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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Age-disparate basics ("Does age matter?") (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Age-disparate basics ("Does age matter?")
Heather
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Since we've had this topic revisited (AKA "Does age diffference matter?"), it seems like it's worth posting some good questions to ask yourself when your partner is markedly older than you are to see if it does matter, and more importantly, if it's really okay, balanced and healthy.

So, in no particular order, here's some food for thought:

- Are your ages within legal limits? Is it criminal for your partner to be with you in the way he/she is?

- Do you have to keep secrets? Must your relationship remain kept from family and friends? Are you able to do the normal things couples do, like go to dinners, parties, hang out with (both sets of) friends together? If you're limited in that, are there at least a few people close to both of you, on both sides you can be together around? Do both of you know both your families?

- Do you feel like basic things are equal? Like you're able to take the lead as often as they are? Like both of you work around BOTH your scedules to arrange plans? Like both of your lives outside the relationship have equal importance?

- Do you feel you have plenty in common? That even if your life experiences vary, you do have things you're in the same place with, that equal respect is afforded?

- Do your feelings for your older partner feel appropriate to a romantic relationship? Do they feel like a partner, equal to you, rather than like someone in charge of you, an advisor or an idol?

- Do you feel able to act your own age arund them? Do they seem to act their age around you? However old they are, are they the sort of person you'd want to be at their age? If you reverse postions, does it still feel okay and normal to you?

- Sexually, are things at a good pace for you? Are you ever pushed in any way, made to feel immature, feel you're going faster than you'd like in order to feel more mature? Are you taking risks you shouldn't be? Are you having the talks about readiness, birth control, your sexual likes and dislikes, limits and boundaries you should be with a partner of any age?

- Is your relationship based in NOW, or is there a lot of talk about what you'll be or do when you're a certain age?

- Do you feel they're doing you a favor by being with you, that your relationship says something about your maturity?

- Do you feel confident in your judgment right now? Have you felt good about yourself, been what you'd call healthy, before as well as during the relationship?

- Is the relationship in any way greatly interfering with your family, friends or life in general?

- Do you feel you get what you need and that what you give is reasonable for you?


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smilee_kylie
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This is an excellent thread Miz Scarlet! I wish I had seen this 18 months a go. I was in a relationship where my boyfriend was 9 years older than me, but I was so blinded by love, I didn't care about the damage it was causing others. I'm glad that didn't go as far as it could and that it ended when it did.

We weren't within the legal limits, we had to keep secrets, we weren't able to do the normal things couples do, I felt like I was the indominant one, I was still maturing and he couldn't have fun the way I wanted to, there were alot of talks about WHEN i leave school and WHEN we can get married and WHEN I turn 18 and he often talked about having sex with me and started going further than my boundaries, without asking.

So I think this will be relevant to a lot of girls who are fairly young with an older boyfriend. I wish I'd seen this post back then...


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paulsprettyangel
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Thankyou, this helps so much
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lmp_jaxon
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Really are great points. Gonna favourite that I think, everytime Paul comes around. Thanks Miz Scarlet.
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-Lauren-
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(Bump!)
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snarky
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Great thread, Miz Scarlet [Smile]
The points you brought up have made me feel a lot more comfortable in my relationship.

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livelovelaugh19
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Ive liked someone older than me for 2 years now..and hes liked me too all along... or so he says.. We live quite far away from each other. He's married and I have a boyfriend despite the way I feel for him. I think I wanted to see if what I felt for him was really strong or if it was just a stage I was going through. My boyfriend and I have been together now for a year and a half, and even though I love him in ways, its just not the same as with this older man. This older guy says he only now cares about his wife, and has not loved her for a long time. This guy and I have everything in common, and when I think of the future, I see him with me. Oh, and we live in different countries right now! I really am Stuck!! I love both men but I need someone to talk some sense into me or something!!!!
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-Lauren-
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(Perhaps you'd like to start your own thread in this forum, livelaughlove19? I'm sure you'll get better answers that way. Just click the "New Topic" button on the top right! [Smile] )
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Gumdrop Girl
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LLL9, before you go start another topic, real quick, put yourself in his wife's shoes. [Confused]

Now, ask us your question in a new topic. http://www.scarleteen.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=newtopic;f=3 in case you can't find the "New topic" button

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plain milyeh
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i've never dated anybody i wasn't legally supposed to be dating, but when i was nineteen, i dated a twenty-nine-year-old guy. that was...interesting.

i think the main thing you have to consider when dating an older person is whether you're at similar stages in your lives, and if that's going to matter. in our case, it did end up mattering, because he was at a point in his life where he was thoroughly prepared (at least mentally/emotionally) to settle down, get married, and possibly even start making babies soon. i on the other hand was all, "oh god no. i need to be a lot more young and crazy before anything like that happens. i totally thought we were just making out because kissing is fun, actually. this is kind of not cool, and i am going to break up with you before this gets any more completely confusing."

