A wtf situation? Opinions? - Concerns About Age Gap & Other Issues In Poly Relationship

Their picture together on the wall is her graduating high school with her? Guy there standing like an older brother? So I was becoming increasingly concerned and got out of her that she's known him for three years. Wife is 19, about to turn 20, and I am 29ish, and Guy is 30-32ish.

What.

How do I process this / what the f*ck?

Her explanation was very open and honest, though Guy seemed concerned about people from my state finding that odd. Age of concent in the state they just moved from is either 16 or 17, apparently.

Like. I don't know. Is this FINE or am I being PTSD brain or ?
Processing someone else’s sexual identity, lifestyle, & relationship choices… as opposed to learning about, understanding/relating, agreeing/disagreeing, or supporting/opposing… speaks to it being about us, rather than about them.

Someone having to go process that you’re gay? Or what you do for a living? Or anything else about how they feel about you, your life, your choices? Is about them. Not about you.

You needing to process the ages and presumed/assumed aspects of someone else’s marriage/relationship? Whether or not you agree with the dynamics &/or history of their relationship? Is about you, and your thoughts/feelings/standards/limits/preferences. <<< That’s not wrong. That’s called having standards, making decisions about what you believe is right or wrong or not your business.

Getting up and out when you’re feeling something off? Or alarm bells you can’t immediately source (is it me? is it Them? Is this a right/wrong moral issue, or am I just squicked out, or WTFO?). Is a smart play. Regardless of what you decide upon, after regrouping.


But like. What. Am I reacting like this ENTIRELY because of PTSD, or..?
I’d add 3rd & 4th options; (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!)

- still learning your own preferences & personal limits & how to apply them & how they apply to others.
- All of the above (PTSD & personal history & preferences & limits)

For example?

Preference!
I don’t blink at a 10 or 20 year age difference… between consenting adults.. as long as I am on the RIGHT side of it. (Which side is that?!? Exactly. 😎) That’s personal preference.

Q - Do you often have sex with people 10 years younger than you? Or 10 years older? Or intentionally avoid sleeping with someone +/- 10 years? IE do you have a very solid understanding of your own thoughts/feelings, or is this something you’re still feeling out?

((Getting squicked out by an age difference? Is a pretty normal personal preference kind of thing. One of my old professors used to film students walking into class with various types of porn playing, students never knew which kind was going to be on… and then pair their micro expressions against what they wrote down their reactions were to it… and then have them discuss any disparity. Most people? Had different intellectual ideals (how they wrote they felt about it), than initial unguarded reactions. That doesn’t mean that they were lying. People can be repelled / not want something for themselves, and still be “Go granny! Good on ya!” for someone else, or “I sincerelyhope that’s me when I’m 80!” But still be disgusted at the thought of -or sight of- 80yos having sex.))

Q- Being concerned that there may be coercion &/or abuse in o play, in a relationship you’re considering being a part of? Is a very GOOD temperature to take / concern to evaluate. If that’s a hard/soft limit for you… it can look a lot of different ways. Do you know what your limits are?
- I will not be a part of any relationship that is coerced or abusive
- I will not be a part of any relationship that has any history of abuse or coercion
- I will not be a part of any relationship that has any RECENT history of abuse or coercion.
- It is not my business what they do, or have done, my own business is what we are doing
- etc,


I kind of see it in two ways. There is their relationship. And then there is your relationship with them.

Their relationship: is for them? For them to figure out. For them to work out if there is a power imbalance or not. Work out if it is abusive or not. It's legal: they are married. What happened before they married, how they met, how they treat each other now: for them to work out.

What is for you to work out is your relationship with them.
^^^This^^^
 
My 2 cents after having mulled this over and applying what I've learned and i might be way off base... either A its an abusive relationship and you care for her or B you are projecting your damage onto them with concern. The only thing this says to me for sure is that you are looking to save someone.

On an unrelated not I will never understand why people always want more than one person to love.
 
It depends on what the history is. If she met him at age 16 when he was 29 that's abusive, full stop. If she met him at age 19, I would raise my eyebrows. I know exactly one person who has a significant age gap with his spouse, where they met while he was 19, and that person is an outlier in every way.

