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TOO YOUNG?
October 20, 1999
8:39 am
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xena
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I am very concerned about a friend of mine. He has fallen for a girl who is only fifteen and he is twenty eight.

I feel that love can know no boundaries and we cannot deny our true feelings, but I am also aware of society's general view on this and so i am afraid of giving him the wrong advice.

I wonder how others feel about this situation. Do you think this is the wrong thing to be doing?

October 20, 1999
9:27 am
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Cici
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A girl who is fifteen years old is not, by any means, mature enough to date a 28 yr old man. How can they have a free exchange of ideas and communication when there is such a gap?

This is not judgemental, but rather a consideration of developmental levels. Everyone passes through them: infancy, childhood, pre-adolescence, adolescence, youth and finally adulthood. In each stage we are presented with different challenges: adolescence is characterized by the search for individuality which provides a basis for building maturity during the youth and adult stages. Adolescence is a time of turbulence, identity crises, etc. often characterized by a certain level of self-centerdness. What is the basis for love at that age? There is so little life experience.

I have experienced a lot in my life, but still, when I've gone on dates with older men (I'm 20 now), I just find that they have different goals and face different choices and basically, our lives are just way too different. Even 25 is too much. A high school girl cannot comprehend the life of a career man, her life is split into 50 minute periods for 7 hrs out of the day. She packs her lunch. She has a learner's permit. She hasn't even gone to prom!

Love knows no bounds, I agree. My parents are 22 yrs. apart in age, my mother was 19 and my father was 41 when they married. But my mother also graduated college at 16 and had been working for the Vietnamese government during the war for 3 years before she met him. She supported her three younger siblings and sick mother with her wages. She was immensely more mature than her age indicated. So I think age differences can be overcome in certain situations. Not in moden-day America, where adolescence is extended even further into the college years.

October 20, 1999
10:31 am
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everblue
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I agree with Cici. I met my first boyfriend when I was 16, and we were "secretly" engaged by the time I was 17. He was only two years older, but I couldn't understand the problems he faced in college or in life when I was still fighting with my parents over curfew. We were together for 4 years, and by the time I had spent a year in college I realized how wrong I was about him. What I wanted when I was 17 was nothing like what I wanted only 2 years later! Meanwhile, I had promised this guy that I would love him forever and marry him, etc. Because he was even a few years older, he was more ready for this kind of committment than I was, and our breakup was much harder on him. He felt that I had lied about loving him and betrayed him. This was a really great guy, loving and caring and selfless... but I just wasn't ready to give him the things I had promised and as I realized that he wasn't the one for me, the breakup got pretty messy. In short, I lost my best friend because he couldn't bare to remain friends after the breakup. I've heard that he's married now, and I'm glad he's happy. But I still feel bad for the way I treated him - all because I was just too young to know better. Which is my point here: your friend's age difference is less of a problem than the fact that she is just too young to know what she wants yet, no matter how certain she thinks she is. Not to mention that her parents would probably have the guy arrested - it is ILLEGAL. Please tell him in no uncertain terms to look for someone who is closer to his own age. I don't think it's even normal for a 28 year old to be interested in teenagers. Good luck to your friend.

-everblue

October 20, 1999
11:22 am
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xena
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I understand your points...but everblue...tell me, what is normal?

It seems as though we are all striving for this idealistic thing that we call the 'perfect' relationship when lets face it...it's the not so perfect ones which teach us the most!

They do not intend to have a physical realtionship, but they are unable to deny their feelings. This has not occured overnight, it has taken weeks of consideration.

I have been in relationships of my own which from the outside or from society's point of view are acceptable and appropriate...yet to me they have turned out to be dangerous, adulterous and sometimes downright boring! This goes to show that conventional relationships are not always the best!!!!

I also feel that age is simply the numberof years we have been on this earth. It is not a reflection on our maturity, our wisdom, and it does not define our needs, desires or wishes. I think we live in an ageist society where we are losing the right to 'feel' unless it comes within certain contraints......contraints put upon us by others.

I sound very much as though I am defending my friend!!!! that's me! I always defend my friends to the hilt!

