Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Tell My Mother I Want to Date a Guy She Tried to Put in Jail?”

jail love
I am currently 19 years old and going to college. I am moving out in five months to attend a university. My mother has paid for everything my whole life and reminds me of it every chance she gets. I work full time now, so she doesn’t pay for my food, gas or clothing. When I was 15, I was totally in love with this 18-year-old guy that my mother forbid me to see. I decided to start sneaking out to see him and ended up losing my virginity to him. Of course, my mother found out and took things to the extreme. She tried to put the guy in jail, but she failed. Now I’m almost 20 and hadn’t seen him in 5 years until the other week when we reconnected. I want to try and see if things will work out between us, but I’m too scared to tell my mom. She is so controlling. She has to know where I am and who I’m with 24/7. How can I tell her about this without her making my life a living hell? — Afraid to Tell Mom

Honestly, I think you shouldn’t bother with this guy. I mean, the fact that he was 18 and you were a 15-year-old virgin when he slept with you is already borderline shady. There’s just such a big difference between a 15-year-old inexperienced girl and an 18-year-old guy. So, in my book, that’s one strike against him. But the fact that your mom tried to put him in jail and that didn’t scare him off forever — or at least until you are living on your own, totally independent of your mother (and no, paying for your own food, gas, and clothing doesn’t count as totally independent) — is a pretty big second strike. Even if you could overlook the fact that he slept with an under-aged girl — fine, he was just barely legal himself — I think it speaks volumes that he would want to reconnect with you at this point knowing full well how controlling your mother is and that there could be some serious repercussions if she found out you two were seeing each other, if not for him then definitely for you.

And what might those repercussions be? Well, you’d know better than I would. But I’m assuming that your mother, who reminds you all the time that she pays for everything, is footing your tuition and will continue paying for your education as well as maybe your room and board when you transfer to a university this fall. I suspect that, if she’s as controlling and vindictive as you make it sound, she might stop paying for your education. Do you really want to risk that for a guy you were into when you were 15?

If you’re willing to take the risk, I guess I’d just tell your mom now that you’ve recently reconnected with him and want to spend some time together. As for how to tell her without her making your life a living hell, I don’t know. It would seem that, if you wanted to avoid the “living hell” part of the equation, you’d just lie low for five months until you move away and have some distance between yourself and your mom and can have a little more freedom to do what you please. I’d think you would also appreciate the freedom that comes with not being tied down to any one person so that you could fully appreciate all the perks of college life and all the many, many new people you are sure to meet. People your mom didn’t try to jail once upon a time.


You can follow me on Facebook here and Twitter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

128 comments… add one
  • Christy March 20, 2014, 9:06 am

    Hypothesis: 19-year-olds make the worst dating decisions. Gf certainly did at 19, my sister did, and this LW seems to. I just think 19 is the big year of rebellion and shitty relationships. Thoughts?

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    • katie March 20, 2014, 9:16 am

      well, that is the point in western society that people are considered adults. in america, most people are still in high school at 18, so then at or around 19 and going to/in college is the first “im on my own, thinking for myself, can make any decision i want” point, and most people go nuts with that. coupled then with a controlling mom, like in this letter, or even just the helicopter parenting culture we have now in general, i can see it. its kind of like a perfect storm to ensure that 19 year olds make terrible decisions.

      so yea, i like your hypothesis.

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    • rainbow March 20, 2014, 9:22 am

      I dated a guy who tried to burn me alive at 19, so yes. I agree.

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    • lemongrass March 20, 2014, 9:44 am

      I got together with my husband at 19….

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      • rainbow March 20, 2014, 9:47 am

        Some people are more reasonable than others and you sound like one of them in general, so it doesn’t surprise me.

      • rachel March 20, 2014, 10:02 am

        And look how THAT turned out, amiright? 😉

      • othy March 20, 2014, 11:06 am

        Hurray for being exceptions to the rule? I started dating my husband when I was 16 and he was 18. And his sister married her husband at 19, and so far that’s turned out well (even if we thought she was nuts for getting married so young).

    • Fabelle March 20, 2014, 9:48 am

      I was a serial cheater at age 19, so yeah—my bad dating decision was probably staying in the relationship that I was in, when clearly I wasn’t ready for committment.

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    • gigi March 20, 2014, 10:16 am

      I was very dumb/naive at 19, I married an alcoholic abuser at 19, mostly because my mom & dad were very controlling as the LW’s seem to be. They said “You can’t” & I said ” Oh yes I can!” I agree age 19 can be a very bad year for decision-making.

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    • Morgan March 20, 2014, 11:14 am

      I met and started dating my current bf at 19. I did however, make plenty of questionable decisions at 18, so maybe I was just an early bloomer 😉

      Oh wait, I did make one truly dumb decision dating wise at 19. I’m actually pretty lucky I didn’t end up as a missing american studying abroad on cnn. So…carry on.

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    • MsMIsery March 20, 2014, 1:37 pm

      Yeah, 19-21 were probably the stupidest years of my life.

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    • va-in-ny March 20, 2014, 2:46 pm

      I got engaged to my fiance when I was 19. And he got engaged to his (secret) other fiance when I was 20.

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    • AmyP March 20, 2014, 4:01 pm


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  • joanna March 20, 2014, 9:26 am

    Just wait until you’re not living under your mother’s roof anymore and then you can do what you want. If that happens to be another 5 months, it’s not the end of the world.

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  • artsygirl March 20, 2014, 9:28 am

    Ouch Wendy – I met my husband when I was 15 and he was 18 (freshman/senior). We have now been together 13 years.

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    • bethany March 20, 2014, 9:37 am

      But the question is, did your mom try to have him locked up?! Jk. 🙂 I don’t really see a problem with the age difference. I feel like if you’re in the same school, it’s all good. Now a senior and an 8th grader… I might have a problem with that.

