How to handle daughter dating older guy (Long)

I’ve been a lurker here for some time, and I’ve seen some great advice given out. I’d love some words of wisdom for my situation.

I found out that my 17 (18 in 6 months) year old daughter is dating a 25 year old guy that she had previously only been friends with, and I’m not sure how to handle this.

First off, my Daughter is a smart, funny, mature, independent girl with a lot of friends and who does very well in school, and is preparing for college next year. She hasn’t dated much, and that has been by choice. She broke up with her last boyfriend (who was her age) because he always had drama going on around him, and unlike a lot of teenagers I know, she hates drama. (She’s up to ears in it now, though!)

Daughter met him some months ago when her friend got her uncle (The Guy) to drive them to the mall. Since then, he has driven their coed group of friends around town to movies and such on occasion for some months now. This whole time, I’ve been constantly asking why is a 25 year old guy ok with hanging out with a group of 17-18 year olds? Just didn’t sound right to me. But Daughter said that Guy doesn’t drink and all his friends do, and he doesn’t like to hang out with a bunch of drunk people. So I trusted her and let her go. By now, I’ve met Guy a few times and he actually seems like a nice person.

So the last few weeks, I notice her texting and talking on the phone to Guy more and more. I start to question her on the nature of their relationship. A lot. But she insists they are just friends.

Today the shit has hit the fan.

Her dad and I (We are divorced, but try to keep a united front in the raising of the kids) found out they have been dating for a while and are possibly having sex. She and I have discussed sex, safe sex, responsibility and consequences on numerous occasions, and she has confided in me about some of her friends activities; some that she disagrees with. On that note, I feel she is comfortable talking and being open with me. (We’re going to talk more specifically later tonight)

I know she lied about dating because we would not have approved, and that is true. So there will definitely be consequences for that, but as for the rest, I am at a loss. I can’t change what’s already happened; I just want to find the right way to deal with it and move on.

My knee jerk response is 17 and 25? NO F***ING WAY! But knowing her, I can understand what an older person would like about her. She’s always had her head on straight, I don’t think for a second she would allow anyone to pressure her into anything she didn’t want to do, and I’ve always believed she is WAY more sensible than I was at that age. So I generally trust her judgment. But now that she’s lied, I don’t know what to do.

And Guy has called apologizing about lying and they both have said he wanted to tell us, but she didn’t. He also said that he would do anything he could possibly do to show that he really cares for her. And I think he really does.

On the other end of that is my ex. I spent a lot of time today talking him out of finding the Guy and doing bodily harm to him. He has refused many times to even meet the Guy when he thought they were just friends, and now has labeled Guy a sick pervert. :rolleyes:

I don’t think he’s some sicko perv, but I AM uncomfortable with the age difference. I feel like I can only condone or condemn the relationship, and neither one really sounds like the right thing.

We made it to 17 without a bit of trouble, and now I just don’t know how to handle it. I don’t want to push her away with ultimatums and demands, as she will be 18 soon; she could just go do whatever she wants anyway, then. Conversely, I don’t want to treat the situation too lightly.

Or, hell, maybe I’m just overreacting about the whole thing. I just don’t know.

I’m planning a long talk with her later tonight, then talking to her dad and then figuring out where we all go from there.

Any and all advice would be very much appreciated.


You can piss her off for the next six months trying to prevent something she will do anyways, or you can realize there is nothing much you can do, there is not that much of an age difference and she’s not a little kid anymore. I guess you could call the cops and ruin his life for doing something entirely normal.

I am no expert, but I taught in a public alternative high school (13 to 18 year-olds) for several years and feel that I got to understand the mindset of teens (at least a certain population of them) and their priorities pretty well, and I would guess that the chances that they are not already sexually active are about the same odds that Pres. Obama will drop Joe Biden as VP and ask John Walker Lindh to be his new running mate.

If I were in your shoes, I would get your daughter on birth control TONIGHT, as in RIGHT NOW, meaning grab her by the hand and walk out the door IMMEDIATELY, before you finish reading any more of my mindless drivel…

Good Luck!!!

Age of consent might be lower than 18 in the state in question. If it isn’t - I don’t have any idea what consequences, if any, there might be for parents who don’t intervene if they know that sexual activity is going on.

That being said, I vote for making a big huge deal about her lying, and also advocate for a visit to a gynecologist or Planned Parenthood. Tell the (female preferably) doctor that she is probably/definitely (depending on what she admits to) sexually active, and your daughter can be in the exam without you. An exam and maybe hormonal birth control is probably what should happen next. Maybe STI testing if she hasn’t been practicing safe sex every time, all the time.

Well, first I would say that when you talk to her, try to make sure you express yourself in a way that is about how you feel - rather than what she should do.

YMMV, it doesn’t sound like your daughter is heavy into rebellion, but you don’t want to get into the whole forbidding/I can do whatever I want! dialog. That usually creates a motivation for the child to act just to make a point to the parents.

Also, try to validate her feelings on this - I suspect she finds his “maturity” attractive, let her know that you understand that and admire that she values maturity. Then ask her if she thinks a 25 year old guy who dates a 17 year old is actually expressing maturity? IMHO he isn’t. He coulda waited until she was 18. :dubious:

I think it would be important to express that you feel finishing school and focusing on college should be a priority. You expect her to have relationships, that’s normal. But you’re worried that, because of where he is in life, it will distract her from her goals.

That’s just off the top of my head. It’s unlikely you’ll convince her to dump him, but if you can express your concerns thoughtfully, you may plant enough seeds with her.

