I’ve been seeing someone for about two years now. It’s only been official for a few months now but he doesn’t want to tell anyone we are in a relationship. There is an 18 year age gap between us and I don’t know why he isn’t telling people. We are moving soon and he says that once we’re settled in he will start to tell people and deal with having to justify himself to everyone because of the age difference; but right now he says that he can’t deal with that extra stress on top of moving and trying to find a job. I need some advice as to whether I should hold on for a while before I start to let it bother me because it makes me feel like he’s ashamed.
He’s not ashamed of you. Probably the opposite. He’s probably quite thrilled and proud to be with you. However, he knows what people will think. (That he’s “robbing the cradle” so to speak. We’re assuming you’re the younger person in the relationship.) Not only is that stressful to him, but he’s probably a little embarrassed to be perceived that way. (Is that why the two of you are moving?) We understand why he could feel this way. He wants the respect of his peers not their derision. However, he needs to figure out how to resolve this inner-conflict, otherwise it will put a strain on the relationship. (Clearly, it already has otherwise you wouldn’t have reached out to us.)
You haven’t told us how old you are, but certainly as you get older age becomes less important in a relationship, especially if the couple stays together for a long time. We’ve seen this happen where a couple with a wide age gap moves into a town, only to be greeted with raised eyebrows. But after five, ten years, they become an accepted part of the community, as people view them as a successful exception to the basic rule that people should choose partners roughly their same age.
That said, hiding your relationship is not a great sign. Understand that when a guy is in love with a woman he wants to tell the world about her for two reasons. First, because guys are territorial. He wants everyone to know she’s his. Second, if a guy is proud of his woman, it’s partly because she makes him look good, to his friends, family, co-workers, etc. This is a huge ego boost for a guy. Sure, not all guys are like this. The more evolved guy might not care what anyone else thinks, but for the most part, guys are pretty concerned about peer review.
If you’re bothered enough to write to us, clearly this is an issue that needs to be addressed. You don’t want to be in a situation where he’s always going to feel a bit uncomfortable to admit he’s with you. Maybe it’s time for a heart-to-heart conversation about what you need from him? However, if you press the issue things could go either way. He’ll either listen and try to figure it out, or he’ll decide that maybe he can’t be with you after all. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, just understand the possible consequences.
It’s a still a bit soon to jump ship because you obviously care about this man, but you should start seeing a change in his behavior soon, otherwise you might need to reevaluate the relationship. What you don’t want is to get yourself into a holding pattern, where he reassures you, but doesn’t back up his words with action.
Let us know if you have any follow-up questions or comments. Please leave in the comments section below. You must be Logged In first.
ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!
Read More Relationship Advice and Dating Advice about Hiding Relationships.