I am loving the fact that the Weekly has finally enabled comments on all its stories. Even though I've been excoriated by hordes of excitable psoriasis sufferers and taken to task by early ejaculators, I find reading them utterly fascinating. Oddly enough, though, some of the people leaving comments are actually leaving questions for me. Which is where I found this one: I am 38 and last year met this amazing 23-year-old woman. We dated, fell in love, and seven months later she ends it saying that even though she loves me, and that I make her happy and am perfect, she can't handle—or doesn't know—if she wants a serious relationship. Should I believe this? Is this just her being scared? Is it over? I can't express how happy she made me, and we got along so well that it's hard for me to believe her and understand why she would walk away from something she said was good. It's making me crazy and I can't figure out how to get her back or if that's even possible.Frantic
You're not going to like this, but the fact is, you're too old for her. Now settle down—I'm not calling you old, but you're knocking on 40's door, and this girl hasn't even hit the quarter-century mark yet. Think back to what you were doing at her age. Beer pong? Loads of casual sex? An unfortunate haircut? Yeah, I thought so. And there's nothing wrong with that—a person's early- to mid-20s is when they start figuring out who they are and what they want from life. You've (hopefully) already established all that by now. I was involved with someone 12 years older than me when I was your girlfriend's age, and while I can't say I regret the relationship, I can certainly see how it stifled me. He was super smart and I always felt like a big dummy when he'd talk about writers I'd never read or food I'd never tried. He had tons of odd friends in cool professions, who were nice, but didn't begin to take me seriously until I'd been around for a few years. It all served to take my already fragile self-image and squash it like a bug. In the end, he was way more a mentor than a boyfriend. The fact that he couldn't fuck his way out of a paper bag made it all the worse. I've also dated someone way younger, and so I can certainly understand the appeal. Youngsters are rarely jaded, they have tons of energy (sometimes too much), and they don't come equipped with a storage locker brimming with extra baggage. The downside is that while they may appear to be grown-ups, many times their brain hasn't caught up to their (admittedly hot) little bods. So you expect them to be on the same wavelength as you, but they're just not. They grew up watching different TV shows, they don't groan when they stand up, and they don't get why you think love is such serious business. After all, they love Radiohead, Smart Cars, Obama, and you, all in equal measure. Sigh. Anyhow, what I suggest is that instead of wondering why she dumped you—because believe me, at that age she could be dumping you over something as minor as your predilection for polar fleece—concentrate on getting over it. The sad truth is: Dumping is rarely a unanimous decision. Though they might have a little more mileage on them, perhaps skew a little older on your next foray into dating. In closing, I'd like to point you toward a Precious Moments figurine I once saw that reads, "If you love something, set it free" (or some crap like that). Though trite, the sentiment is true—you can't force someone to love you. Judy McGuire is the author of How Not to Date.Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.