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      • artsygirl March 20, 2014, 10:39 am

        Luckily my parents love my husband – though I did find out a few years into the relationship that my mom had called a couple of the teachers at our school and even some of my husband’s neighbors to make sure he was a good guy.

    • Lyra March 20, 2014, 9:48 am

      I think it *is* possible, but the red flags here are too coincidental, you know? All of a sudden she’s moving away from her mom who tried to have him locked up and he’s magically reconnecting with her…

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      • artsygirl March 20, 2014, 10:43 am

        Maybe though she didn’t say why her mother didn’t like the guy. Was it only because of the age difference? Was he a trouble maker? etc I wish we had a few more details – but the letter seems to suggest that there is a lot of control issues between the LW and her mother (stating that her mother constantly holds it over her head that she is providing for the LW, the mother wanting to know where she is and who she is hanging out with, etc).

      • LlamaPajamas March 20, 2014, 10:51 am

        I almost want to side with her mom on that aspect – like, is her mom constantly reminding the LW what she does for her because the LW is ungrateful or takes things for granted? And is she really that controlling or is it just that the LW wants to do her own thing and resents having to check in with her mom while she’s living with her? I’m not putting this all on the LW, I’d just like to know the mom’s perspective. I was a brat when I was 19 and thought I was totally within my rights to do what I wanted but still have my parents pay for everything. I’m getting old.

      • artsygirl March 20, 2014, 10:45 am

        Also, the jail thing happened five years ago and it sounds like there was not a criminal case. It isn’t likely he is getting in contact with her to keep her from testifying or anything like that.

      • katie March 20, 2014, 12:44 pm

        yea actually, good point- she “tried” and “failed” to put the kid in jail- and while these cases do get thrown out for stupid reasons a good amount of the time, i would have to assume then that their relationship was legal.

    • 2_J March 20, 2014, 11:02 am

      I have to agree here. I am pretty dissapointed in Wendy’s judgemental tone here suggesting this guy was shady because of that small age difference. Although i am now 30, the mother of my son, who is now 8, was 15 and i was 18. I did ask her parents permission and we were together nearly 5 years. So yea, i don’t see a problem here. As for the LW, you’re 19, you don’t have to tell your mother anything about who you want to date. It’s simply none of her business, regardless if she has paid for your schooling and all that. Just do what you feel is best for yourself.

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    • Morgan March 20, 2014, 11:24 am

      My sister and her first serious boyfriend had the same age difference. Though in their case they started dating when he was a 17 year old junior and she was a just barely under 15 freshman. So yes, there was a period in her sophomore year after he turned 18 and before she turned 16 that their relationship would have been illegal in many states.

      It didn’t bother me or my parents. They both ran the same event on varsity track, she for the girls team and him for the guys team. The groups hung out a lot. The relationships in high school that freaked me out were the ones where the much older guy dated the freshman girl and there was no conceivable way they would have met other than the older guy trolling for the younger girl, or where the relationship started when one party was still in middle school. See a guy I will now reluctantly admit I had a huge thing for, who started hooking up with an incoming freshman during summer training for cross country when he was about to be a senior. She hadn’t even started high school yet!

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  • rainbow March 20, 2014, 9:29 am

    My thoughts when I read the title and saw the picture:

    1.- Cool, this is totally “A Certain Justice” by P.D. James! (it’s about an 18-year-old girl who starts dating a rape/torture/murder suspect her mother kept from going to jail, so no, but a woman can dream)
    2.- But apparently the guy is a Time Lord? Interesting.

    And WWS. Drop him, spend some time on your own. Moving from a controlling mom to a boyfriend puts you in a huge risk to choose one that will be controlling too. Be your own woman for a while and that will help you choose a man with whom you can be your own woman too.

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    • othy March 20, 2014, 11:14 am

      If he was a Time Lord, the advice would be completely different.

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      • rainbow March 20, 2014, 11:41 am

        “Wait till he regenerates and gets a different body, she’ll never suspect a thing!”

      • rainbow March 20, 2014, 11:41 am

        Let’s hope the new body is not too old, though.

    • cmary March 21, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Woohoo! PD James reference!

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  • bethany March 20, 2014, 9:30 am

    Am I a bad person for thinking 15/18 isn’t that bad? Isn’t’ that like a high school sophomore and a senior? I know plenty of seniors who dated sophomores. Plus what if she was almost 16 and he had just turned 18?

    But that aside, yeah, you probably shouldn’t date this guy. And if you really want to, wait till you move out. It’ll make your life much easier.

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    • rainbow March 20, 2014, 9:38 am

      I would prefer my 15 year old daughter to date someone younger than 18, but I can see why LW and the guy would think it’s not a problem, and it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad guy.

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    • Fabelle March 20, 2014, 9:44 am

      Yeah, I don’t think 18 and 15 is that bad either. I dated a 19 year old when I was 16, so same age difference, & I know plenty of people who dated freshmen/sophomores as seniors. The way high school is set up (enter at age 14, leave at age 18–if your birthday is before the summer) sort of makes it not weird?

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    • katie March 20, 2014, 9:49 am

      no im with you, i dont think its just automatically bad, and i dont think its weird at all.

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    • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 10:05 am

      I think the general idea is that the 15-year-old may be pressured or persuaded into doing things they are ready or prepared for. And the law at least believes that a person of that age can’t actually consent to things that many 18-year-olds expect to happen in a relationship.

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    • GatorGirl March 20, 2014, 10:13 am

      I don’t think it’s like the worst thing ever (15 & 18 year olds dating) but I don’t love the idea either. The younger is barely a step out of middle school, while the older has one foot in college…so yeah, it COULD work, but I would probably discourage my hypothetical children from doing it. There is something a little off about the maturity difference, IMO.

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    • joanna March 20, 2014, 10:18 am

      And don’t forget people who have maybe been held back a year or whatever.

