DEAR ABBY: I am dating a man, "Richard," who is significantly older -- 17 years, actually. I'm in my mid-20s. I have no problem with it, as I have always been attracted to men who are older and have their lives together.
My parents are cool with it, but I know they have their reservations. Richard is not a sugar daddy; I don't love him for his money. I have my own success. I don't have "daddy issues," as my father is an amazing person who has raised me and my siblings well. My parents are still together and are great role models.
My friends can't find anything in common with Richard when we all hang out. It seems everyone around us is giving us grief -- including his parents. I understand the concern, but how can I convince everyone that I'm happy and willing to take this relationship wherever it goes? -- AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
DEAR AGE: The way to do that is simply to be happy and take the relationship one step at a time. While you're doing that, accept that relationships with this kind of age disparity are not without challenges. The friends you have now may never be comfortable around Richard, and you may have to make new ones closer to his age. Also, the women may look askance at you for being so young.
These things can be overcome. What bothers me about this scenario is that this man's parents are weighing in. By now one would think they would have accepted that their son is an adult and capable of making his own decisions about the women in his life.