...which is not to say that things like that don't happen in relationships between people of similar ages too, or that they always happen in relationships between people of vastly differing ages, but just in general...it's good to have some sort of a notion of what you're each looking for in a relationship. if possible, *before* you start doing anything sexy on a regular basis. learn from my mistakes, children.

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corrie paige
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I find this topic interesting since my boyfriend is 8 years older than I am. This thread helped me see that..Our age difference doesn't even matter. I can honestly say I can possitivly answer all of these questions.

- Are your ages within legal limits?
Yes, We are.

- Do you have to keep secrets?
No. All of my friends, family, close ones love him. We often go to the movies, stores, parks, anywhere we feel like. His family absolutly loves me and oftens asks for me at family events. My parents don't mind him sleeping over.

- Do you feel like basic things are equalYes, we make sure everything between us is equal.

- Do you feel you have plenty in common? I grew up differently than people my age and can honestly say that him and i have much in common. His entire family thought i was atleast 6-7 years older than I am. They know my true age and dont mind at all.

- Do your feelings for your older partner feel appropriate to a romantic relationship? Most Defenetly

- Do you feel able to act your own age around them? Do they seem to act their age around you? Yes. Very much so.

- Sexually, are things at a good pace for you?
Yes. ^.^

- Is your relationship based in NOW, or is there a lot of talk about what you'll be or do when you're a certain age?
Its based in the now. sometimes we talk about the future but not in terms of 'when your older' more in terms of normal relationships.

- Do you feel they're doing you a favor by being with you, that your relationship says something about your maturity?
HAHA no.

- Do you feel confident in your judgment right now?
Very much so. Out of everyone I've ever been with, he definetly treats me the best.

- Is the relationship in any way greatly interfering with your family, friends or life in general?
Nope ^.^

- Do you feel you get what you need and that what you give is reasonable for you?
Yes.


To me, age does not make a difference, when it is with the right person. I hope this hleps a few people out as well. As for the post above, I agree. We both already talked about that, I know what stage in life he is in but as for me, I've always been the 'Roll with Life' kinda girl. If he wants rugrats in the next year or two, i would be fine with that. I've never been a girl who wanted to date around or try the circle. All my life I've been the kind of girl who, once she gets somone she feels for, she holds onto it.

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Typical Young and Dumb Teenager?
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Whenever you say "are your ages within legal limits", what do you mean? (are you saying a person can only be so many years older than his/her partner?) What are age limits?

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orca
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Age limits means age of consent, which is the age at which a person is legally considered competent to give consent to sex. The age of consent really depend on where you live. Age of consent laws vary from country to country, and from state to state.

They can also be rather complex. For instance, the age of consent in England and Wales is 16, however, it is illegal for a person to engage in sexual activity with an individual under the age of 18 if they are in a position of trust in relation to that individual (teacher, warder, care giver, guardian, etc).

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LollySocks
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What if someone 17 years of age is with someone 21 years of age but they don't have sex? Is it still illegal to date?

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Horizon
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Usually the age of consent laws preside over sexual activities only. Dating is not included in that.

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XSugarXhookerX
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I am 14 and I have dated to 18 yr olds. I live in cali so it was iligeal. I always told both of them that if he was worried at all about being together and getting in trouble then I wouldn't mind breaking it off and they both said they didnt mind. BUT I did.

I broke it off and we still talk and were great friends.
I have heard that the limit is 2 yrs age dif but 3 is pushing it.

Me and him were 5 yrs apart.

and I am glad it ended b4 I did anything I wasn't ready to do. which was alot. and still is.None of my family knows bout one of them but they know bout the other. my mom straight out said he was too old for me and I agreed and I am glad I listen to her in the first place ^_^

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Lavie
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My boyfriend is a little more than a year younger than me.....
Is that weird?
its socially acceptable for girls to date older
but when I turn 18
he'll still be 16... is that bad?
I mean yes I am more sexually experienced but he emotionally tends to be more mature

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Lavie
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If I am 17 he's 16 we have sex
is that against the law?

