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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Is he too old for me?

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Author Topic: Is he too old for me?
poetrylover16
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I am 16 years old and i have a thing with a guy 9 years older then me. Our relationship is a secret from people. We hang out, watch movies, go quading, just hang out and do nothing sometimes, and we have sex. He has moved away but we still keep in contact. When he comes home to visit i get to see him, and we always tell eachother how much we miss each other and stuff. Once i told him that i danced with this one guy in my grade at the haloween dance and we flirt sometimes. He brought it up and i kinda told him i would never go for anybody else because i would only want him and nobody else would compare and he was happy. Since then i have been thinking should i really hold out for him or should i let him go? i had this dream that me and him were married and had kids and stuff and i woke up happy. I went to school and talked to that guy in my grade and i am just very confused about my feelings. I thought i loved him but why do i keep feeling for the guy in my grade? HELP!
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Heather
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Secret relationships are rarely healthy, and you can be pretty sure that so long as a relationship is staying secret, it's probably not a good idea to get attached to the idea of it becoming anything bonafide.

Can I ask why this is being kept a secret? Whose idea was that?

When we're younger and new to relationships, it's most common for our first relationships not to last over time, but to be shorter, and for us to want to explore relationships with others. So, you having these other feelings is okay, and it would also be okay if you decided this firt relationship wasn't for you, especially since it is being kept a secret.

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poetrylover16
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our keeping this relationship a secret was a mutual decision. I just feel like i would be betraying him if i moved on, especially since he went away for work. I used to be confused to what our relationship was and he said that we should be friends that are there for eachother and can hang out and the ocasional love making would just be a bonus. I have never been as attracted to anyone as i have been to him before, i have know him since i was 12 and have always thought he was awesome we never had this kind of relationship till this year though. I also have never had this long of a relationship. I kind of feel scared of ending it, not because of something he might do but just because he is part of me now and i don't know what would happen if he wasn't anymore.
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Heather
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Can I be pretty honest with you, including if I say things that are kind and in good faith, but which I think might make you uncomfortable to hear?

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poetrylover16
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oh and i wanted it to be a secret cuz my mom does not really think the best of him, and he agreed because he thinks harm may come his way if people knew. He is friends with my aunt and her boyfriend.
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poetrylover16
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you may , i came here for good advice that isnt just saying what i want to hear
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Heather
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Okay.

I'm a little bothered by the fact that this person met you when you were 12, and was an adult himself then. There's something called "grooming," which is a term that describes something sexually predatory adults often do: it usually describes meeting children or pre-teens and then, over time, "grooming" them to be sexual partners. What that behavior is varies, and we can talk more about that if you like.

Too, we tend to have very strong feelings about adults who give us attention when we're very young, so some of why you have such strong feelings for this person may be because they started initiating this kind of relationship with you when you were 12, even if it didn't seem to you like that was what they were initiating at first.

Asking someone that much younger than you who isn't an adult to keep this kind of secret, or even supporting them in keeping this a secret, is really very iffy, at best. It suggests the adult really is likely thinking more in their own interest than in the interest of the younger person, because an adult tends to know how much keeping sexual relationships a secret can do a young person harm and isolate them from other people.

As well, his asking YOU, as a non-adult, to protect HIM as an adult is, all by itself, wildly inappropriate. If he doesn't want to put himself at risk, then it's on him to choose not to have sex with minors. If any of this happened before you were sixteen, he was likely breaking some very serious laws, which it sounds like he knew. So, you have to wonder why he didn't make responsible choices like an adult, and certainly like an adult who is also supposed to care for you, rather than asking you to keep his secrets.

In other words, I think you need to consider that this relationship may be patently unhealthy, and I'd strongly encourage you not to keep it a secret anymore. You mentioned in another post that you've had some trouble with depression: this may be part of why.

If telling your Mom feels really scary to you right now, how about talking to your aunt?

[ 11-16-2010, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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poetrylover16
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he worked with my mom when i met him... i don't think its like that but i guess you can never be to sure.... also i think that i won't tell when its over, to protect myself not him, all trust in me would be lost if my family knew, my mom and aunt would be upset that i had lied to them and the rest of my family is very judgmental and i would never hear th end of it. i would be very much so an outcast. Thank you for the refreshing new prespective on the situation, the one friend who knows just agrees with whatever i say so this helps more than you know..
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Heather
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Can we perhaps knock our brains together to find SOMEONE for you to disclose to and talk to?

One thing I want to make sure you bear in mind is that if an adult was asking you, starting when you were a pre-teen, to keep their secrets, wise adults should NOT be holding you responsible for that, but him. In other words, while for sure, some trust here may need to be rebuilt, this shouldn't be something your family puts on you most, but mostly on this much-older adult.

Some of why your Mom did not like this guy may also have to do with her getting a sense he was potentially predatory: do you think that's possible?

