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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Age gap, friends & kids.

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Author Topic: Age gap, friends & kids.
Aqlexd
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Hey I want to apologise straight off for probably repeating myself but I'm terrible at understanding anything.

Well here goes, as I've said before I like a man aged 31/32 in a position of authority. He takes drugs and was arrested a few weeks ago on a possession charge. He told me the other day that he has a child, 18 months younger than me. I was kinda freaked from this but I took it in my stride but now I'm wondering what the hell do I do now? Do I ignore him? (which I tried for a week & hated myself afterwards). My friends are all against him still, two who go to my dojo down right ignore him. He calls me beautiful, gorgeous etc, all the things I know my boyfriend feels but it seems different coming from him. As my counsellour says I have some weird thing where I enjoy putting myself in dangerous situations to get a rush from them, but now I want to make everything right but I don't know how. Or whether just to cut my losses. I'm going back to school in a two weeks & my friends are going to expect me to say that I'm through with him & it was just a summer fling. I'm sorry to tell you all this, I need someone not to judge & I ended counselling.

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Aqlexd

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eryn_smiles
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I think in this thread and your previous one you've mentioned alot of good reasons to stay away from this man. His age difference, him teaching you, his drug use and conviction, his child who is of similar age to you. As well, do I understand correctly that you also have a boyfriend? Have you talked with him about this?

I think that in cutting your losses, you would create a much more positive future for yourself. Do you still see him at classes? Who could support you with cutting off contact? Would you consider going back to counselling? That could be a really good support for you.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

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Heather
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I concur with eryn on this about a thousand times over. Beyond getting a rush from the danger of this -- which I think you recognize is something you need to work on changing, not enabling, for your well-being -- I don't see that this offers you anything at all. Well, nothing positive or even neutral, anyway. That's not about judgments, it's about looking at someone who is clearly a dangerous person in a few respects and clearly not someone anyone can count on as being safe, trustworthy or to consider the well-being of others. As well, it's obvious that, unfortunately, the ways he's likely manipulating people (the compliments, etc.) are working on you. [Frown]

In the case that you are having a hard time getting away from this person, you do know that contacting law enforcement is a valid option here, yes? As it is, from what I gathered in your last thread, he may have broken yet other laws in this interactions with you (and if it happened with you, it probably has with others or will in the future), so it's not like that would be at all inappropriate. In fact, given his history and the big picture here, it may be the most appropriate thing to do.

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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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Aqlexd
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Thanks for replying [Smile]

Yes, eryn, I do have a boyfriend & he's fine with the friendship between the older guy & I. I always see C (the older guy) at classes as he's training another member for his next belt. And my friends are all for cutting him out of my life, but once they know that communication has been cut, that's it. I'll be banned from talking about him or if I feel upset because I miss him. I have to be referred to the counsellor, last time I saw her was because my English mock story was too disturbing & too true. Ironically, she believed that C likes me.

If I phone the police, I'm ruining his life, is that fair?

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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I'm not sure I understand how you would be ruining his life by doing that. After all, if he wasn't making the choices he was making, there would be nothing to report.

Do you suspect he has no idea, either with the drugs or with picking up teenage girls via his position of authority, that these things are not unlawful or appropriate?

Let me try something else on for you.

Let's say that you drove drunk and hit someone in your car. Would someone who saw you do that and called the police be ruining your life by doing that? If so, how? And if so, how would they be responsible for your choices instead of you? Would it be unfair of the person you hit with your car and injured to call the cops? How?

Perhaps even more to the point, how would NOT doing what they could do to get you to take responsibility for things you should be responsible for help you or anyone you were doing harm to?

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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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Aqlexd
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Because he's not all bad, he's a wonderful person, he just misjudges some things.

No, they wouldn't they'd be doing the right thing, it would've been my choice to get in that car inebriated or not.

But picking up a teenage girl is different isn't it? I admit that for me it could end up in the same sort of outcome; pain, illness etc.

His child is what worries me, how could I explain to someone of my own age what friendship we have?

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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No, it's not different. I feel like you're kind of putting this person on a pedastal in a way that's obscuring reality here.

He is making these choices. He is choosing to abuse drugs. He is choosing to use a position where he is trusted to have appropriate relationships with young people to have relationships it is absolutely likely he knows are not.