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That is life, LaVie

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Heather
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The age of consent in Texas is 17, but that also allows for less than a three-year age difference as a defense of such.

But per your first question, I'd not see one year as an age difference. I mean yes, those ages are different, but you're still in the same age group.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Hekate
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My boyfriend is eight years older than me, so I read this, and I'm happy to say that after reading this list the relationship is completely equal... Well, he does take care of me, but that's more of a problem of my situation and he never uses it to manipulate me. We seriously always forget how old the other is until one of us mentions a cartoon show or game we played as a child and the other doesn't know what we're talking about. Like I mentioned Pokemon and he gave me a confused look.

I wish I had seen this list when a man of about the same age difference took a liking to me when I was seventeen. I guess at first he thought my immaturity was cute, but after I turned eighteen he'd get mad at me for being immature and complain that I was eighteen and should grow up. He seriously thought I should get everything I was doing out of the way while he was at work and then be available to hang out with him until he had something to do. We weren't even dating.

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The Loser
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I had a relationship with a girl who was 18 when I was 15.
It felt like a pretty normal relationship to me and we didn't have to keep any secrets so, I didn't really see a problem.
I guess technically it was illegal... I think. It isn't against dating, but we fooled around so I dunno.
But that's over now anyway.

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a bit scared
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is it ok for me being 15 n my guy being 21 plus we didnt do anything yet but is it wrong for us to be together?
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atm1
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Maybe I'm just a bit technically inept today, and I couldn't figure out if it was possible to comment directly on Heather's blog, but I wanted to try and get a discussion going of her new post.
(http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather/2008/12/21/why_i_deeply_dislike_your_older_boyfriend )

And I figured that it could get tossed onto this thread instead of a new one, because I think it fits, but as always, feel free to move this post to another section if you want.

I personally found that a lot of what she had to say resonated with me, particularly because I had experiences in high school being the older teen with a car who ends up driving a 14-year-old to a pharmacy to pick up a pregnancy test. Pretty much always, the man involved in the pregnancy scare was 18 or older. As much as I feel like age of consent laws are really problematic (same goes for mandatory reporting), I do think it should be illegal for someone who's 18 or 19 to be having sex with a 13 or 14 year old, mostly because of the reasons Heather outlines in that post.

At the same time as I feel all of those things, my own experience was pretty different. I fit the description of almost always having an older friend group, and my current partner is 3 years older than me (though, at 20 and 23, it's a much smaller age difference than it would be at say 13 and 16). But, in my case, I was abused by a younger boyfriend who fit the description Heather wrote for the "older boyfriend" really well. Part of how he controlled me was that he said that no one would believe that he was forcing me, and with our ages of 16 and 18, I could be charged with statutory rape. So he was able to threaten me into submission using a law meant to protect people. At the same time, being 18 meant that it was easier for me to get out of the situation. And shortly thereafter, he became the "older boyfriend" to a series of girls, all two years or more younger than him. I guess he learned that older girls would eventually break free of him, but he could do whatever he wanted to a 13 or 14 year old.

It's been my own experience that the older boyfriends I've had (I also dated an 18 year old when I was 16) were actually much more mature and respectful of me. Granted none of my relationships have had a relatively large age separation, my experience has just kind of been the opposite of what is more common, and I find that really interesting. I also think that it's worth noting that several of my friends who are in highly age-disparate relationships (7-10 years different) have some of the healthiest relationships of all of my friends, BUT they all started dating their significant other when they were over 18, and, in all but one case, they were over 21. And all of them had been in a long term (2 years or more) relationship before.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. Anyone else have something to say?

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Heather
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Interesting to listen to you, atm.

Just a quick FYI, which is that that piece was really meant to address teens as the younger party, and teens dating legal adults, or where there was a kind of age disparity like 13-17, 14-19, etc. And I do think we tend to often see different dynamics with those relationships than we do with age differences for older teens and certainly than with many adults.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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atm1
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Yeah, I got that, which was why I focused on what happened when I was a teen, and why I pointed out that the successful age disparate relationships I know of all involve two legal adults. I've never see it work out with one party under 18 (that's not to say it doesn't, but I've never seen it).
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Heather
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I'm sure I've talked about this here before, but I feel I should mention that I did have, myself, a totally non-exploitive relationship in my teens with someone who was 22 to my 15.

