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Key question: Is he right for you?

Hi Carolyn: I’m facing a situation, and I honestly have no clue how to deal. I’m in a sort-of relationship with a man who is 13 years my senior (I’m 21), and we have a lot in common. I am genuinely attracted to him. And he’s already expressed his attraction toward me.

The only thing that’s stopping us from going to the next level is the fact that he feels slightly uneasy about our age difference. He keeps telling me he wants to take things slowly, and that he doesn’t want to “take advantage of my youth.”

How can I show him that we’ve got real potential, and help bring down the walls he’s placing in between us? – 13 years in between

I’m not saying he is manipulating you, but if that’s his intent, he’s doing a bang-up job. Textbook, really. “‘I want you, I do, I just … can’t … ,’” he said, abruptly turning away as if the sight of her tore at his soul.” Barf.

It’s possible he really is torn about what to do.

There’s barf in that scenario, too, though. He’s 34! This one’s a comparative no-brainer. You’re both adults. Either you suit each other, in which case he should embrace you without apology; or you’re mismatched – in which case he should free you to find someone else. Or he admits his flingy intentions and stays only with your consent.

Don’t romanticize his inability to make up his mind. Already it has you plotting ways to make up his mind for him. I.e., to win him over, gah.

That’s sucking your mental energy away from the task of figuring out whether he’s right for you, which is THE question when you’re dating. Whether you’re right for him is his duty to solve.

On top of that, getting swept up by the “real potential” of Mr. (or Ms.) Walls Between Us leaves you open to two types of people: manipulators and wafflers. You don’t want either of these, no matter how “incredible” they may seem.