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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » An older guy?

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Author Topic: An older guy?
onewish01
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Hey guys,

So I have a question about dating an older guy. By older, I mean pretty much double my age. I'm 17, he's 33.

Now I know, there's going to be a lot of "you're only 17, that's not right, if you have sex it'll be statuatory rape" etc.

But, I just want you guys to know, that I like this guy so much. I believe that age is just a number, and since we like each other so much, I'm not seeing a problem so far. He's never been married before (whether or not thats a good sign, I don't know). But, I'm just so so SO comfortable around him, it's unreal. We met not long ago (a couple months) but it's felt like I've known him forever and he makes me feel so good about myself.

Just so ya'll know (and don't think I randomly met him on the street or something), I met him through my cousin. I didn't meet him online and am planning to just meet him right away etc. We've talked before and such, in person.

For those of you wondering, I do plan on telling my parents if this gets serious (and letting them meet him). I'm kind of scared to tell them his real age (as I think they'll disapprove and want me to break up with him), but it's better to let them know, then keep it a secret so if something bad happened between us, they wouldn't want to charge him or something.

Basically, my question is... what do you guys think of big age gaps in people dating? Is it a lost cause, or should I pursue a relationship with him?

EDIT: I just read the FAQ section on age differences and it helped me a lot. I know it's wrong for me to be seeing a guy who's so much older than me, but you see people going out all the time (don't mean to generalize) and marrying a person who's a whole lot younger or a whole lot older. What if it really was love? Does age -really- have to matter? Or can it just depend on the way the two people feel about each other, regardless of an age difference?

[ 07-01-2006, 09:26 PM: Message edited by: onewish01 ]

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-- Katie --

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-Lauren-
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First off, it's good to hear that you're planning on being honest with your parents if this does develop into a romantic relationship. They are the ones who are legally responsible for all that you do, so it's a good step on your part to keep them in the know. They will find out his age, whether you tell them immediately or they find out on their own; so telling them straight away would be the best way to go.

It's hard to approach the subject of age-gaps because people have different opinions on the subject. I'll try to be as objective as possible. Here are some things to keep in mind:

- There is often some degree of power play in relationships with significant age gaps. It can be rare to find a relationship involving a much older man and a teen girl in which the man actually respects her as a partner and equal.

- There are many, many issues to work with in a relationship with a significant age gap, as well. Lots of the time, two people simply find that they cannot relate to each other. The teens and the early-middle adult years are radically different in terms of experiences and development-- it's entirely possible that if the older partner does seem to be on the same wavelength as the younger, he/she may be behind in terms of maturity, experience, or mental health.

Again, these are just suggestions to keep in mind and look for. Every situation is different, and the best thing you can do is to go with your gut on this.

[ 07-01-2006, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]

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onewish01
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Thank you for replying, and I am taking everything into consideration.

The moment I feel uncomfortable, or out of place (or something along those lines), I will break things off. It'll be hard, but I know it would be in my best interest.

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-- Katie --

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cool87
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Do you want me to share an experience with you. It might give you an insight but this doesn't mean yours will turned out that way.

I happened to have dated an older guy few weeks ago and it was like not really great. I was 19 years-old and he was 31 years-old. We weren't really on the same page since he was more experienced and was at a different stage of his life. And it didn't work.

He was pressuring me into sex. I didn't have full intercourse with him just some things sexual including manual sex and some dry sex. I think I did that with him because of the pressure he was putting me. I was scared of telling him no not only to intercourse but also to other kinds of sex. I did it but it was way too soon and I regret that now. We broke up since. So, for me, it didn't turned out great.

It doesn't mean yours will not work since mine didn't work. It really has nothing to do with it. It really depends on the guy. But just be careful. If he happens to pressure you into something you don't want to do, don't make the same mistakes as I did. I'm not just talking about sex here.

