Advice from Amy: ’My Daughter Is Dating an Older Man’
Advice columnist Amy Dickinson addresses a mother whose daughter is dating an older man. Mom can’t help but wonder “Should I say something?”
Our 24-year-old daughter recently moved out of state, before entering grad school in the medical field.
After graduation from college a year and a half ago, she worked in a rehab hospital, where she made many friends.
She became close to one of her co-workers and it seemed like they had a strong friendship. We have met him on several occasions and we like him — he is kind, intelligent, grounded, and treats her with respect.
Recently, she told me that the two of them have been dating for about six months. She was reluctant to tell us because she thought we would not approve. He is 17 years her senior.
She said she is very happy that she still made the move west even after they became exclusive, because she is still pursuing her dreams and goals.
She says that they are taking it one day at a time.
My daughter has always been strong and independent. She was in one other serious relationship and said the relationship taught her that she wanted a more mature partner.
I realize that she is an adult and gets to make her own choices, but I am wondering if I’m negligent as her mother to not point out the possible challenges, should this relationship continue.
I know our opinion means a lot to her, but I also know she will do what is best for her.
Should I just keep my concerns to myself?
– Caring Mom
Your daughter sounds smart, independent, and capable. These qualities make her well-equipped to handle her intimate relationships.
Like all of us, she will occasionally struggle and make mistakes. But unless there are mitigating circumstances which you don’t mention (he is married, was married, has children, or a previous unhealthy history with relationships), you must trust that your daughter will make her own way, as we all must.
A child’s job is to grow up. A parent’s job is to let them.
It seems that your daughter has done an exemplary job. You should continue to do yours.
If she explicitly asks you to point out the challenges to her relationship, you could weigh in, but she is likely already aware of these challenges, because she is experiencing them.
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In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2021 by Amy Dickinson