Let's say he is "just misjudging." (Doubtful, but let's say.) If so, is he helped by people covering for him so he keeps messing up his life and potentially the lives of others? Is it okay for other people, like you, maybe others, to be hurt or exploited by him to "protect" him, the person with the ability to make different choices, the person who can choose not to take the responsibility (working with young people in a position of trust) he is if he can't honor the agreements he makes in that?

I also think you're somehow thinking that enabling someone helps them: it doesn't. It only makes sure they will keep hurting themselves and others.

I don't know how wonderful a person this guy is. So far, based on all you've said about him, I'm not seeing it, especially since in my book, wonderful people take responsibility and also work hard to make sure they are not doing others harm. Not seeing it here.

Look, you don't have to report this person. But I do think it's important for you to take care of yourself, at the very least, and also value yourself. I think that continuing to enable this person and stick around so he can keep exploiting you, and also potentially draw you more and more into the mess his life clearly is stands counter to both of those things.

Getting away from someone like this, and holding them to take responsibility for their choices isn't about good or bad people. It's about taking care of yourself, not enabling, and doing what we can to limit harm someone does to themselves or others when they are not setting those limits themselves.

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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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Heather
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Also, if he doesn't have a choice -- like a drunk driver does -- in choosing to pick up/hit on/woo young women he's supposed to be in a position of trust with, can I ask you how any of the compliments he's paid you, the things he's said or done you've taken to show you're special could be that?

I'm not saying you're not special, mind you. Please know that. What I'm saying is that it can't go both ways. He can't somehow be doing what he is without choice or control and then also have any kind of meaningful relationship where the other person is anything but totally random. Do you know what I mean?

Btw, I know all of this is freaking hard. It sucks to try and work out how someone doing something to or with us that is not okay or just otherwise messed up/exploitive can also make us feel good, and it sucks even more when we start to understand and realize that making us feel good, flattering us, whatever is often just part of how they manipulate. because of COURSE we want to feel special and like an exception and like someone sees our specialness. And people acting like he is lay it on so thick that it can feel good and be easy to distance ourselves from what's really going on, because that feels bad.

So, I guess what I have to ask you to do is trust me here, in knowing that when you get past wanting to endanger yourself like you say you have a history of, get away from people putting you in a dynamic of manipulation, and get in a space where people really DO see your specialness and confirm it without any agenda, it feels SO much better than this.

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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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Heather
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(Just FYI, I need to take a break for lunch and such. But I don't want you to feel like you have to sit in all of this alone: you don't. I'll be back and am happy to be in it with you for as long as you need today, and as you know, there are others here ready to give you care and support, too.)

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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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Aqlexd
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He has had a relationship before with someone in the dojo who's 9 years younger than him, but she was 18 so it was "okay" I guess.

He's made them seem like real compliments by showing me his lyric book, his self harm scars & told me about his child (1st outside of his family to know). He doesn't lay it on thick, I've had guys lay it on thick & he says it when I've caught him staring at me (not in a weird way like looking at my face).

I do trust you, but I don't think he's manipulating me.

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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Just so you know, today is the day off I usually take, so I won't be around again until tomorrow. But I didn't feel okay about leaving you hanging here.

About that previous relationship: chances are, there's a pattern here. There usually is in situations like this. So, it's very likely that before he got involved with that person at 18, he was kind of setting her up for it from, say 16, the way it seems he's been doing with you for a couple years. Again, this isn't okay in my book.

When we're in a position of trust with young people, when we're supposed to be their teachers or mentors, that's something most of us take really, really seriously. That involves a lot of things, but one of the things it means is making as sure as we can, as a constant practice, that we have really great boundaries (which takes real effort and care), and that we're not putting our needs or wants in a different kind of relationship on that young person. That we really are being their teacher or mentor, and that we're teaching them well. Effectively, teaching someone that they can't trust someone who is supposed to be their teacher or mentor to be without a personal and hidden agenda is teaching someone something pretty awful, if you ask me.

I'm just really not sure what else to tell you with this. We've been talking about it for a while, and the things we've mentioned as being likely patterns with him have been things he keeps proving to be so. In other words, the evidence is there to support the hypothesis.

