Dear Mr. Knightley,
I’m a divorced 54 year old with a 27 year old son. He recently got engaged and it was there that I met his fiancee’s cousin. She plays the most lovely music and being around her fills me with energy and excitement. I feel for the first time in my life as if I am actually in love. But my son won’t even let me broach the topic. It seems to me that he thinks I am too old for her (she’s 22). I’ve been impressed by your advise so far, otherwise I wouldn’t have written. But I hope you can help me. I don’t want my son to feel that I don’t consider his opinion but at the same time it doesn’t really have anything to do with him, right?
Dear Mr. Fortyagain,
I thank you for your kind correspondence and for the compliment you paid the blog. Rest assured that we take every letter seriously and even those we do not feature on the page still get answered whenever possible. Regarding your question there are several things that I will just briefly touch on, since this is a delicate situation.
You are absolutely correct when you say that this matter is entirely up to you. And you do not have to show any kind of consideration for your son’s opinion on the matter. However, I think you have handled it well up until now, by attempting to speak with your son before you go ahead with your plan. He has certainly not shown the same kind of restraint and decorum in temperment, which may only come with age.
And your age will definitely be an advantage to the young lady, and a compliment to her beauty. However, to make an appropriate decision a clear view of all the facts must be attained, and that involves counting not only the benefits but also the costs. And there are several you will have to face. First, while I hope that you can tell by now whether what you feel is a passing fancy or not, she may not be able to yet, so that while your feelings of affection may start out mutual she may lose interest all too soon. And either way, her own honor may be called into question, and you would not want to do something such as that to someone you admire or respect.
A second consideration is while this may not reflect poorly on you, it may reflect poorly on your son. Depending on how well your situation is known among society it may call your family’s honor into question and thereby disable your son socially. And while limiting love may seem unfair, it hardly seems fair that you should cripple your son so, when you have already enjoyed the prime of your life and he is only entering it now.
I think you should speak more with your son about this. Press the issue. Find out where his objections arise from. Is it merely sentimental from your previous wife’s concern or is he more anxious about the residual effects that may affect him and his own family. Whether you chose to go forward with your suit or not, speaking with you son and clearly establishing communication between both of you may still salvage your relationship regardless of the choice you end up making.