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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1822
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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My gf of 12 months, and I, love each other deeply. Im 38,

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My gf of 12 months, and I, love each other deeply. I'm 38, she's 24. The age gap has never been an issue, sometimes we joke about it. But, she talks of moving in with me, eventually getting married. When we first met, we were looking for, well, fun. It didn't take long to recognize the sparks, comfort, and natural feeling between us. Long story short: we became bf/gf within a few months.

However, we have one issue that has come up and led to discussions that she calls "fights". I have wanted more signs that our relationship is serious, especially considering our first month where we weren't even exclusive. I want:
1) Introductions to parents.
2) Public relationship status on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr).
3) More time getting to know her friends. She wants girl time (which of course I respect). But I don't want there to be a rift between us.

How can we come to a compromise on these things?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 1 year ago.

Deardebra :

Introduction to parents is very important.

Deardebra :

When someone is ready to introduce you to their parents that is a huge step in a relationship. It means that things are getting very serious and they want the person to know their family.

Deardebra :

Some times people do keep their friends separated from their relationships and I will explain why.

Deardebra :

Some times it depends on personality, she might want to just be with you by herself.

Deardebra :

Also she might be someone that is jealous and would not want her girlfriends flirting with you.

Deardebra :

She also might want to get to know you before her friends judge you, girlfriends always analyze others boyfriends.

Deardebra :

Public relationship status you should have that unless she is trying to keep her life private, some times people get worried that if they tell the world they are in a relationship that

Deardebra :

hey will lose the person, it isn't until later that they feel more comfortable when the person really gets to know them and they feel secure that they tell everyone.

Deardebra :

You are right in what you are asking because you want to know that this is a serious relationship and that she loves and cares for you.

Deardebra :

You want to tell her how you feel.

Customer:

Hi. First off, I'm glad to be getting some feedback on this situation. We spent a good 4 hours when we decided to get back together and move forward. She has shown me that she put a lot of thought into what has been discussed. And she always wants me to tell her how I feel. However, she worries that I don't think she's "enough" as a girlfriend. WHich, based on some of these things I've mentioned, I can see.

Deardebra :

You want to tell her that you need more in the sense you need to know how she feels about you. This

Deardebra :

is a 12 month relationship.

Deardebra :

It is important that you feel how important you are in her life.

Customer:

Here is what she tells me about that..

Deardebra :

How you do this is telling her how you feel about her and then she will then in return tell you how she feels about you.

Customer:

Yes :) And we actually discuss this often. I generally speak from my heart and tell her how in love I am with her. She has been telling me, regularly, that she has never felt this much in love. She wants to wake up next to me every morning, and have me to come home to (or vice versa) after a good long day of work every day. She says that she is completely serious about what she says. She says she can see spending her lifetime with me, and us, growing old together. These words are great and comforting. She worries that I don't feel them fully.

Customer:

Sorry if that was a bit long, by the way.

Deardebra :

I want to start with the first sentence you wrote.

Customer:

Yes?

Deardebra :

She has told you that she never felt this much love.

Deardebra :

That is her telling you that she has never felt this way about anyone in her life and that she loves and cares for you.

Customer:

Yes. And I do actually feel this. :)

Deardebra :

Everything you just wrote tells me that she is fully in love with you.

Deardebra :

This is what I see and I will explain.

Customer:

Okay :)

Deardebra :

She is so in love with you that she wants to spend time with you alone, the reason why she has taken her time with family and friends is she does not want nothing to ruin this moment. People make a lot of judgements when they meet someone new. She knows how she feels and she is confident that she loves you. I think she does not want to share you and wants to spend time with just you. She is in that lost in love phase which is a good things.

Deardebra :

It is a phase where she can only see you, she is focused fully on you.

Deardebra :

She wants nothing to interfere with her love for you.

Customer:

Ah. This is a lot like what she tells me.

Customer:

I worry about the compartmentalization. She has told me that this is how she has always been.

Customer:

Sorry, I will continue this if you don't mind...

Deardebra :

She might in many ways be protecting herself from hurt.

Customer:

However, this weekend we are in fact going on a double date with a friend of hers. And, she has in fact posted a photo of both of us in social media. I know this seems shallow, it's just I've been weary considering that we started out very casually. I have no interest in anything but a committed long-term relationship

Customer:

We've had many very deep personal discussions about past hurts and I know that she has reason to have had hurt.

Customer:

WIth her parents, however, I can also add something else...

