Extreme Marriages: Ben and Julie

Extreme Age Difference
Dr. Phil talks with couples dealing with extreme circumstances in their marriages.

Ben, 25, has been married to Julie, 53, for almost three years. "I'm very tired of people confusing us for mother and son and assuming that that's our relationship," says Ben. "I wish the entire world knew that we were a couple ... I find Julie to be very beautiful, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Our sex life is great. About two or three times a week is average for us."


Julie wishes it were easier for Ben to tell people they are married. "This is an ageless relationship," says Julie. "Age has nothing to do with the love that we share ... Ben has given me more joy in the few short years that I've known him, than the rest of my life combined," she says.


Ben asks, "Dr. Phil, what is the best way to respond to people who mistake my wife and me for mother and son?"

"First off," says Dr. Phil, "let me acknowledge, if this was the other way around " if this was a man who was 28 years older than his wife " we wouldn't be doing this show."


The audience applauds.


As for people's assumptions that they are mother and son, Dr. Phil says, "I mean, come on, what do you expect? You do look like his mother, and he looks like your son." They agree.


Unlike his other guests, Dr. Phil points out that this is a matter of choice. He asks, "Do you think it's the healthy and right choice for both of you?"


"Yes, I do," says Julie.


"And you understand that you can assume statistically that your life expectancy is dramatically different?"


Julie and Ben say they talked about that a lot before they got married.

Dr. Phil tells them that one of the assumptions that they're up against is that they must have a parent/child relationship. "And what you've got to decide is if you've made the decision that this is what you want to do and where you want to be right now, then you have to be prepared to deal with the challenge or the burdens that that brings in terms of people's judgment. And if you've made the decision, then you have to live with the realities of it."


Dr. Phil asks Ben, "If you're OK with it, then why are you embarrassed to tell people?"


Ben explains that he avoids confrontation and he hates making people feel like they are on the spot. Julie says she wishes he would come right out and tell people, rather than try to duck the question.

Dr. Phil asks how their relationship is at home and Ben says that their relationship is "awesome." He explains, "When we found each other, we became incredible friends first, and I've never known anything like the closeness we share, ever."


Dr. Phil asks Julie, "Do you ever worry that he's married his mother? That he's looking for somebody to mother him, so he married you?"


"Never crossed my mind," Julie replies.


Dr. Phil tells them that if they are comfortable with the decisions they've made, then they have to live with the judgment that may come with it. "If you're at peace about it, and you've been together five years, then you cling to what you have and you make it work. But don't think that people aren't going to be surprised."


Ben asks again what the best way is to correct people's assumptions.
"If you feel like you want to straighten things out or owe an explanation, of course, say, 'Actually she's not my mother, she's my wife and pass the salt,' I guess. But if what you're saying is, 'We're at peace about our decision, we love each other, it's a rewarding relationship for both of us,' then embrace it while you have it," advises Dr. Phil.