Age gap in my relationship; lack of trust

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Dear Guys,

I am 22 year old woman and I’m dating a 44 year old man. We have been dating for almost 5 months. We have had our share of loving moments and tense moments, but I care for him dearly and go out of my way to make him happy. We have some trust issues, since I went through his phone and found some pictures of other girls. The only thing is, he still holds it over my head that I went through his phone. In addition to the one-time phone incident, he saw a picture of a guy friend of mine on my camera and thought I was cheating on him. He thinks that I lie to him about where I am and what I am doing. Lately he will just randomly start thinking about it, get angry, and will start a fight. Now when he fights, he goes below the belt (verbally). He says all of the meanest, rudest things he can think of to me. I hold my tongue because I have learned not to say things I don’t mean to someone I deeply care about.

I just want him to be happy, so do you you think I should just give us some space or should I keep trying to make things work?


Dear Nikki,

Thanks for writing to us.

Your relationship is missing the most important ingredient of any relationship: trust. Neither of you seem to trust the other person, which has begun to create a serious crevasse in the foundation of your relationship. If you want to make this work you need to get to figure out the source of this mistrust and go from there.

So what made you so suspicious that you felt you needed to go through his phone? Was he doing something that made you wonder? (Not returning phone calls, disappearing for a day or night, being evasive when questioned.) If he was doing these things we can see why you’d wonder if he was cheating on you. But at the same time, you do realize you can’t go through someone’s phone? Because where do you go from there? If you find some evidence that confirms your suspicions, what do you do with that information? Once you reveal that information he’ll learn how you gathered the info and then it can only go downhill from there. And if you don’t find anything but he finds out you went through his phone, he’s not going to trust you. (Which happened) All in all, it’s better to ask someone directly than to use covert means to find out the information. Of course then you have to figure out if they are telling the truth or not.

As far as your fighting goes: people need to be careful how they fight. His verbal attacks sound out of line and should not be tolerated by you. Fighting happens in relationships, but it’s the WAY couples fight that determines whether or not they will stay together. Right now they way he is fighting doesn’t make us very hopeful for your relationship continuing much longer.

Nikki, we aren’t going to tell you what to do, but overall your relationship sounds broken, and unless you do some serious work together, it’s going to remain broken even if you have periods of tenderness here and there. We can see that beneath all the layers of mistrust that both of you care for each other, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work. We also think your ages are playing a part in all of this. Twenty two years might not be a wide gap if you were 44 and he was 66, but at 22 and 44, that’s quite an age gap. He’s gotten to experience so much more of life than you, and that’s playing a part in your lack of trust. And the fact that you’re a cute, 22 year old woman is playing a part in his jealousy and anger.

Our advice: Take what you learned in this relationship and apply it to the next one, maybe with a guy who’s a little closer in age.


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