An 18 year old girl dating a 21 year old guy...what say you?

Shannon - posted on 01/26/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I know as our kids age they meet lots of people, outside the school setting, and may want to date them. Is a 21 year old too much for an 18 year old? Should I think about this, and entertain the notion, or should I take the "strict Mom" route? He seems to be a good kid, nice, doesn't shy away from talking to me or hanging out at the house...but...I'm struggling with how strict I should remain with a technically adult daughter.



Any suggestions?

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Christina - posted on 01/14/2011

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If you refuse it, she will probably rebel and see him behind your back. My mom tried to prevent me from dating my bf in highschool because I was 16 and he was 18. It just pushed me to him more and I wound up as a single teenage mother. Personally, I would sit down with her and tell her your concerns. Be open and honest about why you are worried that she is seeing someone older. Explain he is more experienced than her emotionally, sexually, ect. Discuss her goals (like college, ect) and the ramifications of not being careful with sex (which I'm sure you already have done.) If you talk to her, adult to adult, she will be more open to listen to you.

Shannon - posted on 01/27/2010

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Thanks ladies. I needed that dose of reality. I trust my daughter, she is a good kid, and I'm not just saying that. I am having a hard time letting go, and I'm just stuck on the age thing. You've given me some stuff to think about...thanks a million.

Tonya - posted on 01/24/2011

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I have an 18 yr old daughter and I too understand what you are saying but as long as you two continue to talk about the things in botho of your lives than their shouldn't be a problem especially if you raised her right. When my daugther came to me and asked how will I feel if she were to date someone older i told her to think about a few things such as can you see yourself being in love eith him, do he treat his mom and sisters with respect, and how do he treat you. I also told her that am not going to tell her not to date him just becareful to whom you give your heart too because the truth of the matter is everyone don't deserves you heart of your love and in three months we will talk about it again. When the time came she told me thank you mom for letting me make that mistake, i told her it wasn't a mistake for say it was a learning experience that we all have to go through in order to find mr right not mr rightnow.

Shawnn - posted on 01/07/2011

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Considering that I met my husband (just celebrated 20 years) when I was 18 and he was 23, and we've been together ever since...I'd say, as long as he is not shying away from you and he is being open, you should not worry. She's an adult. If she'd moved out of the house, you may not have even KNOWN about this relationship.

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Bob - posted on 06/20/2014

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I was dating this girl in high school. She was 14 and i was 17. We liked each other very much. Her mother didn't like me at all for some reason. She told us to stop seeing each other. But we continued our relationship. I tried to talk to her mother once about it and that just made it worse. We are broken up now. It was all because rumors were spread around.

Jane - posted on 09/02/2012

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In the UK 18 is an adult - able to drink, smoke and get married without parents permission - therefore there is no difference between a 21 year old and an 18 year old.



From someone who was once an 18 year old going out with a 24 year old (I'm 46 now, but remember it well!), I would say there is no problem so long as they are happy and he treats her with respect. Girls are more mature than boys anyway so the difference in age is actually very small really.



Look at it this way, if you try and stop them, you run the risk of alienating your daughter and pushing them into having a relationship behind your back and then she will feel unable to come to you if things don't work out.



In my opinion, we cannot stop our children making mistakes - we can only guide them to help them make the right choices and then be there to pick up the pieces if things go wrong.

Crystal Nutt Spinks - posted on 02/01/2011

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coming to the realization that this isnt your baby girl anymore is so hard i have been struggling with this myself it sux but if this guy is a good guy and he is good to her and respects her and her family dont fight it she will either spend the rest of her life with him or she will learn a life lesson lessons we all have to learn no matter how painful they may be and yes it sux watching you babies make decisions when you know what the down sides are but we had to learn them and so do they just be there for her support her and love her thats what she needs she needed strictness when she was little now she needs love, guidance , repsect and trust........

Jane - posted on 01/31/2011

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18 year old girl with a 21 year old guy is about the same emotional age. Girls mature so much faster than boys. I think if he's a nice kid, is respectful to your daughter and you then good for her for finding a nice guy to date. The strict mom route has no place in this situation. She's technically an adult and I know she's living in your home but if you try to make her stop seeing him, she's going to anyway!

Sherree - posted on 01/30/2011

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Hi Shannon,

As the strict mom you can still entertain the notion :)

While 21 can sound too old for your daughter, The 3 years of 18/21 is not that big a jump (of course when our daughters are younger, 3 years are indeed a lot!).

The strict mom can still advise and "keep a mom's eye" on what is happening. Keeping lines of communication open with your daughter (and the young man!) is great too.

♥ Sherree

Donna - posted on 01/29/2011

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Hi Shannon, Technically she is an adult so she can make her own decisions. If he is a nice guy, it shouldn't be a problem. The other thing is if you tell her she can't she probably will anyway because you cannot follow an 18 yr old around everywhere and then she will start lying to you. I think it is good that she is bringing him around you so you can get to know him. Just keep the lines of communication open.

