One of the most frequent Just Wondering questions we get here at Rookie is some variation on the following: “I’m a teenager and I’m thinking about dating/am intensely attracted to a person who’s significantly older than me. ”Well, as someone who not only has always been interested in older dudes, but has also dated quite a few of them, I have some things to say about your situation, question-askers.
When I was 15, I was dating a 28-year-old (cue gasping).
Looking back at that relationship now, seven years later, there are so many things I wish someone had told me before I decided to become the Lolita to this guy’s Humbert².
That, by the way, is actually a comparison I made at the time, which is so gross to me now.
I mean, I know: some cute college guy who spells his texts properly and actually seems to wash his face (be still my beating heart) can be pretty tough crush competition for the bros in your 10th grade math class.
And if there’s one thing of which I’m certain about you Rookies, it’s this: to borrow a compliment frequently expressed to you by your grandpa/kindly next-door neighbor/best friend’s mom, YOU ARE VERY MATURE FOR YOUR AGE.
I romanticized a story about an adult man kidnapping, molesting, and raping an adolescent girl.
None of that stuff happened to me, but I still wince when I remember how I idealized the thought of someone being single-mindedly obsessed with me the way the novel’s narrator is with Lolita.
Before I get into the real nitty gritty, though, a few caveats.
First, being attracted to older guys is completely and totally normal.
It doesn’t mean you have “daddy issues” or whatever; that phrase doesn’t actually mean anything, because it can be applied (or, preferably, not) to every person on the planet.
Being attracted to someone older just means you are a human person who sometimes thinks other human people are sexy!
(Um, probably don’t do this, you guys.)It wasn’t like I was stupid. But I didn’t have enough experience or wisdom (as opposed to intelligence) to completely understand what I was getting into.
I thought I was totally prepared to deal with the daily realities of having a boyfriend who was older than me by a decade-plus, which turned out to be less than correct.