I've hidden my relationship for three years because mum will hate our age gap

DEAR DEIDRE: MY family doesn’t know that I’ve been in a relationship for three years – with someone 17 years older than me.

They think I’m living with an older colleague. I’m 29 and my boyfriend’s 46.

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I know my mum would love him if she could look past the age gap. But she’s always had a strong opinion against these sorts of relationships.

In her eyes, the younger women are gold diggers and the older men are perverts.

When her sister dated someone 11 years older, my mum refused to meet him. She said: “I don’t want to get involved in that mess.”

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The issue is that my partner and I want to start a family together in the next year. We can’t exactly keep that a secret.

What’s the best way to go about this? We’re desperate to avoid a big falling out.

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DEIDRE SAYS: The thought of these conversations can be overwhelming. But the important thing is that you’ve been in this relationship for three years and have proven it works and you’re happy.

Although you are dreading telling them, remember you have nothing to hide.

Choose a neutral space to let them know, perhaps during a walk outside, which can make difficult conversations feel less confrontational.

Try to keep the conversation calm and make it clear that you’re happy. This may help win them round.

My support pack Standing Up For Yourself will help you share the news clearly and calmly.

Good luck.

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