I'd also say get to know the guy better before doing anything serious with him. Spend some time together. Get to know each other. And also don't be afraid of telling him how you feel, be honest with him. Talk things out with him. That's really important.

[ 07-01-2006, 10:18 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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Shimmer
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i'd just like to repeat one thing Miss Lauren said:
quote:
Originally posted by Miss Lauren:
- There is often some degree of power play in relationships with significant age gaps. It can be rare to find a relationship involving a much older man and a teen girl in which the man actually respects her as a partner and equal.

i was 20 and dated a 32 year old. when it comes to age much of it depends on your maturity level, i tend to gravitate tolds older men simply because most guys i know my age are still incredibly immature. BUT as the quote above reads, it's very hard to find someone who will respect you as an equal because of the age difference. to me age has always just been a number. but i lack a lot of experience and this always seems to come up in relationships and makes the guy feel more superior to me, and before i know it he's trying to dictate where our relationship should go and how i should act and i end up feeling like he's dumbing me down, that just because i'm 20 i'm not allowed to know anything, and i'm completely naive in the ways of the world. i think that's such a load of BS, people can go through a lot of hardships and see the ugliness of the world at any age.

a couple weeks after i broke it off with him he read an article in the paper that made him realize something - the whole time we'd been dating he kept insinuating that i'd never been on a date before just because i'd never had sex! then he read an article that spoke statistically about the current state of teen sex and how less than 50% of teens were actually having intercourse, etc. he realized i wasn't just the odd one out. but here this whole time it turns out much of my maturity to him was wrapped up in my sex life, and because i was 20 years old and hadn't had intercourse this made him see me as almost a little girl. which is just ridiculous, because not only should sex NOT define anyone's maturity but i learned neither really should age - i'm definitely not like a lot of 20 year olds, and to me he was much more immature for a 32 year old - ie drinking 24 cans of beer in one night, gambling away over $10,000 playing poker, not being responsible for his relationships, his job, his anything.

but that doesn't mean all relationships with large age differences can't work out. basically if the guy treats you right and you both take it in stride - get to know each other, do public things together, rather than seeing each other privately where the relationship can become only physical if that's all you do - then it can work out. just make sure he's not controlling, that he respects you as an equal and doesn't use your age against you, etc.

i still prefer older guys (i'm currently dating someone 8 years older), but it will always depend on the guy and your compatibility.

[ 07-01-2006, 11:57 PM: Message edited by: Shimmer ]

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onewish01
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Thank you for the stories and advice, guys [Smile]

I do plan on taking my time with this relationship, and not rushing right into things as I've never had a boyfriend/dated before and I really don't want to come out of this thinking all men are horrible.

So far he seems like an easy person to talk to, and we have a lot of fun when we're together (not sexual fun... just hanging out/going for walks/etc fun). I'm just taking my time, and he's told me already that he'll respect my decisions, no matter what they are.

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kluekozyte
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A quick story from the other side. I'm male, and for a short while I dated a girl who was 14; I was 16. I know that doesn't sound like much of a difference at all, and I didn't think much of it at the time. But even in this case, with such a small difference, too often I found myself feeling, and sometimes acting, somewhat patronizing toward her. I don't know why, but in relationships with age-differences, it really is easy to fall into this pattern of making a big deal out of age/maturity/experience etc, and it can lead to bad things. This relationship ended badly after a month.

But now I'm dating a girl who is younger than me by almost exactly the same amount, and with her, the dynamic is totally different. There are no issues at all with the age difference.

I know 2 years is nothing like 8 or 10 or 16 years of difference, but maybe this will help a little bit. It shows that, while every case is different, and different people will treat each other different ways, you always have to be careful to avoid any sort of age-power-control things that start to happen, because they can get habitual and get destructive very quickly.

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Johann7
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You're not going to like this. (FYI I'm a 20 year old guy who's taken just the perfect number of women's studies classes - it's my minor [Razz] , so that's where my perspective is coming from.)

