Teen Dating Someone Older

Teen Dating Someone Older

QUESTION:

your avatar   Ashley, 39-year-old woman

My teenage daughter is 16 years old and she is dating an 18-year-old. Is that wrong? It's just a few years and I believe that love should be based on how you feel inside not how old you are - true love should never be broken up. Even now that I am a mom I still know what it is like to be a teen.

ANSWER:

    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Ashley,

The age difference of two years is actually very little. Only two years ago, that boy was 16! As you say, what counts is that he treats her with care and respect, and that they have fun together.

At the same time, within our culture 16 is a little young to get too serious. Both these young people have careers to build, a few more years to enjoy without the responsibility of children, and a lot more to find out about the world before they settle down.

I have had a considerable number of clients who formed a long-term, committed relationship more or less straight out of school. Children came, and then the person reached his/her mid-30s, and felt that something was missing. In a way, such people can feel cheated. Some of them focus their vague dissatisfactions on their marriage/partnership, and that's only one step from blaming their mate for their unhappiness. And the next thing is an affair.

I've had both men and women come to me, crying, hating themselves. They love their partner, want to continue the relationship, don't want to put the kids through the pain of a broken family...but they had a series of one-night stands, or an affair, and it's all blown up in their faces.

So, it's fine for your daughter and her guy to have fun together, as long as it is responsible and mutually caring. But, at this stage, they should not plan for a life together. They should plan to have a life first.

All the best,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com

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