But no one can -- or should, IMO -- make you make a given choice. These choices are yours to make and take the responsibility and credit for. I feel like there are some things you're just not seeing here, and I'm not surprised you aren't, because it's really textbook not to in this kind of dynamic. Not while you're in it, anyway. But dragging you kicking and screaming into what I'm seeing wouldn't be ethical or fair in my book, and certainly wouldn't be respectful of you, even if I'm concerned about you. So, I feel like all I can do at this point is say what I/we already have, hope you also give weight to what all the people around you who care about you are also saying (which seems to be the same thing), and make a choice around this which is about whatever involves you taking the best care of you possible, and only attaching yourself to other people who are truly committed to do the same, and who even know how. I don't think someone who clearly can't even take care of themselves can even know how to take care of someone else, or is at all likely to make the choice to do that. Again, I think that's been clear in this situation.

My very best advice to leave you with is to talk more to your friends, talk to a trusted adult -- one really worthy of it, like perhaps your counselor -- and make sure you're giving them the whole truth. Then just listen. From there, try and move towards what's really, truly about your best well-being.

If nothing else, when you go away to school in a couple weeks, try and put this on the shelf, okay? Enjoy that new adventure, let yourself get really immersed in it, inspired by it, give yourself some real space away from this. Then, maybe, in a month or two, kind of revisit this in your head and your heart, see how you feel then. It can sometimes be a lot tougher to take care of ourselves in environments where we have a long history of not doing that or not being cared for. Sometimes a change of scenery is just the thing, and I hope this does that for you.

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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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Heather
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(Just checking in to see how you're doing.)

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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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Aqlexd
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I'm not keen on talking to my friends about it anymore, everything went wrong the other night & one of them broke a promise to me. I cannot stop seeing C or talking to him, we're too good as friends and I can't see the counsellor, if I do then I'll have to go through a period of being watched closely by every teacher.

C cares for my well-being he really does.

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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Why can't you see the counselor?

Just something to think about, in general: how well do you think any of us can care for other people if and when we can't care for ourselves?

In other words, it's clear this person is choosing not to, or is incapable of, caring for themselves in some ways. That given, how can he care for others in ways he can't do the same for himself? How, too, does endangering himself in the ways that he does impact those he apparently cares for? You've mentioned, for instance, his sister does a lot of covering for him: how do you think that impacts her life? How well do you think he's caring for her?

Can I also ask you to think about what it means for someone to care for us? Can it involve hidden agendas? Isolating people from others? Choosing to involve someone in things that could put them in danger or really derail their lives?

You don't need to give me any answers on this, that's up to you. But I do think they're important things to think about.

In the meantime, how about what I brought up about just focusing on school and your social life there for at least the first few months to give yourself a breather from all of this and some space for fresh perspective?

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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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Aqlexd
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Because her office is in the middle of a busy corridor & everyone stares at you as you wait & I hate it, so I usually skipped our meetings.

Pretty well I reckon, we put their wants & needs first. We make them the object of our caring, easier to help someone else than yourself.

His sister loves him despite everything he does, he went through a rough period early on in his life & she helped him through that. They're extremely close.

If someone cares for us then we mean something to them, if they don't then we don't.

My schoolwork always comes first, and most of my friends are gone.

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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I'd seriously rethink the way you're suggesting people can care for others without caring for themselves. Honestly, it's just something we know, when we're coming from a standpoint of human psychology and interpersonal dynamics isn't likely at all.

As well, I'm not sure that I can see how someone who is, for instance, choosing to continually put people around them at risk of danger and crimes is putting their needs before his own. That's not that at all: it's continuing, rather, to put his wants and needs first, not second. Same goes with things around disclosures. You talk about you two being so close, but I find him never mentioning that he has a child your age until now stands awfully counter to that, and I also suspect he withheld that information from you for a very selfish reason.

I'd also suggest that when you think about someone caring for you, you think of it as different than someone meaning something to someone. What I mean -- and what is usually meant -- when we talk about people caring for one another is people supporting each other's well-being. I could mean something, for instance, to someone who does me harm. That doesn't mean they are caring for me. The fact that they choose to do me harm makes clear they do not, whatever I may or may not mean.

As well, asking how this impacts his sister isn't about her loving him or not. She can love him a lot and that doesn't mean that the choices he is making and involving her in won't have an impact on her. In fact, it means they are likely to have a bigger impact.

