Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

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BrianneTollison
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Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby BrianneTollison » Sat Feb 29, 2020 7:09 pm

Dear Scarleteen

I'm 16, 17 in less than a month, and have a strong crush on a 26 year old woman I met online. She had a boyfriend when we met, and I didn't fall in love with her until after they broke up a week or two ago. I've told two of my friends about my crush on her, and they don't think it's too bad if I pursue her. My mom also isn't actively opposed to me dating her and knows I'm bi, but may not know I'm seriously in love with her and don't just think she's pretty. When I'm 17, I'm going to a camp where she's going to be a counselor. I know it's inappropriate to date a counselor as a camper, but I feel like I can become her friend, and then when we're good friends when I'm closer to 18, we can be girlfriends. I follow her on Instagram and twitter, but she doesn't follow me. We're both aspiring musicians, and she isn't homophobic/biphobic, but I don't know if she's wlw like me. I really feel love towards her, to the point where I got pettily jealous on the inside when I saw a guy next to her in several of her videos even though as far as I know, he's just a friend, though I would never try to steal a guy's girlfriend or wish a failed relationship on them so I can have her. Do you think it's inappropriate to date a 26 year old at 17, and if not, what should I do about my strong love for her?

Alice M.
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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby Alice M. » Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:19 pm

Hi BrianneTollison and welcome to Scarleteen.

First of all, I want to assure you that your feelings are not inappropriate. We feel how we feel -- we can only control our actions. This does sound like a situation where acting on your feelings is not appropriate, especially at camp where there is a pretty serious power imbalance regarding a camper vs. counselor. My hope is that she's good enough at that job and has healthy, solid boundaries and would not entertain the idea of dating a camper. This would be an inappropriate relationship.

Jealousy is another feeling that's perfectly natural. There are many suggestions for processing these jealous feelings here: Jealousy: Making Friends With a Green-Eyed Monster. I highly recommend you look through that list!

In the meantime, I'd encourage you to focus your energy on other things. Do you have friends who are going to camp, as well? Perhaps you could make some fun plans with them. Making space for your feelings can be helpful. For instance, acknowledging that your feelings exist and that you aren't doing anything wrong can be helpful, even if you have to repeat this to yourself many times.

Additionally, it sounds like most of your interaction with this person is online? Have you hung out outside of the internet at all? Sometimes we can develop strong feelings for people based on what we see online, which isn't usually the entire story of being with someone. We all put a certain face forward, especially in the specifically curated domains of social media and videos. That's just something else I'd like you to keep in mind.

Feelings like this can feel so big that it's tricky to see your way out. One benefit to aging, for me, (I'm 32) is being able to look back and see those seasons of crushes, sometimes obsessions, sometimes love... and look at them with the benefit of having lived through them. This doesn't mean that your feelings are not real -- I'm also curious about how many serious crushes or relationships you've had so far? If any, how did those look and feel for you? Any difference between IRL crushes/relationships or primarily online?

Besides the above linked article about jealousy, I'm also tossing these your way:

Puppy Love: The Do's & Don'ts of Crushes (With Help from a Very Small Dog)

Self-Care a La Carte

BrianneTollison
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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby BrianneTollison » Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:52 pm

I'm not too jealous of her boyfriend/potential boyfriend (before her and her last boyfriend broke up, I even fantasized about going to their wedding. I wasn't in love with her at that point, but even now I'd go to her wedding if she invited me.) and think I know how to leave an abusive situation. If she wanted me to have underage sex with her (legal in several states, but very illegal in our state of California), sext her (I know sexting is dangerous), not love anyone but her, demand my passwords on social media or otherwise abusively disrespected personal boundaries I'd tell my parents and the authorities. I don't want to date her at camp, I know that's an inappropriate relationship. I don't know anyone else who'll be at the camp, but I'm sure I'll make friends who're 16-18 like me and not spend the whole time crushing on her. We haven't interacted offline, but I'd like to go to a concert where she is performing one day, though that would be easier if she didn't mostly perform at 21+ bars. I've never had a serious relationship, and feel like I didn't even really know the difference between a good friend and a crush until I was 15 or so. When I was 15, I had a crush on an online friend several states away who was an 18 year old girl, but our relationship never went anywhere beyond us shipping our OCs. I also have crushes on two celebrities, one is a 37 year old woman and the other is a 43 year old man (yeah, weird). Crushes online are different than crushes in real life, and I know that. I also don't know what I'll feel towards this woman for sure when I'm almost 18 and she's about 27 a year from now, or when I'm an 18 year old high school graduate. We're both singers and pianists, and I feel like we click well, even though I can't know for sure yet because we won't talk in person until later. I have a lot of concerns about this relationship, like fearing I'll be a bad influence on my brother who's 13 if I date a girl so much older than me at 17, or that she'll suffer socially if we're dating if I'm 17 and in my senior year of HS and she's 27 and out of college even if we're happily together.

rubyted
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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby rubyted » Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:49 pm

Hey, Brianne! Hope it's okay that I'm jumping in on this post.