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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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Heather
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(Or, at the very least, can you and I talk about your choices around this person moving forward?)

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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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poetrylover16
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he used to do lots of drugs when she worked with him and he drank heavily, thats why she doesnt like him, he isn't a saint by far but he has gotten better. if it ended right now why do i have to tell them about it, i cannot see good coming from it
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Heather
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I don't know that it matters who you disclose to, I'd just suggest you tell someone you can actually talk to in person for your own sake. I don't know the whole timeline here, but it does sound likely this person was having (and may still be) a relationship with you that was unhealthy and exploitive, especially the younger you were. That can really mess us up when it happens, especially when it goes on for a long time and is something we keep very secret. Not talking about it with anyone is more likely to leave us a mess, or leave us thinking things were healthy that were not, which can impact our own self-esteem and life and our future relationships. As well, continuing to keep something so big secret distances you from the people you probably want to be close to.

Do you know what I mean?

So, if your family doesn't feel like the right people for you to tell right now, that's okay, but I think it would be a good idea to find someone you can tell and talk to in person. I'm happy to help you figure out who that might be if you want.

In the meantime, if you feel like it only feels safe for you here, that's okay as a stopgap. Do you want to talk about making choices with this from here on out?

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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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poetrylover16
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i do know what you mean, and i was telling my one friend but she is not very good at saying anything to help and is the type to tell you what she thinks you want to hear... i don't trust anyone else and i kind of want to stop confiding in her as much... i live in a small town where gossip flurishes... a friendship gone sour can equal a whole lot of trouble... i do like talking on here because its a fresh prespective, realitivly unbias based on opinion about me or feelings of me or other people involved.. this does seem like a good place for advice
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Heather
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I understand, and this is a safe place for you to talk about this, I'd just suggest it as more of a starting place, or as something to support other support/counseling, rather than your only place.

But if it's your only place right now, and the only place you feel you can talk right now, that's okay. We can do that. [Smile]

I think I probably don't have to say that my best advice per choices with this person is to at least stop having any sexual relationship with them now, but also to try and start moving out of any relationship with them, period.

Is that something you feel equipped to do? Do you want me to talk more about why I'd suggest that?

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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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poetrylover16
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if i think about not talking to him anymore i become very sad, logically i know not having a reationship is best, but that doesnt mean it doesnt feel that way. i have a very dificult time letting people go. i had this friend who helped me through a very difficilt time in my life, if it was not for him i might not be here and he moved away and we lost contact and i still think of him everyday and miss him... do you think there is something wrong with me? why i cant let people go even if i havent seen them in years?
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Heather
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I completely understand. Understand that when a relationship like this starts in or near childhood, we also tend to have all the stronger attachments to it.

I don't think there is something wrong with you, I just think that it sounds like you put trust in the wrong person and entered into some things, and saw them certain ways, that you might not have otherwise in a different, healthier situation.

But that doesn't make YOU wrong or anything wrong with you. If anyone did wrong here, it's the adult in this who should have had WAY better boundaries and not made what sounds very much like a mentorship relationship sexual and not done certain things that were not healthy for you, including things like putting you in the position where you had to keep secrets and wind up isolated from every other adult in your life BUT this person.

I also think chances are that you would have probably gotten through your difficult time a lot better, easier, and left it with less baggage if the person helping you hadn't also been -- from what I can gather -- exploiting your vulnerability at the same time.

I don't think that it's sage to try and think about ALL your relationships right now in making choices about this one. Let's try and stay focused on just this one, okay?

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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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poetrylover16
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it was a different person i was using as an example and that relationship was not in anyway sexual..... and i can say goodbye but i don't know how to make it feel like goodbye to me... i want this to end but only if it will end for good and leave me feeling at peace with myself you know?
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Heather
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Well, if this is the exploitive relationship I strongly suspect it is, I can assure you that in time, you will feel much better if you get away from it than if you stay in it.

Of course, healthy or unhealthy, any parting or breakup can always tend to be hard and we'll usually feel sadness about it, even when we're making a good move. And like I said, with relationships with the kind of history and dynamics you're describing, those feelings may be even rougher on you at first.

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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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-Firefly-
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Hi poetrylover, I hope you don't mind me jumping in here but I just wanted to add a little to what Heather has said. I've experienced something similar to what you're talking about so I thought it might be helpful to share.

I started seeing this guy when I was 17, and he was 30 (I'm 23 now). I had met him two years earlier, and he was in a position of authority over me. We started fooling around, but he never wanted an actual relationship, and he wanted things between us to remain a secret. I kept asking him if it would be ok to tell my two best friends, but he didn't want me to and accused me of wanting to show off that I have a boyfriend (which is so stupid, looking back on it now). I ended up just telling them that I had a huge crush on him. We were always on and off, and I was really miserable a lot of the time.