      I was 15 in 10th grade when my first boyfriend asked me out and he was 17 and in 11th cause he was held back a year (it was wayyyy back in first grade so it didn’t matter much anymore). Then I turned 16 in the middle of 10th grade (my birthday is in January) and so we were 16/17 until June. Then he turned 18, so we were 16/18 just having finished 10th/11th grades. But technically 16/18 is illegal in my state cause 17 is the age of consent. It didn’t matter anyways because I never had sex with this boyfriend. And 11th grade for me/12th grade for him started at the end of the summer and we technically weren’t legal until I turned 17 in January. And then a couple months later we broke up so that was the end of that. Anyways, he graduated a couple days after he turned 19. His birthday was the 21st and graduation was the 23rd.

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      • katie March 20, 2014, 10:28 am

        yea, good point, and same with me. i was actually 19 almost my whole senior year of high school and dating a grade below be to boot. promise i wasnt a predator.

      • GatorGirl March 20, 2014, 10:36 am

        I guess I did something similar. I was held back in 1st grade, so by my sophomore year I was 16, I started dating a freshman who was 14. I guess I feel like 2 years, and only one grade level, is less “icky” than 3 years and fresh-senior? IDK, I don’t think our ages ever came up at the time, just that I was a grade ahead of him.

      • bethany March 20, 2014, 10:43 am

        I was 17 when I graduated high school! (mid-June birthday).

      • LlamaPajamas March 20, 2014, 10:52 am

        So was I! I skipped a grade so I was always the youngest in my year at school. It sucked.

      • katie March 20, 2014, 10:57 am

        haha! it was awkward being so old for sure. i was the only freshman who drove, i went to my first club with my friends older brother because everyone else wasnt 18 yet, i bought people cigarettes a lot, ect… i was home schooled, so when i was “placed” in school they placed me a grade below where i would have been because my parents sucked at home schooling.

      • katie March 20, 2014, 11:01 am

        oh and then in college i was the designated booze-buyer, of course.

      • Moneypenny March 20, 2014, 3:01 pm

        I was 17 when I started college! (October birthday). Everyone in my classes have always been older than me pretty much my whole life.

    • othy March 20, 2014, 11:18 am

      Othello and I were only one grade apart, but there was a couple of months when we were dating that he was 19 and I was 16. The kindergarten start cutoff was Sept 1 and his birthday is the beginning of September. Where I started kindergarten, our deadline was Nov 1, and I’ve got a late October birthday. So he was one of the oldest in his grade and I was the youngest in mine. But maturity wise, we were just fine.

      It also helped that we weren’t having sex yet.

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  • Ella_ March 20, 2014, 9:38 am

    What is the appeal of this guy? If he’s someone you dated for a while five years ago and only reconnected with last week, it seems less about you really liking this guy in particular and more about 1. a romanticized idea of your teenage feelings or 2. subconsciously using him as a way to defy your mom. Based on the mom-daughter relationship portrayed in the letter, sounds like the LW and the mom don’t really get along so sneaking around with this guy or dating someone the mom disapproves of makes it more exciting and enticing to the LW. If she’s paying for tuition and rent, she has the power to cut that off, so tread carefully.
    It really sounds best to forget this guy and move on. And if you don’t want to be beholden to your mom, move out and pay your own tuition. Otherwise, there are probably some expectations for you to follow while you live in her house.

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    • Fabelle March 20, 2014, 9:46 am

      Your analysis in the first paragraph is spot-on, I think ::thumbs up:: hah

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    • rainbow March 20, 2014, 9:50 am

      Yes, this. And in that way it is *exactly* like A Certain Justice by P.D. James. I think the LW should read it.

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      • Ella_ March 20, 2014, 9:56 am

        Now I want to read it! I am a big mystery fan but haven’t really read any P.D. James (yet!).

      • rainbow March 20, 2014, 11:38 am

        She’s my absolute crime novel hero. Last year I read 16 books by her in about 5 months, all her Adam Dalgliesh Series (14 books, her more “adult” work) and her YA two book series about Cordelia Gray, private detective. I will remember those months spent reading in bars as one of the best times of my life.

      • Moneypenny March 20, 2014, 3:02 pm

        Yay PD James!! High five!

      • rainbow March 20, 2014, 3:21 pm

        Crime high five!

    • bethany March 20, 2014, 9:57 am

      For sure #1. It’s totally that!

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      • Ella_ March 20, 2014, 10:02 am

        That just seems like a common thing, to think back to teenage crushes or boyfriends as some sort of special relationship. Like, I have been with my boyfriend for over five years and we’re really happy together but I still sometimes think about the guy I had a major crush on in high school. You just have to recognize that that doesn’t really mean anything, you know? It is less about reality and more about how you remember things.

  • katie March 20, 2014, 9:38 am

    LW, i think this issue is a red herring. this is like the character in our book that was so upset about his girlfriend leaving him instead of being upset about losing his eyesight… so, i think you should think big picture here. i think you should concentrate much more on getting out from underneath your mother’s grasp. that is going to be crucial to almost all aspects of your life, not just your love life. i dont know how controlling she is, but if its really bad, you might even want to look into therapy for dealing with it. but put that on your mind first- this guy, eh, i dont think he is probably bad, but again, this issue is like a drop of water compared to the ocean of potential issues with your mom, and with getting over the control.

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  • Lyra March 20, 2014, 9:38 am

    Yeah, this is sketchy. I would just ignore this guy and move on. There are plenty of other fun, cool guys to date and get to know. It’s not worth potentially ruining a relationship with your mother.

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  • bagge72 March 20, 2014, 9:42 am

    Ah yes the forbidden bad guy that you just can’t have. Find another bad guy that will piss your mother off, and spare this sketchy character.

