I am one of those people who believe that once two people are adults and are drawn to each other, they have every right to be together. I did not always feel that way. There was a time when I frowned on relationships where there were huge age gaps. I thought it was bizarre that men and women could be in their forties, fifties and older and find interest in people much younger. But as you mature your views change and my evolution has brought me to a place of understanding that there are no boundaries where love and attraction are concerned – no age, race or class.

THINK ON THAT 3Me scoffing at the idea of older folks with younger folks was of course influenced by what society teaches you. We are placed into categories according to age, race, class and sexuality; and if we go outside those classifications set for us, we are often subjected to judgment. Many take the stance that the old should not intermingle with the young where relationships are concerned for various reasons. The idea of the old preying on the young is often voiced. But let’s face it, some of the best relationships occur between older and younger people. There are women who would have had relationships with men within their age group who kept disappointing them – whether that disappointment came in the form of infidelity or not stepping up to the demands of the relationship. Some of those women claim that the older man is more respectful and settled, while younger men may be in the process of establishing themselves. Of course there are exceptions to those facts in both groups of men.

The relationships between older women and younger men are often different. In many instances it is a sexual thing. For a lot of women when they get to a certain age and they are still single or divorced it becomes difficult for them to find a partner within their age group. Most of the men would be married or seeking relationships with younger females. So if a young man shows interest in them, many women will not resist. We often find a lot of older women financially taking care of younger men and some younger men even seek older women to do just that. When all is said and done it is the happiness of the individuals that are involved that matters and there are cases when it is genuine love that occurs between the older female and younger male.

One thing that irks me however is when I see older folks becoming involved with children – teenagers that are still in school. We see this playing out in our society between older men and girls, older men and boys and on a lesser scale older women and boys. And yes in any situation where children are involved and adults take interest in them in a sexual way, it is predatory. What we see most often are older men with girls.

Recently I was traveling in a mini-bus and the time for students to be in school had passed. There was a young girl of about fifteen in the front seat near the driver and every time he stopped he kept whispering in her ear. She was giggling as the bus drove along. In the nineties when I was in school, I saw much of this, but somehow it seemed odd that day. I figure if I frequented the mini-buses that many of the school children travel with, I would see more of it, but until that day it was something I had not seen in a while. What bothered me even more was that the stop came for her school and she did not get off. I felt compelled to say something to her as I got off the bus, but before I could speak to tell her to focus on her education and not the man sitting near her, they drove off. It bothered me for a few days after because that young woman was in no way mature enough to deal with that man who was mid-thirties to late. He was a hindrance to her high school education – that could be seen in the fact that she was late and she passed the stop to her school. Was she going to completely stay away from school that day? I thought about her parents. Were both parents there or was it a single parent situation? Did she have parents or lived with other relatives or foster care? What are the reasons that such a young girl would take the time to become interested in an older man? There are many answers to the last question. Some young girls are looking for love because they may not have it at home. Some think they are mature enough to deal with relationships while still in school. Some are looking for support – financial and emotional. With the number of broken homes and other social issues such as child abuse, the situation is not unusual. Some young girls simply want to rebel for whatever reasons they might have – many try to escape the control of their parents. But whatever the situation is a fifteen year old getting involved with a man in his twenties, thirties and older cannot be the best thing for her and there is nothing anyone can say to me to justify that. I have heard excuses from older men that some young men girls are brazen.

“Dey like push up deyselves to big men.”

That may be the case in some situations, but when that occurs, who is the adult in the situation? And isn’t the responsibility for the adult to dismiss the advances of the young female?

There are some men who seek out teenaged girls. One guy I encountered a few years ago said it openly that he liked to “bruk out young girls.” He was no doubt a moron: immature, irresponsible and sick.

Then of course there are situations also where women encourage their young daughters to have relationships with older men for financial gain. Cases like those leave me questioning the desperation of the mother. What hopeless place could a person be coming from that they would prostitute their own child? It is often the result of poverty, but still it is baffling that someone would choose a path at the expense of their child’s innocence.

It is crucial that parents keep communication open with their children. Many young boys and girls suffer because there is disarray in the homes they come from. They are out there trying to fill the voids in their lives and end up heading down the wrong path where many adults who should be protecting them, instead take the opportunity to manipulate and abuse them. The youths are our future and if the patterns of exploitation continue, the pain and recycling of the sickness, will worsen in a society that is already deteriorating in so many ways.