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AIBU?

to think my 16 year old shouldn't date a 21 year old?

140 replies

pollywolfff · 21/12/2019 22:50

Not much more than that really. My 16 year old has been 'dating' this 21 year old since February and I have finally been told. I am unsure how to feel. I have never met this guy. I know in the future it's a normal age gap but for now it feels odd to me. I am uncomfortable but I don't know if there is anything I can really do.

OP posts:
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overnightangel · 22/12/2019 00:15

“She's 16 now - how old was she in February?“

My first thought 🧐

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BarbedBloom · 22/12/2019 00:16

I had a boyfriend the same age as that and he treated me a lot better than guys my own age. The thing is the more you try to seperate them the more your daughter will pull away from you. I would just keep the conversation open and reinforce the idea she can talk to you about anything at any time.

I remember being that age though and boys my age or a bit older bored me. I was very mature for my age though due to my abusive household so appreciate not everyone is the same

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Purpletigers · 22/12/2019 00:22

My mum met my dad when she was 17 and he was 23 . Married when she was 22 . They're married 48 years .

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SeamusFinnigan · 22/12/2019 00:23

I wouldnt like it either, OP, and the secrecy would really bother me too. I agree with posters saying it's weird - Rachelfromfriends makes good points. It's also a very long time for them to have been seeing each other without her telling you. I would also maybe want to meet him and then gauge from there.

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scaryteacher · 22/12/2019 00:27

I went out with a 21 year old when I was 16. It lasted about 6 months or so.

I met dh when I was 18, so he must have been 23 (I'd just finished A levels, he was a Lt in the RN), started dating when I was 19, engaged when I was 19, and married when I was 20. I'm now 53, he's 58 and we are still very much married.

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Purpleartichoke · 22/12/2019 00:29

It’s not about age, it’s the power imbalance. Why would a decent young man want to date a young woman who is still in school, living with her parents, and has no money? Why wouldn’t he be seeking out his equal? In a few years when she has a degree and a job and is independent, an age difference of 5 years will be trivial, but right now it is huge.

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SourAndSnippy · 22/12/2019 00:31

I wouldn’t like it.

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Deadringer · 22/12/2019 00:35

I would be very concerned. I have a mature 16 year old and an immature 21 year old and they are poles apart. Yanbu.

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ToastyFingers · 22/12/2019 00:36

I was 16 when I met my now DH, he was 22.
To be fair, I'd finished school and was working full time, which is how we met. He was still at uni and living at home and we were pretty much on the same page in terms of life experience.
I've never felt anything but respected and 13 years down the line we have a great relationship.
I didn't keep him secret though, he met my family from pretty much day one.

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ferrier · 22/12/2019 00:39

For me it would depend entirely on the two people concerned and their relative maturity. Would also suggest that a 21 yo man is not necessarily 'looking for' a 16 yo. Sometimes it just happens that way. Our school sixth formers often got invited to the local uni parties so the outer limits of these would be 16 and 21.

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Alte · 22/12/2019 00:40

Personally I wouldn't like it, but at 16 I doubt I'd do anything. Hopefully DD learned her lesson anyway after being caught with a 19 year old boyfriend when she was 12...

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EveryKingdomOfRain · 22/12/2019 00:51

We're not in the 1950's anymore and as long as he treats her the way a real man should then I see no issues

What a daft thing to say. A big age gap would have been relatively normal in the 1950s. Women's expectations of having their own career were less- finding a good husband was a genuine and normal expectation. A 16 year old boy wouldn't be able to support a wife. A 21 year old graduate or time- served tradesman would be able to.

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EveryKingdomOfRain · 22/12/2019 00:52

“She's 16 now - how old was she in February?“

A very pertinent question.

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GrumpyHoonMain · 22/12/2019 00:56

At 16 it’s likely she looks a lot younger - that tends to be the main reason to be suspect. Pedophiles often get their legal kicks by going barely legal girls / women who could pass for even younger.

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Illcallbacklater · 22/12/2019 01:29

I always think they're not dating women their own age because women their own age can see them for what they are. I dated a much older man at that age, I thought he was really cool. Actually he was a creepy waste of space and a bit of a loser, who liked to see me in my school uniform. I hadn't even had my first period when I first met him.

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Illcallbacklater · 22/12/2019 01:32

*I say much older, he was in his mid-20s, 24 or 25 IIRC

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Pixxie7 · 22/12/2019 01:35

I think you should discuss contraception if you haven’t already and just keep an eye on the situation. If you try and stop them it will push them closer together.
In my opinion it’s not that a big an issue it might work out if not it will fizzle out. Sometimes a slightly older man can be more caring.

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scaryteacher · 22/12/2019 01:40

purple Why would a decent young man want to date a young woman who is still in school, living with her parents, and has no money? I must ask my dh that one, as that is effectively what he did with me at 19. He must have had a reason, and here we are 34 years on, still together.

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yorkshiregodscountry · 22/12/2019 01:44

I dated a 20 year old at 16.

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Marriedwithchildren5 · 22/12/2019 01:51

Big age gap here. 17 years together. Children. A cat.

People want 16 year olds to vote. They can consent to have sex. Move out of home. However they are vulnerable and cant decide who to date?

There is nothing to say she dates amongst her peers and wont end up with the dickhead of the century. Or she dates someone a few years older who ends up being the right choice.

Perhaps meet him first.

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pugparty · 22/12/2019 01:53

Nah not ok. How old was she in February?

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JKScot4 · 22/12/2019 02:02

Times have changed and it’s not so normal now, my DD14 and friends were chatting and are horrified at an S4 girl (15/16) dating a 20 yr old, they are a mature smart bunch of girls, even they questioned why he’s not dating his own age of girls and the girl isn’t having the easiest of times at school as folk think he’s a creep and only after one thing.

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Bluerussian · 22/12/2019 02:11

ferrier Sun 22-Dec-19 00:39:31
For me it would depend entirely on the two people concerned and their relative maturity. Would also suggest that a 21 yo man is not necessarily 'looking for' a 16 yo. Sometimes it just happens that way. Our school sixth formers often got invited to the local uni parties so the outer limits of these would be 16 and 21.
...............
That. It all depends on the individuals concerned and - what really surprises me and the op hasn't come back on it despite being asked - why hasn't the op met the guy after all these months? Could daughter be hiding something else not age related?

In mum's position I'd ask daughter to bring him home for a meal or something and then properly assess the situation.

Thinking about it, my mum started going out with dad when she was seventeen and he was five years older; they got engaged when she was eighteen and married when they were 22 and almost 27. What's more they stayed happily married until he died at 69. Different era.

However talking about this young man as being - possibly - a 'paedophile' is rather extreme and alarmist. Of course we have to be on our toes to protect our children but a chap of 21 who was a paedophile wouldn't be interested in a 16 year old girl. He may be quite respectful towards her as well as fond but mum will not know until she gets to know him which I think should be a priority. There's too much secrecy about this.

I wonder if the girl has met his family.

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StarlightLady · 22/12/2019 04:23

I don’t think it’s ideal. But l don’t think trying to interfere would help either. I would want to meet him though. Things will probably fizzle out in the fullness of time.

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Countryescape · 22/12/2019 04:48

Totally inappropriate at that age. What weirdo wants a 16 year old when he’s 21 🤮 Tell him to get someone his own age.

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