Post # 1
Regular bee going anon for this one. I just found out my younger brother (22) recently started seeing a girl who is 16, almost 17. This is legal in the state we live in but it is still really throwing me for a loop. My younger brother is pretty immature for his age – still lives at home, plays a lot of video games, never really dated – and the girl sounds mature for her age, but still. When I was 16 I dated someone 10 years older than me and it was a horrible decision that had terrible consequences (he ended up being a pedophile and going to prison). I know that this is different because it is legal and I know my brother is not coming from a bad place, but I can’t help but think about what they’ll both be missing if they choose to enter this relationship. She’s going into her junior year of high school. I know for me, being in a relationship with somone older really took away from a normal highschool/teenage experience. I also feel bad for my little brother because he’s shy and has connected with this girl. I feel bad they wouldn’t be able to have a normal relationship. They’d both keep it a secret from there parents. I love my brother and want wonderful things for him, but this is a mistake. I can feel it in my bones. He asked if I thought them being in a relationship would be a bad thing and I told him the truth, but I know in the end nothing I say will convince him one way or the other. I’m just venting and looking for any advice/support. This whole thing has been very triggering for me because of how terrible my “relationship” with an older man was. I’m not sure if I’m over/under reacting.
Post # 2
I mean you gave your warning and you can continue to… but in the end they’re not doing anything illegal and in the grand scheme of life… 5 years is not a lot at all. Most likely they’ll break up but you said yourself they’ve connected.
I would be not okay with them spending the night together and hopefully her parents are watching out for her too.
You won’t be able to stop them- if anything you’ll just fan the flames. So my advice would be to stop projecting your own (very different and so scary) experience on your bro and hear him out. Encourage a respectful relationship.
Post # 3
I dated a guy that old when I was 16. It sucked like any other breakup when we were over, but I don’t think either he nor I missed out on anything important because of our ages.
I am really sorry about how crappy your relationship was – but your brother isn’t that guy. It isn’t fair to pressure his relationship because yours was a bad one.
I do think it is a bad sign that they are not telling either set of parents though – that (especially at her age) is a huge big red flag. If they can’t gather the courage to inform their parents of their decision to start a relationship they don’t deserve to be in one.
Post # 4
When it is a legal relationship, telling him it isn’t appropriate probably isn’t going to help much. I think it would be better for him to just take it slow. I would also recommend that he meets her parents. Sneaking around is going to make everything blow up if they are caught. At that age, it will also make the relationship more normal.
I do think that’s a pretty big age difference for that age, but sometimes it seems to work.
Post # 5
babeba: I agree about them not telling their parents being the biggest issue. I know for my brother, he’s afraid to tell my parents because of my experience. The trial was hard on our whole family. I fear my parents will likely respond negatively because of what we went through.
MrsBuesleBee: I know that I’m projecting my feelings on to them. I only told him what I thought because he specifically asked. I’ve tried very hard to be non judgemental. He usually doesn’t share things like this with me and I’ve tried very hard to communicate with kindness and as little judgement as possible.
Post # 6
AB Bride: I didn’t blatanly tell him I thought it was inappropriate, because I honestly don’t know if it is. At this point I don’t think it’s really even a relationship yet. I only told him my opinion because he asked and I tried really hard to not say it in a judgy way because I know that will only make him not want to talk to me about it.
Post # 7
unidentifiedbee: Not every relationship is going to be like your relationship was. Maybe she’s a mature 16 year old. You said your brother is a little immature, so they might be on the same level. Unless you know this girl really well, you can’t speak for what she’s like or how this relationship is affecting her. You only know that it’s triggering for you.
Personally, I think it’s slightly ridiculous that you talk about what they’ll be “missing” if they have this relationship. What about what they might miss out on if they live their lives based on your bad experiences? What if this girl is perfect for your brother? You don’t know what they stand to lose or gain from their relationship unless your brother could potentially lose his job or something.
