photodune-2731604-husband-kissing-wife-xsAsk Rene:
Our Daughter’s Boyfriend Is Twice Her Age!
How Do We Handle It?


Hi Rene:  

We just found out by accident that our daughter is in a relationship with an attorney at my husband’s law firm. “Katie” is 27 and “Steve,” her so-called boyfriend, is 54. Steve has known Katie since she was a girl. We are not happy about this relationship and think it is inappropriate for several reasons: Steve is recently divorced, there is a big difference in age and life experience, and both of them have been hiding the relationship for months. Katie and Steve don’t know that we know yet. Obviously, we are going to have a conversation about this. How can we handle it?

Worried in Weehawken

Dear Worried:

Hmm.. Let me think.. How can you handle it? I suggest taking away her allowance, grounding her and taking away her princess telephone!

Come on now! REALLY?

Okay, here’s how I see this:


child's hand reaches for the male hand on a white background

I would better be able to see your concern if your daughter were a minor and still under your roof; you’d have real cause for concern if “Katie” was 16 and her boyfriend was 32. But that is not the case here. Your daughter is a grown woman and I’m guessing, doesn’t live in your home. So your options as far as what you can do, appear limited. But if you feel you must…..

Read more: Top Talker: Can We Blame Our Parents For Bad Relationships?


Parental advisory warning label black and white

You asked how to handle this. Handle WHAT? “Katie” is an adult!  She is doing the very thing that our kids are supposed to do, the thing we RAISED them to do; grow up, have relationships, get married (or not), get divorced (in some cases) and basically live a long, full life, God willing. The hard part about parenting is that at some point the apron strings fall away and they begin to need us less and less. That’s where you are now and I would hope, have been for some time. Katie’s making decisions about life and love based on what SHE wants, not you.

Read more:  10 From GEM: 10 Lessons To Teach Kids Of All Ages


great job! post it illustration design over white

Can I make a suggestion? Get a hobby, get a puppy, get a part-time job but whatever you do, get out of your adult daughter’s love life. You had 18 years with Katie, maybe more, under your roof.  In that time you imprinted her with a sensibility that will carry her through life. There are times she is going to make good decisions; there are time she will make poor ones. Your job, the super intense part of parenting, is over. Let your adult daughter take car of herself. It’s time to move on, mom. Or put another way, Butt out!

Read more: Our Story Begins: My College-Bound Kid And The Lessons I Learned

On more word of advice: I am a little curious about how you “found out” about Katie and Steve but regardless,  I would argue it’s really not your place to go to them with your finding. Maybe Katie hasn’t told you yet because she’s not sure if she’s serious about her “so-called boyfriend”; maybe she already knows you’ll disapprove. Whatever the case, if I were in your shoes, I would wait until she came to me and shared whatever she thought was appropriate.

Tread lightly.. if you freak out, there’s a chance she’ll think twice about sharing anything else with you again.

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What say you GEMnation? What would you tell this mom?