It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “May-December” who was dating a man 22 years her senior and wondered if he was too old for her, especially since she hoped to have children and worried that he’d either not want them with her (he already has grown kids) or wouldn’t be alive long enough to help her care for them. My response to her sparked a heated discussion and the column turned out to be one of the most popular posts of the year. Keep reading to see how the LW is doing today.
I appreciate you running my letter! It was insightful to read your response–and the commenters’. I did not expect you to take the “biological clock” tinge, but it did get me to thinking.
I am happy to report that my relationship with Boyfriend has only gotten stronger since I first wrote to you. We are currently looking for a house together, and we have been discussing marriage for a few months. My relationship with his daughters is developing as well as it can from 1,000 miles away; we’ve visited twice and they’ve visited here once. His kids are super nice and welcoming and open-minded and, above all, sincere. Their relationship with their dad is very good, and I really believe they would tell him if they had a problem with him dating someone who is closer to their age than his, but all they have expressed is happiness that he is happy. The way they “turned out” makes me feel even better about the prospect of having a child with Boyfriend.
In the many discussions Boyfriend and I have had about our future, we decided very clearly that we will try for kid(s) after we get married. He is now fully on the bandwagon. Our timeline is more “rushed” than it would be if he were younger, but I don’t mind that. I never wanted to be an “old” parent, anyway. I was talking to my best friend, who is the same age as me, a few weeks ago, and she told me that she still definitely wants to have kids, but definitely NOT within the next five years. Her revelation really blew my mind, as I am now so looking forward to trying in a year or so! I don’t feel that his age is pushing us into marriage or children, it just makes us both more honest and open about our feelings and goals and wants for the future. Our discussions just start a little earlier than most peoples’.
So, I am now 29 and he is now 51, and our relationship continues to get stronger. He is such a “young” 51 that most people who meet him casually think he’s about 40. His personality remains very youthful (in a positive way, not an immature one)! I feel happier now than I have in years. Knowing he’s there for me has brought out the best in me in other aspects of my life, as well.
One last thing I want to address — many commenters mentioned finances. This is at the forefront of my mind, as well. There is no doubt that it will be challenging for us at times, but we both feel that we can make it work. He has no visions of retiring and, in fact, has said he would prefer not to. Men in his family who retire, even those who retired young, have all died within the year. Not that it wouldn’t be nice to have a retirement fund “just in case,” but it’s not the reality. Luckily, his attitude and work ethic match that reality! Aside from a decent living standard, I am adamant that we have health and life insurance due to his age, and we do our best to live within our means. I feel confident that we can do it. I am currently in grad school and should be at a much higher income bracket when I graduate. “Should,” of course, is the operative word, but I’m trying to be optimistic rather than pessimistic! I’m in school for a field with much movement and opportunity.
Overall, just wanted to send the update. I was happy and a little surprised to see that my letter made your top most popular posts of 2012!
Thank you so much for your update, and best of luck to you as you make your exciting plans for the future.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.