Dear Miss Emily:

 I met this guy online about 7 or so months ago. I am 17 and he is 25. We have been talking since and can't seem to stop. We get along very well, I find him totally interesting to talk to and we're both very comfortable around one another - eventually, we decided to meet. We did it in a public place, and although it was short it was fairly relaxed and not too awkward. Shortly afterwards, I find out through a text on my phone that he has an 8-year old daughter. He had wanted to tell me about it during our meeting, but "never got a chance.”  He continued on to say that he and the mother had been married up until last fall, when they'd divorced.  I am feeling very confused, hurt, angry, and sad. I mean, I realize that our relationship isn't very strong and is likely not to go anywhere due to our age difference and the fact that we live sort of far away.  But I'm just wondering if it is best to just completely cut myself off from him and move on, or ...? I'm just really confused, and I realize I'm young and have a whole life ahead of me. It's probably not worth it, but I just really connect with him. Help?
Kidding Myself

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

Dear Kidding:

This is dicey.  His child is just nine years younger than you.  It might be easier to offer babysitting services rather than get any more involved.  You sound absolutely centered on this matter.  You are smart, your letter was well written and, yet, I know when it comes to matters-of-the-heart, emotions are not quite so clear-cut.  I am pleased that this guy finally told you about his child but, of course, it was something he should have mentioned early in the game. He obviously sees it as a liability when looking for relationships, because it’s true that smart girls usually see it as a potential mine field; especially girls your age!  Follow the part of your brain that dictates logic on this one, because if you get more involved, it’s just going to prolong something that will turn out, I think, to be too complicated and, in hindsight, totally unavoidable.  I’m sure he’s a decent sort, but that’s not the problem.  He was your age when he had this child, and he’s got a lot of responsibility because of it.  Act in haste, repent in leisure. The age difference and his child are too much baggage.  And yes, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.  Use that time wisely.