always know that your son is the meaning to your life. Love him first. Compared to him, this girl only exists to pass the time.

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This is a tough one...I agree with "Excitedtosleep", there's simply a lack of maturity here. I think you two need to sit down and have a long talk about the future and decide if you want to commit to each other. You've both been dancing around the subject for a while now and hurting each other in the process. You guys seem to have a lot going for you. I think you just need to be clear what your long term goals are and she needs to do the same.


The age gap will seem smaller as she matures. The question is, do you have the patience to put up with it for seven more years? That's a question only you can answer. It sounds like she's willing to hang in there and I think you are as well. You guys need to talk this out and make sure you both are in it for the long term. There's too much back and forth here for a healthy relationship. You guys have been going out for a long while now..It's time for both of you to fish or cut bait.

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... I can't get that little feeling out of my system that says she came into my life for a reason, that she is the ONE and there is a chance for us. But then I look at how she had a boyfriend and cheated on him with me, she stopped hanging out with me and hangs around with another guy she works with, just 2 weeks ago she went slept with a different guy and she is still distant with me unless I get distant with her, then she reaches out to me AND there is the age difference, I mean I must be CRAZY to still have feelings for her. Why can't I let go and move on?


The biggest problem here is that YOU BOTH recklessly and immaturely disregarded her relationship so you could talk, play at being companions, and have sex. It was very unfair to him and, unfortunately, the way you get them is the way you lose them.


So I think the "immaturity" assessment of her is not just about her. It's about you too.


Unfortunately, human psychology is going to make the hot, interested, unavailable, 22-year old more taboo and more attractive to you. And harder to let go.


I would advise not trying to use others to get over her. Just be single for a while.


For the record, it is a HUGE mistake to get with a 22-year old (or a much younger woman). For no other reason, she is in a different place in life. So that is a path I would avoid in the future if I were you.

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Well, I have a little bit different take on it.


Yes, she's very immature and that problem time and age might help with. But.......


She's got a bad "relationship" history according to her parents.

Her parents would not approve of this and likely few others would either.

She cheated on her college BF with you.

She cheated on you and the college BF with an ex BF.

She was probably cheating in some way with the other guy you all think is gay.

You and her both are lying to everyone, covering up and hiding your relationship.

So.... there's been a WHOLE LOT of lying, cheating, doubledealing and deceit going on here since day one on BOTH your parts.


None of this is good at all. Age and maturity levels have nothing to do with a person's character. Not every 22-23 year old tells all these huge fish stories while running around sleeping with multiple guys (or girls). And not every 36-37 year old divorcee goes and jumps into bed with much less "falls" for that hot 22-23 year old on the pretext of "hanging out" and "being casual friends".


And the REAL kicker? Your 23 year old hottie has a major problem with your ex wife and the fact that you have to have contact with her because you have a child together. That particular "problem" of having an ex wife is not going to go away for at least the next twelve years and probably not ever.


Even if you can get past everything else, and she grows up a bit, that one is going to be a killer to any relationship and the more day to day involvement she has in your life, the worse that problem will get.


Be smart and cut it off now like you know you should have done in the first place and while you kept digging yourself this deep hole. You don't need to be anyone's sugar daddy and you sure don't need any "who's your daddy" baby drama if she suddenly happens to turn up pregnant.

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Thanks for your input. I kinda feel like this is what I needed to hear. It's the reality I'm not accepting. I still have this part of the me that hopes that down the road at some point we can start fresh like a real couple and be honest with ourselves and everyone else. I totally understand everything you said. I guess part of why I posted (and didn't really get it accross) was to see if there is a chance for us, mostly because right now I feel the same way about her as I did before, but I question if still has the same feelings for me. She said she does and that she stopped seeing me because she was scared of those feelings, but I honestly don't know if I believe that. Part of me thinks she wants me as her friend forever but she's afraid she'll lose my friendship if I don't stay "in love" with her.


Anyways, thanks for all the responses, they all made me think more about the situation and myself.

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Honestly, no. There is no chance you're going to make this work over a long haul. She's 23 years old, you're 37. If she does manage to get over your ex wife having to be around, and you get past all the rest, it's still not going to work.


She's young and just starting out in life. She's not ready to settle down to husband, home, kids, job, plan our 401K. You're already halfway there. At some point, she may want kids of her own. Are you OK with becoming a new dad all over again at 45 or even 50? If she's got a good career going and an amazing job opportunity accross country, would you be willing to leave yours and your son for her? When you're 65 and ready to retire, travel and enjoy life, she's only going to be 50 and still in mid career. By the time she turns 65 and she's ready to retire, you'll be 80, possibly frail and infirm or maybe even already passed on. I could list plenty more things.


It was a nice fantasy for awhile. Leave it at that and do what you know you should do.

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