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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Keeps Romance Under Wraps Because of Age Gap

DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old divorced male. I suffered from a stroke six months ago and have paralysis on one side of my body. After rehab, I returned home able to walk with a cane.

I have started texting a beautiful divorced woman. She lives next door, and we have been friends for more than six years. I don't know her age, but she's at least eight years older than I am. She has been visiting me frequently, and we have recently started holding hands while talking and exchanging hugs and kisses. My family is unaware of this.

Honestly, it has been a while since I have been in a relationship, and I want to pursue this new opportunity. But I don't know how to do it without causing problems with my family because they might think it is a forbidden relationship due to the big age gap between us. What should I do? -- READY AGAIN IN THE WEST

DEAR READY: At your age, the age difference is not important. Could your worries be based upon some feeling of guilt? If that's the case, my advice is to live the rest of your life as fully and happily as possible. Your neighbor is an adult; so are you. Let this relationship evolve naturally and see where it leads. And if it leads to something permanent, do not apologize to anyone for wanting to be happy.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Love & Dating | Friends & Neighbors