And I still raised my eyebrows and they still have a lack of equality in their relationship due to a history of extreme abuse, which they're still coping with now. It's legal, but there simply isn't equality between them. And everyone else I've known with an age gap like this where they've met at a young age with a history of abuse also lacks this.

Again, it's legal, but that's not really the issue. I wouldn't even say the other person is a predator, but there is fundamentally not equality in these relationships. And that matters.

For me I personally wouldn't be OK with having a romantic relationship with someone who is 19. I am 32 and while I was definitely an outlier at age 19, I was nowhere near as developed as I am now. I was not capable of being in a mutual, reciprocal relationship with someone who is fully developed. We know from science that it takes until at least age 25 for a person to become fully adult.

Even in friendships I've had with people age 19-22, those people wound up not being capable of true reciprocation and maturity. There was nothing predatory about our relationships, but there also very much lacked equality and once I realized this I had to disengage.
 
It depends on what the history is. If she met him at age 16 when he was 29 that's abusive, full stop. If she met him at age 19, I would raise my eyebrows. I know exactly one person who has a significant age gap with his spouse, where they met while he was 19, and that person is an outlier in every way.

And I still raised my eyebrows and they still have a lack of equality in their relationship due to a history of extreme abuse, which they're still coping with now. It's legal, but there simply isn't equality between them. And everyone else I've known with an age gap like this where they've met at a young age with a history of abuse also lacks this.

Again, it's legal, but that's not really the issue. I wouldn't even say the other person is a predator, but there is fundamentally not equality in these relationships. And that matters.

For me I personally wouldn't be OK with having a romantic relationship with someone who is 19. I am 32 and while I was definitely an outlier at age 19, I was nowhere near as developed as I am now. I was not capable of being in a mutual, reciprocal relationship with someone who is fully developed. We know from science that it takes until at least age 25 for a person to become fully adult.

Even in friendships I've had with people age 19-22, those people wound up not being capable of true reciprocation and maturity. There was nothing predatory about our relationships, but there also very much lacked equality and once I realized this I had to disengage.
However, their relationship is for them. She is an adult (just) and littletoc has been invited in. It's whether littletoc wants to be in a relationship with them. It's not for littletoc to fix or save, or judge, their relationship.

Being in a relationship for nearly 20 years with a significant age gap: I can say they can be equal. I know friends raised eyebrows with my relationship. I was (just, by two weeks) 26 and she was 41. It was also kink in the beginning. That was essentially the basis of the relationship. And yet, all this time later, the relationship has evolved, we have changed, I grew up (!), and here we are: equal.
 
I was (just, by two weeks) 26
At 26, you were fundamentally more developed as an adult human being than a 19 year old. How were you at age 19? Could you have been in a relationship with a 41 year old? Sure, but it would not be equal because there's an inherent power imbalance there. At age 26 you are old enough to know what you want, to have a sense of yourself, to have a foundation for your life.

At 19, most people do not. They're just getting started on that. I'm not commenting on the morality of it, or the legality of it. But I am saying there is a lack of equality because there is. And if someone enters a relationship with a significant age gap and maintains that relationship as they grow and develop and it turns out positively for them, that's perfectly fine. I know one person where this has worked out OK, because the partner was not predatory.

But even they both acknowledge that there was an unequal distribution of power and support and reciprocation at the time they met. And part of that equalization process is recognizing that at some point the relationship was unbalanced. That's all. People are people, sometimes you just meet someone and that's it, they're home. I get it. It's complicated.
 
At 26, you were fundamentally more developed as an adult human being than a 19 year old. How were you at age 19? Could you have been in a relationship with a 41 year old? Sure, but it would not be equal because there's an inherent power imbalance there. At age 26 you are old enough to know what you want, to have a sense of yourself, to have a foundation for your life. At 19, most people do not. They're just getting started on that. I'm not commenting on the morality of it, or the legality of it. But I am saying there is a lack of equality because there is.
I get it. And I don't disagree. I said before there are questions about what an adult wants to do with a (over the legal age of consent) minor. I certainly have my views about it. But ...

What I'm saying is: what we all think is irrlevant. Doesn't matter if we think it's always a bad things, always a good thing, or a case by case situation. It's for them to work out.

Littletoc got to work out if this is something they want to pursue.