It sounds like you know what your boundaries are and what you wouldn't want to do with her. That's awesome! I'm glad to hear that you intend on focusing on making friends at camp and that you aren't just going to see her, which is great.

It sounds like you're doing a lot of fantasizing about this relationship and all the things that could happen if you were to date. Like Alice said, being infatuated with, seriously interested in, or even in love with someone isn't a bad or shameful thing, even if they're not someone who you can date at a given point in time. Having strong feelings is awesome! In this situation, it seems like it's causing you some tension to be imagining all the things that could happen between you two. Do you feel like instead of needing to have a romantic relationship with her right now, you would be interested in developing a friendship with her and seeing if that feels good to both of you?

I'm wondering about the difference here between love and serious interest or infatuation. I believe that you know yourself better than anyone else, and am not trying to tell you that you're not really in love.
I wonder if you could think or journal about the following questions, just to gain some clarity on what you are feeling and what you want from this relationship - what does love mean to you? What does it mean to be in love? Do you feel like you can love someone if they don't know that you love them, and aren't able to consent to receive that love from you? It's amazing that you care for her so much and want to support her happiness, even if it's in a different relationship!

Here's an advice column about love that might be of interest to you:
Love letter

I also think you could take a look at this article and see what you think:
What's age got to do with it?

BrianneTollison
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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby BrianneTollison » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:57 pm

Hey rubyted (Nice to see another person who knows ASL on the site, I'm learning it and hope to become fluent one day)! Yeah, I wouldn't have sex with her until I was 18 because it's illegal in my state, and know how to get people to help me out if the relationship becomes emotional/physically/sexually abusive. I will also focus on new friends when I get there and am trying not to be obsessed with her. I do fantasize about her and other things a lot, and have a pretty active imagination. I do like love stories, both happy like Tangled and Beauty And The Beast and tragic like Titanic and The Great Gatsby, and will admit to being a little in love with love. I'll be perfectly fine being her good friend, and seeing where that goes. I'll try to answer those questions for myself, and do care for her and would let her be with someone else if that made her truly happy. The articles you and Alice M. gave me are also, helpful, and I'm thankful for them!

Sam W
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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:09 am

Hi Brianne,

It sounds like you're working really hard to be mindful of your feelings about her and about your feelings around love in general, which is great! And I agree that taking care to focus your energy on lots of different things, including forming friendships, while at camp is a really solid plan. That'll help you get a full, awesome experience while you're there, and also head off her feeling like she's the focus of all your attention, which could be an uncomfortable situation for her.

One thing I want to add is that you may notice the feelings you have for her actually getting a little less intense as time goes by at camp. While being around the object of our affection can definitely increase that affection, something else it can do is help us get to a know a person better. When we get to see them as a full person, complete with flaws or things we simply don't find attractive, that can temper those big feelings a bit.

In addition to the questions Ruby offered, something you may want to think about is how you'll care for yourself if you find out she's not attracted to women. I know that's not a fun thing to think about when your feelings for her are so strong, but right now it sounds like it's a bit of an unknown. You've invested a lot of emotional and mental energy into imagining a potential future with her, so it's a kindness to yourself to have at least a little bit of plan for if you learn those futures are basically not going o happen.

BrianneTollison
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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby BrianneTollison » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:40 pm

Hi Sam W! I don't want to objectify her or become intoxicated with love for her, and I'm not centering my life around her loving me back. I'm focusing on making friends, building skills and other things that are productive, or at least trying to do those things. Sometimes, the feelings do fluctuate in intensity, and they may become less intense when I'm interacting with her in person,or they may become more intense or stay the same. If I find out she's not attracted to women, or just not attracted to me, or not available, I will move on with my life even if it hurts a bit. You can never force someone to love you or force yourself to love a person, and I understand that, and while we can't control our feelings controlling our actions is our responsibility and solely our responsibility as individuals.

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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby Siân » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:34 am

Great!

There's nothing wrong with enjoying the feelings while they're there. Understanding that they might not stick around or be returned is a really important point.

Was there anything you found particularly useful in the articles Ruby and Alice shared?

BrianneTollison
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Location: California

Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby BrianneTollison » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:18 pm

These articles were helpful, and I'm thankful for them and this site! Now, I may not be going to camp at all because COVID-19 might be very serious, but I will be okay. I'll still keep contact with her on social media, and am hopeful towards the future. We're both doing fine despite the fact that I'm trapped in my house and she's trapped in her apartment due to COVID-19. I have a lot to focus on even if I feel lethargic, like practicing keyboard for 45 minutes a day. Thank you for the help!

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Re: Deeply In Love With A Young Adult

Unread postby Karyn » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:57 pm

COVID-19 has definitely thrown a wrench into the works for pretty much everybody, but it sounds like you've got a good perspective on things and a plan to keep yourself occupied with some things you enjoy, so kudos to you for that!
"Where there is power, there is resistance." -Michel Foucault


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