Dear John: I am a 39-year-old woman with two children, ages 4 and 13. After a one-year relationship, I've fallen in love with a man who is 10 years younger. We seem great together, but I am concerned about the age difference. Still, I feel that I never will find another man like him.
— Can We Succeed? in Boston, Mass.
Dear Can We: Yes, relationships with age differences can succeed. Like any factor that distinguishes a couple from the mainstream, however, it is best to consider all the implications of your age difference before you enter into a committed relationship.
This can best be done by opening up to each other with an open and honest dialogue. Are both of you comfortable with this difference, not just today at 39 and 29, but in the future when you're both older? Is there any issue that your teen has about this age difference? Does your boyfriend want for you to have another child, or children when you marry? If so, are you willing to do so? How has your family, friends and loved ones reacted to your relationship?
This exchange can be a healthy and positive affirmation of the deep feelings you have for one another. Go for honest answers to your most difficult questions and if you like what you hear, follow your heart.
Dear John: Just a quick question: In a divorce, who gets our beloved dog, Pepper, a 4-year-old black Labrador?
— Pooch's Pop, in Spokane, Ore.
Dear Pop: Consider a joint custody arrangement, as do other divorced couples when a dog, cat or other beloved pet, becomes a point of contention. Agree to share in all future vet bills as well. As you probably know, those expenses can add up to a substantial amount of money over the years. Further, agree that if one of the two of you leaves the area — for example moving 100 or more miles away — that the one who stays will get complete custody of the dog. After all, you don't want Pepper having his own frequent flier account. As to who gets Pepper over the holidays, I'll leave that one up to you.
2012 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice. Distributed by Creators Syndicate. John Gray is the author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” If you have a question, write John in care of this newspaper, or by email at: www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous, and will be paraphrased.