Nonfiction

Calling Attention to Gross Age Gaps, Again

“You say I’m insecure? You’re 28 with a teenager!”

Dr. Casey Lawrence
Bitchy
Published in
9 min readFeb 23, 2024

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The author, when she was in a relationship with a 36-year-old man

I met my first college boyfriend at a party. We hit it off right away and had lots of common interests, like Pokémon, Star Trek, and Spongebob. He was friends with my 23-year-old sister.

I didn’t find out he was 34 until after we’d started seeing each other in a way that felt serious.

By then, I was sure that I was so grown up, so very mature for my age, that dating a man fifteen years my senior felt like a normal, or even expected, development.

Not everyone liked the idea of us together; my parents gritted their teeth, and my friends didn’t “get” it either.

The first time I met my boyfriend’s parents, they were perfectly polite to me, but after we’d left their house, my boyfriend got a text from his father that read,

“Don’t you DARE get that girl pregnant.”

He laughed, but it troubled me. I thought it was because I wasn’t Jewish. In hindsight, his parents were concerned on my behalf.

Their unease with our relationship said far more about him than it did about me. They wanted me to be able to make a clean break when I’d realize that a man who’d date teenagers in his…

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
Bitchy

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.