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  • LlamaPajamas March 20, 2014, 9:49 am

    You probably can’t tell your mom about this without her making your life miserable so I’m more concerned about the geography and logistics here – are you transferring to a university that’s near your current college or is it in another city? Will you be closer or farther from this guy? Are you going to live in an apartment or a dorm? This guy is 23 now – is he in school or working? If you’re 19 and working full time and going to school and dealing with leaving a controlling parent for the first time ever, why are you looking to complicate your life further by getting back together with this guy right now? Dude, just give it a few months until you’re settled at your new school and then see if that’s still what you want.

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    • LlamaPajamas March 20, 2014, 10:02 am

      I should clarify – my concern is that this guy will somehow interfere with you finishing school. That’s where I was going with my questions.

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  • rainbow March 20, 2014, 9:53 am

    LW go read “A Certain Justice” by P.D. James, go, run!
    I’m not saying your BF is a criminal or anything of the sort (if you read above you’ll see I don’t even consider the age difference creepy) but you might find Octavia’s relationship with her mother interesting. I had a controlling mom too and it made me feel and think ALL THE THINGS even though I only found it at 28.

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  • muchachaenlaventana March 20, 2014, 9:55 am

    Honestly some people are just so drawn to drama it is actually mind-boggling. The whole situation reeks of drama and angst and some idealized “mom made our love end and now we can finally be together but omg, she is going to protest and etc. yada yada yada”. It honestly exhausts me to even contemplate the ways this could blow up or go wrong. That said LW, I get you are young and I think we are all entitled to make our own choices. I did some dumb stuff at 19 that was also drama-filled (told my boyfriend I cheated on him so he would be jealous-yeah that backfired). So it is easy for me to look at this from a different perspective and be like oh please don’t do this, but when you are in the moment I think it is really hard to consider anything but your feelings and emotions. I would honestly, if you are serious about this and won’t be swayed from him, (I think you should just forget him, personally) be upfront with your mom from the beginning. I honestly believe you should never have to keep a relationship a secret, this is always a recipe for disaster. Be upfront, if she protests, and you still live at home respect her wishes and when you move out and are truly independent you will be free to do what you want with whom you want.

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  • rachel March 20, 2014, 10:05 am

    LW, what do you really know about this guy? People change a lot between, what, 18 and 22? If you want to get to know him again, maybe do that, but take it slowly, and don’t jump into anything until at least the 5 months is up and you’re out from your mother’s thumb.

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  • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 10:07 am

    Yes, you should definitely risk your ability to support yourself and get an education over some crush, because you certainly will not meet other guys at a place like college.

    I’d leave that on its own, but I’m not entirely sure that the sarcasm would be detected, so for the record, I’m being sarcastic, LW.

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    • GatorGirl March 20, 2014, 10:17 am

      Yes, exactly. Please LW throw your education away for a teenage crush. Definitely a FAB-u-lous idea.

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    • findingtheearth March 20, 2014, 10:39 am

      I want to like this, but the little thumbs are gone.

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  • findingtheearth March 20, 2014, 10:39 am

    I think you need to be on your own and be responsible and independent instead of choosing a boyfriend to latch onto instead of a parent.

    You might also want to see a therapist in order to learn how to deal with a narcissistic/controlling parent.

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  • Miss MJ March 20, 2014, 10:44 am

    Eh, I don’t see the problem with 18 and 15, honestly. Since the LW’s mother is so controlling, I’m assuming the LW wasn’t trolling the streets for older men, and she was a high school sophomore and he was a senior when they met. This was really, really common when I was in HS, as was sex between the two. So, I don’t think this dude is a perv or anything, just a normal HS guy who dated a sophomore with a bit of a nut job for a mother. (And yes, trying to get your 15-year-old daughter’s 18-year old HS senior BF put in jail, thereby ruining his life forever, because he had consensual sex with your pure delicate flower makes you a nut job.)

    As for the actual question, I wouldn’t do it, LW. Not because there’s anything wrong with this guy, per se, but because I think you’re more interested in declaring your “independence” from your overly controlling mother than dating this guy – which you know is going to come off to her as a pretty big slap in her face – and, I don’t think the potential consequences are worth it. Keep in touch with him, if you like, and, after you move out, maybe have him come visit you and see if you actually want to date him or if you really just wanted to fuck him to stick it to your mother. If it’s the former, have at it. If it’s the latter, well, don’t use him for that purpose. That’s gross.

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  • AKchic March 20, 2014, 10:49 am

    I think that there are a few possibilities that could (not) work. She could tell her mother and lose the majority of her funding. She could NOT tell her mom and then deal with the repercussions when Mommy-dearest does find out (and she will).

    Look, I get it, this guy was your first. It doesn’t mean he’s your only. College is as much about self-discovery when you’re under 22 as it is about the practical education. You can be friends with this guy, but don’t date him. Wendy feels his actions were shady, whereas I think his actions bespeak to many immature males in the world. Do you really want someone so immature that they would risk jail just to get their rocks off with a girl? Especially an underage girl? I wouldn’t now, and I have been the younger girl in the story numerous times.

    This is part of growing up. Learning to say no and walking away from potentially toxic relationships. You need to create boundaries with your mother. I am not sure how you are going to do that, but it may require you to become fully independent of her. Look into student loans and on-campus housing if nothing else.

    At the same time, don’t date this guy. At least not now. If it was “meant to be”, then the two of you will get back together AFTER you’ve graduated from college and are fully functional as an adult and not dependent on your mother. And after you’ve dated a few frogs to give yourself some perspective.

    Good luck.

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  • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 10:59 am

    Ugh. Just forget this. Losing your virginity is NOT the sacred cow many make it out to be. Ironically, I blame the mother for the LW even entertaining this thought… Why? How? Because when she — the mother — made the loss of her daughter’s virginity into a federal case, she turned it into this epic and humongous thing. And now the daughter wants to right this wrong by making it super special and that they are now still destined to be together after all this time — isn’t it romantic and blah, blah, blah.

