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My son is in love with a woman 20 years his senior


missusAshley

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They just got engaged. :( They've been dating for 3 years now. He just turned 21 and she is about to turn 41.

 

It gets worse. They met when she was 33 and he was only 13. My son was 6 foot 3 and 14 stone at 13 and he was sexually active. He lied to her and told her he was 22, and they started dating and were intimate before she found out. She did leave him after she found out he was 13 (I think they were togehter for a few weeks only) and he did pursue her for a few months after that very aggressively...

 

I have to say, she has done the right thing at the time, started dating a man more age-appropriate and left my son to be a child. However, he never gave up on the idea that they will be together and this obsession of his - of reconnecting with her - affected all his desicions.

 

(He didn't go to university and started working at 17, so he can earn his own money and get his own place.)

 

Apparently, he started pursuing her again the day of his 18th birthday and they have been together since he was 19, if not sooner. She does make him very happy (for now) they're even planning children...

 

My question is, does this qualify as almost grooming of a sort? I'm not saying she groomed him, as she tried to do the right thing, but the situation might have been such that my son was groomed none-the-less. He was obsessed with this much older woman since he was 13.

 

What should I do?

 

Please state your age, I'd want to have some idea of the age of the people who are giving their input.

 

I am worried that he never had a proper relationship with anyone else after he met her at 13. He had some casual relationships and first long term one was again with her. I am simply worried. I know he is capable of making his own decisions on anything else. I'm not sure when it comes to this woman.

 

 

Mind you, my son is a very talented coder with career prospects. Nothing too detrimental has occurred.

 

I just feel like his childhood was abruptly interrupted at 13. He was never the same. Related to his peers poorly, chose to get a job and opted out of uni...

 

He never had a normal adolescence. He spent it stalking his now girlfriend telling her not to marry her partner at the time.

 

I am not an overprotective mother. I am a normal mother with an outlier son, worried if his attachment to this woman might be unhealthy.

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Kids don't always end up doing what they're supposed to do or what we intend for them. That's just part of parenthood. I'm sorry that this is happening - it would worry any mother (considering that history at 13). Is his dad around?

 

The most that you can do at this point is make your opinion clear about their relationship but maintain with him that he's still your son and if he needs anything he should come to you. I wouldn't antagonize the situation by villianizing her, calling her names or being derogative towards her. You may not respect the age gap but you should respect your son and his choices as hard and ridiculous as that sounds as a parent at times especially when things are glaringly stupid. You can definitely have your own opinion (censored) and still be supportive and his mum. You can warn him of what things to be vigilant or careful about in any relationship without making him feel judged or alienated because of the age gap alone.

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The opportunity to intervene or influence him was when he was 13 thru 18. Not now.

 

You've shared your views and it doesnt change anything. This one is out of your hands now.

 

Its hard as parents to watch our children make choices we don't agree with. But this is his journey and his lesson. Be there to support him either way.

 

My guess is it will run its course. Forbidden fruit kinda thing. Just be patient.

 

If they make it for the long haul, then that would be a positive. The age doesnt matter to them. If they are happy, it shouldn't for you.

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I thought about it and wanted to press charges, but I was worried about what that will do to my relationship with my son.

 

I don't think she's a predator, probably terribly immature but not a predator, as she was very distraught when she found out he was a child. My son is an early bloomer and was fully sexually mature at 12. He also was regularly, at 11 and 12, mistaken for a young man in his late teens or early 20s. It was difficult for him, as well as his father and me to facilitate his growing up into a well-adjusted man, and his relationship with this woman makes me wonder if I had failed him.

 

Thank you for your reply.

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Kids don't always end up doing what they're supposed to do or what we intend for them. That's just part of parenthood. I'm sorry that this is happening - it would worry any mother (considering that history at 13). Is his dad around?

 

The most that you can do at this point is make your opinion clear about their relationship but maintain with him that he's still your son and if he needs anything he should come to you. I wouldn't antagonize the situation by villianizing her, calling her names or being derogative towards her. You may not respect the age gap but you should respect your son and his choices as hard and ridiculous as that sounds as a parent at times especially when things are glaringly stupid. You can definitely have your own opinion (censored) and still be supportive and his mum. You can warn him of what things to be vigilant or careful about in any relationship without making him feel judged or alienated because of the age gap alone.

