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Topic : 09/21 Does Age Matter?

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Created on : Friday, September 14, 2007, 03:48:41 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Can May-December romances really last? Christopher Knight, famous for his role as Peter on The Brady Bunch, and Adrianne Curry, winner on America's Next Top Model, began their relationship when they starred together on the reality show The Surreal Life 4, and the public watched as they planned their wedding on their own show, My Fair Brady. Now they both say their 24-year age difference is a huge problem in their chaotic marriage. Adrianne says Christopher treats her like an employee, and Christopher says if she worked for him, she would’ve been fired a long time ago. Can these two work out their generational differences? Then, 38-year-old Shelly wants to know if it’s wrong to be in a relationship with an 18-year-old friend of her son. She says he makes her feel beautiful but wonders if she’s causing him or her children harm. Dr. Phil doesn’t mince words when he tells her his opinion. Join the discussion.

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August 26, 2008, 8:42 pm CDT

younger man, older woman

We just saw this show in Australia today. I thought Dr Phil was too hard-line with Shelly and Mark. It's not as if this age difference could NEVER work, just that it's less likely with him being so young. He's also assuming that every relationship has to be entered with the plan to make it "happy ever after" whereas I feel there's value in short term learning and growing experiences as long as everyone involved is on the same page about what it is. Here in Australia Mark would be considered an adult and equally responsible for the relationship and his choices.


When I was 36 I had a wonderful short-term relationship with a 23 year old, it was incredibly restorative to me having come out of a marriage in which I wasn't sexually appreciated. He didn't suffer too much from it ... other than exhaustion sometimes! In this case, he decided we didn't have enough in common to take the relationship further and he was probably right in this (he was a champion hockey player and I'm not THAT active!). However, we stayed friends a long time after, even when I remarried (someone my own age with whom I broke up 11 years later! Just not enough in common there).


I am now happily with someone 15 years my junior (he is now 37 and I am 52), we have lived together for 4 years. Does it make all the difference that he was 33 when we met? Definitely old enough to know his own mind and to know I was who he wanted to spend his life with. I have never wanted children and took steps at 28 to make that an impossibility, so perhaps that's why I'm not squicked out by the "I could have given birth to him" thing as some women seem to be. Having been with other older women who had kids, he'd already made the decision they were not for him! I am not mutton dressed as lamb, but I also don't look my age, so very few people give us a second look as we get around the small town we have chosen to live in. We have so much in common, we play heavy rock music together in a band, like similar books, movies, TV shows etc. His family has accepted me totally as they are just so happy to see him happy, likewise, my Mum thanks him for giving her "my daughter back, she was so snappy when she was unhappy". We are looking forward to growing old disgracefully together!


As a professional, I think Dr Phil should try to step outside of his own values and prejudices sometimes and look a bit more objectively at a situation.

October 15, 2008, 4:28 pm CDT


This episode was shown here yesterday (I think it was a rerun). This was the first time for me that I completely disagree with Dr. Phil. I felt there was a serious double standard there. I don't know how old this Adrienne was when she met Christopher, but it must have been her early twenties. Mark was almost 18 when he fell in love with Shelly. I know you have a lot of maturing between 18 and let's say 23, but to treat the case of Adrienne and Christopher so dramatically different from Mark and Shelly... I was deeply disappointed by this, especially by Dr. Phil's total lack of understanding for Shelly.

When I saw Adrienne and Christopher, I saw two people trying to make it work, despite the age difference. I don't think age would be the senior factor if they would separate.

Now, about Shelly and Mark. I think Shelly was very brave for sending her letter to Dr. Phil. I felt she was very honest, down-to-earth and open about what she was feeling. So maybe she seemed not overly assertive, but she did not come across as insecure to me! I saw a woman who had fallen for the attention of a handsome young man and who felt rejuvenated, energized, invigorated by that. She was well aware of the fact that in the long run, her relationship with Mark might not stick, but as she said, she just wanted to enjoy the moment and her current happiness and learn from the experience. And why shouldn't she be allowed to do that?! A woman's sexual peak is in her thirties and fourties. I felt as if Shelly was not allowed these feelings because she was a mother. A woman should not be identified as being only a mother, beautiful as motherhood can be. 

I did find the fact that Mark was a friend of her son problematic, and I can imagine it must have been difficult for her to choose her own happiness over that of her son, but I think, in the end, her son was not damaged by the situation. And how bad can it be to see your mother happy?

So, Shelly, if you are reading this, don't feel guilty for choosing for yourself! You shouldn't have to deny yourself this joy out of concern that you might hurt others in the process, Mark or your son. They are both adults now.

May 4, 2009, 8:09 am CDT


Hello everyone,

I reside in the U.K. and I guess the Dr. Phil shows are not up to date. I just saw this episode today and was thoroughly disappointed with Dr. Phil's approach. I am a big fan of the show and I usually agree with Dr.Phil, I think he makes fair arguments and gives everyone a chance. However, I feel like he TOTALLY attacked the relationship of Mark and Shelly. He didn't make any effort to reach a deeper level of understanding in this case.
I think Mark found Shelly attractive just as he would have found a girl of the same age attractive and decided to pursue it. I think Shelly made the right decisions about not breaking the law and waiting for him to be over the legal age. Nobody was saying that this would be long term, it was just like any other relationship out there, going with it, seeing where it would lead to.
The only issue I had with this was that Mark was now living in Shelly's home with her two other young children. I think that after four months, no man should take over your life this much to not think about your children in this situation. It isn't something they should be subjected to at such an early stage in the relationship. This is regardless of his age, by the way. I don't believe it is healthy to bring men into your children's lives until you know it's serious, it is a strong relationship and you have spoken to your children about it and you know how they feel. As a single mother, you need to put your children's needs first. So, Mark should go back to his home or find an apartment of his own and continue dating Shelly if that's what they both want to do.
Dr.Phil, you are supposed to make your guests feel comfortable, remain calm and express your view in a more friendly way. REALLY upset by the way you handled this situation, not professional at all.
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