    It isn’t romantic. You’ve spent 19 years being controlled by others. First your mother, and now this creep comes running back? Why? Because he wants to blow up your relationship with your mother to blow up. He wants to isolate you. It’s what assholes do. How so few young women see such obvious behavior for what it is remains the greatest mystery of our time.

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    • DreamPlanActLive March 20, 2014, 11:10 am

      Awesome point,Mark!Guys like this often want to ruin parent-child relationships and isolate/control the girl or boy,either because they are jerks or to “avenge” being dragged to court in the first place.Not to mention the ones that try to exploit and mooch off money.Nothing romantic in this story at all.

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    • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 11:22 am

      Very good points. I will say, though, that after having taken courses on developmental psych, it’s not much of a mystery to me anymore.

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  • DreamPlanActLive March 20, 2014, 11:06 am

    How about try to consider your mother’s point of view on this relationship you had when you were an underage and he was an adult.It is not necessarily that she is controlling,maybe only you see her choices as such because she disagrees with you dating this person and you want to rebel against her.What good will come out of this?Reuniting with an old crush four years later?It’s not like there are no other guys on earth,you will meet a lot of decent people in college.

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  • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 11:11 am

    PS — I am genuinely rather surprised so many of you suddenly seem curiously in favor of doing away with statutory rape laws as you were all — i dunno — really worldly fifteen year olds?

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    • bethany March 20, 2014, 11:17 am

      Please don’t misread my comments to mean that I’m ok with statutory rape. I’m not. In my comment above I was talking about dating. Personally, I feel like a 15 year old is too young to be having sex, regardless of if their partner is 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, whatever!

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      • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 11:26 am

        Okay, now I’m confused as you seem to be contradicting yourself… You previously posted: “Am I a bad person for thinking 15/18 isn’t that bad?”

        I mean, that’s what happened here and isn’t THAT is the very definition of statutory rape?

      • bethany March 20, 2014, 11:30 am

        I also said: “Isn’t that like a high school sophomore and a senior? I know plenty of seniors who dated sophomores.” I never mentioned sex in my comment.

      • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 11:34 am

        Right, but sex happened here in this instance… It wasn’t all chaste nights at sock hops…

      • GatorGirl March 20, 2014, 11:38 am

        Dating doesn’t equal sex.

      • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 11:42 am

        In this letter — it did. Aren’t we commenting on this letter? Isn’t that the point of all this? And if you REALLY think that the schools are just filled with loads upon loads of 18 year olds wanting to demurely date 15 year olds for three long years before banging them — well, then you are far, far too naive.

      • bethany March 20, 2014, 11:51 am

        I was just generally commenting on the ages, not particularly to the LW. It’s hardly the first time someone here has made a general comment on the issue at hand, and not 100% specific to the LW. I also did address the LW’s specific situation and said that I thought the LW should not re-date this guy.

      • GatorGirl March 20, 2014, 1:12 pm

        Well, there are two conversations going on…one being directly relating to this LW, and then two being the big lot of people talking in general terms.

        And, no where did I ever say there where “loads upon loads of 18 years olds” not wanting to have sex. But there is definitely a portion that IS waiting.

      • Kicia March 20, 2014, 11:47 am

        I don’t know that many 18 year olds would be interested in just holding hands and playing footsie.

      • bethany March 20, 2014, 11:53 am

        Totally. I started dating my HS boyfriend when I was 14, and he was 16. Yeah, of course he wanted to have sex, but I didn’t. I dated him for 2 years and never did it with him. There are plenty of people who can and will wait until they’re ready… Or at least more ready than they are at 14.

      • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 3:48 pm

        I think that’s the thing, though. You were able to make that decision and stick to it, but a lot of people that age cannot fully reason whether it’s worth it or not, how to be safe with it, or how to handle it if someone they are in love with who is older and more experienced is trying to convince them to have sex.

      • Dear Wendy March 20, 2014, 11:48 am

        I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most 18 year old boys — not all, but most — would want — and probably try — to have sex with their girlfriends. And that is exactly why I would be concerned about a 15-year-old girl — a virgin, at that — dating an 18 year old.

      • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 11:51 am

        Yeah. This seems beyond obvious to me, too. But many clearly live in fantasy land…

      • GatorGirl March 20, 2014, 1:14 pm

        Per the chart mid page, around 55% of males age 18 have had sex. Which means there is a good 45% who haven’t…which is a pretty big portion of the group.

      • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 3:46 pm

        But that’s how many have had sex, not how many want to. Who’s to say that a large portion of the 45 percent just haven’t had the opportunity?

    • DreamPlanActLive March 20, 2014, 11:21 am

      Me too (surprised,I mean)…Whether it is a 15 year old with a 18 year old, or a 15 year old with a 30 year old,the same laws should apply still.

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      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 11:39 am

        I just don’t agree with this. When everyone is in high school, taking the same classes (pretty common with electives), and involved in the same extracurriculars, I really don’t see that much of a difference between a sophomore and a senior. (For the record, 15 and 18 is not statutory rape in my state, though I recognize that it is in many others.)

      • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 11:44 am

        Developmentally, they’re very different. Sure, environment plays a factor, but haven’t you seen differences in maturity levels, among other things, between 15-year-olds and 18-year-olds? My cousin is 17 now, and she is extremely different from when she was 15, and she still goes to the same high school.

      • Kicia March 20, 2014, 11:52 am

        Lindsay, I completely agree with you. If there were still thumbs, I would thumbs up this comment x 1000.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:02 pm

        I’m pretty familiar with adolescent development, yes. I taught that age group; I’ve watched them mature over the course of 6 months, let alone two years. I’m not arguing a 15 year old is as mature as she’s going to be at 18. I would argue that she’s closer in maturity to a lot of the 18 year old men than many of my 18 year old women are, but that’s not really the point. Honestly, after working with my students, I’m just glad when they wait til they’re out of 8th grade at this point. (Which isn’t many of them. No pregnancies so far though, thank god. I won’t be in touch with them after this year, but hopefully that trend continues.)

