okay look. i get a few asks every now and again about age gaps in relationships and i know that there are exceptions to every rule but.
i know three girls my age, twenty four, who are stuck in relationships that they shouldn’t be in because an older guy groomed them when they were young teens.
one was thirteen when a seventeen year old boy started flirting with her. she was flattered. she started lying to her parents and sneaking around with him. she fell in love with him. he says he loves her back, and maybe he thinks he does, but he doesn’t act like it. he quit his job without telling her when she was pregnant with their second child, almost singlehandedly raising their first, because he just felt like it. no regard for the family. and she laughed about it when she told me, like it was the funniest thing, like he hadn’t endangered all of them on a whim. because he’s done so much little shit over the years that she’s accustomed to it. he always gets his way and she cleans up his mess because she loves him.
another girl works a full time job and then comes home to cook and clean because her unemployed boyfriend refuses to. she was fourteen and he was eighteen when they started dating and she is still convinced he’s going to change. he quit smoking when she threatened to leave but literally weeks later, as soon as he’d cowed her back into submission, he took it up again, and then tried to paint her as a villain for ‘trying to take away his joy’.
all three girls become completely different people when their partners are around. quieter, smaller.
when it’s just us they laugh as they tell me about the men losing their tempers over something small, like knocking over chairs is a rational response to her asking if she can go away with her friends for a weekend.
they’ve been with these men since they were so young they cannot imagine their lives without them. their entire identities are forged around these uneven relationships.
and that’s the key - they’re uneven. i don’t doubt that two fifteen year olds can get together and stay together happily, because they both had the opportunity to grow up within the relationship, at the same pace. if it’s a fifteen year old and a nineteen year old, though, one has already done so much more growing than the other. they’re at completely different stages of development, they’re psychologically unable to have an equal balance of power in the relationship.
basically, please don’t be flattered by older people showing an interest in you. instead, consider why they don’t want to date someone their own age, who is far more likely to stand up to them when they get controlling. all relationships should have equal shares, but age gaps between early and late teens, or teens and adults, don’t allow that. please don’t take a chance on you being the exception to the rule.