I’ve recently read that a man, 24, involved with a female, 14, was charged and convicted of being a sex offender.
I’m 23 and was told by a girl, 15, that she was 19.
I broke off with her considering that she’d lied to me.
I hadn't even considered the possibility I could be charged based on our age difference.
Meanwhile, I’m now dating someone ten years older than me, who’s much less focused on her personal needs and goals than the younger girl.
I believe maturity has less to do with age and more to do with guidance, and ability to learn and adapt to your surroundings.
I’m thinking there should be more consideration for what a relationship with someone underage began upon e.g. whether it was healthy, or reflected a more negative aspect of the mental health of either.
Age vs. Maturity
Protecting young people from sexual abuse or exploitation can’t depend on perceptions of their maturity.
In Canada, the legal age of consent to sexual activity is 16. If prostitution or pornography is involved, or it’s a relationship of authority, trust, or dependency (e.g. with a teacher, coach, or babysitter), the legal age is 18.
Be aware that sexual activity can also be considered “exploitative” based on the nature and circumstances of the relationship.
For example, the young person's age, the age difference with their partner, how the relationship developed (quickly, secretly, or over the Internet), and how the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person.
I urge you to consider what kind of influence you had on this young girl that made her lie about her age to be with you… so you’ll be more wary in future.
In the United States, the general age of consent is between 16 and 18, across the different states.
My point? Know with whom you’re dealing. Don’t look for excuses to justify a relationship that’s not equal, mutual, or is based on misperceptions and lack of knowledge.
I’ve been with a man for 12 years. We both were previously married. There are 14 years between us, and his daughter’s now 35.
She only comes home in the summer because she lives in another country.
Whenever my husband asks her to visit at our house, she always says no and makes excuses.
I’m really upset by this because we’ve always gone to visit her when she’s home.
My husband feels guilty about the way his previous marriage ended, so he won’t be assertive and set boundaries.
I saw my stepdaughter the other day for the first time in two years. My feelings are hurt.
Is it wrong of me to tell my husband that if she can’t come to visit us, then maybe she should not come to our wedding?
It’s not only an overreaction, but could deeply harm two relationships – father-daughter, plus yours with your husband-to-be.
A difficult, nasty breakup of a family often leaves the children scarred even to adulthood.
Also, if when she goes “home,” she lives with her mother, she may be pressured against visiting or staying with her father and you.
Your wedding should be an event for rejoicing and generosity of spirit, not for retaliation.
This is when you should welcome your stepdaughter as important in the ceremony, committing you and her father to being “family.”
Anything less is a public humiliation for her and her father, and will reflect badly on you.
FEEDBACK Regarding a reader's (Aug. 9) comments about a boy, aged ten, who was acting out as his divorced father began distancing from him (July 6):
Reader – “The writer had experienced something similar with her own son and found a school support program called “Rainbow” to be a big help.
“I’ve worked for five years as a facilitator for the Rainbow programs.
“It’s a broad child support program (Kindergarten to grade 12) that helps children dealing with many varying traumatic events.
“Example: children dealing with divorced - or divorcing - parents; having lost a parent, sibling, or close friend through death; dealing with a parent or sibling dying due to illness; children who looked up to an older sibling who, due to a tumultuous household, ran away, etc.
“It helps children understand that, no matter what, they are not alone, and other kids have similar challenges and want to listen, to learn, and to help.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t try to justify a relationship that’s based on your not knowing important facts like an illegal age difference.