Sage Advice: Older Woman Thinks She Is a Mrs. Robinson

By Amy Dickinson | June 26th, 2019

Is there an inappropriate age gap between this older woman and her man?


Mrs. Robinson Cougar Image

Dear Amy: I am a 53-year-old, never-married woman. I keep in shape, and I’m often told that I’m beautiful.

I’ve had several relationships over the years but never found “the one” guy I wanted to marry.

Six months ago, I met a very interesting and intelligent man. I am falling hard for him.

Here’s the issue: He is 29 years old – 24 years younger than me.

He is very mature, and I don’t feel the difference in age when we are together.

My friends are horrified and remind me that he’s young enough to be my son. They tell me it’s inappropriate and urge me to be realistic about any future with him.

He has told me that someday he does want to settle down and have children with a wife (obviously, because I am beyond childbearing years, it won’t be me).

Do you think our age difference is OK for now – or is it totally inappropriate? I understand his long-term plan, but I am enjoying the present and try not to think about the future.

All that said, do you find he’s not age-appropriate for me? What is the cut off relationship age for a 53-year-old woman?

– Mrs. Robinson

Dear Mrs. Robinson: You are not, actually, “Mrs. Robinson.” The fictional Mrs. Robinson (the character from the book/movie “The Graduate”) was a middle-aged woman having an affair with a naive 21-year-old man – and the affair commenced after she had basically hunted and sexually harassed him, in the guise of “seducing” him.

Your guy is almost 30 years old. Thirty-year-old adults should be able to engage in whatever healthy, non-exploitative relationships they want. So should 53-year-olds. I fail to see what is “horrifying” about your choice to date this man. If the ages were the same but the genders reversed, your pals would be congratulating you.

Your guy has been honest with you about his longer-term goals. It sounds as if he is engaging in this relationship, having already declared an exit plan. Perhaps this is what your friends are really responding to.

It is tough to dive fully into a relationship, knowing it has an end-date. You may be trying now to protect yourself from the inevitable – and this is bound to affect the dynamic between you two.

But there is something unique and lovely about later-life love, and I certainly hope you can enjoy yourself without worrying too much about how others react.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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