17 dating 25: Should I tell my parents?

My younger sister is 17 years old, and I recently found out that she’s been dating a 25 year old guy for a few weeks. She met this man over the internet on World of Warcraft. He lives a few states away, so luckily I don’t have to worry about her being sexually active with him. However, I did catch her masturbating in front of her computer one night and I could have sworn I heard a male voice.

Supposedly he is a cop and soon to be heading off to the military where he will only have contact with the outside world 5 to 10 minutes a day. Her reasoning to be with him is that she’s never met someone with more in common with her than this man. I would normally take that at face value and accept it as truth. However, my sister is notorious for her boyfriends. There have been at least five that I know of within the last two years and she often doesn’t tell anyone when she gets together with someone or when she breaks up with them.

The previous boyfriend she had lived several states away yet she paid for him to come to our house twice, claiming he was her soul mate. She already had plans for their future together. At least this one was her age. Weeks after breaking up with him she was with yet another boy.

My sister was diagnosed several years back with chronic depression, to the point that she had been planning her own suicide. I don’t want to hurt her more than I already have by telling her I disapprove of her decision but at the same time I don’t want to see her hurt by this man. She’s already dated a 19 year old when she was 15 that turned out to be using her. He would often call her and “persuade” her to masturbate on speaker for him. She only told me about this a year later, confessing that it was creepy but she thought to much of him at the time to do anything about it. I don’t want her to end up in the same situation with this man.

She’s claimed that she plans on talking to my parents but hasn’t found the right time as of yet. It’s been several weeks and when I told her that if she hadn’t talked to them within two weeks then I would she said that was too soon.

Am I wrong to want to inform my parents? Am I being too harsh by telling her that the relationship is creepy and could easily go wrong? As her elder sister, does it fall within my right to be concerned about her or should I f*** off like she told me to?

I am at a loss as to what to do.

When I was 17 I dated a 22 year old and my parents reacted with zero understanding, only anger. Granted, the relationship was inappropriate, but it would have been nice for them to at least ask me why I did something like that, instead of instantly getting mad and forbidding me to see my age appropriate friends who had nothing to do with it. They were concerned about my safety, but in my defense, this guy was a co-worker and I knew his family, so it’s not like I was running off with random strangers from the internet.

So based on that experience, it may be helpful for your sister to have a sympathetic adult to listen to her and try to understand why she has these relationships. Do you think it’s related to her depression and she’s trying to validate herself? Do you think your parents would come down on her in a way that could make her depression worse? And most importantly, is she being treated for her depression?

The most worrying part about all this is what she’s doing in front of the computer. Maybe this is some random WOW geek who likes to watch girls touch themselves or maybe this is a perv who’s recording it and will post it all over the internet. Have you told her that this could happen? I would ask her how she would handle it if something like that happened.

If she’s not willing to talk to you or listen to any sort of reason, then yes, tell your parents, especially if she persists in sending videos of herself to men. But if she’s just chatting with the dude, as long as she’s not sending him money or trying to run off with him, I think it’s important to be a trustworthy voice of reason. Always telling your parents about stuff like this would destroy that trust.

Without knowing how your parents would react, it’s hard to say. Tough situation. I dealt with my little sister making horrible decisions about boys (who were, at least, boys, not 25-year-old men) when she was a teenager too, and I was the one she confided in, and our parents definitely do NOT understand…so it was really hard :confused: I spent about a billion hours trying to reason with her, but got nowhere (despite her desperately WANTING my advice…it wasn’t unsolicited lecturing), and that seems to be the typical response from teenagers about such things. Good luck and I sympathize.

I say leave it alone and monitor from a distance. Try and make sure she’s not making any extraordinary decisions. Nobody will be able to talk her down from this and any attempts to intervene will likely push her farther away. I myself struggled with bouts of depression at a young age and the most important thing was to have people there for me, not against me.
I also don’t feel 17 to 25 is all that bad.

I think 17 is old enough to make your own decisions in dating. You know what she’s doing, she is confiding in you, and you are advising her - that’s good. I don’t see the point in involving your parents if she clearly is uncomfortable with doing so. This guy may be bad news, or things wont work out between them, but telling her that or even forbidding her to speak to him isn’t going to make her cut off contact, and will make her feel attacked and more depressed.

My younger sister was 17 and started dating, and being sexually active with, a 22-year-old she met at a party outside town. My mom was an over the top asshole about it when she found out. They have now been married a year, he’s a great guy, completely devoted to her and they have tons in common. I don’t think men in their 20s with teenage girls above the age of consent is inherently unhealthy.

