Updated: November 29, 2013 10:35AM
DEAR CHERYL: I’m in love with a man old enough to be my father. Hal is the man of my dreams. He’s a wonderful combination of masculinity, sensitivity and creativity with a great sense of humor. We can talk for hours about politics, theology, history, art, literature — you name it. He’s very successful, but that means nothing to me. I wasn’t even aware of how successful he was until well after I fell in love with him.
People think I’m after his money, but I’ve never accepted anything from him but friendship. The only gift I’ve ever received from him was flowers on my birthday. He’s offered to help me out at times, but I’ve always said no.
There are several problems. The first of which is his live-in girlfriend of several years with whom he has not been physical in over two years. They’re just roommates. She’s not interested in becoming a partner to him.
We’ve done nothing more than kiss gently, out of respect for her. Hal is very busy and can’t deal with the added stress of making her move out. I haven’t stopped living my life. I see other people but still talk to Hal daily. We would love to eventually make a life together and have discussed what we would do and how we would do it.
The other problem is my parents. They’ll never approve of this in any way, shape or form. They’re aware that Hal is a very close friend and that we enjoy several hobbies together, but if they knew that we wanted a life together, they would not be supportive.
My family means the world to me. They’ve helped pay my tuition. I’m very thankful, but they have a tendency to hold it over my head. They’re financially comfortable in terms of property. Some of this property has been willed to me and left in a trust controlled by them. I don’t want them to use these things as leverage to keep me from the man I love and am truly happy with. Any advice, no matter how harsh would be appreciated.
How Important Is Age, Really?
A. I don’t see this as a question of an age difference. In fact, let’s forget about it. Let’s not worry about your parents, either.
Here’s the situation: You’re wasting your life over a man who’s committed to another woman. Period. Forget all the nonsense about his relationship with his “roommate” being platonic. That’s the oldest line there is. It’s amazing how many of these platonic roommates and wives manage to get pregnant. Immaculate conception? I think not. And by the way, how do you know he’s not married to his roommate?
If this man cared about you, he would do one of two things: Get out of the relationship that he’s in and pursue you with more than “gentle” kisses and a lousy bunch of flowers. Or, he’d get out of your life entirely. He’s doing neither. He’s selfish, selfish, selfish. And you’re foolish, foolish, foolish. As long as you’re talking to him every day and dreaming about making a life with him, you’re cheating yourself. You’re letting him have his little fantasy while your life is slipping by. That’s harsh, but you asked for it.
As for your parents, pay back your tuition. Then they can’t hold it over your head anymore.
Got a problem? Or a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my new website askcheryl.net.