      • Kicia March 20, 2014, 12:09 pm

        What ever happened to kids just acting like kids? I remember when I was 15, the worst things my friends and I did was play with the ouiji board and drink too much soda until our stomachs hurt. And our dating experience consisted of playing Dream Phone.

      • mandalee March 20, 2014, 12:56 pm

        I can honestly say Dream Phone and things like that were more common during 11-13 than 15. I mean, at 15 I was in high school and just a year from having a driver’s license. I had a job and pretty much everyone I knew dated someone. I know everyone grows at different rates, but I would be hard pressed to lump 15 year olds in with children.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 1:10 pm

        @Kicia: Many of my students live through things that do not allow them to just be kids.

        @mandalee: Yup. Course, I also was training at a studio affiliated with a ballet company when I was 15. My childhood was not exactly a, well, childhood.

    • Kicia March 20, 2014, 11:24 am

      Yea, I’m not sure when the last time everyone hung out with a 15 year old is but 15 year olds are seriously young! My little cousin is 15 and I couldn’t ever imagine her parents being okay with her dating an 18 year old. Heck, even I wouldn’t be okay with her dating an 18 year old. At 15, you’re pretty much still a kid.

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    • katie March 20, 2014, 12:05 pm

      i am very much in favor of statutory rape laws that have the “x years apart in age” qualifiers on them. for instance, “at least three years younger than the offender.”, from an alaska law, ” if the actor is more than two years older”, from conneticut, ect. and i also think that those laws should take ages of high school students into account, because i dont actually think its fair and/or realistic to cut off people from dating within their peer group by something that can be as fluid as age can be in high school- like me, who was turning 20 the year i graduated high school. i think that the “x years apart” qualifiers helps that, because it does then give the benefit of the doubt a little more to kids who are just dating within their peer group.

      there are regularly 18 year olds (legal adults) hanging out with under-18 year old legal children. all over the country, all the time, in classes and extra curriculars. and if they are in a peer group together they will date. the only way to really stop them from dating would be to have a hard cut off, by age, where when you turned 18 you were done with high school. which could be cool, i guess, but i have no idea how a school year would work with that…

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      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:24 pm

        Giving you a thumb up here.

    • katie March 20, 2014, 12:10 pm

      also, ps- why does her sexual status as “virgin” change anything? if she was a 15 year old non virgin it would be cool?

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      • Fabelle March 20, 2014, 12:30 pm

        Yeah, I was thinking the same thing…why the emphasis (in the comments) on her “virgin” status?

        ahh, like…I almost don’t want to comment on this discussion at all, because I feel like people are taking away her agency by pointing out she was a virgin, & saying that obviously an 18-year-old dude would want to have sex—but what if she also wanted sex? Why is that not included in everyone’s assumptions? I know this is a tricky point to argue, because it can get into “she was so mature, so so totally wanted it” territory, but IN THIS CASE, I think it’s safe to assume she wanted to have sex with her 18-year-old also in high school boyfriend.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:36 pm

        Your last point, yes. I was having trouble articulating why I was having trouble with the assumption I discussed below, and you nailed it.

      • katie March 20, 2014, 12:40 pm

        yep, exactly, i just have so many issues with it….

      • theattack March 20, 2014, 1:32 pm

        Yes, this is one of the many reasons I’m staying out of this conversation. That and the fact that 15 year olds, and 18 year olds for that matter, are all vastly different. I feel like 15 is when I grew up, and I was sexually active because I was ready. This is just a ridiculous conversation almost.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:31 pm

        I think people are using virginity as a proxy for relationship experience, to demonstrate the potential power gap between the LW and the boyfriend. She was a virgin, which i guess implies she didn’t have a ton of relationship experience, so she’s less able to articulate boundaries/stand up for herself, and therefore easier for him to take advantage of/convince to have sex.

        Which I think is an okay but not perfect assumption.

      • LadyinPurpleNotRed March 20, 2014, 12:36 pm

        Being 15 implies she doesn’t have a lot of relationship experience. Being a virgin doesn’t.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:48 pm

        So then why does his being 18 automatically make him experienced? Why do we have to read this as the more experienced guy with the less experienced girl?

      • LadyinPurpleNotRed March 20, 2014, 12:50 pm

        I’m not saying that he has experience. I’m just saying that between those two facts, 15 is more likely. There are plenty of older virgins who have experience.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:54 pm

        So I go back to katie’s question then…why all the focus on her virginity? (I’m not saying you were, but some people were, and like Katie I found it very…disconcerting.)

      • LadyinPurpleNotRed March 20, 2014, 12:56 pm

        I completely agree with you! I don’t think the virginity matters.

      • rainbow March 20, 2014, 12:50 pm

        I too find all the mentions to her virgin status really creepy.

    • Dear Wendy March 20, 2014, 11:17 am

      I’m surprised by everyone chiming in that there’s no big difference between a 15-year-old (virgin) girl and an 18-year-old guy too. Like, don’t you remember when you were 15-year-old girls?! I wouldn’t forbid a 15-year-old daughter of mine to date an 18-year-old, but I would definitely be leary about it and would make sure I knew as much about him as possible.

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      • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 11:25 am

        Me too. Maybe it’s because I never dated an 18-year-old at that age, so I guess I don’t have that nostalgia, but I did have friends who dated did and it wasn’t roses and sunshine, especially when all their pregnancy scares started. Working at a college and knowing many 18-year-olds, I would be very, very wary of a young high-schooler dating one.

      • othy March 20, 2014, 11:29 am

        I really think it depends on the circumstances. How many grades apart are they? Is he in college while she’s still in high school? Or are they only a grade or two apart? How responsible of a kid is he? Has he dated before? Yeah, I’d be leery, but I would be of any kid a 15 year old girl was dating.

