Dear Smart Bitches,
I’m hoping to get some “Everything I need to Know…” Advice. First, we should probably be looking to the contemporaries on this one. I am a 19 year old female, and a college student. I am very aware of my youth and ignorance which I’m sure is skewing my views on this issue, so I need both an outside perspective as well as one of a more mature audience. I have fallen for a 31 year old man. (Yes, big surprise! No one saw that coming! My situation is totally unique!) But the fact remains I still don’t know what to do.
We get along so wonderfully – right from the moment we met, we both felt that special connection. But I am afraid to let myself love him and imagine a future with him. I doubt our ability to have a future together. I have kept his age and details hidden from many of my family and friends, and he is most likely doing the same. We have briefly spoken on the subject, but that was when we first met, so I didn’t have a sense of where things would go or have a true emotional investment in the conversation. Now I’m anxious to bring it up again because we are in such a fragile stage of our relationship – we have so many powerful feelings for each other, but in a practical sense nothing has really changed. Soon, if we want to continue to be together, sacrifices must happen (on both parts), plans must be made. I wouldn’t want to let things just float along for years. I want emotional security and the confidence to truly love the man I am with. And right now, I’m not getting that. What to do?
Dazed and Confused
Many romances, regardless of setting or subgenre, have relied on the “We Must Not Tell!” trope to establish tension. Sometimes there are perfectly good reasons for Not Telling. Sometimes, the reasons are about as substantial as styrofoam packing peanuts.
But the romance novel cannot have a happy ending unless, ultimately, Folks Find Out. “We Must Not Tell” has to evolve to at the very least “People Important to Us Know About Our Lurrrrrve™” in order for there to be a believable happy ending – even if the end result is that the protagonists Don’t Give a Shit What People Say despite being convinced that other people’s opinions would End Their Joy.
Why? A relationship that must be kept under wraps is scarcely a relationship at all. If you can’t be openly together, then there’s a big problem. I’m not saying you have to listen to what anyone else has to say about your happiness, but you can’t keep someone who is important in your life hidden and separate, either. So I would say, first, ask yourself WHY you think you don’t have a future. Why do you doubt your ability to have a future with him?
It raises both my eyebrows that you haven’t told your family, you are pretty sure he hasn’t told anyone about you, and you’ve only spoken briefly about the subject of our relationship. Given that you state you have “powerful feelings” but haven’t yet had a conversation about those feelings, I’m guessing that you’re in a very early stage of this relationship.
But then you ask for emotional security and confidence, and sacrifices and plans need to be made for you to be together. Whu? You can’t have your secret cake and eat it in public, Dazed. You state you’re not getting what you need from this relationship, but at the same time, you haven’t talked about the relationship itself except in the most general of terms. You don’t share any details about the time you spend together or what you do together, but it does seem like you spend a lot of time thinking about the status of this relationship.
Get out of your own head, and get into reality. Speak up. If you want to be with this person, say so. If he can’t man up and openly be with you, then he’s not man enough for you at any age. The same goes for you: you have to stand up for what you want, and not give a crap what anyone thinks. But most of all, you have to stop ruminating and start doing. If you really like this person – and I’m operating on shoestring details here – then say so, and see what happens next. I’m not sure if you need to worry about the future. Speak up and see what happens now.