 

I feel the same way. I agree with what you've said 100%. I don't doubt my son's maturity or capability to make his own decisions when it comes to anything except this woman, and precisely because of the history between them and how young he was when he met her.

 

I've had to learn to let go of my plans for him and that's OK, I just always assumed and hoped he will grow out of this woman and their relationship, and this proposal has shocked me greatly.

 

My husband and I are very much married but my husband and my son aren't very close. They have a difficult relationship because my husband never really made his peace with the fact that our very gifted son opted out of university and all the plans we as a family had for him.

 

I've stopped fighting with my son about his relationship over two years ago, I could see it was driving him away. I just can't help but feel like I've failed him.

 

Edit: She isn't the dominat partner or abusive in any way. They seem well matched these days, considering everything. He seems happy. However, she might be too old to conceive and that might be a good thing as well, as their marriage has a very slim chance of lasting. I cannot understand why he is setting himself up for a divorce like this.

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He has turned 21. He is an adult. It doesn't sound like there is anything you can do anymore. Trying to determine whether he was groomed sounds irrelevant at this point.

 

You state that your son is an outlier. Trying to predict the future of an outlier using what is considered a "normal" range is unlikely to provide you with a sound conclusion. Blaming her for his career choices isn't useful nor necessarily accurate in my opinion. Look at the story of Emmanuel Macron. His relationship did not stop him from becoming the president of France.

 

No-one would want their child, boy or girl, to get involved in such a scenario. However, it sounds like the time you could intervene has passed. At this point, it's probably best to step back and let the relationship run its course. There is still a very high probability that he will outgrow this relationship. If not, by then it will become no different than all these relationships where the man is 20 years older.

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He has turned 21. He is an adult. It doesn't sound like there is anything you can do anymore. Trying to determine whether he was groomed sounds irrelevant at this point.

 

You state that your son is an outlier. Trying to predict the future of an outlier using what is considered a "normal" range is unlikely to provide you with a sound conclusion. Blaming her for his career choices isn't useful nor necessarily accurate in my opinion. Look at the story of Emmanuel Macron. His relationship did not stop him from becoming the president of France.

 

No-one would want their child, boy or girl, to get involved in such a scenario. However, it sounds like the time you could intervene has passed. At this point, it's probably best to step back and let the relationship run its course. There is still a very high probability that he will outgrow this relationship. If not, by then it will become no different than all these relationships where the man is 20 years older.

 

Thank you for your well-thought-out reply. I agree with everything you've said. I suppose I'm just looking for some support. Just some unbiased input.

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The opportunity to intervene or influence him was when he was 13 thru 18. Not now.

 

You've shared your views and it doesnt change anything. This one is out of your hands now.

 

Its hard as parents to watch our children make choices we don't agree with. But this is his journey and his lesson. Be there to support him either way.

 

My guess is it will run its course. Forbidden fruit kinda thing. Just be patient.

 

If they make it for the long haul, then that would be a positive. The age doesnt matter to them. If they are happy, it shouldn't for you.

 

Thank you. When he was 13 through 18 we as parents intervened as much as we could. I'm just wondering if we should have done more.

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They maintain they've been dating since he was 19. He lived at home till he was almost 18 and they probably weren't dating at that time. If they had been together there would be little we could legally do. We are in the UK and the age of consent is 16. This was a long struggle between us and our son. I just hope I did all a mother can do.

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Thank you. When he was 13 through 18 we as parents intervened as much as we could. I'm just wondering if we should have done more.

 

You chose to prioritize your son's liking/approving of you vs. his safety. i make these choices fairly often (my son is 10) but my decision is informed more by my long ago short-lived career as a teacher when I learned that my students respecting me was much more important than them liking me. So I hear "it's NOT fair" fairly often and that's ok - I set limits on certain things especially when it comes to safety because that is my job as the parent. You made the choice to have him not be mad at you for intervening by calling the police or the authorities if he refused to break it off. Now that they are adults just do your best to keep the family peace so you keep in contact with him. I wouldn't beat myself up (and yes despite my giving you my opinion on what I would have done -obviously you are the parent you chose how to parent) - just move on and do your best to have a relationship with him now and in the future.