Customer:

Her parents are somewhat, from what I understand, "traditional". She has called her mom and mentions where she is when she stays the night with me and her mom lightly teases her about it. She's worried that her dad, though, might have an issue with our age gap. She tells me that she's "working on it" when it comes to having me over at her parents. Her idea, and she's discussed this with her mom/dad (where she lives right now) - to have me over and meet me when they have a casual cookout. I have gotten so jealous and insecure that she'd have friends come over and post it all over Instagram, but when it comes to us, I would feel "hidden" and like she was ashamed of me.

Deardebra :

She is not ashamed of you at all.

Deardebra :

That is not what this is and I do not want you to think like that.

Customer:

And I do in fact believe this now.

Customer:

She has gotten upset before when I've said this

Deardebra :

She is just worried that the person he loves will not be accepted. It is very hard to introduce the person you want to spend your life with to your parents. It is extra added pressure when you are trying to get to know someone. She knows her parents very well. She might not want you to be uncomfortable asking a lot of questions.

Customer:

She has introduced me to her out-of-town cousin. Her cousin could tell we were a good couple. She has also introduced me to a few friends in the past month and a half.

Customer:

Ooops sorry.

Deardebra :

She has been upset that you said that because it is not true. She loves you for who you are and she is not ashamed. The cousin must be someone that is not judgmentally. It is someone she feels comfortable with sharing her life with.

Customer:

Yes. And She has expressed a lot of worry with her dad thinking I'm simply trying to take advantage of her, etc. My thing is that I've never felt such a connection, and I've been scared of losing this or messing it up.

Customer:

Connection is not even the word. I can see us being together for the long run. I feel comfortable when we're together. And we could be doing nothing and I'd be happy

Customer:

The issue now is figuring out a compromise so that when she hangs out with friends, I am not COMPLETELY excluded. I worry about a rift developing if this happens but I also don't want to get in the way of her being 24.

Deardebra :

I see this relationship being long term. I think she is taking things slow.

Deardebra :

Some times people fall in love rather quickly and fell it is to good to be true that they get nervous that the person is going to leave.

Customer:

How can I reassure her, then, I wonder?

Deardebra :

If you feel excluded you tell her that you feel excluded that you would like to go out with her and have fun with friends. Tell her you feel like you are missing out.

Deardebra :

She seems to be someone that is very cautious.

Customer:

She is working on me going out sometimes. And yes, she is in fact very cautious by the way.

Deardebra :

Not cautious in tell you how she feels, but in the sense that she is afraid to fully share her life with you out of fear of losing you.

Customer:

She has expressed that before.

Customer:

She also has body image issues i should mention. I find her the most beautiful girl in the world, but she seems to need a lot of reassurance. I will do this. It comes naturally to me. I have a hard time keeping my hands off her, to be honest, lol, but when she leaves, she wants to know if she looks okay in her dress, etc.

Customer:

She has asked me a few times if I ever get bored with her

Customer:

I honestly do not. She expresses feeling the same way.

Deardebra :

So she has some insecure issues, she need constant reassurance, so she would be very hesitant about you going out with friends just because she would want you to be focused on her because she would be worried you might find someone else.

Deardebra :

What I want you to do is this...

Customer:

Yes?

Deardebra :

When you see her you want to tell her she looks beautiful in her outfit that it brings out her eyes.

Deardebra :

She needs little compliments so she knows you are always interested in her.

Customer:

I should mention that I do this pretty regularly, and it doesn't even require a prompt. I say what I feel and she seems to receive it.

Customer:

I will continue with those compliments. I just want her to feel secure in herself and know that she's the most beautiful girl in the world to me, that no one takes my eyes away. And it's really how I feel.

Deardebra :

That is excellent.

Deardebra :

She is so in love with you that she cares what you think.

Deardebra :

When a girl ask how she looks in clothes that is a sure sign that she is comfortable with you and that she truly cares what you think.

Customer:

She does show the comfort in that way. I guess I need to figure out other ways of showing her so that she fully feels it in herself, yes?

Customer:

And the external signs that I'm looking for? Should I simply continue and wait?

Customer:

I see that it's been an hour. Thank you so much for all of your advice and feedback. I think that I've been unnecessarily worried

Deardebra :

Yes, I think she needs to just get more comfortable and I can say from what you told me she is truly in love with you.

Deardebra :

Try not to worry and just focus on both of you loving each other and thinking about the future.

Customer:

I like that. I think this is exactly what I should be doing. I have worried about wasting time and focusing on having a life partner, but I think this stands a good chance and is worth not worrying over, which I know I have tended to do a lot of in life.

Customer:

So, thank you so much once again

Customer:

And have a wonderful day.

Deardebra :

You welcome and you have a wonderful day as well.

Customer:

Bye now Deardebra!

Deardebra :

Thank you and please accept my answer.

Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1822
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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