      • LlamaPajamas March 20, 2014, 11:47 am

        I agree, which is why I somewhat sided with the mom above (like, way above). But I also agree with Bethany that dating doesn’t necessarily equal sex, and there’s a huge difference between a high school freshman dating a high school sophomore (like a lot of people cited above) and a 15-year old girl having sex with a guy who could easily be out of high school. That sounds sketchy and her mom seems within bounds to worry about that relationship. The mom might not be as crazy and controlling as the LW makes her out to be.

      • Dear Wendy March 20, 2014, 11:56 am

        How many 18-year-olds are sophomores in high school? That in itself is suspect!

      • othy March 20, 2014, 11:59 am

        I was a 15 year old high school junior, when Othello was an 18 year old senior.

      • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:18 pm

        Unfortunately, in poorer areas with rough schools systems and unstable home lives, pretty common. I had four 16 year olds and many, many 15 year olds in my 8th grade classes, which would put them at 17/18 come sophomore year. I was in college at 18 too, but i also had a stable family life, was never moving between schools or taken out of school for months at a time, or held back because I was suspended so many times for fighting that I missed most of the material. Or held back because I was a black boy with behavioral issues and that’s how many school systems deal with race. White boys are just being boys, black boys are ED and get put into special ed and fall behind.

        It’s one of the reasons the drop out rate is so high. Only one of those four 16 year olds finished the 8th grade that year; the other 3 realized they’d never catch up to their age group/did the math and realized they’d probably hit the 21 and you’re done mark before they realistically graduated and dropped out. Interestingly, here you cannot keep a student in middle school after age 16, so all four would have automatically been passed on to the 9th grade. The one who didn’t drop out was the one who realized that; he stopped coming to school the second half of the year, but he’s a 17 year old 9th grader with all his friends this year all the same. Last I spoke to his teachers at his new school, he is in danger of failing two classes right now, so he will probably not achieve sophomore status next year, making him an 18 year old freshman.

      • LlamaPajamas March 20, 2014, 12:21 pm

        Oops – I meant that I wouldn’t be as suspicious of a freshman dating a junior, not a sophomore. I started college when I was 17.

      • Dear Wendy March 20, 2014, 11:57 am

        I mean, fuck, I was already in college when I turned 18.

  • Bossy Italian Wife March 20, 2014, 12:24 pm

    I think it’s totally possible these two have a great connection and always did. 15/18 spread just isn’t that bad!! I met my husband when I was 18 and he was 24. I remember people thinking that was outrageous and 10 years later, it’s not a big deal at all (we are married now with our first baby on the way!)

    Maybe the mom is nutso town. I don’t know… I’m not sure there is truly enough information here to make a great call on whether or not she should date this guy. That being said, if she wants to date him, I guess she should. Maybe it’s love, who am I to say?

    As for the issue with mom, I feel like this is one of those things where inevitably you are going to have assert your independence… This would be one hell of a way to do it. Just be sure that you aren’t trying to rebel against your controlling mom for rebelling sake.

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    • Bittergaymark March 20, 2014, 12:30 pm

      Possible? Sure… It’s also possible Madonna is going to drop by my place today for lunch.

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      • veracityb March 20, 2014, 1:28 pm

        She might do 🙂

  • Morgan March 20, 2014, 12:39 pm

    To answer your question, now that I’ve discussed the variations in statutory rape across states and the realities of american public education.

    No, don’t date him. Don’t reconnect. Your mother sounds super controlling, and I watch my boyfriend struggle now with the strings attached to the money he took from his parents when he was younger for school. But as much as he struggles with those strings, he still would never go back and not have them pay for college, although he would have not accepted their money for anything else if he could do it again. Because getting his degree was by far more important than the dumb hoops they now try to get him to jump through. This boy is one of many; get your education, because I’m pretty confident it is far more important than this boy is.

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  • Eve March 20, 2014, 2:18 pm

    I genuinely hope my comment will be approved because I feel very strongly about this.

    Firstly, judging by the info you’ve provided us, you need to do some serious talking with your mom. I can’t believe no one is even addressing how toxic the mother obviously is (again, solely from the info provided and I realise I’m pushing the boundaries by saying this). I have dealt with controlling parents all my life and all I will tell you is that no, they don’t stop when you move out or when you get your own job (been there, done that). Just google a few keywords and you’ll see 30-40 year-old successful people who are complaining on the forums how their mom doesn’t allow them to get married/move to another state/ go on holiday and blackmails and guilt-trips them into not doing so. I guess I will be correct to say that your love life is by no means the only thing your mom is controlling you about ?
    Come on, although I don’t get the whole hype about the 3-year age gap and her being a virgin (duh, she’s 15, surely it’s a good thing she was a virgin !?) and him being 18, I would understand the mother being protective and worried about the daughter. Find then, meet the guy, get to know him, get to know his parents, ask around objective people to see what kind of a person he is. But actually attempt to get him arrested? Controlling parents often don’t do the controlling out of love for their kids but rather often because of some deep personal issues they have themselves. Which is why, again, your mom likely won’t change even when you do move out for college and even when you are 100% in control of your own finances. She will then be using the “you know how hard I worked to pay for this, this and this for you and now you’re repaying me with this” card (“this” being a random basic life decision) – again: been there, done that!

    And about everyone going on how horrible it has been of him to sleep with a 15-year old and having the nerve to reconnect with her … first of all, in my experience it’s quite common for 15-16 year old girls to be interested in slightly older boys (yes, 3 years I believe is not such a big deal) because 15-16 year old boys are often acting like they’re 12. Secondly, why is it that you are all making it sound like that just because of the situation and timing these two have met he is a horrible person who doesn’t/didn’t genuinely like the girl and doesn’t even deserve a chance? I mean how do you know that the well-dressed and clever boy the same age as her, who is also a student of law/medicine/business/science, won’t turn out to be an abusive/controlling ass or even a sociopath ?! You don’t know this, no one knows this, that’s why relationships are a risk. I think the girl should be trusted a bit more and allowed to make her own mistakes and learn from them, instead of everyone telling her how she has to leave him with so so little information about the guy. So what if he was a teenage crush, everyone should live their crushes and face the consequences, life and relationships are a risk. This might end up to be the love of her life or it she might end up being horribly heart-broken but hey, how many of you have never ever been heart-broken ? That’s part of life again.

