My girlfriend and I have been together for just over a year and although I love her, I’m not sure I love her enough to give her all the things she wants.
It’s my first serious relationship but she has two children from a previous marriage and, at 30, is six years older than I am.
When we began dating I never imagined it would last. I’d never been attracted to her before, but she asked me on a date and I said yes, probably because I was at a low point.
Now I’ve got to know her, I realise how good looking she is. But though she can make me laugh with her dry sense of humour I’ve often doubted whether I’d be happy with her for the rest of my life.
I don’t want to lead her on, especially as the kids know me and trust me. I’d hate to hurt any of them.
I had a difficult childhood and watched my mum go through many different men without ever settling down with someone special. I think that’s where my fear of commitment stems from.
My dilemma got worse recently when I had coffee with a friend I used to sleep with on a casual basis, and who has recently become single again. I thought the attraction between us had died, but she was very flirty and I found myself on the verge of tearing her clothes off and carrying her to my bedroom.
I was shocked at the strength of my lust. I’d never encountered butterflies like that before. I managed to resist temptation because I couldn’t look my girlfriend in the eye if I had cheated on her but it’s played on my mind a lot since and I don’t know what to do. Is it normal to feel like this?
I don’t think there’s anything abnormal about how you feel – I think you’re suddenly scared to death that at 24 you’ve found yourself in your first serious relationship with a divorcee mum of two. You’re asking yourself if it’s what you really want, and that’s fine.
Maybe you’ll want this type of commitment in the future, but it could be that it’s just not right for you now.
I think it’s good that you didn’t cheat on her – it shows maturity and respect for your girlfriend. Now, though, you have to bite the bullet and tell her you’re worried things are going too fast. Then talk it out.
Age-gap relationships can, and do, work but you have to ask yourself if it can work for you.
Of course the sexy ex coming back into the picture only highlights the predicament you’re in and, again, it’s natural to be tempted.
Finally, don’t base your fear of commitment on your mum’s history with men – everyone is different.
Maybe she didn’t have a fear of commitment – maybe she just didn’t want it and is as happy as Larry.
More of our agony aunt Coleen Nolan’s advice on your sex, family, health and relationship problems