About two years in, he used the secrecy to his advantage to hook up with one of my best friends, and asked her to also keep it secret. She didn't though, and confessed to me because she felt guilty, and things blew up. I was so "in love" with him though, so I wanted to forgive him and not her, even though he clearly knew what he was doing.

Very long story short, we were on and off for about 4 years. In the last year or so of whatever we had, we actually came out with the "relationship" (after he had moved away to the other side of the country) and I even told my parents. I lied about how long things had been going on though. No one was really surprised, but they also weren't very happy. My mom had never liked him. Even out in the open, the relationship wasn't particularly healthy, and there was still a ton of drama. He eventually ended it by e-mail, and I started picking up the pieces.

Like Heather said, any end to a relationship is hard, but it can be even more so if the dynamic was unhealthy. The thing is though, now I can look back and realize just how unhealthy things really were, and all the red flags that I missed, and I'm glad that it finally ended, even if I wasn't strong enough to be the one to end it. And while you may not have peace with yourself right away, it will come.

This is getting really long, but I'll add that I needed counselling after (and during actually) all that, and that it may be something worth considering for you. I read in your other post that you've tried counselling before and had a negative experience (for which I'm very sorry; that counsellor doesn't sound good at all) but it might be worth trying to find someone else to talk to, especially if you're still feeling depressed. A good counsellor can be so helpful at sorting out stuff like this, and it can feel really good to have someone to talk to really honestly about everything.

I hope this helps!

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poetrylover16
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yes thank you, this does kind of gives me that push i needed to support me in what [logically] i already knew i had to do but my feelings kept getting in the way and would make up reasons not to end it. like oh he let his mom know and he says he misses you and he cant be so bad if he doesnt just want sex, i always thought he needed someone to care about him and these little things were always in the way of putting my foot down and just saying we cant do this anymore. and my friend always helped that little voice.... so now i feel encouragment and support in this i think it will make this easier to do, it will still be hard but thank you.
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Heather
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Hey, poetry, looking at all the threads you've posted in today, do you want to talk about how this may very well be on big common thread in a LOT of what you have been going through?

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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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poetrylover16
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like how this effects everything i deal with or the other way around?
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Heather
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Like that in the thread where you talked about when you started cutting, you seemed to be doing that right around the same time you say you met this person, and it seems to have continued throughout that relationship.

Like that while it sounds like you met with a counselor who wasn't doing a great job in general, you also didn't disclose this relationship, which probably has a lot to do with how depressed you were/have been feeling.

Do you know what I mean?

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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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poetrylover16
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i started cutting before i met him and i didnt have a relationship with him when i saw the councler, whom only tried to convince me i had an eatin disorder... when i am in a depressed state of mind i thing that i am fat and ugly and nobody loves me... i feel like no matter what i do it isnt good enought, not smart not talented not pretty not this and not that, i feel like i'm nothing, there might be lots of things wrong with that relationship with him but he never once made me feel like i wasnt something atleast..... he made me feel good not bad..... i think my depression comes from other places in life... the whole no dad thing has always been an issue, also my being from a small town and growing up with being bullied never helped my confidence
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Heather
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So, it sounds like you're saying you have low self-esteem and a negative self-image. Those things can not only make us WAY more vulnerable to abuse/exploitation, they can of course make us feel depressed.

We're so new to this conversation together, so I don't want to bombard you with too much information too fast, but one thing to know is that so often we can feel good in abusive/exploitive relationships or, more accurately, not realize we're feeling bad or not right, especially if someone else is giving us attention and validation.

But one other thing to know is that if and when self-esteem and self-image are low and negative, we're usually not in the right headspace to engage in intimate relationships and make sound assessments and choices about them. So, once you start to get some real improvement with those things, I think you'll find your bar for feeling good with someone is a LOT higher and deeper. You'll also tend to find that the folks interested in you will tend to be healthier people, too. [Smile]

With the counselor, am I understanding then it's been...what, over for years since you tried that? You said this person met you and began engaging with you (if not sexually yet) when you were 12, so I might be misunderstanding the timeline.

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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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poetrylover16
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i started grade 7 and was already really depressed and started cutting it was stopped by the end of grade 7 when i met this guy at my moms work i only had contact with him at the workplace untill he no longer worked there about a year later... so i didnt see him or speak to him for awhile before we started the sexual relationship 5 months ago... i saw the councler about a year ago.
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Heather
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Okay, so my suggestion would be to think about giving it another try soon (you don't have to right this second) with another counselor -- one you choose and like -- to whom you disclose, over time, as much as you can, okay?

It's pretty obvious to me that this guy really came into your life when you were in a really rough place. I'm sorry that he didn't have the boundaries to recognize that getting close to you the ways that he did, and with his own mess, as an older adult, really was not okay and was only likely to add to your challenges in the long run. [Frown]

I want to make sure that with all we've talked about today, we leave you in a pretty good place. Is there anything you need right now I can help with?

--------------------
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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