Something's usually wrong when a 31-year-old is dating a teenager

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      Email Dan

      I am the father of a recently out 18-year-old gay boy. Here’s the problem: my son is in a relationship with a 31-year-old guy. I’m not okay with that. Yes, my son is a legal adult at 18 and can make his own decisions, but he’s also still in high school. His mother argues that in order to be supportive, we can’t object to this relationship. I don’t think this is a gay-versus-straight objection. If I had an 18-year-old heterosexual daughter who was in a relationship with a 31-year-old man, I would have exactly the same concerns and objections. Beyond that, even if I can establish that it’s okay to have an objection, or to feel the need to take some action to be supportive for my son, I don’t know what I can or should do. What say you, oh wise one?

      > One Concerned Dad

      Your wife is wrong.

      Homophobic parents are bad for gay kids. But “supportive” parents who let their gay kids get away with murder—supportive parents who stop parenting their gay kids because they worry about seeming homophobic if they object to lousy gay boyfriends, choices, apparel, et cetera—aren’t doing their gay kids any favours, either. Your son, despite what he might tell you, needs his parents to advise him, meddle in his affairs, even object and interfere.

      Here’s what I would do if I were in your shoes, OCD—I would take my son’s 31-year-old boyfriend out for a beer and ask him a lot of pointed questions: how did you meet my son? Are you having sex with my son? Are you using condoms? What is your HIV status? How old was your last boyfriend? And, finally, do you realize that I will tear you gay limb from gay limb if you hurt my gay kid?

      As for your son, OCD, tell him that you realize gay guys his age sometimes date older men because there aren’t a lot of boys his own age to choose from. (If you didn’t already know that, now you do.) And tell your son that this gay dude you know—that would be me, OCD—told you that something’s usually wrong when a 31-year-old is dating a teenager. Something’s usually wrong with the 31-year-old. There are exceptions, of course, and maybe his boyfriend is exceptional—maybe he’s not a jerk who pursues naive boys because gay men his own age can see through his shit—but the simple fact of his age requires that he be subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny than a first boyfriend who was closer to your son’s own age.

      Finally, OCD, tell your son that you know he’s an adult and free to date whomever he wants. But you’re his dad and he has to hear you out—whether he wants to or not.

      I’m 16 and an openly gay boy in a very welcoming community. My first boyfriend and I broke up recently. We’ll be friends again, I’m sure, but now I don’t even have a hint of any sort of anything on the horizon, and it’s driving me insane. All the out gay guys here are nice, but most are sassy stereotypical caricature flamer types and I’m not attracted to any of them. But those are the kind of people who are out at 16. I just hate thinking I’m alone for the foreseeable future. I know the logical thing is for me to wait, but how am I supposed to wait? Is there any alternative?

      > Whiny Angsty Sad Teen Entreats Dan

      Sorry, WASTED, but you’re gonna get the same advice I give to hard and hard-up 16-year-old straight boys: worry less about getting your 16-year-old self laid and more about getting your 20-year-old self laid. Get out of the house and do shit; get books and read shit; volunteer for a political organization and change shit. You’ll have more boys to choose from in a few years and you’ll be a more interesting, more informed, more attractive guy thanks to all that doing, reading, and volunteering. Beat off in the interim, WASTED, remembering to vary your masturbatory routine (left hand, right hand; firm grip, soft touch; with toys, without; lots of lube, just a drop; et cetera), and try to cultivate your own erotic imagination (translation: don’t jerk off to Internet porn exclusively; use your imagination once in a while).

      I’m not telling you that you should wait until you’re 20 to date. But you’ll find the next few years less aggravating if you take the long view and keep busy, all the while jerking it to your part’s content. And who knows? You might meet a nice boy while you’re out there doing shit.

      As for those “sassy stereotypical caricature flamer types”, WASTED…

      SSCFTs can be attractive, and some guys are into SSCFTs. But some boys react to the pressures of being young, gay, and out by dialing it up to 20. It’s a force field—it’s a fierce field—that many SSCFTs eventually drop. Which is to say: you may have already met your next boyfriend, WASTED, but his fierce field was up. You might want to give ’em a little time.

      My 13-year-old nephew, who is straight, was in a play last year. It was a very positive experience. The only problem is one of the theatre group’s fans, who is 50 and gay, befriended my sister and seems to be fixated on my nephew: he posts to my nephew’s Facebook page; he’s constantly asking my sister to allow my nephew to spend the night at his apartment, et cetera. I would like you to weigh in on this situation, Dan. Other family members share my suspicions, but we’re afraid to say anything to my sister because she has a temper. Should I go ahead and tell my sister and brother-in-law that I think the guy is attracted to my nephew?

      > A Worried Aunt

      Thanksgiving, 2019: “I’m so sorry you got raped when you were 13. I thought something was off about that guy. But I didn’t say anything at the time because I was afraid your mom would yell at me. So, um, pass the yams?”

      Unless you’re looking forward to making an apology like that after your nephew confronts his whole family for failing to protect him when he was a child, AWA, you should speak the fuck up. Talk to your sister, temper be damned, and talk to your nephew, too. Your sister could be colour-blind in addition to being an anger bomb—prone to rages and incapable of seeing red flags—and it’s possible that your nephew already told his mother that this man makes him uncomfortable and got yelled at himself.