October 20, 1999
11:44 am
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bel
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Xena,

I think a 15 year old girl can show mature at that age depending on her upbringing and and what she gone through. But as CiCi and Everblue bring out they also go through alot of changes at that age. Something I want to share, on of my cousins got involved with a 15 year girl just and they got serious, he is in his early 30's and they had a realationship and her parents found out. The police were informed and now my cousin who has never been in trouble with the law before was just sentenced to 14 years in prison for statutory rape. Do I think that is unfair? Well yes he is my cousin and the girl was a willing particpant, but there is a law that says you may not have sexual relations with a minor no matter what. So it may be good the two people involved and yes I believe they can have real love for each other but the fact remains 15 years old is still a child...

Just my opinion..

Bel

October 20, 1999
2:09 pm
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Anonymous
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I agree with Xena, this agist society is so judgmental and takes into consideration little the spiritual and emotional maturity that can take place within a person at any age. Life isnt so black and white, love happens anyway.

October 20, 1999
7:33 pm
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nikihish
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I am 17 and believe that if a 15 year old dates a 28 year old that many bad things could happen. Pregnancy, the girl becoming emotionally hurt and so on. I believe the age difference is rediculous but I did want to date and almost did date a guy who was almost twice my age. It really does depend on the girls up bringing, how mature she is. If they really can say that they care for each other for the right reasons and what happens happens then I say let them go ahead and if it doesn't work out, oh well. Hopefully no one gets hurt.

October 20, 1999
8:12 pm
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everblue
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Hi xena,

I guess I should rephrase what I said about not being "normal." I mean that the majority of grown men who put themselves into situations where they can/want to date a teenager are pedophiles and people with real problems. There are SO many women out there closer to his own age, and he will find one. This girl is most likely NOT the love of his life after weeks of consideration. It takes some people years to find out what someone is really like, even when they aren't changing every day as they grow up. Yes, society is agist. And yes, there are different levels of maturity and plenty of relationships that have worked out. You say they won't be physical, but teenagers have raging hormones and men have needs, and it will happen eventually, definitely before she is of legal age. It doesn't really matter how mature this girl is, he is not giving her a fair chance to live her own life and figure out who she is or what she truly wants out of her life if he persues her at this age. If she were 25 and he 38, it would be very different than it is now. The girl needs a chance to remain young right now, even if she has plenty of maturity. I was a straight-A honors student with 2 jobs, abusive parents, etc... I had plenty of maturity but that didn't mean I had any idea what I wanted when I was a teenager. Just my opinion.

October 21, 1999
8:42 am
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Cici
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I hesitate from saying that weeks of consideration equals love. At that age, I would have to say it should take months.

Xena, I don't think anyone who is realistic is striving for the perfect relationship. We all know that true love involves accepting a person AND their faults, and we all know it takes hard work to stay together.

But my original point is that regardless of maturity levels, that psychological stage of development (adolescence) is characterized by fundamental changes in a person's personality. I am not, far and away, the person I was at age 15. I don't even retain the same friends I had at that point in my life. And everyone HAS to go through certain developmental stages in order to achieve mentally healthy adulthood. Otherwise you end up like my poor mother, emotionally stunted and unable ever fully mature. A relationship requires so much commitment of yourself that if you do not know yourself, it will be dangerous for your mental health.

My concern is for your friend. Being that he is an adult and thus with at least (hopefully) a mostly formed identity, in any conflict or break-up, he will be more hurt than she (as everblue exlplained).

Yes, this is an ageist society, but if they truly love each other they can stay strong and remain friends until she turns 18 and becomes, well, legal.

October 21, 1999
12:12 pm
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Anonymous
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on second thought she is a child and it is illegal and rather immoral therefore I recommend he reconsider and back off. I believe that one can love another of such a vast age difference but a fifteen year old girl is quite young and is still in need of maturing and parenting.

October 21, 1999
12:13 pm
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Anonymous
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If he truly loves her he will wait a few years...as Elvis did for his future wife, Priscilla.

October 22, 1999
8:10 am
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xena
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remember that here in England it is legal at sixteen!

She is only a month or two off that!

October 22, 1999
9:30 am
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everblue
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xena,

I didn't realize you were talking about England, but anyway by pointing that out you sort of contradict what you said about them not planning to be physical...Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's morally right! I still stand by my posts. Please discourage your friend. There are sooooooo many other people for him to find an interest in. I wish someone had been able to talk sense into me as a teenager. Dating older guys made me grow up way to fast, and my current boyfriend is still slightly bothered by my past relationships. You are in the unique position of being able to discourage the older, more mature (hopefully) guy instead of having to try to talk sense to a stubborn (most likely) teenager. I wish luck to both of them.

