I have recently met a guy who is 10 years younger than me I'm 28, he is 18. He was good friends with my ex and now that I have split up with my ex, I have started seeing him. I have two children to my ex four years old and 10 months old. My new partner and I really get along with each other, have heaps in common, love each other's company it kind of felt like love at first sight.
My concern is that he says he has never been this much in love with anyone before. He told me he loves me after only a few weeks of being together. He has seen the way my ex treated me and told me he wants to look after me and the kids and make me happy. He can see that I need to be loved and wants to show me what love is. He also says he prefers older women as he hates the immature giggly types. He told me he likes to flirt with women but nothing sexual.
He has flown me from NSW to Queensland where he is, so we can spend time together and wants me to move up to Queensland in a few months with the kids and start a new life for myself. He is willing to take full responsibility and care of my kids and me. Should I be concerned with this decision? How will I know whether he really wants me, this older woman with two kids? He also said if we are together in two years he will marry me and he would like a child of his own one day. I'm also worried that maybe in a few years as he experiences life a bit more he may not want to be tied up with a woman and two kids. What do I do to be careful and not get hurt?
Let's start from the top, shall we? First, he is 18! You are involved with a teenager a young man. Boy. Of course he told you he loved you after a few weeks of being together a few weeks in a young person's life is like a few months or years in an adult life. A long relationship at 18 is three to six months, not a lifetime! The fact that you are even considering uprooting your life, and your children's lives especially, indicates that you are not thinking clearly. You are too filled with surges of lust and perhaps love to see the realism of your situation.
Which, frankly, is that you are older (not old at 28, but still older and in a much more mature life stage than him) and a mother. As such, you must put the needs of your children ahead of yourself. What is the relationship between your children and their father? Is it the right thing to take them interstate and away from him?
As a parent, moving your children ought to be carefully considered.
Sometimes parents must move for jobs and finances, or to be closer to family. But to move interstate to be with an 18-year-old, who you haven't been with very long certainly less than a year I would guess as your baby to your ex is 10 months old is madness. Be strong in yourself. If you love this young man and are serious about making a relationship work, then do not compromise the security, stability and happiness of your children to chase after him until you have a solid relationship with him that has been tested by time and distance. You need to make sure this isn't a flash-in-the-pan, lustful dalliance for you or for him.
The questions you ask are sensible. It's good to wonder how to be careful so you don't get hurt, and also so your children don't get hurt. And the answer is slow down. Proceed with caution. Talk about your concerns with him, and also your family and friends. Get lots of advice to get a picture of what people who know think of this. Not that you have to listen to anybody, but in this case do not "just follow your heart". Make sure your brain is on and actively part of this decision process too. Trial being together, even through the distance. If he at 18 can commit to that, then he might love you enough and have the maturity to form a serious relationship with a woman and two children.
Be realistic. Conduct a relationship that isn't just about lust and excitement and does involve the children and domesticity. And if in a year, at 19, which is still very young, he's still there and he hasn't moved on to someone else, then maybe you can think about getting more serious. But rushing into a relationship with a teenager who lives interstate when you have two young children to think about is just foolhardy. You will get hurt and so will your children. So yes, be very careful. Don't lean on an 18-year-old boy to show you what love is. Look into your children's eyes and remind yourself it's there. And yes, finding a loving partner is something you definitely deserve but not at their expense. Be careful with your heart and their trust and faith in you.
Follow your head and the love will come. If not from this young man, then from someone who is the right one for you and your children. I implore you: be smart.
Answer published 25/9/07.
For more information please see Dr Gabrielle's website or visit her consultancy website Bananas and Melons.