Mind, I was a pretty unusual 15-year-old, and there were other extenuating circumstances(including that it was fairly brief, only lasting a few months because that person died), but while I had it, it was not only healthy, but one of the best things, in some ways, that ever happened to me. In a handful of ways, that person earnestly saved my life and helped me get out of something very awful.

But some of why it was okay was that M. was SO aware of the age-difference. We didn't have sex, for one thing: even though I certainly wanted that in some respects, HE took the initiative to say that while he had those feelings for me very strongly, both the crisis-space I was in in my life and my age at that time made him feel like it was something that simply should not happen then. He also made every effort to meet my family (friends were a non-issue: we met in a punk scene we shared, so had almost all the same friends), to have some really wise boundaries, etc.

Again, while I do think that relationship was a loving, caring and equitable one, it's worth mentioning that one thing that person was also very troubled, and effectively on his way out of life. The way he died (an overdose which resulted in messing with a roommate's gun and suiciding) completely messed me up for QUITE some time in my relationships, and has been something in my life that has left a very deep wound. So.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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marijke
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I love these points, not even just for relationships, but they go a long way in friendships that are many years apart.

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Leave room for love in your life. It comes at unexpected times. :)
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Landra
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Sometimes the most unorthodox relationships can be the ones that work out the best. I've been happily married for almost 2 years and in a very good place in my life even though (and I think from what I've read so far, I have everyone beat with the age gap!) my husband is 14 and a half years older than myself.
I admit, my parents had a hard time dealing with it at first but have come to terms with it now and are happy for me. His family love me like one of their own and I have never been treated as though I am inferior. If you really have found the right person for you then age shouldn't be an issue. I look at my husband and see the person I love, not a number.

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reonz
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This thread seems kind of old, and I haven't visited scarleteen in awhile, but I wanted to share what's going on with me right now- and how Heather's article about hating the older boy helped me gain perspective.

Although in all honesty I've known since this began that it was a bad thing.

I'm 19, 'home' at my dad's house for the summer, away from college. I normally don't call this home and don't know many people.

My younger siblings' youth group leader said he would try and help me get a job. From that point on, we've been texting a lot. When we text he's like a kid, really funny, and I forget that he is actually 33. With two children, 14 and 9.

That should be enough information right there to say, okay, run for the hills.

The texting was sort of flirtatious but I thought it was a big joke...mostly because of his age and who he was.

I was wrong.

Last night he was very very forward. We did not sleep together, due only to my very firm refusal and swift departure. For the first time, I felt threatened. He was holding me a little too tightly, grabbing my wrists when he didn't need to, pulling up my dress when I pulled it down.

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking regarding how I value myself and how I allow others to value me. I believe that this was a prime example of where I need to be stronger in myself.

A 33 year old youth group leader with two children should not be pursuing the older, 19yo sibling of his youth group members. He should not be providing me alcohol, and he should not be aggressively pushing me to be sexual.

This all happened last night, and I've been sick to my stomach ever since. I lied to my parents about where I had been, I can't even bring myself to tell any of my friends what happened- because I can't believe I let myself be treated with such disrespect.

I really just felt that I needed to share. Similarly, I wanted to just say a big, general thank you to Scarleteen for existing, and being an amazing resource.

I just have to gather myself and let this older man know, in no uncertain terms, that there will never be anything between the two of us, and that I believe his actions were very crummy.

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Ecofem
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reonz,

Thanks for the kind words about Scarleteen and I'm glad the articles have helped. [Smile]

I am *so* sorry to hear about this here. It sounds very uncomfortable and this guy sounds predatory, to say the least. You did *nothing* wrong and I'm glad you were able to get away. Your own safety and well-being is what comes first, but I'm concerned about what this guy, who is a position of power over many young people as a youth group leader, might do to others. I hope you can talk to others about this for that reason, among others, but understand how you don't feel comfortable right now. Again, you did nothing wrong... a big thing with such abusive situations is that the aggressor tries to make the "victim" feel guilty or responsible, which is totally not the case. Is there any way you could report this (anonymously) to someone else at your church (I'm assuming it's a church youth group?)

We are here for you and would be more than glad to continue this discussion, either here or in a new thread. :hugs:

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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For the record?

Not only are you right that a youth group leader shouldn't be doing these things, they also are likely things which would get him fired from his position, and probably SHOULD. In other words, this behaviour may be something he has done with others besides you.

