When You're Both Adults, Dating Decisions are Yours
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Dear Christine,

I am a single 46-year-old mother of three grown children. Imagine -- me -- having a 30-year-old man pursuing me! I keep avoiding his advances and dodging his invitations, but he knows Iím interested. Iíve never been one to successfully hide my emotions. Although I am drawn to his wit, his views on life, and his unstoppable good looks, I fear others will think I am a cradle-robber if I allow something more than a platonic relationship to develop.

My friends are all with men who are older than they are. What would they think?

My kids arenít much younger than he is. In fact, my daughter is dating a man older than him. How could I ever introduce him to my kids? -- DILEMMA EMMA Ė LONDON, ON

Dear Emma,

This neednít be a dilemma.

I canít help noticing the way you refer to yourself as a 46-year-old ďmotherĒ. Not to devalue your maternal persona, but please do not diminish the single woman side of yourself.

Your kids? Your kids are adults. More importantly, you donít have to introduce your younger man to your family right away. Itís not like your kids are going to be chaperoning your first date.

Take your time getting to know him. Then if heís worthy of an introduction to the family, you probably wonít care what they think by then. If heís good enough for you...

As for your friends, did you ever stop to think the reason theyíre all with older men is because they havenít had a younger man interested in them? Or perhaps theyíre too worried about appearances.

So what if there are 16 years between you. Big deal! Itís not like youíre 30 and heís 14. You are both more than old enough to vote. If you and he are both old enough to take part in the shaping of our country, surely you should be allowed to make a decision regarding your own love life.

Donít let your family and friends dictate your electoral votes or your love life. The only thing more private and sacred than a voting booth is your bedroom.

Dear Christine,

I am unable to get out and around as freely as I'd like due to extended working hours, no vehicle, and the lack of a sober social environment in this city. A number of my friends have turned to online personals. I have been warned that this is unsafe, yet I have read about a few couples who met and actually cultivated relationships that resulted in marriage. My question to you: do you know any people whoíve found their perfect mates this way, or are the odds stacked against me? -- STUCK IN A RUT Ė HAMILTON, ON

Dear Stuck,

The odds of any of us finding a ďperfect mateĒ are not encouraging, but anything can happen.

Personally, I donít know of any online happily-ever-after stories, which isnít to say they donít exist. Iíve received letters about many unusual love stories -- from a furrier who fell in love with an animal rights activist to the woman who dialled a wrong number and eventually married the man on the other end of the phone line.

The one thing I cannot stress enough is: as with all dating, do not let your eagerness with online dating get in the way of caution or common sense. Take your time and be cautious.

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at: single@keynotebooks.com.

Originally published in The London Free Press on January 23, 2003.

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