I'd strongly suggest you try and work something out with this counselor, okay? Especially since you've already talked about a history of self-injury and some other things everyone is going to need help with. I can totally understand how that setup for counseling is a poor one, and would incline students not to use counseling, which I am sure is not what the counselor wants.

Might you be able to send her an email, voice this issue, and see what she can do to change that?

[ 08-27-2011, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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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Aqlexd
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Maybe he did withhold it for selfish reasons, but he felt that he could tell me.

What's the difference between meaning & caring?

I've told her before but the school refuses to move the room she's been given. This is the first year we've ever had a counselor.

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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quote:
What's the difference between meaning & caring?
I'd say it's action.

In other words, what someone means to us doesn't say anything about how we behave towards them or with them. Demonstrating real care is about actions, about things we do (or don't do), not just about what we think or feel.

We can mean the world to someone, but if they treat us poorly, it's not like the fact that we mean something to them makes that healthy or makes up for the way they treat us.

For instance, you say you mean something to this person, but I see him making choices in regard to you that don't demonstrate care for you.

Per the counselor, have you ever asked if she's able to provide support via email, as a possible solution?

Mind, I do think that if you feel you are forced between choosing to get no help with your mental health and your life, or to get help and have some other people know, the latter is still a way better choice.

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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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Heather
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I realized it might help to give you an example.

When I was a teenager, there was this older guy (coincidence, really, this is about an older guy, but he was), who started hanging around me and my friends a lot. When they'd go from the park or coffeehouse where we hung out, he'd stay, offering to walk me home, etc. I let him a couple times because I didn't think anything of it.

Then he started leaving gifts outside my apartment door. My Dad let him into our place once when I was sick not realizing he wasn't someone I wanted around: he had brought me soup. Then another day he showed up at our door and when I opened it, he pushed a bunch of kissing on me and I drew a very firm line: I don't want to kiss you, I don't want these presents please take them back, I'm not comfortable with you following me around, etc.

He went into this monologue about why I was meaningful to him: I had a connection with a friend of his that died (my ex-boyfriend), I seemed very caring and wonderful to people, I was beautiful, he felt we were connected in some mystical, magical way. I reiterated that while some of those were lovely compliments, and I understood he felt the way he said he did, I needed him to respect my boundaries and leave me alone.

A week later, I was taking a shower with the window a crack open -- lived in a basement apartment, the window was on the side of the shower -- and all of a sudden this guy came out of nowhere and pushed his hand inside my shower. I yelled, he kept grabbing. I reached to the sink where my Dad kept the scissors he used to cut his hair and jabbed it out. THAT finally made him stop right then, and he stopped coming around.

And all of this from someone to whom I was meaningful.

Get my gist? We can be meaningful to people all we want, but that doesn't mean they're safe for us, healthy for us, their motives are good or that they will treat us with care.

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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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Aqlexd
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Yes, but I still think that he's within some boundaries, yes breaking the law regularly is not a good boundary to break but he's there for me when I need him. He makes me laugh & is one of the few people talking to me. His views on life are not what some people would consider good ones to influence on a younger person but I still think he's good.

& as for the counselor I'll ask when we go back, until then I'll use the Samaritans email.

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Aqlexd

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Stephanie_1
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Aqlexd: Can I ask you to put yourself in a different position for a moment? You have a friend that you really care about, and it's them in this situation. What would you think? How you you talk to them about what's going on and whether they're really in a safe place, not just physically but mentally/emotionally too?

I see you saying "I talk with this person because I don't have a lot of people to talk to" which makes me think about some of the friends I had growing up. Our group grew slowly, but those in that group were people that would do ANYTHING for one another. That were in a good place for themselves and each other - that was conducive to friendship and relationships working out. Which also makes me ask: Given this has been on your mind in such the way it has, both with and without your friend's opinions - in another thread AND this one... are you really feeling like it's that friendship that's completely working for you, that is conducive to friendship that's not causing you a lot of worry and strain? Sometimes relationships and friendships alike take work... when it's more work that anything it's really important to re-assess. As well? Friendship should be good for everyone, emotionally, mentally, legally, soon and so forth.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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Aqlexd
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If it was my friend in this situation I'd support them, they think is good for them. I'd give them advice but I wouldn't lecture them as mine have done to me.