    Bottom line, start showing your mom that she has to stop blackmailing you (because yes, this is blackmail) about the fact that she’s paying for your stuff. First of all, you’re 19 and you have a full-time job which is great – so many people your age don’t bother to work at all and still wait on their parents to pay for everything. You’re doing the best you can in terms of finances given the circumstances, she is the parent and it’s wrong of her to be nagging you that she’s paying for you. Hell I wouldn’t be nagging so much if I was helping out a total stranger let alone my own child. Look up things on Google on how to confront controlling parents because don’t imagine that this will finish well.
    About the guy, start getting to know him all over again is my suggestion, people do change a lot in 5 years’ time. Go out for coffee and stuff and see what his like. If the spark is still there, live it. But I would confront your mum when you’re already just about to move out to avoid all the drama. And again, google helps 😉

    My parents were using finances to tell me who to date, who to be friends with, what job I should get when I graduate (and they were quite firm about that one) and where to go on holiday and with whom. I got myself a job and stopped acceptingeven a cent from them, but then it just got worse between us.

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    • Lindsay March 20, 2014, 4:12 pm

      “Bottom line, start showing your mom that she has to stop blackmailing you (because yes, this is blackmail) about the fact that she’s paying for your stuff.”

      From Merriam-Webster:
      Blackmail: the crime of threatening to tell secret information about someone unless the person being threatened gives you money or does what you want.

      I’m not sure that referring to an overprotective parent as blackmailing you or Google directions on how to fix the situation are really going to help. I’d say that showing your mother that you make good decisions and then having a conversation with her about it, along with simply growing up and moving out are much better options.

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      • Lyra March 20, 2014, 6:25 pm


    • Lyra March 20, 2014, 6:34 pm

      Well I have overprotective (“controlling” if you will) parents too, but plain and simple I have shown them that I’m responsible and they know I make good decisions. They do it ALL out of love. They want to help me out in every way possible and I’m so appreciative of them for that. When I was a teenager I was annoyed, but now in my mid 20’s I appreciate everything my parents do to help me. I didn’t appreciate it at 19, but I sure as hell appreciate having my mom and dad now at 26. And no, they don’t have “deep personal issues”.

      Honestly we don’t have the whole story about the mom. We don’t know the entire situation. I saw the same red flags that Wendy pointed out. It’s too coincidental. This is NOT worth risking her relationship and support from her mother just to go out with a guy who she liked 4 years ago.

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    • Eve March 23, 2014, 7:38 pm

      I’m glad you appreciate your parents, that must be a lovely feeling to have. However, about this:
      “but plain and simple I have shown them that I’m responsible and they know I make good decisions.”
      This is exactly why you are lucky.(and I’m saying this with the best intentions possible!) Truly controlling and TOXIC parents very rarely accept that you can make your own decisions about anything regardless of your age, because they don’t like feeling that they aren’t in control of most things. That’s the difference between a genuinely concerned parent who wants the best for their kid out of love, and a toxic one. Adults whose parents are toxic often have to even cut contact with them in order to make their OWN good decisions, that is how bad it can be. You can make the best decisions ever for yourself but these kind of parents will always make a huge drama and guilt-tripping about them for many different reasons. Just from what you said your parents might have been on the overprotective side but since you can talk about them in such a nice way (and the above quote) it means that they are generally good supportive parents and you are lucky to have them. It doesn’t mean that you know what it’s like to be with truly controlling parents.
      One very common example is: “Mom, dad, I got a job in *some other state* and am moving there because it’s the job of my dreams”
      Parents: “How dare you do this to us? You obviously don’t want us as parents anymore? After all we’ve done for you, raised you and fed you and paid for all your crap, this is the attitude we get? This is so selfish of you it makes us sick”
      It may seem exaggerated to you but some adults (!) genuinely have to deal with this on a daily basis.

      And that definition of blackmail is dictionary correct but quite narrow. This is the one I’m talking about:
      Emotional blackmail is a form of psychological manipulation.
      Emotional blackmail is “the use of a system of threats and punishment on a person by someone close to them in an attempt to control their behavior.
      In this case, the girl saying that the mom is reminding her all the time that she’s paying her for everything (obviously in an attempt to control her) is emotional blackmail and is wrong of a parent to do. And also trying to ruin the boy’s life over this also shows she’s a bit nuts.
      And about having too little info on the mom … well we have much less info on the young man she wants to see and you all jumped into conclusions that he is a pervert who, as someone else said above, obviously is reconnecting at this time because he wants to destroy the relationship with her mom?! How do you even know that he is the one who reconnected? Nearly nobody even considered that he might have actually really liked the girl and now, 5 years later, is fooled into believing that now that she is a nearly 20-year-old young adult she can decide for herself whether she wants to date him or not. Where did you all get all of these conspiracy theories from?
      And I gave her the advice to get advice from google just because we don’t know the details of the situation, I can give some advice which is completely inapplicable in her case. Fact is she needs to deal with her mom one way or the other and purely on what she’s described in her post (which I appreciate is only her side) it will have to be done the difficult way. If I’m in the wrong about the mom I truly apologise to the girl who wrote this, if the mom isn’t toxic then the she simply shouldn’t be so scared of telling her such a thing and it should go overall well.
      That’s it, and again, I’m spending time writing these things not out of any sort of desire to fight with anyone (that’s totally against my nature), I just got upset seeing how one-sided this whole discussion is and decided to give some insight into the other possible side which I personally have experienced.

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