October 22, 1999
11:12 am
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Anonymous
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it really depends on the situation and whether there is true love there or true lust..It is so hard to comment on this topic, it is a tough one, really tough.

October 22, 1999
2:03 pm
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daizy
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This really is a big issue in todays society (in the US), however I'm not sure how things are in England.
I do feel that at 15 years of age, she may not have matured enough for a relationship with this man.
She, in my eyes, is still a young girl who needs time to grow, develope, and live her young youthful life. I'm more worried about the affects of having a relationship with an older man would have upon her. Like many young girls, she may pass opportunities to do "teenager things" to be with him. In turn, she may not regret them now, but as she grows and matures, she may end up regreting the things she let pass by.
I think back to when I was her age and to be with a man who was older than I would have been what they say is "cool", however a teen doesn't really consider or even know what a relationship can truely hold until they grow and learn more about themselves.
I know he is your friend and I do not discriminate with age and love in most ways, however I feel that this relationship could do more damage to her, per say him. I truely feel she will up things that later she will regret. If he really cares about her, then I say he needs to think about her and her youth and give her more time to grow and mature and then say, if she still feels the same in a couple of years - then go for it.

October 23, 1999
4:14 am
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xena
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I do not think I have contradicted myself over the physical point. I said that they do not plan to get physical, and this implies until it is legal and more importantly when it feels right for both parties.

I also would like to ask the question, 'what happened to 'experiences' ? and the benefit we can glean from them? Who ever said that each relationship had to be heavy, meaningful, deep, damaging, and all of the things that go with that? What about simply meeting someone that you connect with on a certain level and having FUN!!!! Why does there have to be this dark side to it when in fact each of us is only putting our oWN perception on it and SPECULATING! I think tears is right...so right.....when she says that each circumstance is different.

I believe there are risks involved in any relationship at whatever life stage....what happens when women reach the menopause? Do we tell them to not get involved in relationships because they may not be 'healthy adults ' while their hormones change....just in the case of women each month! This is far too much of a generalisation, and anyway, if the outcome had its negatives then surely that is something to learn from...another valuable experience?

October 26, 1999
2:02 pm
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daizy
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Maybe I didn't understand the situation as well when you first were describing it. I also want to say, "to each his/her own" - meaning it's their lives and they are the ones to make a choice.
A relationship with an age gap and one of them still being in high school worries me a little only in that I worry they might miss out on the teen years of experiance. Take for example my parents. They only have a 4 year difference between them. They married when she was 16 and from there on out she missed the rest of her teen years. Instead of graduating, she got her GED. She missed homecoming dances, proms, and just going out with friends. Don't get me wrong, it's a choice she made and has to live with, but I know that she regrets missing out on these things.
So all I'm saying is that if they do date or whatever, he still needs to encourage her to go with friends or do whatever teens do in your part of the world.

October 26, 1999
2:36 pm
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Cici
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Comparing menopause with the hormonal fluctuations of adolescence is like comparing apples and oranges. By the time you reach your late fourties, fifties, you have developed coping skills to deal with the changes.

Fun relationships are fine as long as both parties are aware of it. Unfortunately, when you're talking about the human animal, you're talking about a species that tends to get attatched to odds and ends for strange reasons, some of which are as lame as "it's just there" to deeper emotional attatchments like love or devotion. I can be friends...I AM friends with men who I just couldn't be involved with because they were too young or old, and thus out of my peer circle.

Ultimately, this is their decision. But I must say that as our society evolves to handle a growing population of older people, as we are able to live longer, people have begun to marry, etc. at older ages. I have seen a handful of relationships with men with much younger women and I have seen none of them survive and I've seen waaaaay too many girlfriends just pure and simple devestated by their experiences with older men. I'm not trying to judge this case on my own experiences, I'm trying to relay what I've observed.

She'll grow and change a lot in the next five years. He won't. It's a matter of developmental stages. I really think friendship is a much better road. I cheated on my present boyfriend with a friend. We agreed it was stupid and although we are attracted to one another, we are just close friends. I remain in my committed relationship, no one gets hurt, I carry the burden of my unfaithfulness alone. It's entirely possible to have a nice, cozy friendship with someone you're attracted to. And sometimes, it's much wiser. He's almost twice her age!

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