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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Woman only 18 unfinished adult; get out of way

Carolyn Hax The Washington Post

Hi Carolyn: I have met someone I totally click with. It’s not because we share interests or like the same foods or colors or any of the other things dating services cram down your throat – well, we do, but regardless … what is really important is that we share philosophy. We don’t sweat the small stuff. We are both positive. We both like trying new things. We both view people in similar, if not the same, ways. From the very beginning, everything has just been easy. Sounds great, right?

Here’s the rub. I’m 25. She’s 18. That’s it.

I am not worried about my family approving or anything like that. I would just love to hear your take on the pitfalls that an arrangement like this might encounter. – D.F.

D.F. – Digs Freshmen?

There’s one pitfall.

Also, any time you “totally click” with someone new, you should always consider – and outwait – the possibility that you’re both merely playing the perfect-for-you roles because you each sense what the other wants from you.

Given her age, don’t consider. Assume.

I don’t mean to suggest all teenagers are equals in shaky self-image; just as a midlifer can be juvenile, your sweet-18 may be mature enough to make choices that are not only true to her nature but that also won’t make her wince when she’s 30.

But she would be the exception. She’s a legal adult but an unfinished one; you know this, you’ve been there. And not that you’re talking marriage, but there’s a reason young marrieds get their own, higher divorce rate.

For most people, the exact years of your age gap, 18 to 25, are a time of staggering emotional growth. (Again, when it isn’t postponed to 28-to-35 or 58-to-65.) Whether she comes out of it bearing any resemblance to the girl you fell for – or, maybe more aptly, to the girl who fell for you – is anybody’s guess.

So, don’t guess. Where all couples need plenty of room to breathe, someone her age needs to have her entire face to the sky. Date her only if you have the strength to stay out of her way.

Dear Carolyn: I have been married for almost eight years, have two kids, and thought I had a pretty happy marriage. The problem? My husband recently came home from a conference, and, over time, I have found out that he spent every evening there with an old girlfriend, including a $300-plus dinner that he paid for with his personal credit card so I wouldn’t see it! He lied about various details (including that he knew in advance she’d be there, how much time he spent with her, how much the dinners cost). He claims nothing happened; I say, if there’s smoke, there’s fire. Any ideas? – Confused and Betrayed

Just that you’re both missing the point. Whether he slept with this woman or not, something did happen and there is a “fire”: He did a premeditated thing that he knew would upset you, and then he lied to cover it up. This isn’t about extramarital sex; it’s about intramarital respect.

It’s still possible you have a happy marriage somewhere beneath this debris. Until you both agree what went wrong and devote yourselves to salvage, though, you can consider it buried and gone.

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