These are also things which are not legal. Giving someone underage alcohol is illegal, and pulling up your dress when you're pulling it down flirts with (for lack of a better term) sexual assault, or at the very least, sexual harassment.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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[Hey reonz, I've seen you around a bit these past few days. Just wanted to let you know I've been thinking of you and that the door remains open for talking about this if and when you'd like. We're not going to pressure you to do anything you don't feel comfortable with but we do want *you* to feel better. [Smile] ]
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Chocolicious
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I need to show this to my friend.
Her and her boyfriend are in Lolita territory, pretty much, and it's scary that the questions that I know the answers to are big, fat, NO's.

She had a pregnancy scare a while ago because even though the man she's dating is well past being an adult, they don't use condoms.

She's met his kids, which are only a year younger than her. And I'm sitting there at the side going "How is this NOT messed up?!?!"

I worry for her.

--------------------
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."-- Dr. Seuss

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Clytemnestra
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I recently started a relationship with a 28 year old. I am 19. So yeah it is "legal" if you want to use that term. We have been dating for about 2 months. I think that I am a very mature 19 year old--at least emotionally and mentally. So on that point we match up. I was very worried about my parents, but I was completely honest with them and they have met him and genuinely like him. Which is surprising, since they are very conservative and protective. If I were my parents I would be freaked out and think of him as some creepy old guy. Obviously he is not. When one just says the ages--sure there is usually a reaction. But when people know both of us, I think they realize that at least in this case the age really is just a number.
I mentioned before that I was very mature emotionally and mentally--but not sexually. And that is the problem. He is very experienced. And I am a virgin in all sense of the word. I consider him to be my first real boyfriend. He doesn't push for sex. We have experimented a little, but have yet to have vaginal sex. But I know that he wants it. Luckily we have both talked about it a lot, which feels really good. While we both admit that physically we are ready-he understands why I am not ready emotionally. And even more recently, he has discussed how he doesn't think that he is ready in that respect either. I am really worried about it. But I feel comforted that he really respects me and that he seems worried about it too. But I do know that I will not do anything that I don't want to do and that he would never want me to do something that I don't want to do.
But this is the most healthy, caring relationship that either of us have been in.

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stephie932
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thanks! this thread has helped me GREATLY! im in a relationship with a guy who is 2years older than me and we do love eachother...but i can answer ALL of these questions with a "yes"

- Are your ages within legal limits? Is it criminal for your partner to be with you in the way he/she is? yes

- Do you have to keep secrets? Must your relationship remain kept from family and friends? Are you able to do the normal things couples do, like go to dinners, parties, hang out with (both sets of) friends together? If you're limited in that, are there at least a few people close to both of you, on both sides you can be together around? Do both of you know both your families? yes we do...we are worried they might not approve

- Do you feel like basic things are equal? Like you're able to take the lead as often as they are? Like both of you work around BOTH your scedules to arrange plans? Like both of your lives outside the relationship have equal importance? yes

- Do you feel you have plenty in common? That even if your life experiences vary, you do have things you're in the same place with, that equal respect is afforded? yes

- Do your feelings for your older partner feel appropriate to a romantic relationship? Do they feel like a partner, equal to you, rather than like someone in charge of you, an advisor or an idol? yes

- Do you feel able to act your own age arund them? Do they seem to act their age around you? However old they are, are they the sort of person you'd want to be at their age? If you reverse postions, does it still feel okay and normal to you? yes

- Sexually, are things at a good pace for you? Are you ever pushed in any way, made to feel immature, feel you're going faster than you'd like in order to feel more mature? Are you taking risks you shouldn't be? Are you having the talks about readiness, birth control, your sexual likes and dislikes, limits and boundaries you should be with a partner of any age? yes

- Is your relationship based in NOW, or is there a lot of talk about what you'll be or do when you're a certain age? we talk about things in "the now" and dont worry too much about the future

- Do you feel they're doing you a favor by being with you, that your relationship says something about your maturity? no. we care about each other and love equally

- Do you feel confident in your judgment right now? Have you felt good about yourself, been what you'd call healthy, before as well as during the relationship? yes

- Is the relationship in any way greatly interfering with your family, friends or life in general? no

- Do you feel you get what you need and that what you give is reasonable for you? yes

--------------------
Love is when, against your own will, you feel as though you would do anything for that one person to put their happiness first.
Lust is B.S. You feel it sometimes, but, unlike love, you can't go along with it.

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