As for The Guy, if he comes around treat him with respect, but I wouldn’t be afraid to tell him you don’t approve, and think he acted very unwisely in persuing her and that you hope she grows out of this phase. Oh, and pick on somebody more your own age, loser.

I am 10 years older than my wife, so i am not qualified to give help in this case. I did meet my wife when she was 25 though.

Yeah, but a case could be made that you were closer in the “stages of life” range than a 25 year old and a 17 year old high school student.

It doesn’t sound like the end of the world. On the plus side, the Guy has been in contact, so he’s not just some shady stranger, and now that this is out in the open you can at least try to set some rules. On the minus, even the smartest, most mature teenage girls in the world have been known to just equate age with authority and let themselves be pressured or abused by older boyfriends just because ‘I really want him to like me, and he thinks I’m so mature.’

The lying? Clearly not cool. And you might also ask her how she would feel about a male (or female, I guess) friend her own age dating a 12- or 13-year old (not the same difference in years, but IMHO you change just as much in those years as you do in your late teens and your twenties).

I’d say be accepting. You said your daughter is smart and has a good head on her shoulders and that the guy doesn’t come off as a sleeze. I doubt that he’ll treat her worse than a 18-19 year old guy would. Trust your daughter’s opionions, but talk to her to make sure she knows you’re there for her and that she needs to should stay strong.

-I too must add I’m 11 years older than my wife. We met when she was 26. This may color my answer, but I do think I was at a place where I could treat her like a real and valuable person much better that when I was younger and more insecure.

I’d try to find out what this guy’s other friends are like. Does he have a full time job? Live at home?

My personal hunch is that however “mature” your daughter finds this guy, he’s personally emotionally immature enough that he feels more comfortable being the big guy around teenagers than to be around peers his own age.

Ditto on the birth control ASAP. They are probably relying on luck right now, and the last thing you/they need is a pregnancy.

Ditto on I don’t think that anything you do or say will change her mind toward him, but will drive her away from you. You want to make sure that her relationship with him doesn’t derail her future college plans. Keeping your relationship with her as good as you can is about the best you can do.

That doesn’t seem like a valid comparison. A 17 year old who is dating a 12 (or even 13) year old is edging close to pedophilia; a 25 year old dating a 17 year old, not so much.

You want to make sure it’s easy for her to brake up with him later. Making this into too big of a deal will make that harder, because then breaking up will seem like a big dramatic thing that she doesn’t want to go through. A teen can spend six months in a bad relationship to avoid having an awkward conversation explaining it to their mom. I know it seems impossible, but I think you want to treat the relationship as casually as possible.

I suspect she’s not as level headed as you think she is. I was very good at projecting mature, because in most ways I was, but there were huge, bizarre holes in that maturity. All you can do, though, is keep the lines of communication open.

I would NOT talk to the boy. It was weird and creepy for him to call you. I mean, if they want to talk to you together, that’s fine, but for him to call you without her screams emotional immaturity to me. It’s got this weird “let’s talk as the adults in the situation”, like he himself doesn’t know how he is supposed to deal with you–as his peer or as a superior. Make it clear that your relationship is with your daughter, and he’s not a part of that.

When I was 17, I started dating a 28-year-old. The OP’s description of her daughter sounds exactly like the way my mom would have described me when I was 17!

Mom found out about my dating the older guy when I sat her down after work one weeknight and told her I wanted to start The Pill. She was floored. She knew she wasn’t going to talk me out of it, and that I would go behind her back to see him anyway. I had my own car and a job at the time, was doing fine in school and was on my way to college.

She resigned herself to the fact that I was going to date this guy, and was on board very quickly with preventing a baby. We went to the gynecologist that week.

I dated the guy through my senior year of high school and through my first three years of college. He was a programmer in the 80’s and early 90’s - he owned a house, drove a paid-for sweet sports car, and had lots of cash. A dream guy for a high school girl. He was somehow not a tool, but was in retrospect I think, of a certain immaturity that made him incompatible with women his age. He also never drank or smoked or did anything else remotely illicit aside from dating me.

Once I started to grow up and found different priorities while getting closer to graduating and starting to live on my own as a grown-up, we broke up. At that point I was nowhere near wanting to get married, and he needed someone who needed him. I wasn’t that woman any more. It made sense to either make the decision to marry or not be together any more.

I hope that lends some sort of perspective to the OP.

Speaking as a former teenage girl, I can agree with this. I remember telling my mom about what some other classmates were doing and how I didn’t think it was right. What I really meant was that sometimes I thought that way, and sometimes I desperately wanted to be doing that, and often I both wanted and feared sex at the same time. I kept up the facade of “yuck, can’t believe those girls would do that” because there was No Way In Hell that I would have talked to my mom about my sexual feelings.

Why are you jumping to that conclusion? It’s definitely possible that you’re right, but condoms are easy to get and from what the OP says, her daughter knows how to be safe about sex.

Yeah, 25 year-old guys are infamous for loving sex when wearing a rubber–Apparently the condom increases their pleasure 100 fold…:rolleyes:

Yes, but it’s reasonable to worry that a 17 year old would find it easier to stand her ground on the condom issue with a boy her own age than with an man who has overawed her, and might also be more likely to believe BS when it is from someone who has much more experience than her.

Doesn’t mean that it’s happening, but it’s worth worrying about.

*Edging *?

When I was 17 I dated a 25 year old, and I could have been described similarly to your daughter. It didn’t strike me as different in any way, and I usually felt more comfortable with guys older than myself. I would just let it run its course, if she is intelligent and level headed like you feel she is, she won’t be any more pressured into anything with this guy than she would be with any other. Let her make her own decisions, and leave the lines of communication open so she knows she can come to you with questions or concerns.