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Would it be wrong for a 36 year old to date a teenager? Can people choose who they are attracted to?

Tagged as: Age differences, Forbidden love, Teenage<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (2 March 2008) 23 Answers - (Newest, 25 February 2009)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, *abewithbrains12 writes:

honeslty do people think this is wrong if a 36 year old man is really really attracted to a 16 year old (mature, or so he thinks) girl...i mean people cant help who they're attracetd to right??? and if he got carried away and ended up in bed with her...?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 February 2009):

Completely and utterly wrong, don't even try to justify it by saying can people really help who they fall for this is perverted.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 February 2009):

YES, it is wrong, it's not for the male partner, to decicde that the girl is mature!! and what is being mature??? and how old do you have to be to be mature?? wether legal or not?? would you like it if your own teenage daughter was seeing a much older man or so called mature man or is the man being inmature and does that then make it okay then??

Just think of how the girl's parents feel, my daughter has also fell victim to a much older man, and I just can't tell you on what we are going through as parents, my daughter just seems to be brainwashed by this man who is full of shit and a no hoper who lives on benefits and a mother beater and a drug taker.

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A male reader, jayoul United Kingdom +, writes (10 May 2008):

Hi, Attraction as I say isn't a choice.

We can't help who or what we are attracted to .. its just something that happens.

I wouldn't say its wrong for a man aged 36 to be attracted to a 16 year old girl BUT I would say its wrong for a 36 year old man to get involved with a 16 year old girl.

Its not so much 20 years age diffrence but the fact she's 16 which is a very delicate and vulnerable age to be at and more so for females as they tend to look older and mature quicker than lads do.

Once at age 18 I think it would be ok for the 36 year old, than 38 year old to pursue her as its a more sensible age.

If he ended up in bed with her at the age he is now [36] and the age she is [16] I dont think it would look at all good and would cause lots of problems because like I said her age 16 and with him being much older it won't look good at all.

To some it would look like he's a pervert or something.

Best to wait until shes at a more mature age. At 16 they dont know what they want, they are still growing up and a 36 year old man or woman for that matter should keep their hands off!!!

My take

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A female reader, nameunknown United Kingdom +, writes (10 May 2008):

Hi. I was " involved" with a man who is 20 years older than me , which started when I was 21, and finished last year, when i was 23, and i felt really young to be in that situation then, so i couldnt imagine what it would be like to be a 16 year old in that situation.I currently like a man who is 18 years older than me, so i obviously dont mind about big age gaps in a relationship and dont see anything wrong with it. The only time there would be somethin wrong is if they mess you around by wanting to be with you one minute then the next minute saying they think they are too old for you, or if you dont have much in common.As long as you are happy and are comfortable in the relationship, i dont see a problem. However because of your age, it might be best to get the approval of your family, which my parents did when they first met.Once you turn 18 though what your family thinks shouldnt matter.Do your family know about this, by the way ?. And are you having a relationship or is it just sex ?. As i said earlier, please be careful.

I prefer hanging around with older people rather than people my own age.

My mum would understand your situation though, as she met my dad when he was nearly 17, and he was in his 30's.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (9 May 2008):

You said, "people can't help who they're attracted to, right?"

Well, some grown adults are attracted to 8-year-old children too. That doesn't make it right to do anything about that attraction.

Attraction does not justify anything. Realizing this is part of developing REAL maturity.

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A male reader, WastedLife United States +, writes (8 May 2008):

The real key here is the laws in your state/country. It is traumatic to both people to get involved in a legal mess. Beyond that, it's a matter of personal responsibility.

We will all be hurt sooner or later, and if we avoid opportunities, we will only be hurt, without the joy. The important thing is that both people want to be together, they nurture and help each other, and they allow for each other's state and stage in life. In my own case, I had a wonderful relationship with a woman 30 years younger that lasted two years. She eventually moved on, but we are still best friends. My most memorable relationship had a 10 year age gap and in many places, a 12 year age gap(male older)is considered ideal for marriage. I know I share few interests with any women my age.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (18 March 2008):

Yes, it's wrong.

It's not just wrong because society says it's wrong. It's wrong because when society says it's wrong, society is correct about that.