It's whether the morality, ethical-ness and behaviour is something littletoc feels aligns with their wants and desires, or not.
 
Littletoc got to work out if this is something they want to pursue.

It's whether the morality, ethical-ness and behaviour is something littletoc feels aligns with their wants and desires, or not.
I agree! I think @littleoc likely posted to get other people's opinions and perceptions to help narrow down his own, so I just offered up how I feel about it and tossed that into the ring. I don't have any expectation that anyone here needs to conform to my moral alignment.
 
there is fundamentally not equality in these relationships. And that matters.
Inequality and power imbalance is a pretty normal thing for relationships to have to navigate in order to succeed.

A woman has recently given birth and has no income, a person with a disability that prevents them from being able to walk, a couple who immigrate and only one partner can speak their new country’s language, a couple who have one person with ginormous family support while the other is an orphan…

Inequality is normal in relationships. It can give rise to abuse, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, it gives rise to more love.
 
I agree! I think @littleoc likely posted to get other people's opinions and perceptions to help narrow down his own, so I just offered up how I feel about it and tossed that into the ring. I don't have any expectation that anyone here needs to conform to my moral alignment.
Yes, please, keep debating though because it helps me think about it. :P



I'm still not mentally settled on this matter and have been thinking it over deeply before responding to anyone. I can tell something isn't right, but I can't tell if it's me, if it's one of them, or if something is bothering me for some unexplained reason :/

While thinking about it and reading everyone's posts, I decided to sit down and try to decide what things bother me, regardless of if I think it's reality or if I'm secretly sinning or secretly an evil mastermind in disguise. Or whatever it is that's bothering me.

I think my PTSD was triggered. And I think I felt uncomfortable, and I don't think it was entirely me or entirely either of them. So, it's been difficult to decide on.

I do agree with everyone who wonders if I'm internally hoping to save her. There were yellow flags, not any red flags except for communication issues -- possibly on my end, as I'm autistic/etc (though they are both neurodivergent as well)

I had an epiphany last night about what it felt like, which might be helpful. Again, I felt like I did something wrong, and I was anxious and upset.

Which is one problem. I don't want to become a traumatic agent in someone else's life in any way, obviously, but I'm hyper sensitive to worrying about it. OCD, maybe? And, equally related, I've never had a new type of sex without extreme feelings of shame, confusion, disappointment, dirtiness, etc. When I was presenting as a woman, I'd hide that I'd EVER had even a sexual thought.

I only THIS WEEK realized that those are all the same feelings I had after being sexually assaulted. There was always some new thing to take in, when I was a child (age 10-11), some new sex culture to digest and learn about, etc. When I was assaulted by a woman in college and a manager above me when I was a manager in a theater, I had those same feelings.

My mom was raised Catholic, and my dad Jewish, and I was never close with dad, but his parents were very "sex is inappropriate at all costs" despite. Well I won't waste words on that 😂 not important. Just imagine two immigrants, one Catholic Irish and the other Ukrainian/Russian Jew, and their expectations for their kids and grandkids lol

Anyway -- I am also asexual ("ace") and aromatic ("aro") (aka "aroace") and have struggled to deal with sexual frustration as a result. Mainly because any time I have friends, my libido goes from literally nothing to 90-100, but I don't want to sleep with anyone unless I form a romantic bond. Not out of morals but because of how my brain works.

I other words, my ability to experiment with sex over the years has been unusually limited (not to mention the years I ONLY knew I was queer, and therefore figured I was a lesbian -- my sexuality is still a topic I feel unsettled about, which is no big deal, but I'm pretty sure I'm a gay man now at least)

And as well as limited, my limited experience as also been violent. And I'm re-experiencing that emotional discomfort of being assaulted each time, I guess?

Maybe because I'm asexual, get upset that I didn't enjoy sex despite wanting to, because "ace problems," and then get frustrated with myself?

And that's just 1 of several potential issues I've found while examining myself about this issue.

Issue 1 is obviously neither of their faults. That's all me, baybee.

I think the others are too, technically, in that I'm the one experiencing the reactions even if it turned out I WAS being forced to save someone else.




