My parents want to meet my new girlfriend. They worry about the age gap as I told them she was 30, but she is actually 45!

Chloë is our new ‘agony queen’. She invites you to take a chair, tell her your problems and await her judgement. Dear Chloë, I am a nineteen year old guy, play rugby, like cars, beer and going out with my mates. I have dated a few girls my age but a spark was missing. I recently met someone new at work, and she is everything I could ask for. I have told my mates and my parents that she is thirty – my mates laughed and my parents freaked out about the age gap. The truth is that she is actually 45! I am stressing out as everyone wants to meet her. She wants to go public with our relationship too but am not ready for that yet – we either meet at work or at her flat, and she is nagging me to go out for a meal together of the cinema. Shall I tell everyone the truth or persuade my new girlfriend to keep the relationship quiet? Chris Chloë says :  Oh, I do love a young guy into cougars! So, if I have missed out, what advice do I have for you and my love rival? Well, on a more serious note, this is a large age gap and it will be bound to raise eyebrows. There may be some positives to this relationship but you believe everyone will only focus on the negatives. And by ‘everyone’ I mean you too. You start your letter by subtly emphasising what a ‘normal’ beer-drinking rugby-playing lad you are, one who wouldn’t ‘normally’ be dating such an older woman. You only meet her in secret – in the stationary cupboard at work or at her flat. How can others take the relationship seriously if you don’t? Your girlfriend wants to move the relationship to a next level but what is that you actually want from it? To genuinely be with this woman, or because you crave the attention of an older authority figure and want to treat this as a sex for beginners 101? It can be both, and both can be loving and/or sexual, but if you only seek the sexual latter, I think you need to be honest with your partner now before she gets hurt. Let’s presume you do want to move this relationship forward, and want to be in a genuine loving relationship with your girlfriend. Despite the negatives I mentioned above, there are positives too. Age gaps ‘improve’ over time in the sense that a twenty year gap aged 19 seems huge, aged  fifty it will seem less to you. They can also create a stronger bond between you as a couple – an ‘us against the world’ mentality that can bring you closer together. Yet your mates will laugh even harder when they discover the truth and your parents ‘freak out’ even more than they did when they thought it was a ten year gap. Are you ready for that and can you cope mentally supporting not just yourself but your girlfriend? If not, my judgement is that this relationship is best tempered and you wait for the time in your life when you could meet the challenges of being in an age-gap relationship.

We are Over The Hump! Issue 2

We are officially ‘Over the Hump’! It is Wednesday, and the downhill slope to the weekend starts here! There was much to celebrate this week. Two more locations launched for WIL West Lothian and WIL Florida launched its first two location pages. And we continue to grow on social media with Over the Hump now followed by 20,000 people!
  • We reached 20,000 followers on Twitter!
  • New article explores what to do if you find yourself unexpectedly spending Christmas alone. Read more here.
  • Our Agony Queen Chloë get asked, ‘Is it ever ok to date my sister’s ex?’
  • Ten inspirational deaf people from Britain? Find out who they are in this article from Tenby10!

My sister wants me to introduce my new boyfriend to her. One problem – she used to date him!

Chloë is our new ‘agony queen’. She invites you to take a chair, tell her your problems and await her judgement. Dear Chloë, I just turned 22 last month and everyone was asking why my new boyfriend wasn’t at my birthday party. I told my family and friends that he works shifts at his factory so couldn’t make it. I told people he is called Jim. This is not the whole truth – he does work shifts but for the police, and goes by James, not Jim. The truth is that James is my 30 year old sister’s ex, and it would destroy her if she found out we were dating. It is her fault they split up, and not mine! James and I are now getting serious and we all live in a small market town. Someone is bound to find out soon. Is it ok to date my sister’s ex? No. No. No. I don’t like to give wishy-washy answers so hopefully the above was clear? I get where you’re coming from though. James the policeman is a bit older than you, probably his own car and own place and has all the other things a 30 year would have compared to a lad your own age. Plus you already knew him, and know that by dating him you can get one over on your sister. And if your older sister teased you growing up, the satisfaction of seeing your sister humiliated will be bliss. Except it won’t will it? This isn’t a minor detail your sister and family will raise an eyebrow to and move quickly on from, this is a major betrayal. I suspect you know this; you are already giving him a false name and sneaking around to meet up in secret. But the clock to betrayal-o-clock is already ticking, and in small towns you will be spotted sooner or later. So a decision on your part is needed now. Continue the relationship and risk hurting your sister and your family. Or break up and risk hurting yourself and James? There is some detail I have omitted from your question but it does make me question James’s motives for initiating a relationship with you, and so soon after splitting up from your sister. There are other guys out there, but you only have one sister. My advice to you is to end the relationship now.    

