Hello, I am here for you and am happy to respond. Give me a moment to carefully read over and consider your question.
Well, we should know better, but turns out we are human just like everyone else! Do you want more out of this relationship?
Are you still there?
Do you want to stay in the relationship as it is now, or do you want more as he does?
Since you are wanting to stay in the relationship, at some point you need to be honest with him. All relationships grow and evolve or they die. It certainly sounds like he is very fond of you. I don't believe that telling him the truth about your age will cause him to back off. Afterall, he may be lying about his age as well. If you are close enough to see him in person and tell him face to face, this would be much better than telling him online. As you are a psychologist, I am sure you know a lot about communication. But just in case you have not run across this model, I am pasting it here in a moment for your reference and use in talking with him about your age.
ASSERTIVENESS COMMUNICATION MODEL
STEP 1: Tell the other person that you understand how they feel, where they are coming from.
EXAMPLE: I know it is difficult for you to open up about your feelings and get angry when I encourage you to share your emotions with me.
STEP 2: Tell the other person how you feel, where you are coming from.
EXAMPLE: But I care about you and want us to be close and share our feelings and get very disappointed and sad when you close yourself off from me.
STEP 3: Ask for what you want (without the expectation that you will get it).*
EXAMPLE: I have found a model of communication, called ASSERTIVENESS, that I think could help us. Would you be willing to try this? It would mean a lot to me.
* The idea here is to use this model to improve communication, not to manipulate the other person into giving you what you want; if misused it will backfire.
When we adults have disagreements in our current relationship, we usually respond in one of two ways, withdraw or become aggressive. Neither of these responses facilitates an emotionally intimate relationship. We learn to withdraw or become aggressive in our childhoods as this is how we coped with discord in our families of origin. So we are programmed for an automatic response to conflict and need to re-program ourselves, our brains to respond in a healthy, assertive way. When we practice assertiveness we are honoring each person’s feelings (no one is right or wrong) and both have an opportunity to ask for what they want. The idea is to repeat the model over and over in working through the issue. For instance if in the example above if the person being asked to participate refuses, then the asker would repeat the model and say: Step 1: I understand that you are not ready for this right now and must find it a bit weird and feel uneasy about trying it . Step 2: I am disappointed, but I don’t want to give up just yet. Step 3: Will you a least take the paper and read and think about it and let’s talk again next week? Even if we do not get what we want from the other person, our self-esteem gets a huge boost from expressing our feelings and asking for what we want. The Assertiveness model also works well in other situations, work, siblings, friends, parents, etc. And it is the ultimate, healthy way to be able to say NO, which we often find difficult.
ASK ELEANOR AT JUST ANSWER