      Firmly raise your concerns, AWA, but don’t make accusations. You may not have all the information. It’s possible that this man has no sexual interest in your nephew. It’s also possible that your nephew is gay, recently came out to his mother and father but wasn’t ready to come out to his extended family, and this man is mentoring your nephew at your sister’s request. But even so, fiftysomething gay men do not invite 13-year-old boys to sleepovers for the same reason fiftysomething straight men don’t invite 13-year-old girls to sleepovers: suspicions will be aroused, even if nothing else is. In my opinion, the invite itself is a mentor-disqualifying display of piss-poor judgment.

      Speak up, AWA.


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      Keith Farrell

      Mar 28, 2012 at 4:31am

      My first husband was 30 years older than me and we were together for 24 years. My second is 28 and I am now 51. You would say nothing if it was hetro, get over it he loves and is happy. I have read some other the other replies and I fell in love with an older man because that was what I needed, something I did not have at home as a child. it is only now that I am older that I am able to understand the choices I made, I have not sorry.
      As for the sad teen, well I am chatting to another sad teen who is also lonely on facebook, I am guiding him to take things slow and getting him to meet people in the right age group for him, he now knows he has someone to talk to and I will tell him off if I hear that he is doing something wrong. he had his 17th birthday last week. and for those of you who might think I have a problem being friends with younger guys, well I would rather allow them to talk to me than to hear another young man hurt himself or is dead because of how people react to who they are or who they love.


      Mar 28, 2012 at 6:54am

      Well my first serious long term relationship was when I was 17 and my boyfriend was 29 { 12 year difference }. All of my family and friends didn't like the age difference but some people like older and some people like younger...we were together for 4 years. Now the man I'm with today is 48 and I'm 25..{23 year difference} (and it will be 4 years in June) So it's not really anyone's business who someone dates or what their age difference is because it's none of their business... "Age is a Matter of Mind, if You Don't Mind it Does NOT Matter"


      Mar 28, 2012 at 7:12am

      sorry Keith, I have to agree with Dan here: extra scrutiny is warranted if a 31 year old wants to date an 18 year old. My sister was 16 when she dated a 30 year old and it was not pretty. (fortunately, she outgrew him)


      Mar 28, 2012 at 7:33am

      listen to your wife(for once) its none of your business keep your big yap shut because if you continue to butt in you will lose the relationship with your son,he will love who he loves,he is an adult . so are you so suck it up an act like one. AND KUDDOS TO MOM

      dan the man

      Mar 28, 2012 at 10:22am

      I think Dan was right on with his advice. Thank you for always making so much sense.


      Mar 28, 2012 at 11:26am

      I was 41 when i met a 21 year old on the internet and we had great sex for a week or two... he wanted to "go out" and have us call each other "baby" and stuff but... our interests were two different. That's what I think would be 'wrong' about dating across several years: how the yell do you agree on what's fun to do. But the sex and cuddling part, if consensual, is nobody's fucking business, so shut up.


      Mar 28, 2012 at 1:24pm

      Hey concerned dad...first of all, thanks for being a great dad to your gay son. I came out in grade 9 and my parents were great also. This still is not the norm! With that said, you have to remember a few things. For one, gay men who are out only make up 2-3% of the male population. Finding someone - at all - is extremely rare, and many of us haven't met anyone in over a decade. It's not uncommon for a 30-year-old gay man to have dating and social skills similar to a teenager; this doesn't condone this, but when you've never met anyone, the intentions aren't always the same as, say, a heterosexual pairing of differing ages. Unless this man is over 50, chances are his intentions aren't many gay people don't come out until 30, and really, they're re-learning everything. So yes, get to know this guy (if your son is talking about him, it must be somewhat serious), but for a lot of us without much dating experience, the breakups are, unfortunately, bad, quick, and often.

      Keith Farrell

      Mar 28, 2012 at 2:42pm

      to the guest who comented on my posting, yes I do agree that one needs to keep an eye on who your child is going out with, you can only guide your child and be there to help them recover after the break-up. I try to just be there for what ever the young person asks me. if they need to know something about sex, I will be honest and I will advise them to go slow and use protection. I can only advise and if I am honest with the answers. I always try and make sure that the family knows I am chatting to their child, simple postings on their facebook when mother or dad has made a comment. If the folks want to know what I am saying they are welcome. I think the young people stand a better chance of leading a long healthy life if you are able to give them honest answers. I cannot advise a female, because I am not one, and the only one in my life was my mother. When I was a teen, we did not have to worry about AIDS (HIV) As I told the young young man, you can only give your cherry away once, so make sure it is to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with if possible.


      Mar 28, 2012 at 2:58pm

      It's one thing if the 31 year old were dating an 18 year old in college who lived by himself. That would be a little more understandable. But the fact that he is dating someone in HIGH SCHOOL is seriously flawed- I don't care if this kid is 18, he's still a teen living under his parents roof!!

      the pope

      Mar 28, 2012 at 4:56pm

      news flash people!!!!!This is very common in the gay community.....

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