He's so much older, but he's rich!

Should she go for him despite the big age gap just because of his wealth?

Dear Thelma,

I'm a 27-year-old Chinese girl and people tell me I'm pretty. But I don't lead an active social life like most of my friends and colleagues around my age.

About a year ago, I met a handsome Indian doctor who works in a prestigious private hospital in Kuala Lumpur. He has been divorced for many years.

I am attracted to his charming ways and he's also attracted to me. The problem is he's already 50. So far, our communication is mostly through the phone and social media, and I meet him at his clinic for business purposes.

We have not gone on any serious dates as I've been declining his invitations. I'm afraid that I will be embarrassed to be seen in public in a relationship with someone obviously so much older than me.

He has been calling me persistently and sending me intimate messages every day and I find it very hard to resist his advances as I like the attention very much.

I admit I do flirt shamelessly with him as well. He has also confessed that he's interested in marriage and children as age is catching up with him. He doesn't have any children now.

I'm undecided and I really don't want children yet. I know he will be able to provide me with a comfortable life but I'm concerned about the differences in our age and race.

Sometimes when I look at him, I feel we don't really match. I've not told my family yet but my close friends whom I confide in have all told me that he is too old for me.

I admit I feel we don't have much in common too. In the beginning, there was a special feeling whenever we talked but lately, he seems "boring".

I also think my family would not approve. Some of my colleagues have also been talking behind my back saying I am going after his money.

Sometimes, I think maybe I don't really love him and am attracted to the material comforts he can provide. I don't get that loving feeling.

I feel like I'm cheating him but I'm afraid I will lose the opportunity of marrying a rich and successful doctor, and may regret it later in life.

I have been keeping the relationship warm by telling him I'm madly in love as I'm afraid to lose him now. What shall I do?

- Young But Realistic

Dear Young But Realistic,

You seem to have answered your own question already. Perhaps, with all the confusing thoughts going on inside your head, you just need assurance on what you have to do.

People get married for many reasons. Some marry for love and some for companionship; others want to start a family. The sad truth is there are people who marry for security in life.

People tend to look down upon this reason. However, no one can judge you as only the person getting married knows the reasons for his or her decision. It is the same case here.

There is the promise of material wealth and comfort with this doctor. He seems smitten by you. And, he is making plans for your future.

You have hopes and ambition for your future - what's wrong with the kind of future that he promises?

To help you make up your mind, you may want to think about a few things a little more though. Firstly, there is the age factor. It is not uncommon to see older men with younger women.

Again, people will judge. In matters like these, it's not important what others think, only what you think, and what you want from the relationship.

However, what your family thinks is a serious matter too. Would you be able to explain to them the reasons for your marrying this doctor? More importantly, would they accept your explanation?

You mentioned that you don't think what you feel for him is love. That loving feeling is hard to define, but it is said that a person will know it when he or she is feeling it.

If you don't feel this, is it enough to marry him? Bear in mind, though, that many fall in love with their partner only after marriage.

Perhaps the most telling factor of all is your admission that you like the attention you are getting from this doctor. Other young women your age are probably socialising and meeting other men. They are getting that attention elsewhere.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying attention from others. It is affirming and comforting. You gain self-confidence. It is nice to know that someone is thinking of you, and cares enough to shower you with time and attention, and make you feel special.

But you must be able to discern this feeling from love, which is also about commitment. It is knowing that you will be with someone through thick and thin.

Love is not all roses; it is patience, pain and hurt, and the willingness to go through it all for the relationship's sake.

Are you willing to do this? If you take away the money and material wealth, will your feelings towards him still be the same? If you can truly say yes, then you can go ahead and plan your future with him.

If your answer is no, then don't take this relationship any further as it will only cause pain and misery for everyone involved. Not just for the both of you, but also your family and loved ones, especially since he is planning a future with children.

If you proceed with only the prospect of wealth in mind, you will doom your relationship to unhappiness. Give yourself a real chance for happiness as you make the decision for the right reasons.

- Thelma