I’m a 30-year-old business owner, divorced and really into “Cindi,” this 18-year-old girl I met through work. I know what you’re thinking, but she made the first move and invited me to a concert. It was last-minute and included two of her girlfriends, but we had a great time. Cindi’s friends also showed up on our next two dates. The only other time I’ve gone out with her, we went to dinner with her mom. I paid for everything because that’s the way I was raised. I’ve never been alone on a date with Cindi, but she instant-messages me several times a day. Three weeks ago I e-mailed her that I have strong feelings for her. She e-mailed back and said that she didn’t feel the same. I didn’t hear from her again until last week, when she IM’d me to ask for a job over Christmas break. I’m want to see her again even though I think she’s probably using me. What do you think?
I think Cindi knows how to shakedown a suga daddy. Luckily for you, I know how to shake out the truth. Let’s start here: You have never been on a date with Cindi. In the parlance of teenagers, you have been “hanging out” with her and her gal pals. Translation: You’re a buddy, a friend, an (ouch!) adult with deep pockets. Comprende? Cindi sees you as someone who can fund her lifestyle. Oh, yeah, she asked for a job, but if you hire her, expect minimal work output. After all, she knows you’re really into her, so she can pretty much have it her way. If you don’t hire her she’ll stay in touch with occasional e-mails just to “see what ’cha doing.” And, since you’re interested in her, you might mistake these hellos for something more significant. Trust me, Cindi will remain out of reach when it comes to the level of connection required for a real relationship. Then, before you know it, she’s off and into the arms of a guy closer to her age or an older man with more cash to lavish on her. Or both.
Let yourself grow up. Burn whatever magazine convinced you that an 18-year-old coed is a viable match for a 30-year-old man. Without a fantasy fogging your brain, it’s easier to see how a 12-year age difference between a teenager and an adult exposes the emotional immaturity of both. The teenager lacks the life experience to be mature enough for an adult relationship. Any adult in a relationship with a teenager is stunted emotionally. Of course, that same 12-year age difference can be viable between two adults. Consider a 40-year-old and a 52-year-old. As long as both partners understand that the body’s natural physical decline will probably happen faster for the 52-year-old, the age difference is of little concern.
One last thing: Instant-messaging and texting create false intimacy. It’s an ego rush to be alerted that someone is thinking of you, particularly if you care about her or him. But the person sending that message is, more often than not, feeding her or his own need for attention, not attempting to get to know you better. They’re just bored and need a hit of “look at me!” So they are sending you a message for their sake, not yours. If you’re too busy to have a real conversation, wait until you do have free time to talk. Then call and chat by phone. Digital dialogues dilute the skills needed for true communication. That’s a problem in the long run because good communication is essential for a healthy relationship.