Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Fifty-nine-year old man involved with 18-year-old and can’t figure out how to “end relationship”? Wife learned about husband’s child he gave up for adoption and she wants answers?

DEAR NATALIE: Help! I can't get through to this 18-year-old that I’m too old for her to have a relationship with. She won’t leave me alone, and insists she wants to marry me and have a child together. I’m 59-years-old and I told her she should find someone else her age. She did, but it didn't work out, and now she wants me more than ever. I met her a year ago and she won't take “no” for an answer.  I find myself liking her more and more every day. We’ve been intimate on several occasions and I found out she is not on the pill. I don't know what to do. I feel it's wrong due to our age difference of 41 years and others might see me as a pervert. I don't think it will be fair to any children she has of ours where as I will be 77-years-old when they are graduating from high school or even dead. Please help me. I need your advice as to how to get through to her and make her understand I'm not going to live forever. --WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY

DEAR WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY: I felt very uncomfortable reading this letter because I know that I am not getting the whole story. You are 41 years older than her. You could practically be her grandfather. The wires have gotten crossed here. There is nothing for either of you in this situation except trouble. You are also the adult in the room and you need to end this once and for all. I don’t care if she is throwing herself at you. I don’t care if she is begging to be with you. You need to say “no” and mean it. I also am concerned as to whether she is actually 18 or not. Stop taking advantage of this young, impressionable, vulnerable woman. This is an unhealthy and dangerous situation for you both. Stop texting or calling her. Change your number. Tell her that it is over because she is just too young. There are no excuses on your end. Stop acting as though you are innocent or helpless in this situation. Take control and step up. She will move on, I promise you. The question is, why are you stopping her? Is it because you can’t find a companion your own age? Or you haven’t lived your life in a way that attracts healthy, age-appropriate women to you? Is it easier to be with a young woman because you can control them or manipulate them? Enough. End it once and for all because if you don’t, what people say won’t be what you want to hear.

DEAR NATALIE: I am in a 30-year marriage and we live apart by lifestyle choice:  He won't leave a lucrative job in the ski country and I chose a warm, sea-level climate due to oxygenation needs for me.  Plus, our daughter lives where I chose. My problem with him is that as the provider and Mr. Faithful on the surface, he is verbally abusive to me.  He is constantly poking fun of either my hair, something I'm wearing, or somebody crazy I look like. He does it in a lighthearted manner, if you will, yet ad nauseum.  I have been the butt of his jokes for decades. He also fibs to me constantly and that's putting it mildly. He has made some serious decisions without my consult or - worse - gone against my advice he asked for and all failed that he embarked in.  I know for a fact he has stealth bank accounts. I struggled to have him finally add me as a co-signer on one, explaining the balance would go to probate if he passed without one. Having said that, an idea surfaced of mine within the last year during an argument and that is I accused him of being the biological father to his ex-wife's child she gave up for adoption.  All those years ago when we met, 1985, he told me she carried the baby to term and gave it away. My only response was that I could personally never carry a baby to term and give it away, though I did have an abortion when I was 26 with no regrets.  End of discussion. I accused him of being the father and thus that's why they divorced. (He was always coy all those years ago in the beginning when I would press him for details about why they divorced). There have been three occasions where I expressed my thoughts that he's the father and not one single denial! Personally, if the situation were reversed, I would have a healthy rebuttal responding how preposterous that you would think that and vehemently deny his allegation because he is wrong!  His not replying whatsoever makes me think he in fact is. My question is, I've tried in vain to even find her name on an adoption list. Not knowing whether this was a closed adoption or really any other details except for her maiden name, is there any source you recommend to uncover this information? --NEEDS TO KNOW

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: I need to know why you need to know. Is this because your child is wanting to know about her possible sibling? Is this because your husband is desperate to be reunited with the child that he fathered and never met? No. I’m not sure if this is your place to go meddling in your husband’s life when he hasn’t expressed an interest in you doing so. Even if he is the biological father, they made a decision long ago not be parents. He’s not her Dad. Unless he expresses a desire to learn more about the child he gave up, I don’t see why you would put any more effort into disrupting her life or your own. I think what is happening here is that you are unhappy with your marriage. You don’t like the way you’ve been treated. You don’t like the mean comments he makes about you and you don’t like his controlling behaviors. Call him out on that. Let him know that you are unhappy. The distance between you isn’t only physical, but emotional, as well. Instead, focus on what is really bothering you, which is the lack of connection and respect in your relationship. If he isn’t interested in working on that, then why are you holding on?

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Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, nbencivenga@post-gazette.com; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)