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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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EmmiJay · 22/12/2019 08:53

I wasn't even allowed to have a boyfriend at 16 much less date anyone who was 21! If your DD was 18 I'd say no problem but...😬 People on here saying they did this and it worked out well for them, thats all well and good for you but OP has been kept in the dark for nearly a year!

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Treacletoots · 22/12/2019 08:56

At 16 I dated a 20 year old after being thrown out by my narcissistic controlling mother. 5 years later he was arrested for making indecent images of children and was also incredibly abusive and controlling, (see a pattern?)

This is just one side of the story, but i would be incredibly concerned that a 21 year old man is interested in my teenage daughter

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AliMonkey · 22/12/2019 08:58

I had same age gap at just turned 17 and we were together, on and off, for 4 years. He had dated my friend (my age) when she was 15/16. I was actually more mature than him in many ways. He still lived at home. I was strong willed and said no to sex. My parents didn’t like him - though mainly as they saw him as wrong fit for me due to his life choices - but knew they couldn’t ban me. To be fair, I always knew he was wrong for me in long term (hence why I finished it a few times along the way) but enjoyed it for what it was. In those days under 18s were in pubs all the time so less of an issue re different lifestyles.

After I finished it for good, he was 26 and went out with 15 year old. That to me was definitely creepy but actually they got married had kids and stayed together 20 years).

My concern is more why she’s chosen to not tell you for nearly a year and how you didn’t know? Definitely get to know him, encourage him to get to know you and take it from there. You can advise your DD but don’t try to ban him, it won’t work.

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Ginfordinner · 22/12/2019 09:00

I too would like to know why you didn't know about this young man's existence until now.

It sounds like your daughter has been less than honest with you.

As the parent of a 19 year old DD I have met every boy she has been out with.

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lifeisgoodagain · 22/12/2019 09:01

It depends, as long as it is a healthy relationship I don't think 5 years is too much. Once you are older 10 years even is nothing

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mdh2020 · 22/12/2019 09:03

Surely this depends on the people concerned? I was 17 when I met my husband and he was 21 and at uni. No one thought anything of the age gap. We had the same interests and a similar outlook on life. I never liked boys of my own age. Why would anyone want to go out with a 16 year old boy? By the way, we’ve been together for over 50 years.

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IncrediblySadToo · 22/12/2019 09:04

She’s 16 & been dating him for a year. I’m more concerned about your parenting than his age. Where did you think your 15 year old was when she was with him?

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cato75 · 22/12/2019 09:29

I wouldn't be happy with this for most of reasons already stated. I wonder if he has any friends his own age? At 21 I would have felt uncomfortable if one of my male friends was in a relationship with a 16 year old.

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nowaypose · 22/12/2019 09:32

My ex husband was 19 when I met him and I was 16. We never really thought it was weird at all, I don’t think 19 is so different from 21. If she had a boyfriend who was over maybe 25 it would get creepy. A girl I went to school with dated a 28 year old when she was 16, that was creepy as fuck.

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thundercats192 · 22/12/2019 09:32

I had a boyfriend of 26 when I was 16. Knew my parents would disapprove, therefore kept him a secret. It didn't last longer than a couple of months and then I moved into a boyfriend my own age. If you're too disapproving it will only backfire in terms of secrecy.

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2019canfoff · 22/12/2019 09:35

I dated a guy when 16 who was 23. My parents hated him and made my life miserable for being with him. Support your DD and try and welcome the boyfriend as she is probably well aware that you may think he isn't suitable. All you can do is be there for her and try and let her know that you are ok with it (even though you're not)
I know I needed my mum to support me and she didn't and I've never forgiven her for it (even though she was right!)

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Santasy · 22/12/2019 09:37

I was 16 when I met my 20 year old husband 30 years ago. It was quite normal then (and bigger age gaps) and no one seemed to be bothered but I have a 16 year old now and even amongst her friendship group it is seen as not okay.

I'm on the fence about this one. I guess it would depend on the individuals. I would also be a bit more Hmm about the 20 year olds pov. Why date someone whose freedom/schedule/income etc is so much more restricted than yoir own when you could date someone at your own stage of life?!

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ChaosisntapitChaosisaladder19 · 22/12/2019 09:38

One of the nicest boyfriends I had was when I was 16 and he was 21. We were together for 3 years.

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GetUpAgain · 22/12/2019 09:40

Everyone seems to assume this is a heterosexual relationship, it's common for the man to be older, and we see it as 'normal'.

I wouldn't like the secrecy and would try to encourage the teen to be a bit more open. So would pretend to be fine with it even if I wasn't.

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CakeandCustard28 · 22/12/2019 09:41

I was 17 when I met my DH at 24, still together over a decade later. Don’t slipt them up she’ll resent you trust me. Long as they’re a good person, age is just a number.

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ChaosisntapitChaosisaladder19 · 22/12/2019 09:41

It was the boyfriend who was the same age that came after him who was abusive and got pregnant that was an issue so its not necessary an issue with age.

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Santasy · 22/12/2019 09:42

This has reminded me: my (now) dh and I didn't stay together (got back together a couple of years later for the long haul) but at 17 I was with a 33 year old and this was seen as scandalous but on my part Shock. I was the wicked one in that game- judged by my peers. Instead of: a 33 yo should not have been messing around with a 17 year old schoolgirl!

We lived in different times.

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Ginfordinner · 22/12/2019 09:46

Good point GetUpAgain. I made that mistake.

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puds11 · 22/12/2019 10:10

@GetUpAgain it says guy in the OP Hmm

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roiseandjim · 22/12/2019 10:14

There's a 5 year age gap between me and my DH- I was 19 and he was 24 and people still thought that was abit odd. But 16 and 21 is very wrong- she's a child

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Luxembourgmama · 22/12/2019 10:38

I'd be horrified too but you need to keep it to yourself. Just play along and she'll get bored of him. If you are disapproving it'll push her into his arms. Talking from experience I wasted 10 years of my life with a loser must to annoy my mother.

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FrauleinF · 22/12/2019 10:39

I'd also be sceptical but say definitely meet your daughter's boyfriend. Get a "feel" for who he is, or at least what their dynamic is like together. And talk to her.

The world (and its expectations of women, as well as what people looked for/tolerated in a relationship) has changed since the 80s, so the people saying that their happy 40 year relationship has stood the test of time are presenting a bit of a red herring. Most such relationships fizzle out anyway. Hopefully without much emotional "damage" to the younger party, but it's possible if the power dynamic is sufficiently messed up. Being older and more worldly does tend to confer more "say" in a relationship, and capacity to manipulate the younger party.

I think it's also of note that, as far as I can see, not one woman on this thread has come on here to tell of their relationship as a 21 year old with a 16 year old guy. Make of that what you will.

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girlygirl98 · 22/12/2019 10:52

16 year old boys are every bit as potentially dangerous a prospect as a 21 year old man. I think it's worrying when any teen starts dating.

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EnthusiasmIsDisturbed · 22/12/2019 10:58

Age is just a number Hmm what a ridiculous statement when we are discussing a child

Well the law thankfully recognizes that you are not at adult until you are 18

Is age just a number if the child is 15 and adult is 20 - no of course not

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Ginfordinner · 22/12/2019 11:00

But the OP said "my 16 year old". She/he didn't specify whether the 16 year old was a son or daughter.

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