A 16yo is not at the same emotional stage of development as a 36yo man, and the 16yo has compromised judgement because of that.

It's true that some people mature at different rates than others, but that's an issue about 2 or 3 or 4 years. Not decades. No amount of differences between individuals can come anywhere near closing an age-gap like that.

You don't avoid having sex with the wrong people by never wanting to do it. You avoid it by wanting to do it, but controlling yourself because you know it's going to be a bad idea (for you yourself) in the long run. That is real maturity. If a 36yo man cannot make himself do this, then I think he is much less mature than a teenage boy who can.

It's about making a choice. It's about not doing things you know you should not, and about not putting yourself into situations where you know your willpower will be compromised.

Whatever you do, YOU did. Either you were raped or you chose to do it willingly. There is no in-between.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (8 March 2008):

Basically you want to sleep with this girl and have people say oh yeah thats OK.

Its not OK. 16 is very vulnerable age. May your future daughter never meet a man like you.

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A female reader, Mushgirl United Kingdom +, writes (8 March 2008):

Mushgirl agony auntI agree with the anonymous bloke who replied on the third of March. No amazing transformation occurs in a girl the second she turns 18.

I'm 18 and am dating a 33 year old. We have a loving relationship, we have common interests and to be quite honest with you, neither of us could give a damn what the 'social norms' dictate. Just because he's 36 doesn't mean he's instantly a sad old man who lurks round schools plucking out young girls and luring them into his trap.

Anyone who says "SORRY SWEETIE BUT HE'S ONLY DATING YOU BECAUSE YOU'RE AN EASY SHAG" is, in my opinion, quite rude and narrow-minded. Who says that 18-year-old boys aren't just looking for an easy shag? It all depends on the guy, and you are the only one here who actually knows this bloke. Anyway, everyone seems to be making out that he's forcing you into bed against your will. I'll bet that at 16 you have a sex drive as high as he does, and I'm sure you can say for yourself when to tell him to keep his hands to himself.

So my conclusion is, if you just want sex, make sure that's all he's after too, then go for it.

But if you're looking for love, do the same. Make sure you both know what the other wants from this relationship, then take it from there.

Good luck. Message me if ya want a chat. xxx

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A female reader, blueydblond United States +, writes (5 March 2008):

blueydblond agony auntWell Sweetie.

Let me just start off by saying that this whole factor is just plain weird.

This day and age, it is practically social suicide to be involved in a relationship of such age difference.

Honey, a 36 year old man is on a whole different mind level than a 16 year old girl. A 16 year old girl will worship any man who pays attention to her, and it makes her feel like a goddess when and older man pays attentions to her. He on the other hand wants it that way. He wants this girl to feel hypnotized by his ways because it makes him feel younger and more desireable.

All I can say...is this is a very bad idea.

Stick to boys your own age. In reality this scenario can turn very bad very quick.

Be conscientious about this sweetie. It's not worth your childhood.

Best Wishes.

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A female reader, jaq Ireland +, writes (3 March 2008):

jaq agony auntiv been there, when i was 17 i went with a fella 30 i was smitten my family hated it i got in2 lots of trouble over it i was forced to keep away from him, but how and ever i learned i was just another notch on his bed post, im now settling down with my boyfriend of 3yrs whom is 7yrs older

than me, so i dont think its wrong but at 16 you should just stick to your own age as its less complicated plus you wanna party and have the laugh at 36 there past having fun cause they have been there and done that

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (3 March 2008):

All the comments here seem to be geared towards some magical power that keeps men attracted only to women 18 and above and this is the same magical force thart aautomatically makes an 18 year old smart and mature enough to bone whoever they want.

This is childish dream.

Everyone matures at a different rate. Some don't at all. Some 16 year old girls I know are wiser then the 30 year old ones.

Some 30 year old men are well-rounded and some are just perverts.

No one can trully control who they have feelings for. And anyone who thinks they can is ignorant and deluded. What can be controlled (with great difficulty at times) is whether or not we act upon these choices.

Now as you are 16, of legal age, there is nothing lawfully wrong with the union and given that 100-200 years ago you would have already been married off and producing kids of your own by now, the moral implications are inconclusive at best.

