Is he playing me?

Hi Meredith,

I have a family full of over-protective brothers and they've all hated every one of my boyfriends. I always wrote off their opinions, though, thinking they were just being brothers, but they were right. Every guy I've dated has turned out to be abusive, a cheater, or just plain mean.

So after getting out of my last relationship (during which my ex lied, snooped, and was controlling), I decided to stay single for a while.

Then something happened. About a month later, I met a really amazing man -- a friend of a friend who travels as part of his job. He was stopping in one day for work (coincidentally on my birthday) and after my friend introduced us, we hit it off. We spent the entire day/night together, and then he had to leave the next morning. He called me the next day saying that he missed me and wanted to see me again, so he bought me a round-trip ticket to go visit him the next week.

I had only known him for a day, but we had talked on the phone a lot, and I felt comfortable enough going. The trip was incredible and we're absolutely crazy about each other now. We both have said we want to make something work between us, as crazy as it sounds with the distance and the limited knowledge we have of each other. But I really think this could actually go somewhere, and I don't want to exclude such an amazing person from my life just because we aren't in the same location. If things work out between us, geography is always fixable.

But I forgot to mention one more thing: I'm in my early 20s and he's in his early 30s. I don't have a problem with the age difference (he says he doesn't either), and there's plenty of chemistry between us. We have the same interests, we're looking for the same things in a relationship, and we get along really well. But my friends have put a little doubt in my mind about the whole thing. They think there's nothing inherently wrong with a 10-year age difference, or with knowing each other for a day, or with doing long distance, etc. ... but that I should be careful because he might be playing me.

He has no obligation to me, no obligation to be in any kind of relationship, but he seems to want to be with me. Are my friends right? Should I have my guard up? Is this all happening too fast? Is the age difference too much?

I have a really good feeling about him and I want to let myself be happy and throw myself into it -- but that hasn't always worked out for me in the past. Do I get back on the horse and take a risk, or take a break?

– Swept Away, Waterside, Mass.

Do I think the age difference is too much? Not really.

Do I think he's playing you? Nah. I don't think there's any reason to assume that he's up to no good. Not yet, at least.

Do I think the relationship is moving too quickly? Not quite. It seems to me that the only commitment you've made is to continue getting to know each other even though you're living in different places. That doesn't seem like too much, too soon to me. It just seems like a plan.

Really, it's too early to worry about any of these issues. You barely know him, so you're just starting the process.

Unless the friend who knows him tells you to stay away, I'd continue this with high hopes.

Just don't jump ahead. Call this what it is -- the start of something. You might decide during your next visit that you think he's annoying. You might decide in a week that talking on the phone is starting to feel like an obligation. Or maybe this will continue to be awesome.

There's no reason to freak out about this right now. I'm sure your brothers would tell you the same thing.

Readers? Is she freaking out for no reason? What about the age difference? Are her friends just jealous? Discuss.

– Meredith