Adult men (and when I say adult, I'm talking late twenties, early thirties, 10+ year age gap over an adolescent girl) date teenage girls for three reasons:
1) They like power or having inordinate control in a relationship. There is an inhearent power differential in a relationship like this; this is precicely what attracts both the men and women that it attracts. We're socialized to a relationship model that gives men power over women and women dating older men is one way in which this is realized.
2) They have not themselves reached a psychological or emotional maturity level that is consistent with actualized adult women, so they seek out younger, less experienced partners. This is not really malicious in any sense, but it's not particularly healthy either, and it may be a sign of some developmental or severe emotional problems.
3) They are ephebophiles. Ephebophilia, for those who haven't watched enough Law & Order: SVU (or read the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephebophilia ), is a sexual fetish in which an adult is primarily or exclusively attracted to adolescents (that is, after puberty starts but before it finishes). I say sexual fetish, as th APA does not list ephebophilia as a mental disorder, although in the US it's practice is illegal to varying degrees. As this relates to physical development, I can't really say whether this is a possibility in your case (and I really, really don't want to know; please don't respond with anything describing how developed you are).

That's it. See, there's a cultural stigma attached to men that old dating teenagers, not to mention the legal issues, and so it doesn't even occur as a posibility unless there is a significant driving force.

I realize you may be mature for your age, but trust me, you're not at the level of a normal 33 year old. I was quite mature at 17, and quite sure I had everything figured out and could take care of myself and make my own mistakes if I had to. And three years later I realize that I didn't know ****.

Ultimately, this is your call, but please be careful whatever you do. Statistically the chances are good that he's trying to take advantage of you one way or another. And if (against advice [Razz] ) you do decide you want to date him, you should be honest with your parents, and you might want to consider waiting on sex (vaginal intercourse and possibly oral) until you're 18 to avoid some of the stickier potential legal issues. District Attornys don't like prosecuting statutory rape cases, but they probably would try a 17-33 unless there was absolutely no evidence (so says my friend's father, a DA here in Milwaukee).

Please, please be careful.

[ 07-07-2006, 06:16 PM: Message edited by: Johann7 ]

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Robble Robble Robble!

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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[quote]I know it's wrong for me to be seeing a guy who's so much older than me, but you see people going out all the time (don't mean to generalize) and marrying a person who's a whole lot younger or a whole lot older. What if it really was love? Does age -really- have to matter? Or can it just depend on the way the two people feel about each other, regardless of an age difference?[./quote]

I don't know about it being capital W Wrong, and even if it is, it's more so in his case than yours.

But I do know that a fifteen year age difference when you're 40 and 55 and one when you're 17 and 33 is NOT the same thing.

There's a developmental differential to consider.

At, say, 40 and 55, those two people are much more likely to have shared a lot of life experiences. They're both well past the biggest apex of their personal development: you're still right in the midst of yours. You've lived a lesser percentage of your life, comparitively, than the person older than you now, than is the case for two people of that same age difference much older.

The 40/55 couple? They're going to be able to get along with the others friends and social circles pretty easily. have you and this guy met each others friends? Hung out together in groups? How has that gone? How about meeting his family? Yours? have you two discussed the age difference? has he actually brought real concerns to the table (if he hasn't there's a big red flag right there)?

And I have to say: what Johann just posted up there?

A lot of that stuff is very often the case (though I do think it's pushing it a bit to say that in any case, advantage is trying to be taken, any more than it might be otherwise: someone who wants great control of a relationship for themselves isn't a good partner for anyone, no matter their age, for instance). Is it always? No. But it often is, and often men are much more candid about that when talking only with one another, when they don't know they're being overheard, or when they're talking to women they're not seeking to impress or sleep with/date.

(Quick correction, though: hebephilia isn't a sexual orientation, just like bestilaity or foot fetishism isn't. It's a philia: neither an orientation NOR disorder, but an area of -- often exclusive or primary -- sexual attraction.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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