 

I am in my early 50s.

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Not to minimize your concern in this, but he could have just as easily married a woman his age and it ends up being a toxic, hot mess.

 

I have two sons. I can put myself in your place. I get it.

 

It's about letting go of our own dreams and expectations and honoring their journey.

 

When they become adults we have to trust we've done our job well. He's chosen his path. It's our job to adjust and embrace it.

 

I imagine it must be similar to conservative parents who's children choose a sexual orientation that didn't fit their ideal vision. They still support them, love them and embrace their choices anyway.

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@Batya33 My son started his own company at 12. He was making 3K pounds a month at the time he met this woman. I didn't want him to get emancipated at an early age. It has nothing to do with me not wanting to cross him. Your son is ten and I hope once he starts puberty and adolescence you have it much less turbulent than we have had it, but my son at 12 was bigger and taller than most men ever are and he was sexually mature. With all do respect if you've never tried to parent a sexually mature 12-year-old than you cannot possibly imagine the challenges that parents of such kids go through. Regarding the woman, she didn't know he was 13 and once she realised he was a child she left him. I did not feel it was moral to try and put her in prison for something she didn't do. She didn't realise he was a child and she wasn't the first adult convinced by my son that he is 21/22.

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My son started his own company at 12. He was making 3K pounds a month at the time he met this woman. I didn't want him to get emancipated at an early age. It has nothing to do with me not wanting to cross him. Your son is ten and I hope once he starts puberty and adolescence you have it much less turbulent than we have had it, but my son at 12 was bigger and taller than most men ever are and he was sexually mature. With all do respect if you've never tried to parent a sexually mature 12-year-old than you cannot possibly imagine the challenges that parents of such kids go through. Regarding the woman, she didn't know he was 13 and once she realised he was a child she left him. I did not feel it was moral to try and put her in prison for something she didn't do. She didn't realise he was a child and she wasn't the first adult convinced by my son that he is 21/22.

 

How did they even meet?

 

Him being sexually mature doesn’t make the relationship right. And frankly, it’s insane that you didn’t know about it or allowed it to continue if you did know...

 

You had your chance 8 years ago. Now it’s done. He makes his own choices.

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Not to minimize your concern in this, but he could have just as easily married a woman his age and it ends up being a toxic, hot mess.

 

I have two sons. I can put myself in your place. I get it.

 

It's about letting go of our own dreams and expectations and honoring their journey.

 

When they become adults we have to trust we've done our job well. He's chosen his path. It's our job to adjust and embrace it.

 

I imagine it must be similar to conservative parents who's children choose a sexual orientation that didn't fit their ideal vision. They still support them, love them and embrace their choices anyway.

 

Thank you. I must say, they do seem good for each other. They get along very well. I just always assumed he will meet someone more age-appropriate and we will chalk up his relationship with this woman to learning. I appreciate your kind comforting words.

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I am shocked she didn't notice the lack of mental maturity , I mean at 33 how an earth can you even begin to be on the same lavel as a 13 year old ....a childs body might mature , sure , but their mind , their language , their interests ...worlds apart .

 

Exactly.......

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I am shocked she didn't notice the lack of mental maturity , I mean at 33 how an earth can you even begin to be on the same lavel as a 13 year old ....a childs body might mature , sure , but their mind , their language , their interests ...worlds apart .

 

I actually asked her the same. She is a weird person to put it kindly. Perhaps I am being too harsh on her and it simply didn't go on for long enough for her to notice anything. She was operating under the impression that there was an 11 years age difference anyway, so maybe that threw her off...Mind you, she's a 41-year-old woman who never had children has been dating a 20 years younger teenager for last couple of years and she seems blissfully happy. She can't wait to marry my son. So yah, weird to say the least.

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I'm going to guess they didn't do much talking the first go round.

 

A 17 year old former coworker started secretly dating the 33 year old wife of another coworker years ago. The relationship was a mess and fraught with conflict including her abortion and suicide attempt.

 

Today they are happily married (about 18 years so far). They never had children.

 

I know you want your son to be happy so I'm sure you're not hoping for a miserable marriage and a contentious, emotionally wrenching divorce for him.

 

I'm sure this is difficult for you. I hope for the best for your family.

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