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How Do I Deal with Her Pulling Away After Three Years?


New member
Hi Everyone,

I haven't posted here in a long time and am doing so now under a different username because of some issues with my old account. Anyway, I'm a 47-year-old male from New York who has mostly only had relationships with older women. It hasn't been so much by design necessarily as much as it has been the way things have worked out--and most of mine haven't. For the past three years, however, I've been involved with a widowed older woman 22-years-older than me with a grown son that I first met at a magazine we were both working for at the time with no particular designs on romance at first. What eventually morphed from friendship into a romance is that we both have summer homes in the same beach down a couple of hours away from where we live in New York and would take the train out together on weekends after work.

At the time, she was renting out her home for financial reasons, we started dating and she's been staying with me out there on weekends practically every weekend as a couple ever since--even when my parents who own the house have been there and like her very much. Not only that, but the sex has been great, we've been on an terrific emotional wavelength, most of her friends (many of whom have also become mine) have accepted me and visa versa when it comes to mine. In short, it has been pure bliss on all counts--wonderful romance and companionship, no drama, no games. Although the age gap is obviously not ideal and neither of us wants to get married or move in together because we both enjoy doing our own thing, what we've had has been great until recently and I honestly thought it would continue indefinitely with many more years of happiness as a couple ahead.

The catalyst for what's happened has been two-fold. First, she's recently had a series of health problems on top of having a very big birthday coming up (I'm 47 and she's 22 years older than me so you to the math, which has made her begin to go haywire with respect to feeling more uncomfortable than ever about our age difference even though we've been together for nearly three-and-a-half solid years. Second, is the fact that my parents who live out of state have sold our family home we've had since I was 6-years-old, which has been devastating in and of itself. She's now back in hers out there, and I've had to move some of my stuff in because I don't have a new place out there yet and I can't even begin to look until the sale on our home is complete, which it's not. Making matters worse is her son who I've tried to befriend and bent over backwards trying to be nice to (including staying at my house on multiple occasions when I'm not there with his girlfriend and mom (my GF), taking him out to dinner and many other things.

Needless to say, this is the last thing I need right now and I thought/hoped that things would get back to normal with her, although it doesn't appear to be the case. Last night, she came over to my place in Manhattan for what I thought was going to be a fun light and lively evening (I even brought her roses, which she loved). Well, no sooner had we finished eating when she told me nicely--but still very hurtfully--that she wanted to take a break and felt uncomfortable remaining a couple because of our age difference, which felt like a knife in my heart. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I even broke down in tears when she told me she wasn't going to stay overs, which she ultimately did and we slept together, although we didn't have sex and she left this early this morning after we had coffee.

Though I've managed to get some work done since, I've felt down in the dumps and severely depressed about this all day. My heart is absolutely breaking right now and I feel like I've been dumped--almost a little used even--not because she's that type of a person, which I know she isn't at all unlike some of the other OW I've dated--but because of all I've done for her and all the wonderful things we've shared over the last three years--only to be what amounts to being banished back into the "friend zone."

She also keeps telling me that while she cares for me deeply she thinks we should be with people closer to our own age, that she doesn't want to be in a relationship with anybody right now, and that this doesn't have anything to do with me. I, of course, know that 22 years is a big age difference and I wish we could change it, but we can't. This aside--and all things being equal, though--I also don't want to end this or "take a break" as she put it. Instead, I want to get things back on the right track.

That's why I'm back here posting again. I'm feeling so raw and upset about this right now--as if my whole life is being turned inside out--even though we haven't broken up per se--at least not yet. Adding to this is the fact that she and her son are going to Colorado for a week beginning Wednesday to attend the wedding of her late husband's grandson from his first marriage and I fear that this is only going to make her push me away even more.

I'd really appreciate some support and advice. And for those of you who've been the older person in an age-gap relationship, I'd love to know how you've dealt with this if similar issues have come up.



The age gap isn't the problem. People pull away from each other even when no age gap or a smaller age gap exists. As rough as it sounds she has just lost interest or even found someone else.

She tells you she still cares etc because she wants to keep you as a back up in case her new interest falls through.

Just walk away. Not worth the effort and the pain.


I really do not know what to tell you. Take her words at face value and try to move on. Maybe the time apart will help. Back in 2009 my now husband and I separated for 9 months, it had nothing to do with the age gap, but they were valid reasons nonetheless, but we ended up back together. My signature "Love is when the pain of being apart is greater than the pain of being together" came from that experience. Being together in a relationship is no bed of roses, specially with an age gap. Maybe she will feel pain of being apart, and will come back, maybe not. Time will tell. Your heart will also heal in its own time.