The friendship does cause me some strain, only because I know that his age affects a lot of people's views on him, they judge him straight on his age & his lifestyle. Yet it's the relationship that we both want but cannot participate in yet that causes me the most strain because my family would never, ever like him, neither will my friends, some of them refuse to talk to me because I've expressed how I feel.

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Aqlexd

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Heather
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Let's maybe try this: if you understand that WE know that an age difference all by itself doesn't mean a relationship is automatically unhealthy -- meaning, we're not evaluating this just by that merit -- we do you think WE are all so concerned about this and you in it?

And with your hypothetical friend, if your friend thought something you were sure was very emotionally unsafe and unsound for them was a good thing -- and you had information which made clear to you they haven't been in the right space to know what was safe and what wasn't -- you'd not advise them against it?

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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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Aqlexd
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I think you're concerned because it seems like he's repeating his behaviour & because of his lifestyle & life choices.

I'd tell them my view & points about it once & if the discussion after that was unreasonable I'd stop. Never once would I reduce them to feeling alone, or leave them to cope with it on their own. Also I'd go with them if they had to go somewhere e.g. gig to get drugs or someone's house. To keep an eye, so to speak.

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Aqlexd

Posts: 49 | From: Wales, United Kingdom, Europe | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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By all means, those are some of the reasons I'm concerned.

I'm also concerned because he seems to have a pattern of using a position of trust with young people in an exploitive way, and because you have a history of self-harm which I know (all too well, and personally as well as professionally) often makes it very difficult to see harm coming and recognize it for what it is.

I hope it's okay to be very frank. If I'm overstepping, or saying something that feels hurtful, I'm very sorry and I hope you'l know it's not my intent.

Given his pattern and what very much looks like grooming he did with you from a young age, I'm also really worried you're going to find yourself in the spot plenty of young people do with adults like this, where you age out of the age of person he wants to be around, and watch as he grooms someone else younger than you. I know that is usually terribly painful for people, not just because then you have to see that people's worries were correct, but because it's a pretty huge, icky-feeling kind of rejection.

Personally, I'd also hate to see you wind up in legal trouble because of his addictions. Addicts often take other people down with them and that can really really derail your life.

Lastly, I'm concerned when you say this is the kind of relationship you want. You've made clear he's been dishonest with you. He seems to have misused his position with you with his own agenda (he's old enough to have known what we wanted well before he approached you directly). He's what sounds lie a serious addict, to the point he comes to his job high, potentially endangering everyone he teaches (especially when we're talking about something where injury is already a possibility, via the sport). That just doesn't seem like something awesome to want, you know? I feel worried that you have set very low expectations for the kinds of relationship you could have in your life, with people who don't do any of these things.

I'm not sure what you want at this point, and I don't want to nag or lecture. I've kept talking because you've asked for help with this more than once. I'm willing to keep talking if that's what you want, and should you keep asking for help. But if you don't want advice or help anymore, you please just let us/me know, and I assure you, we'll respect your boundaries.

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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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Moire O'Searcaigh
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Okay, Aqlexd, I'd like to talk with you.

I was in a couple of situations like yours. So I feel like I can help somehow.

Teachers/ people with authority know when they've got you, and though you say this fellow's different, and he might be, I think he knows where he is with you. He's a druggie, and that's not good in any relationship. It's too much trouble, especially as you saying he was arrested for possession? He could lose his job for that and his relationship with you!

I don't know about the laws in Wales, could you clarify on those relating to you and him?

I used to be in a relationship(?) with a teacher at school, when I was fourteen. It wasn't good for either of us. He lost his job. He also was charged with statutory rape.

I don't mean to be personal, but how far have you gotten with this man?

You do need to talk to someone, have you seen the counsellor at school yet? or called Samaritans, or something?

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Aqlexd
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Hello Moire, sorry I haven't replied first week back at school has been hectic.

He wont lose his job for being a druggie.

Because he's an instructor/person in authority then it's illegal because I'm under 18.

We've kissed & fondled but only that so far because I'm grounded atm & am not allowed to go to his town.

I haven't talked to anyone yet apart from Heather, who's advice has been great.

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Aqlexd

Posts: 49 | From: Wales, United Kingdom, Europe | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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