Dear Dr. Romance,

I am a PhD student in Computer Science and Mathematics in Europe.  I am interested in your blog which helps to a lot of people to find the best solution in their lives.   I have also some problems in my private life. I would be very grateful if you could give me some advice.

I met my girlfriend here in the Master studies program. We have the same language and religion. We started a  relationship.  She is very clever, educated, looking good and nice. We had a good time together until we graduated. She left and I got a position as a PhD student here. Now, she is working in another country. She is four years older than me. I was her first sexual partner.  Finally, we decided to marry, since we loved and respect each other. As appropriate in our culture, first we told our parents. They were also glad of our relation and final decision, but my brothers did not like my choice and they started to complain all the time. They say that I am young, educated, have a good financial position, and I can find some young beautiful girl. For me the age difference was not a problem, I did not even think about it, because my fiancee looks very young and nobody can feel this difference when we are together. Then, my brothers started forcing me via phone and mail. Now, I feel some strange feelings inside me, and it disturbs me all the time. I started to dream bad dreams and bad thoughts that is unusual. I dream of my future: I am old and my fiancee is too older than me, everybody is laughing to me, etc. I never thought that somebody's opinion will influence on my mind. If I listen to my brothers, first I will disappoint my fiancee, and second who knows, I might not find somebody like her, I never met a girl with good mind and nice like her. But, maybe my brothers are right and I will have a problem in the future.

What should I do, which way is the best way of the solving this problem, will it be any problem of this marriage?

Dear Reader:

I'm afraid your brothers don't sound like they have your best interests in mind. They're just reacting out of prejudice.   I don't know why you're listening to them.

If you have had a good relationship with this woman, and have developed a good connection, and even your parents like her, why let your brothers' opinions matter? It sounds like they are jealous. I suggest you tell them to stop saying bad things about your fiancee. Perhaps you could get your parents to help you stop your brothers' bad behavior. It's not easy to find a person with whom you are compatible, and if you and your fiancee love each other, you should value that.   "Coping with Critics" gives better ways to deal with your brothers, and "Stupid Cupid" will help you sort through your real fears about marriage with your fiancee.

How to be Happy Partners will help you understand what being married is about, and give you tools you can use.

  Happy Partners cover

For low-cost counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.