Candy - posted on 01/29/2011

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Would you really prefer that your daughter date another 18-year-old? Boys of that age are so much younger in their heads than girls. She is probably realising that boys her age are too immature for her. He sounds nice- stop stressing!

Cheri - posted on 01/29/2011

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She's 18. You can't do anything. :( It sucks, but I do think 21 and 18 is a big gap. I also think 30 and 25 is not so big a gap, but that's because at 25 and 30, people have experienced a lot of life and are much more mature.

You will lose her if you try to tighten any ropes at this point. If you want to keep your daughter, you let her choose her mate, even if you can't stand them. If she's in TRUE danger, then that's one thing, but otherwise, she has to learn for herself about love. That's a lesson my sister and I cruelly taught our parents, when we left on bad terms because we had NO freedom. We could have ended up in some seriously bad situations, and we just lucked out. Some of our friends weren't so lucky...

I would say OPEN COMMUNICATION and make sure you know what you can about this guy. Let her feel like you are her best buddy and let her talk all she wants (and listen to her)

Safety: I also would never bring ANY man around your family without a complete background check. (You don't have to tell her you're doing it) You might uncover some things you don't want to know, but you'll know how to better protect yourself and your family. It doesn't matter the person's age, either. You just never know about people.

That said: You have raised your daughter. you know how she is, you know what morals/values were taught in your home. Now you just have to hope she utilizes everything you taught her. Give her some credit for being a good daughter, give YOURSELF some credit for raising her, and pray everyday (for your own sanity)

Rae - posted on 01/06/2011

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I have an 18 yr. old daughter and this is how I would handle it.

Since she is still basically living here and I am paying for college tuition....as long as she is in my pocket it is my rules at the house. He would not be allowed in her room and would have to leave "my" hous by 11 on week nights and my midnight on weekends. My daughter currently is expected to do chores here such as her own laundry and keep her room clean. She is to always tell me where she is going,when she will be home and who she is with. If she doesn't obey these simple and very easy to do rules she can get out completely on her own and just learn how to be an adult completely---responsiblility and respect!!!

Currently she has a boy friend that is 14 months older than her and these are the rules. Not due to the age thing but due to respect for me. She is attending prevet school and will be paying for at least 7 yrs of college. If what I ask is to much than I am paying entirely to much for education!!!

Deanna - posted on 12/16/2010

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We ran into the exact same situation with our 18-yr-old daughter. My husband really struggled with it. After talking with some friends with grown children, we asked a few questions about the young man and since he was also a college student, we decided not to make an issue out of it. Our daughter is more mature than many of her peers and she struggles with finding guys nearer her age who are at her level of maturity. If the young man is willing to hang out at your house in order to spend time with your daughter and interacts comfortably with you and your husband, I think I'd let it go. Sure is hard though! :)

Anne Marie - posted on 12/10/2010

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I had a girlfriend whose daughter was dating a guy 3&1/2 years older than her when she was 16 almost 17. My friends husband took a fit and forbid them to see each other. This made for an extremely bad relationship between the father and daughter as she snuck out to see the boyfriend. He lost it again. They dated for 4 years now. The daughter and father are still not talking. It has been the final straw on a troubled marriage and the parents have now split. I encouraged my friend to allow the relationship cause dissallowing it she is going to sneak out and see him. If she get into trouble with him (worst case scenerio he molests her) who is she going to tell, if she tells anyone. I can guarantee you it won't be the parents who forbid her to see the guy. If she ever oopens up to anyone it may be too late to help her emotionally or medically if necessary. In reality the age difference really isn't that great. My husband is 4 years older than me and we have been maried for 23 years. I met him when I was 16.

Yvette - posted on 12/06/2010

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I think its fine. Women usually date older guys, so when he is 23 she will be 20. It will still be the same difference. She may even be more mature than he is now. We women mature faster then men anyway. I just hope he isn't a bad influence. She will be fine.

Sam - posted on 12/06/2010

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I try to look at it this way....she is 18, an adult (where I come from anyways), he is 21....in 2 years, she will be 20 and he 23...I don't really see the problem. This is their age circle. As a mom too, it is always tough to see our girls growing up....no matter what the age. :-) xox Sam

Danielle - posted on 12/06/2010

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i got with my partner when i was 17 and he was 25, and after 4 years strong we are still together with a beautiful 2 and a half year old girl. i think at 18 she is old enough to make her own decisions and i think a 3 year age gap is fine, my opinion. me and my partner have a 8 year age gap and my family and friends are fine with that. x

Angie - posted on 01/27/2010

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It depends on how mature the 18 year old and 21 year old are. She's an adult now and it's time to let her make more and more of her own decision. I was 18 and my husband 21 when we started dating. We both had the same morals so it wasn't a problem.

Marcia - posted on 01/27/2010

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I haven't had to deal with this one yet, at least not with my daughter. I however, dated a 36 year old when I was 18. My mother threw a fit. ( I see her point now) I continued to sneak off and see him, just because my mom said no. This put me in some not so safe situations. This might be something to think about. You might try talking with your daughter about your concerns, but I don't think I would out right forbid her from seeing him.

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