A good friend of mine, Ashton, is in a rel@tionship with an older woman, Demi. (Yes, these names are fun but obviously fake.) All my information is second-hand, as told by Ashton, because I have never had more than a brief conversation with Demi. Anyway, Ashton said that at first Demi wasn't so sure about being in a rel@tionship with a younger man, but in the past few months he has had fun being the much younger/more attractive half of their rel@tionship (imagine Demi with kids older than Ashton for a better comparison). He loved her from the start and she has come to love him, and they are used to spending most days/nights together.
Now it's been about eight months and the novelty has worn off for Ashton. He knows she doesn't want more kids or to get married again. In her divorce, she was left with no property and little money. Her work brings in some money but it's unlikely she will ever have her own property or more than a modest income. Ashton doesn't really care about money (his job pays enough for the bills) but the scrabble games are far too infrequent for him and he has been thinking that he would like to grow old with someone and could never have that with Demi. He's also a bit embarrassed to be seen with a much older woman when all his friends are d@ting ladies their own age with no scrabble troubles.
Lately, Ashton has been feeling a bit suffocated. He feels that Demi is too attached to him. Although at the beginning of the rel@tionship, he would call her all the time and organise to see her a lot, now that Demi's calling and inviting him over everyday he's annoyed and wants some space.
Anyway, now that that's over with, here's my question. As Ashton's friend, how can I respond when he says all this to me? It's been twice now that we've talked about it. He also talks to a mutual friend and I don't know what he's told him.
As much as I want to tell him to make a clean break, I don't feel like he's asking for advice. The other day he said he felt guilty about leading Demi into a rel@tionship then wanting to back off. I told him to think about it more, and if he had doubts then breaking it off ASAP would be best for both of their feelings.
As for my own rel@tionship, both friends love to start on me with advice as soon as I open my mouth about my BF. I don't really listen because they've known me for less than a tenth of the time that BF and I have been d@ting. I listen to my BFF who has known me for many years before I met BF. She has told me several times that BF is a good guy.
So IMHO, Demi and Ashton won't last. Without Demi, Ashton has a chance of meeting a nice young lady who is a better match. With Demi, Ashton is miserable and guilty because of it.
I guess my big question is: should I gently tell Ashton my real opinion, or should I just politely nod and smile? I don't mind listening but I don't want to miss an obvious cue to give useful advice.