Dear Miss Emily:

I’ve recently met up with a guy who is 17 years younger than me.  I’m 37, with 2 kids under 10. He has a kid, as well.  We seem to really hit it off.  He is very mature for his age and cares for me more than any other older guy has before. It’s all early days, so I’m not sure where its gonna go. The age difference doesn’t bother him or me, but can it work ?
Rockin’ the Cradle

--------------------Miss Emily’s advice--------------------

Dear Rockin’

First of all, just to let my readers know, I make few moral judgments when it comes to something like this, because I believe that life is short, and what goes on between two, of age, consenting adults is no one’s business but the parties involved.  That said, and this is important, I would keep the children out of it; at least for a long while.  See this man when opportunity arises, and make it a fun, intimate affair.  I reiterate, don’t rush to integrate this relationship with your children. Why? Because children get easily attached to others – this man, his child.  And if something goes wrong and you split up, the children feel hurt.  The new people in their lives suddenly disappear, and the adjustment is difficult; often resulting in anger and feelings of rejection.  It’s like a mini divorce.  This is where you could hear from one of your children, “You were too old for him, Mom!” Relationships are tough to maintain in the best circumstances.  A huge age difference can thwart moving forward in a meaningful way (whatever "meaningful" represents to you), because you and he are almost a generation apart.  There are always exceptions but, right now, even if the odds are against you when it comes to a “forever” arrangement, who cares?  As long as you keep it in perspective, and put your children first,  no major problems should result from this romance.