How to Spend Christmas Alone

Christmas can be a lonely time for some. Patrick Opperman is a writer and missionary worker based in Montague (USA) and gives some topical advice to those who find themselves alone this Christmas. When I first met Joe, he was visiting a patient in the emergency room where I worked. He was very attentive to the gentleman, tucking in his blankets and helping him get comfortable. When the patient left, Joe was still there. “Did you forget something?” I asked. Joe sheepishly looked down and said he had nowhere else to go right then. He would like to stay a little longer. It was Christmas Eve night. Joe wasn’t estranged from his family. He wasn’t a drug addict or criminal with a restraining order of any type. There was no family tragedy that left him alone. Joe was a student at the local university. He didn’t have enough money for an airplane ticket home. He didn’t want his parents to feel obligated, so Joe told them he was working. Millions of people like Joe will be alone for Christmas this season. Nothing bad happened to put them in that situation. It is just a side effect of circumstance. Nancy’s first Christmas alone was because she had to work right up until Christmas Eve. Her parents and siblings took their traditional week-long trip overseas without her. Jeff’s wife was deployed to Afghanistan. The rest of their families were thousands of miles from the base they lived on. Lots of people spend Christmas alone for lots of reasons. Handling the situation properly can make the difference between an uplifting, faith-enhancing, “It’s a Wonderful Life” holiday experience or a dismal, depressing memory requiring years of therapy. Well, for most of us it will be somewhere in between, but you get the point. Waxing nostalgic The secret to spending Christmas alone is to let yourself experience nostalgia. Too many people think memories of past Christmas holidays will make them depressed. The smell of apple pie and cider makes them miss being home, so they try to avoid it. But the reason they make you miss home is that apple pie and cider are happy memories. They induce nostalgia. Nostalgia is a pleasant memory that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. You want to seek out memories that make you close your eyes and smile as history plays out in your brain. That means sleeping or drinking the day away is out of the question. Christmas will happen this year whether you are alone in bed or delivering toys with Santa. People who “skip” Christmas are likely to be among the most anxious, depressed, and angry people during the post-holiday blues month of January. Treat yourself better than that. Here are some ideas about how to spend Christmas alone. Try them. Let nostalgia warm your heart and keep you among the Christmas joyful. Embrace tradition Nothing induces warm and fuzzy nostalgia like Christmas traditions. One year, I did not decorate my house. As Christmas approached, I found myself staying later at work and hitting the holiday parties harder than usual. It was my best friend who figured out why I hated going home. On Christmas Eve, he brought a dismal little tree to my place and we decorated it. Problem solved. If you always play Christmas music, play Christmas music. If you always attend a public tree lighting, attend a public tree lighting. Shop in your favourite stores. Eat your favourite food. Hang mistletoe. Watch Rudolph. Make your Christmas as close to normal as possible. It is the best attitude-lifting thing you can do for yourself. Reach out to loved ones Think about this. In one house, there are twenty family members celebrating a holiday with great food, presents, maybe some sports, and great conversation. In a flat 200 miles away is a single person watching “Miracle on 34th Street” and eating popcorn. Who is more likely to think about calling the other? Don’t rationalise that your family or friends are too busy. They are just distracted. Give them a call. They will be as happy to hear from you as you will be to hear the nostalgia-inducing revelry and conversation in the background. Go for a walk When we are home and feeling alone, the best remedy is to get out of the house. Believe it or not, you will find people on the streets on Christmas. Stop in open shops and petrol stations. Make eye contact and say, “Merry Christmas” to police officers, bus and taxi drivers. Get some air and share some smiles. Maybe you will see something that lifts your spirits. Bring something to share My friend, Sherry, hands out hundreds of Christmas cookies to toll booth operators, nursing home workers, security guards, and other workers every Christmas. It doesn’t matter if they don’t observe the holiday. They smile and are thankful. Sharing or doing good deeds always lifts your spirits. Call a nursing home or assisted living facility. Find someone with no visitors and spend some time with them. Start a conversation about Christmas memories. Nostalgia for two… it will be awesome! The most wonderful time of the year! Spending a Christmas alone happens to almost everyone at least once. It doesn’t have to be the worst or loneliest day of your life. Let yourself remember good times. Share yourself when you can. Let others share themselves. Christmas recognises the best day the world has ever known. Don’t let a lack of company keep you from enjoying its magic.

We are Over the Hump! Issue 1

We are officially ‘Over the Hump’! It is Wednesday, and the downhill slope o the weekend starts here! There was much to celebrate this week. 2 more locations launched for WIL West Lothian and we got to meet Over The Hump’s new Agony Aunt Chloë!
  • Over The Hump launches today!
  • New article explores the fascinating subject of unwanted heirlooms. Read more here.
  • Meet our new Agony Queen – Chloë.
  • Winchburgh and Linlithgow site pages launched
  • A roads, B roads, but what are C roads? Find out why Winchburgh now has a sign with this unusual road designation. Read more here.
  • Have you got a £2 coin in your wallet which is worth a small fortune? Find out which are the 10 most valuable £2 coins from Ten by 10.