I agree with everyone who feels that I feel that I might be trying to save someone, speaking of. 🤔

Second issue (issue 2) is simply that I got triggered. Which is also the case for issue 3 but issue 3 is less obvious? But issue 2 is that I heard Guy say the phrase "mature for her age."

In part of trying to figure out my former relationship back at age 10 with a pedophile, and whether it was wrong simply because it's wrong morally, because of society, or something else, I've deeply struggled (and continue to struggle) with "right" versus "wrong" about the whole thing. And hearing the phrase "she's so mature for her age" really, really freaked me out.

And issue 3 that I've been able to identify is that I feel like I'm walking into some sort of cult that's trying to make me see its ways, and is something that in a scary story makes the readers upset that there is no point of safety possible after a certain point, because of a mistake/bad decision a character makes.

Such as in 1408 by Stephen King, where a man is warned several times not to stay in room 1408, and then by the end of the film/book, the character is trapped forever and/or until they commit suicide. That kind of uneasy feeling.

I am not saying that's 100% what's going on with them and is why I feel this way. I just mean that something has caused me to feel that type of unease powerfully enough that "accidentally walking on the edge of a cult and risking getting sacrificed and/or trapped" is how it feels to my brain and body.

I think the specific event I would cite is when Guy was showing me around their house after I was quizzed playfully on where to find every pulse (to summarize). He led me to a home office, and opened a closet full of supplies and dummies and such, and started talking about his experience as an EMT. Wife was with us, excitedly showing me house stuff as well, and said the phrase, "oh, if you don't know everything about CPR and etc etc etc now, you'll be an expert soon." Then Guy went on to explain that he does lessions, drills, etc, and everyone in his home knows what to do in an emergency.

I have known EMTs and have certainly not experienced that before. I have a special interest in safety -- that's absolutely no issue to me.

It just felt.... odd? I remember as a child inviting my first friend over for a sleepover. My dad started giving out vitamins, like he did every single night, and gave some to my friend as well. My friend, my age at 12-13, got uncomfortable and said she wasn't going to take any pills from an adult that wasn't her mom.

My dad said, "Oh, well, you should. They're vitamins, and children need vitamins."

And I responded, "He gives everyone vitamins! You'll be used to it soon :)"

Which, in retrospect, is horrifying, but yes, me and my siblings were all given multivitamins. We were drugged/poisoned by our dad sometimes, but the vitamins really were vitamins, so how was a kid supposed to know.

She does NOT strike me as mature for her age. That is not my business, and I am not meaning to insult her. She seems hard working and determined for her age. Maturity is a lie, as far as I can understand it, and to me it just seems like she's a new adult who's still a kid who feels incredibly happy to be out of a bad situation at home and free to do exciting new things. She's a manager in a grocery store already and takes her job seriously. She likely acts adult-like because of her childhood and abusive mother, with no father in the picture and every sibling she had adopted out while her mom was "stuck" being forced to raise her because dad could not be located.

Meanwhile, Guy doesn't raise red flags. Some yellow, yes, but nothing so concerning that I felt like I needed to block anyone or run. I noticed he's got a lot of physical scars, from being abused, and he's a little hard for me to communicate with because he's not amazing at it (and I tend to need things spelled out -- autism). There have already been some mistakes related to that, but absolutely no assaults or abuse or even questionable acts/decisions.

If anything, hes childlike himself, from also having abusive parents and a dad who abandoned him with a narcissist (the mother).

Wife is also permanently disabled from abuse, especially parental addictions. One major injury from before age 10 almost made her lose her ability to walk forever, and while she IS able to walk today, the effects just physically are permanent.

He seems to have similar injuries.

As in, it seems incredibly likely that they're both stunted from dangerous childhoods and he genuinely thinks Wife is mature for her age. When I first met him in person, I was shocked at how tall he was, and then overtime shocked at how much I felt like I was dealing with someone younger than me.

They both are deeply worried about safety. They have security cameras outside AND inside the house, with a bullet proof safe room (with a weapon inside) with screens. Inside also contains life-saving supplies.

One of Guy's "hobbies" is going to protests and doing emergency medicine on people hurt in any way by police during their protest.

They both have multiple phone numbers to hide their real numbers.

They've made sure it will be practically impossible for their birth parents to ever locate them again.

