Dear Dr. Romance:

Ok so I am 19 and am kinda falling for a guy who is 20 years old than me. I am not asking your opinion on if it's wrong and nor do I want to hear "that's disgusting" my mother and father were 23 years apart in age. I like older guys cause I can relate to them better than guys my own age. Guys my own age don't really act mature enough or just don't have the personality I like. My problem is that my mother doesn't like the guy most of my family doesn't to be honest. I want to be in a relationship with him but he doesn't want to come between me and my family. I am glad he cares but there is just some things a family will have to get over and I believe this is one of them. I have know the guy for a good 3-4years and this feeling didn't start till i turned 17. He has been the best friend and has been there for me. We recently started secretly seeing each other but we aren't really in a relationship cause he doesn't want to take the step without being open. I just don't want to have to lose a guy I truly care about over something as stupid as an age gap. What would you do or how would you make him or your family understand?

Dear Reader:

I'm sure your family are just worried about you. If your mother and father had a big age gap, perhaps you could remind them that it worked for them. Your guy sounds like he's got some ethics, because he's not willing to go against your family, and it sounds like he waited until you were 18, which is another point in his favor. On the other hand, he's willing to sneak around with you.

You're making a big decision here, and your family might have some good reasons to object. Have you asked them why? Is it only the age gap, or are there other things they're worried about? I suggest you move slowly, and open up the conversation as much as possible. Maybe you and your guy could talk to the family together?

The rest of your life will be much happier if everyone is onboard about this relationship. Try listening to their point of view, rather than telling them yours. When you understand what their concerns are, you can answer them one by one. Read "Stupid Cupid" to give yourselves a good foundation for the discussions. How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together will help you communicate better with each other and with your family.

Happy Partners cover

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.