Sandra wrote to us: I’ve been dating Teddy for a year now. He is 35 and I’m in my mid-twenties. I have always dated “older” so this isn’t a problem for me. What is a problem is how Teddy wants to be in control. Another thing, I think he’s lazy. When I first met Teddy he was such a “player” ogling women and treating them like shit. When we became a couple he was really nice to me, but he isn’t letting me be myself.
For example, I used to have a big following on Instagram and Snapchat. I was a sort of “influencer” because I posted lots of photos showing off my (big) boobs in bikini shots. Teddy won’t let me post those anymore. He also won’t let me pose in revealing outfits. Now I can only post photos he will approve of and I’ve dialed it way down.
Still, Teddy is controlling, telling me I shouldn’t be “friends” with friends of people I don’t know and stuff. It’s so annoying! I like to do lots of fun things, but Teddy doesn’t seem to want to do anything more than play with our dogs and watch TV. He also won’t go out with me and my singlegirtlfri4ends friends very much and he refuses to do the things I like such as rock climbing and skiing. He does go out with his friends when he feels like it. I think it’s so unfair. He says he is protecting me, but I think he’s keeping me in a prison. I really love this guy if only he could be less controlling. What do you think?
I have so much to say about your letter and yes, this is going to be a long answer. Often, when I read a letter asking for help, I really feel that if the author only looked at his or her own letter again, the light would come on in their brains and they’d see the proverbial forest from the trees.
There is almost nothing Sandra and Teddy have in common, it’s not just your age difference although that’s a start.
Sandra says she is in love with Teddy because she always dates older guys. Teddy hooks up with younger girls (with bodies and big boobs) to show he’s still “got it.” Then he puts Sandra down for displaying them (as an “influencer”) on social media.
Neither is making an accommodation for the other’s age or needs.
The Age Difference:
For some, a decade’s worth of age difference isn’t a big thing, but in many cases, the attraction is also what tears the couple apart.
Many young girls like older men, especially those with more money and who are more established that can give them a lifestyle they can’t have on their own. There is a tradeoff. Sandra can do what she wants since she is young, but her boyfriend will continue to put the breaks on her activities. This is going to continue to upset her.
Teddy may be more mature (in some ways), but he is also displaying teenager behavior by oogling other women, while keeping his girlfriend from being appreciated by other men, under the guise of being “protective.”
Maybe Teddy is stressed out and doesn’t want to go out as much as he did in his 20;s. Maybe he finds Sandra’s single girlfriends hard to relate to being both unsophisticated and immature. Maybe he isn’t as physically able as she is to do endless rock climbing or skiing that she likes, so he declines.
Social Media Madness:
Social media can be a divisive force in a relationship in the best of couples. In this case, perhaps flaunting your body in a bikini to get “likes” is something a man in his mid 30’s just can’t accept. Perhaps he is afraid that his own friends and family will see her, and he will be embarrassed.
In relationships, what you see (especially after a year of dating) is what you are going to get. It is unrealistic and immature of this woman to wish her boyfriend was something else. He won’t be.
Alison’s Bottom Line:
I can’t understand why these two are together, even if they have the hottest sex on the planet. Teddy may be amused by his “hot” girlfriend but he also feels superior to her in wisdom and age. It is likely that she is attracted to his power, but also annoyed by it when he exercises control “for her own good.”
I urge Sandra to go back and re-read her letter (which we edited heavily for privacy) and then decide if her boyfriend is really right for her, long term.
My dear Sandra, when hen he says he’s trying to protect you he is. It’s not a matter of him controlling you but rather converting you from a meat market item to the wonderful woman you can be.
The problem here is that you want to have your cake and eat it too. The time in your 20’s is a time of sexual exploration finding out what you like and don’t like in preparation for marriage.
You, on the other hand, have decided to keep him in a cage while you continue to play around at the edges to see what’s out there. You say your boyfriend used to ogle women yet you don’t say that he is doing it n now. Maybe that’s because he cares for you and loves you. ‘
At 35 he is ready to settle down and have a family. In order to do so, he has to have a partner he can trust and his actions have been toward indicating to you who that person should be.
If you don’t want a serious relationship at this point in your life you need to tell him now so he can turn his attention to someone who will create a joint life with him. What you’re doing is not necessarily wrong, it’s just inappropriate for the relationship he is seeking, which is why it looks like he is trying to control you.
Note, your boyfriend isn’t totally innocent. He has not worked hard enough to find activities which you can both share. It’s not enough for him to always to say “no” he must occasionally come up with alternatives.
One problem is you treat your life as if it is one big event. With your guy, he is definitely splitting his life between work days and weekends so it is important for you and him to actually plan for things to do together on the weekend and not to just let them fade away doing chores or the shopping.