My twin brother's abusive-in-the-past wife did way, way less preventative measures, but my brother wasn't afraid of anyone.

Yet, I found him to be naive in unusual ways. For example, when his address on Google maps (satellite and street view) led to an open field with a singular truck parked in it, I sent pictures of him to my best friend as well as his phone number, where he told me to meet, and I checked with him multiple times. He told me to park in a restaurant parking lot and then walk behind it, so I drove there to make sure I wouldn't want to speed away while being on the phone with a friend, not because I was terrified but for good measure, and he turned out to legitimately have a house back there.

He seemed utterly oblivious that anyone would have found that unusual 😂

Otherwise, like I've said, no red flags. He's safe, he's sane, he's good at concent with some minor issues that are common and not suspicious.

Most issues have been on my end.

Or, maybe they have. It's only been like a month of knowing this guy in person, so obviously there isn't much information to go off of?

So. Yeah. I guess that leaves if I actually enjoyed it.

Trying to sleep with a woman, no. The man, sure, but I keep bleeding so much that he's afraid he's hurting me and he stops. He's had to put extra blankets down because I bleed a freaking cup or more, so I'm completely understanding of that.

Despite having some fun, I'm not getting pleasure from it, see above, and inviting someone I had only met that day (Wife) increased my discomfort. I did try anyway, because they're chill enough to be okay with someone doing that, but nah, afterward I felt odd again.

I have someone else I occasionally mess around with, someone in another city I have known for years. We have extremely clear boundaries as well and he seems to know what he's doing enough that sometimes I DO get pleasure from it, though nothing that would lead to anything even ⅒ of what might give someone an orgasm. So I'm not sure what's up and I don't know what I want. I'm thinking about asking them for their relationship goals and trying to evaluate mine, because I'm noticing mainly that I want to stick with my strictly platonic bestie and not change my life for anyone ("aro problems" and also probably autism, can't imagine changing my schedule for anyone even if I wanted to)

In summary, it's all very confusing and I'm not sure I'm getting anywhere helpful by thinking on it?

But at least wanted to acknowledge everyone and thank you all for your posts because I think it helps me think about it and reframe.

I will say personally that I think 19 is too young for me. I once denied sex with a different friend, while interested, because it felt like I was his high school teacher or a professor to him or something. He was 19 when we met and the second time he asked he was just turning 21. I'm 6-7 years older than him, and while I don't worry about age gaps, I do worry that he's trauma bond with me real hard and our relationship would become completely toxic.

I know that's not everyone. I was almost the boyfriend of a man who is 30 years older than me last summer, decided against it for now, but point being I don't see a problem with age gaps in general. (Except for the man who was the same age and looked like my grandfather. Very handsome, but, uh, noooo lol.)

Thank you if you read/skimmed this far :)

Not sure where to take this long ass post from here so, uh, fun fact, the "brain isn't finsihed developing until age 25" turned out to be pseudoscience, unfortunately. Turns out ALL brains are still developing and the man who decided that incorrect fact just stopped looking at people after that age lol

I really wish it was simple to know! but no, we all keep developing forever until we die lol

As my best friend has said, a lot of things are questionable for a reason. As he put it, it is generally unacceptable to marry or date a minor because of the potential harm. But, if we could somehow do a little bloodtest or brain scan to magically see where every individual is at, MAYBE it's fine SOMETIMES, THEORETICALLY, but because there's no way to ever know for sure AND no governing body or leader could ever test every single person ever, AND the results can either be pretty good, neutral, or DOWNRIGHT AWFUL AND EVIL, it's generally going to be frowned upon. But there will still be odd outliers like Athens... but obviously I don't care about that type of culture for this discussion.

He and I both agreed in the way past that it would be hard to date a teenager, young adult, or new adult, AS an adult (and we're not even 30 yet). Not because it's not possible to love someone entirely for who they are, and who they grow to become over several decades, but because there are SO many differences between a new adult and an "established" adult? Like, yes, there are differences between the 50yo man and I, but they are way less significant than me, 28-29, and someone ten years younger than me. It doesn't feel right? Although, yeah, good time to start mingling with adults and getting a feel for things with experienced people, but. Idk.

I don't even know what I'm trying to accomplish while I ramble, so I'm going to stop now. Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful comments ❤️
 
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