Dear Tell All: I’ve lived with my boyfriend for a couple years, and we’ve talked about marriage. We’re compatible in most ways, including sexually. He’s a good-looking man, and I’m a good-looking woman. I don’t mean to brag about myself, but that’s an essential piece of information in the story I’m about to tell. Guys have always lined up to date me, and I’m always aware of strangers checking me out in public. My boyfriend gets similar treatment when we’re out and about.
So here’s why that matters. My boyfriend recently made some disturbing comments about older women. In one case, we passed a woman in her late 50s or early 60s at East Towne Mall shopping by herself, and my boyfriend muttered “ick.” The woman looked perfectly normal — just marked by time, with wrinkles and graying hair. I didn’t respond, but his comment bothered me.
In another case, we came home from a Christmas party at my office and he made a nasty crack about one of the female vice presidents. He called her “prune face,” expressing mock-horror at the thought of having sex with her. Again, this is a normal-looking woman who is simply older. I’m sure she was quite beautiful in her youth.
This time I did speak up. I asked him how he could be so mean about my coworker. He tried to laugh it off, admitting he’s “a little freaked out about ugly older women.” I suspect he felt comfortable making this admission because I’m a good-looking younger woman. How could I possibly take offense?
Well, I did, and it’s given me doubts about the future of our relationship. I know that youth and beauty don’t last forever, and I’m wondering how he’ll feel about me when I’m wrinkled and gray. Is this a serious cause for concern?
Dear Peach: It’s a cause for concern, but your letter doesn’t provide enough evidence for me to judge how serious it is. If you and your boyfriend have lived together for a while and are compatible, I wouldn’t break up over a couple isolated comments. Instead, I’d initiate a dialogue about his views on women, and on you. Make sure he loves you for who you are, not how you look. And make sure he doesn’t harbor true hostility toward older women — aka you in a few decades.
If your boyfriend doesn’t pass the test, knock off the marriage talk and give him the boot. I’m sure you can find a more enlightened partner among the guys lining up to date you. Someone to grow old with gracefully.
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