Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - DEAR COLEEN -

Dear Coleen

I’m a man of 44 and my part­ner is ex­actly 20 years older. We met when I was 30 and she had just turned 50. Al­though the age gap seemed big then, I was older than my years and she looked and be­haved a lot younger, so we were a good match.

Now though, she’s 64 and we stopped be­ing in­ti­mate some years ago.

My sex drive is still go­ing strong, but hers has dis­ap­peared al­to­gether. And we’re just not close any more – we’re pretty much liv­ing sep­a­rate lives and don’t have any kids to bond us.

I’ve slept with other women a cou­ple of times, which I know is wrong, but I want to find some­one my own age.

I feel trapped and old be­fore my time.

Coleen says

I’ve al­ways said that a 20-year age gap might not seem a lot when you get to­gether and the older part­ner is, say, in their 40s. But when the younger part­ner reaches their 40s and the other per­son is in their 60s, that’s when it can sud­denly seem like a huge chasm. I’ve ac­tu­ally had friends who’ve bro­ken up over the very same is­sue.

If you feel trapped and un­happy to the point where you’re hav­ing sex with other women, then I think it’s time to be hon­est with your part­ner about how you feel.

It’s not fair to stay with her when your heart isn’t in it, es­pe­cially if you’re sleep­ing with other women.

You have to sort that side of things out first be­fore fo­cus­ing on meet­ing some­one your own age. You’ve been in a se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ship for 14 years – why rush into an­other one?

Also, I know you feel ready to move on, but end­ing any re­la­tion­ship is hard emo­tion­ally, es­pe­cially one that’s lasted as long as yours, so you have to ex­pect some fall­out.

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