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dear fifi

Dear Fifi: My fella is 20 years older than me... do I really need to tell my Dad?’s weekly advice column, brought to you by Dear Fifi.


Hurtling towards summer, and it seems that the weather finally got the memo. My freestyle advice today is for the office-workers reading this – buy your colleagues a box of supermarket ice creams. Bask in the glow. Reap the rewards.

Last week we discussed shady internet boyfriends and mother-in-laws. Catch up right here. Don’t forget you can write to me anonymously with any kind of problem at all, no matter how big or small.

Let’s do this. 


Dear Fifi,

I have been going out with an older guy (nearly 20 years older) now for over a year and a half. I’m very content and happy in our relationship. We get on incredibly well and I love him. My problem is I’m living a secret life. My father doesn’t know and he will never approve! What should I do? I desperately need your advice.

One big problem with secrets is that, eventually, the fact that you’ve been keeping things under wraps becomes almost as much of an issue as the secret itself. The longer this lie by omission continues, the more unhappy and betrayed your father may feel when he finds out the truth.

And he will find out the truth, won’t he? If you love this silver fox and the relationship makes you happy, there’s no real end in sight for the lie. The sooner you come clean, the easier it will be. At least if you decide to break the news, you’ll have a degree of control over the conversation and how it plays out.

Imagine he stumbled across this news by accident, like being told by a gleeful nosy neighbour or – worse – bumping into him outside the chipper, clutching a battered sausage in one hand and major life news in the other. If true crime and Jeremy Kyle have taught us anything, it’s that these things happen.

Yes, your Dad might well express some concerns – and you have to understand that he would most likely be doing so with your best interests at heart. 20 years is a big age gap for life partners, which begs valid questions such as what age you were when the relationship commenced and whether this affects the dynamic, if you are at similar stages in life and will be in future, what will happen as you both grow older together…

These will be uncomfortable for you to hear, I’m sure, but anyone mentioning them would only have your feelings in mind. Plus, if you’re content in the relationship, you should have no problem addressing them rationally.

You seem convinced that your Dad won’t approve. However, you haven’t given him a chance. What is the worst case scenario if you told your Dad about your boyfriend? If it involves a brief tantrum and then acting like your fella doesn’t exist, then you’ve got nothing to lose as I see it.

However, the best case scenario is that your Dad surprises you, even after an initial teething period. That would mean you get to share your love with your family, and your partner will stop being a dirty little secret too.

Weigh up your pros and cons. Perhaps choose other family members to ask for advice first to test the water. Not much good ever comes of secrets. Even if you get away with it for years, it will always be a shadow that looms over your relationship. You’re better off finding some other way to live with this.


Want to talk?

Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

Check out previous advice>

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