Ask E. Jean: I’m Dating a Man My Mother Hates

Life & Love

Dear E. Jean: For the past four months, I’ve been seeing a wonderful, smart, funny man. My mother is worried because I’m 22 and he’s 32. He also has two small children from a previous affair and spent 10 months in prison. I understand her concern and anxiety—I do! But should that stop me from pursuing the first man I have ever truly loved? —Frustrated but Happy

Frustrated, Baby: As a broad, general rule, mothers do not like their daughters to marry ex-cons. I’m not saying he isn’t a beacon of godlike perfection. And I’m not saying you should do what your mother says. (Men can change and should be forgiven. Heck, the fellow has proven his mettle just by surviving America’s glorious penal system, let alone rehabilitating himself.) Go ahead. See him. (Like you wouldn’t anyway.) But I caution you: This man does not walk the straight and narrow. He must provide for two kids. Don’t rush into things—don’t move in together, don’t marry, and above all, don’t you dare get pregnant until you’ve finished college, begun your career, and made your own mistakes. Then you can decide on the next step.

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2017. Send questions to E. Jean at

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