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When xDH and I started dating, I was 17 and he was almost 25. Our marriage problems weren't because of the age difference. In many ways I was and always will be older than him.
Age differences become less and less meaningful the older we get. (Usually)
If they're avoiding the legal issues of a sexual relationship, there's a strong possibility that they're actually talking and getting to know one another. That's usually a good way to find out if the relationship is real. And if it isn't, it will probably die a natural death.
Forbidding such relationships is a losing battle, as you obviously already realize.

Yeah, 23 & 34 not as big a deal as 17/28.

Sexual tension can cause one to feel bonded. Sometimes just having sex a few times was enough to get me past that. They were my ideal, until we'd done that. Then I realized they were human and annoying just like everyone else. And, no, not because of bad sex. Just because the lure of that no longer blocked my view of everything else.

I know exactly what you mean.

On the other hand, sex for the first time can be pretty overwhelming when you don't have anything else to compare it to. It could cause bonding that wouldn't otherwise have happened.
Too many times I've seen relationships where one person had sexual relationships prior to meeting their spouse who hadn't ever slept with anyone else, and that non-sexually-active one came to resent not having had a chance to experiment and flirt and such before making a lifetime commitment. Curiosity and jealousy can suck.

Yeah, I can see that, too.

I always wonder about someone who is nearly 30 who can find much in common with someone who is under 20. She (in this case) just doesn't have the life experience yet. That doesn't mean she isn't a wonderful person, but she hasn't lived any part of an adult life yet. And "what's your favorite song" only goes so far.


There's so much that the adult has done that the teen has not. I don't mean just the usually crazy sh!t, but the GROWING UP. Figuring out how to take care of yourself, finding balance and all that.

I did a HELL of a lot of living in those years.

At the end of the day, your only choices are to monitor it or drive it into hiding. It sounds like you've made the wiser choice. And if it all develops into a permanent, healthy relationship, that'll be wonderful. And if it doesn't, it won't be because of your interference.

The parent in this case would rather be someone that the teen can rely on than becoming judgmental and controlling. The parent has had open and very frank discussions with both parties and wants lines of communication to remain open.

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