So long as neither of you are pressuring the other, I see no cause for conceren. At 16 you know what sex and relationships involve and at the very least it will help you learn.

I do doubt that it will work out in the long run, due to the great differences between the ages at this point. If you were 29 and he 49... it would not make too much difference.

But finish your schooling first, its probably the best thing. You need to be with your own people right now and maybe if the flame is still there in future, you can pick it up. If he trully loves you, he'll understand.

If you choose to keep on with the relationship, I can do nothing but wish you all the best.

Flynn 24

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A female reader, Jargenhunter United States +, writes (2 March 2008):

Can you control who you are attracted to? No, it is a chemical reaction to various pheromones and to certain physical features that are good for breeding.

Can you control what attraction you act on? Certainly. A relationship with this man is illegal in some states (my home state included) and also you have to wonder what can a older man give you that trumps a guy closer to your own age? He is more of a father figure than anything else and he most likely wants things you can't provide safely yet (a mother to children, a second income, etc).

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2008):

Well..no we can't judge you or this other person nor tell you what's 'right and wrong'(the concept of right/wrong should be well established inside your way of thinking by now) What we can do is offer opinions, guidance and sensible, mature advice on your circumstance. You can agree or disagree..it's up to you.

Yes, people can most definitely control who they are attracted to. It's called self restraint and most adults understand this, fully. And especially, this older guy of yours. Even teenagers can use maturity, self-control and choose who is best for their life. So yes, I do feel it wrong for an older man of 36 to be attracted to a 16 year old teen girl. Very, very wrong.

I guess the questions, that need careful thought are the following: Do you have a good, supportive family structure at home? How do you get on with Mom and Dad? Have you been sexually active for a long time?

Questions about this old guy of your....Has dating teen females, been a pattern in his life? Is he simply trying to capture the essence of his youth by dating you? Does he perhaps have difficulty communicating with people his own age? If he wants youth, why not a woman of 20 or 25, one who is not in a dependant situation such as yourself? Can you talk with your Mom, hun? How will she react? You really need clarity and some good sensible input over this and I feel you really need to talk with a trusted adult, to help you. Do not talk to this older bf about your concerns. Instead, watch for the following signs, that this could be an exploitive relationship. If you experience the below, you are in a dangerous, emotionally abusive relationship with a troubled, controlling older man. is on the lookout for someone younger and more pliable to use.

1. He will want to make all the decisons. You will have little or no input. He will not allow you to make decisons because he will will not respect you. He will never want to view you as an equal, you will have no 'equality, respect or empowerment' in this relationship. In other words, what he says goes.

2. He will want to have sex with you. If not blatantly letting you know, he will descreetly pressure you.

3. He will pressure you to go against family values which will reduce your support structure and destroy the nurturing/guidance of your family. By doing this, he will strengthen his hold over you and that is abuse and exploitation.

4 He will also encourage you to ignore your friends.

I'm not suggesting he is a bad person...just wanted to point out some troubling signs to be on the lookout for. One last commentary to think about. I think all adolecsents need to date people of their own age, who have similar maturity levels and are at the same life stages. Teens need to learn about life, have fun-try to discover all the fun adventures involved in being a carefree, happy teenager with the world before them. Don't allow anyone to steal your "right to create yourself, develop your worldview, become independant and grow up" into adulthood in your own way and in your own time. If this older boyfriend is a decent man, and truely cares for you, he will step back and allow you to live your life as a teen female. He will be fair to you and suggest you spend equal amounts of time with your galpals/school friends of your own age. He will not pressure you into a sexual relationship until, you are an adult or over the age of 18.

Here is a link for you to check out. I like what this guy says to a teen girl in a very similar situation as yourself.

http://teenadvice.about.com/od/teenlifefaqsandqas/a/agedifferences1.htm

All in all, you really need to feel how good it is to be 16. And quite often, young females your age do realize in the years to come, just how they were manipulated and exploited. And they feel worse than ever. If he showing any signs of controlling you, then get out of this now. I wish you all the luck in the world and my heart goes out to you. Look out for yourself. Take Care.

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A female reader, a shoulder to cry on United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2008):

my advice would be try and let your head make your decisions, not your horomones or heart.

expect negative opinions about this relationship but dont dismiss them, take on board what people are saying even if you dont think there right.

most importantly dont grow up to fast, enjoy your childhood!