I know many people (including my parents) who met when one partner was still in high school and the other was older. Not all of them are still together, but a lot of them are. My parents are still going strong after thirty years. A good friend of mine has been married for eight, now, and she has pretty much the exact age gap between your brother and his gf. You can’t know that your brother is making a mistake just because this girl is young.
Post # 8
I don’t see anything wrong with this relationship. You’re so overreacting. Everuone needs their own experiences and everyone’s experiences are different. At this rate you’ll just push your bro away and IMO there is nothing remotly wrong with his relationship.
Post # 9
What actually is your concern about your brother being in this relationship? They seem to like each other and if the girl seems mature for her age then I’m sure she’s smart enough to make her own decisions. Are you afraid she’ll realize that your brother is not up to her standards and break his heart? Since he’s still immature. Because everyone goes through break ups and getting their heart broken. That’s something you can’t protect or predict. That’s the whole part of growing up and maturing. Maybe this relationship will be good for your brother. Since she seems more mature, maybe she can get him out of his Shell and make him see there’s more to life than just playing video games and staying home.
Sometimes being with the right person motivates you to want to do better and impress the person you’re with. And about her missing out on things because she’s dating your brother doesn’t sound likely. Your brother sounds like a 16 year old boy, lol, so they can be on the same level of maturity. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Girls usually mature faster than boys anyways. I always dated older and never regretted it. My husband is 10 yrs older than me. It’s apart of growing up and experiencing life. My ex of 8yrs was only 2 yrs older than me and he was very abusive in every way. So you can’t always base your opinions on age difference. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with your relationship.
Post # 10
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter's Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
My parents began dating at the ages of 15 and 20, and married four years later. They celebrate 40 years of marriage next year. I agree that not telling either set of parents isn’t great, but otherwise it could be exactly what they both need. If she’s mature for her age and he is young for his, it may well be the gap is less significant.
Post # 11
unidentifiedbee: like I said, I doubt your brother is a sex criminal. Your family will not have to go through what it went through before because of this girl. I think you may be (in this case) projecting your own trauma on the others in your family, which I understand is not uncommon.
have you ever seen a professional to talk about your triggers after your horrible dating experiences with that pedophile? A counsellor of some sort may be able to help you work through the fact this is triggering to you.
Post # 12
Nostawyn: It’s not really the age difference that bothers me. My grandparents have the same difference and are celebrating their 60th anniversary next month! It’s more that she’s an incoming junior and they’re in such different places in their lives and that they feel the need to keep it a secret. The sneaking around is what I’m worried about causing them both to miss out on things.
I recognize that I’m biased because of my experience and I feel a lot better seeing that other people who weren’t traumatized aren’t bothered by them having a relationship.
Post # 13
Atalanta: I agree about the overreacting!
OP, you said it is legal in your state, and that your brother is shy and immature and this girl is mature for her age, so it actually sounds like an appropriate relationship to me. I actually think it is a little immature of you to project your feelings about your age-gap relationship on your brother’s relationship, since the two are CLEARLY different – 10 years vs 5, and that guy was a criminal pedophile, which your brother is not!
I say support your brother by encouraging him to take physical stuff slowly, respect that because she is younger he should be careful to let her take everything at her own pace, and to always have safe sex. Chances are this will end when she’s 18 and goes to college, if your brother hasn’t matured and found a life path to follow by that time.
Post # 14
babeba: I’ve seen 3 different counselors (at different times, for various parts of the healing process) I only recently stopped counseling because I was in a much better place. This has been incredibly triggering (I just found out a couple of hours ago) and I emailed one of the counselors to set up a seesion asap.
DH seemed to think the potential relationship was inappropriate too so I thought it was more than me being sensitive around age gaps.
Post # 15
unidentifiedbee: How long have they been dating? I can understand not wanting to tell the parents if it hasn’t been very long. Meeting the parents is such a huge ordeal, especially when one of you is in high school. And if your brother is shy and her parents are pushy, she might not want to scare him off just yet.
If they’ve been together longer than four or five months, though, it’s time to tell the parents.