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Parallax - Advice            August 14, 2000



   Is she too young, or is he too old?

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An attractive young woman from my company has shown some interest in me. I'm forty-six and recently divorced, and I hadn't entertained thoughts of seeing other women yet - though now it looks like I have a choice. But I've never dated a person like her, she's almost twenty years younger. I'm worried about seeming too tired and worn-out, perhaps too cynical about relationships. I'm also worried I'll be called a cradle-robber. I wouldn't care so much if she wasn't from work.

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Her view:

Dear Cradle-Thief,

I wouldn't really touch this one (in the biblical sense). Everyone in the office will be talking about how sleazy you are and what a slut she is. It is a little strange, I have to say, to want to date someone with whom you have a twenty-year age gap. If you do pursue the relationship, you'll also have a lot to overcome on the common-interest front.

You should give yourself some time to get collected. You've just been through a divorce, probably for all sorts of reasons that I'm sure require some thinking-through. Why not let the dust settle, before hitting on someone young enough to be your daughter?

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His view:

Dear Cradle-Thief,

If you are worried that you will seem tired and worn-out, it's probably because you are. And the best thing you can do to fix that is to try some of this young lady's medication. She could be just the thing to get your spirits and self-confidence up - and to shake up your cynical views a bit.

Your concerns about work and impressions are valid. But things like this usually come down to a tradeoff between pleasing others (i.e., The Firm), and pleasing yourself. I would encourage selfishness: who else is looking out for you these days?

Besides, half the people who would accuse you of cradle-robbing will do so out of jealousy, and the other half (like my esteemed colleague, I am sure) are too uptight to deserve any serious consideration. Keep it outside of work as much as possible, if it really bothers you, but realize that eventually hallway whispers are inevitable.

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