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A female reader, AskEve United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2008):

AskEve agony auntAlthough lawful, it would generally be frowned upon by society at large. At the end of the day though, who are we to "judge" what's right and what's not right, she could be older than her years and he younger than his, it just depends on both people and the circumstances involved.

~Eve~

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A female reader, Devilish Angel United States +, writes (2 March 2008):

Devilish Angel agony auntI think that the guy should look elsewhere. No matter how mature or grown up the sixteen year old thinks she is, she hasn't experienced the same things as a 36 year old man. If there is serious interest, they can wait till she is 18 to commence in their relationship. It'll be much safer for the guy and if the girl gets pregnant, then she has more options.

I'm 18 and in a relationship with a 36 year old and its pretty hard sometimes because his concept of dating and mine is quite different sometimes.

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A male reader, Namatjira United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2008):

A large age difference by itself is not the problem so much as the age of the youngest in the relationship.

As has been said before, there is only so much maturity that is possible to reach by 16 yo that more time should be allowed.

The older you get the less critical an age difference becomes. If he was 50 and she was 30 the 20 year age difference would be less critical than if he was 36 and she was 16 as you said. H ought to have the responsibility to allow you to finish growing up first, to encourage you to enjoy your youth while it is still with you. If he truly loves you then he will wait and your love together will just grow stronger.

One word of caution though, a man who is sexually attracted to a 16 year old girl is borderline legal. I would be concerned that maybe his interest was more in your young age than in you, and if that was the case he should get help before he crosses the line with a younger girl. In our world and in our time we have introduced laws about the age of consent to protect younger people from being exploited in this way. Those laws are not to frustrate you but to protect you.

His feelings for you may be genuine, or not, but they should not be acted ojn until you are at least a few years older.

I wish you luck in your life.

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A female reader, hlskitten United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2008):

hlskitten agony auntHi

Theres no law against it, but the guy would need to question why he's attracted to a teenager, because no matter how mature the teen is, there is only a certan lever of maturity that could be reached by 16.

I dont think it would be love, just infatuation.

C xxxx

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A female reader, dearkelja United States +, writes (2 March 2008):

dearkelja agony auntI think that a 36 year old man has no business dating a high school student. The man is either not fully grown up or is reliving his youth.

I am quite sure you are mature but if he truly cares about you he will give you a few years without sleeping with you. He should wait until you are 18 to have this kind of intimate relationship.

I can understand why you would be attracted to him. He has his life figured out and quite probably has a lot more to offer you than a young lad your age. But eventually the lads your age will become more and more attractive to you as they figure out the place in life.

If you pursue this relationship make sure you go into it with your eyes wide open and don't let passion take you away.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2008):

It's wrong. Why would a 36 year old be intrested in a 16 year old? The age diffrence is too big, the 16 year old is just starting her life while the 36 year old should already know what he's doing in his life and if a normal man, would already be in a serious relationship with children.

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A female reader, Laura1318 Malaysia +, writes (2 March 2008):

Laura1318 agony auntWhere is there a law in society or country that says you cannot do that?

If two individuals want to fall in love and go to bed willingly, it is their business.

Other people should just mind their own business and stop giving their judgmental views.

Who do they think they are? GOD in the making?

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A male reader, Dr Vendetta United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2008):

Dr Vendetta agony auntwell. 16 is legal.

Is it wrong? no. Is it right? not really no.

Theres a big difference between being attracted to someone and doing the right thing.

you are. whever you wanna hear this or not. are still just a baby. you've probably haven't even finished pubirty yet. doesn't matter if he/she is mature for 16.

I was very mature at 16. but. i was still 16 and prone to do all the stupid shit teenagers do and i still fucked up, reguardless of my maturity.

and if he got carried away and "ended up" ( more like forced) in her bed then she need to either say NO.

Or realise that she's basicly being used for sex. no matter how much he professses his undying love for her and how much she means to him.

Men are liars. ( sorry guys but you know how we are)

Of course i love you.

No your arse doesn't look fat.

and i Promise not to cum in your mouth.

I think i've made my point.

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