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Rules for Dating Older Men (when you're a teenager)

Man Hand writing What are your Rules for Dating? with black marker on visual screen. Business, technology, internet concept.

Dear Harlan,

I’m 19 and my boyfriend is 24 years old. People already judge me about my boyfriend being five years older than me, and it makes it hard to focus on my relationship. I’m too distracted by what everyone thinks about this age difference. What do I do?

Younger Woman

Dear Younger Woman,

Make me a promise. Don’t marry him until you’re at least 25. I’ll even go as low as 24 years old if you follow these guidelines:

  1. You must create a life that fills you with happiness that doesn’t depend on your boyfriend. This means doing things you love with friends and without your boyfriend.
  2. You must work to be independently happy while being in a loving relationship.  Being happy while you’re not together is a sign that you’re a happy person.
  3. You must always command and demand respect. If he can’t respect you and your boundaries, then you must promise to move on.

The biggest mistake younger partners make in relationships is not having a life, being dependent on a partner and making excuses when boundaries are violated. If people judge you because of the age difference, instead of getting defensive, ask them what makes them uncomfortable about your relationship. Listen, thank them, and decide if they’re right or wrong. If you can’t listen to their feedback, then it tells me you know there’s a problem. This means you should find someone else – not because of the age difference, but because you realize there is something fundamentally wrong with this relationship.

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