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Family-friend and age-gap dilemma


dangop

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My situation is a little complicated; so I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. By reading’s end, I’d appreciate any similar experiences or valuable thoughts and/or advice.

 

I feel so guilty sometimes. I wish, like a light-switch, I could turn it off but as it goes with the heart it’s never that simple: the heart wants what it wants. I have a crush on a younger girl; I’m 28 and she’s 18. I feel guilty for several reasons. One, for the obvious reason that she’s so young; I don’t know what happened; until 25-ish I was only interested in older girls, this one was a blind-side hit. Two, I’m very good friends with her father and her family; I’m afraid of “betraying” their trust—I’ve known them over 10 years, since I myself was a teen, I’m that “family friend.” Three, considering all this, I have not told her or her family of how I feel; in short, the secret is tearing me up, that is, my feelings are conflicting with my actions and character.

 

I don’t remember her when she was a child; I just remember her as that dude’s daughter; back then, I didn’t even know the father or family that well. I especially became close with her father (and therefore his family) about 2 years ago, because of a work-related project; despite the age difference between me and the father, I'm very good friends with the father. Because of the time we would spend together and the closeness that would develop over the project, he would invite me over for dinner or simply call me over to just to hang out with the family. Then somewhere in-between, I started to notice his daughter and fall for her; I started to go out of my way to find excuses to be with her; I would run that extra mile, so to speak. For example, I would offer to tutor her. I’m not gonna lie, let me be clear, I offered not because of the goodness of my own heart, but simply because it gave me an opportunity to spend time with her. Let’s face it, a 27-year-old and 17-year-old have a very limited amount of opportunities to “coincidentally” meet. Considering that her parents are very strict, it was the only way that I could spend time with her. Though I felt guilty with my motivations, I am glad that she was able to benefit from my help; but let me further add that I have never made a move on her; despite my thoughts, all my actions have been moral and ethical … as paradoxical as that sounds. Through all this, genuinely speaking, the biggest fear I have is that I will forever be considered that “family friend,” I don’t want to get stuck in that zone ... I probably am stuck in that zone, I just don’t know how to get out of it.

 

Here is my objective assessment of the situation. I do believe that these feelings are one-sided, that is, I don’t think she thinks of me in the same way as I think of her; she has no reason for the otherwise; I’ve never given her the idea of “an us.” I tried, and maybe too successfully accomplished that I am that “family friend.” That’s not to say that I’m a nobody. I think she finds me to be very funny and intelligent; after all, I am all these things. I can make her laugh with every other word that comes out of my mouth, and professionally, I am successful; I’m also a graduate student. I’m not sure if the family ever considered me as a potential for their daughter; if they did, they sure do disguise it very well! ;-) But maybe it’s also because I never threw the idea at them? In that sense, I’ve been a coward. The 10 year gap doesn’t bother me so much, but that doesn’t mean I’m insensitive to it. I think they would be weirded out by it, how much so … I’m not sure. Her father and mother encourages me to date and get married, but I’ve never been the type to date girls I’m not into; right now, she’s the one I’m into … they just don’t know it. I just don’t know exactly how to go about it from here.

 

What I’m trying to say and ask is this: what are my chances if I do go for it? More specifically, how should I go for it? Any similar experiences out there? Should I tell her how I feel? Should I tell the dad first? Would the father feel betrayed? Should I first talk to her or the father? (either way, they would both be surprised!)

 

Thanks for your time,

dangop

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Hmm, well your situation sounds a bit tricky. First off, if you were to date this girl, what is it that you are looking for? Casual dating, or a serious relationship? Her family aside, something to keep in mind is that she is BARELY an adult. At this point in her life, she is probably looking for casual dating. Most 18 year olds aren't looking for a serious relationship that will result in marriage. She probably needs time to date around & learn what her type is. Is she going away to college? If so, you probably won't really get to see her much when fall comes around.

 

A 10 year age gap becomes less significant as time passes. For example, a 20 year old dating a 10 year old is no doubt completely wrong. But a 30 year old dating a 20 year old isn't really THAT big of a deal. That said, maybe a more appropriate time would be a couple years down the road, when she has been an "adult" a bit longer, and at least no longer a teenager & almost old enough to drink.

 

If you really want to stay in contact with this girl, maybe you could keep in contact with friendly emails until some time passes and she is a bit older. But, keep in mind that if she is going to college, she will probably be more interested in dating around a bit and may not be available anyway.

 

It would probably be better for you to maintain more distance from her so your feelings for her subside, and you meet someone a bit closer to your age. Not so much because it is "wrong" to date her, but just the sheer fact that the two of you are in completely different phases in life right now.

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