You should tell your parents if she has not done so in the two weeks you gave her. She is vulnerable and has already been shown to have been sexually manipulated by a long distance boyfriend. A 25 year old who is dating a 17 year old is not to be trusted. If you don’t think a guy would drive through several states to hook up with a girl you do not know young men very well. You have a responsibility to do what is best for her. Her depression could get worse if this man does something to her or breaks her heart.

I think it’s unhealthy more often than not. Good for your sister that it worked out but I wouldn’t use that as justification for other relationships.

It would take a good bit of convincing for me to swallow that a 25 year old is genuinely interested of the company of a 17 year old mentally, physical attraction aside and vice versa. Being nice, a good listener, and present do not count. Being interesting, engaging, and challenging (in the best sense of the word) would.

I’m not a psychiatrist but to me it seems pretty obvious that with the depression and the acquiescence to doing things she’s not comfortable with, this is a clear cut case of a girl with low self esteem that finds value in the attention of men and is desperate to claim that attention wherever found. How to right that ship? That’s a much tougher question to answer.

My parents were 17 and 24 when they started dating- they’re still together.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s certainly something to be wary of, especially in a situation like this, where she’s quite vulnerable, and he’s a total unknown quantity.

Still, telling a 17 year old that they’re not allowed to get involved with a guy is about as useful as telling your dog not to roll in smelly stuff. The moment your back’s turned, they’ll be doing it anyway…

Yeah, just wait 6 months or however long it is til her next birthday. I’m sure something magical will happen on that day, where she will, all the sudden be mature enough to be in said relationship.

Buy her some condoms. At least she will have a reduced chance of pregnancy or STD that way.

My aunt starting dating her husband when she was 16 he was 26. They’ve been married forever. Different strokes

I would not tell the parents. She’s 17, she obviously has had romantic/sexual experience, and your parents don’t sound like the most understanding people in the world. Particularly if this guy is on his way out to the military, you don’t want to set up a Romeo/Juliet dynamic.

How old are you? It would not occur to me, as a sister who is a few years older than the other, to rat her out. I wonder if your sister’s past problems has led to everyone being a caretaker for her, and no one just being a friend/support system. Even without depression problems, that can be super frustrating, and lead to more secretive behavior and withdrawal from everyone.

Maybe you just need to be, you know, a sister to her. Not a mother. Talk to her about this guy, without judgment or lectures. Maybe talk to the guy online via webcam/Skype, just the three of you hanging around with each other. Instead of treating your sister like damaged goods, just treat her like a normal human being, and go into the conversations as a friend/sister. What’s he like? What does he think of her? What does she like about him, etc.

The sex thing, I’m kinda meh about. She’s 17. She’s horny and excited by Sex and figuring out how what it means to her and how it works and everything else, just like you and me. With the exception of the danger of it being taped/displayed (which could happen with anyone), I don’t see the big deal. There’s no danger of pregnancy or STD, and it’s totally a part of any relationship, so…yeah. And if you push on this, and make her feel bad/ashamed/stupid, then she is less likely to look for you to help if she does get caught in an uncomfortable or vulnerable situation with it.

And, why the assumption this guy is a creep? I would say the odds of him being a creep are elevated because of the age difference, but I don’t think it’s an automatic given. And you don’t know this guy at all, or how and why your sister feels this way about him. I met my husband when I was 19 and he was 26, and we’ve been together for 15 years.

I say you need to back off, and actually treat your sister like a fully functioning human. Don’t just assume she’s a moron and the guy is a creep. And don’t rat her out to your parents - any trust or understanding your sister and you have will be destroyed, and frankly, it’s really none of your business.

ETA: why are you concerned because she’s had a lot of boyfriends? That’s completely normal and fine.

It is so incredibly obvious that this 25 year old guy is some kind of sociopath, that on that point alone I would ratchet up the pressure on your sister to get her to tell your parents.

Let’s just take it at face value that he’s a cop. What kind of awful police officer starts up a relationship with a 17 year old, especially involving some kind of sexual activity? Are you kidding me? But he’s probably a liar, based on the “I’m going to join the military and only have 5 minutes of contact with other people a day.” Give me a break.

These are huge warning signs.

Is your sister by any chance a plucky Scottish paraplegic with a fondness for Hitler’s speeches?

LOL. This thought had crossed my mind as well. Glad I’m not the only one. I could very well be wrong, but still.

wrong thread

Have you spoken with the boyfriend? Not to scare him off, but just to say hi and introduce yourself and wish him well in his enlistment etc?

Me three.

First post on the board, first paragraph, mention of masturbation. What are the odds?

This +1. I mean, come on.