Dear Dr. Romance,
I'm in my seventies, and my boyfriend is 25 years younger. We met on a senior dating site almost two years ago, and have been living together for over a year. He and my daughter went to the same high school, and he says he was attracted to me then and always compared his other relationships to me.
He's a romantic, and when he is around he is very entertaining and loves to talk. The problem is that his time now is very limited as he is in grad school for the next two years. He works at lab all night three nights a week and leaves me alone and sleepless. I have a severe hearing loss and a cochlear implant. He has been helpful and encouraging and taking me to the doctor. He does have a short fuse though and blows up over nothing, which alarms me. I can usually defuse an argument by staying very calm, and avoiding conflicts.
He's been getting texts from his ex, the unmarried mother of his 22 year old daughter. He said he never talks to her, she just keeps writing, but I don't believe him. I think he likes the attention, and probably gets it from other sources as well. He was on a dating site and went on some dates six months ago. He switches off the computer when I enter the room and takes the phone into the bathroom for conversations. He recently gave me an engagement ring and bought a suit to wear for the wedding, but I thought it was way too expensive since he is on a scholarship and on limited funds.
I have my own apartment which I am renting out right now but it is under the threat of foreclosure. I've been going to court to try to get a loan modification, which was one of the reasons I ended up living with him. It was only six months after we met..it may have been to soon.
My girlfriend says we have nothing in common. I'm worried that this relationship has no future once he finishes his graduate degree. I don't want to lose the companionship, which I have very sparingly now. What should I do?
I don't believe age differences are automatically a problem. May-December relationships can work. However, I have some concerns about yours. His anger worries me, especially since you placate him. I fear the relationship could turn into a controlling, violent situation. I don't know the future of this relationship, but there's a reason why you're worried.
I hope you're not paying for anything that is not your own expense, especially given your financial troubles. I also think he's probably not being faithful to you, which could lead to you being hurt. It sounds like your friend, who sees your relationship much more closely than I ever can, is also worried.
Please be sure you take care of yourself. The fact that you have "very sparing" companionship could impair your judgement and leave you vulnerable to being used or abused, so I want you to get busy and make some social connections. Try going to your local senior center for activities. You need a support system, in case this relationship doesn't work out. I'm glad you have your girlfriend, and you need more people to avoid becoming dependent. "Autonomy Vs Dependency" will help you understand the difference. "Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends" will help you open up your social scene. The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty will help you examine your life at this stage, and make decisions to improve it.
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