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All the services below are available and free* for young people to use.
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Read responses from our expert psychologist, to some of the most commonly faced issues
The questions and answers below on this page help provide advice to others who may be in a similar situation. Please note the advice provided on this page is of a general nature and not specific to any individual or personal circumstance.
Please do not send questions raising urgent issues. If you need help, see our contact details for free counselling services.
The circumstances described in some of the questions below may raise legal issues. We suggest that contact be made with the Police or with a lawyer to find out what assistance or options may be available in these circumstances.
- I've recently become involved with a guy I work with. We're literally something close to soul mates. Everything feels right. We make time to see each other and hang out and stuff, but the catch is that he's got a girlfriend and a child. The five year age gap doesn't bother me (he's immature, I'm mature) and to some extent neither does the other relationship - that's for him to sort out. I haven't had anything this good come to me for so long, that feels this right. Is that crossing the line?
Our conscience can send signals about whether behaviour ‘crosses the line’ or not. While you write that “everything feels right” for you in this relationship, it is clear from your question that you are wondering about the consequences of being in it. That’s good, because there is potential for people to be hurt here, including yourself. While a ‘soul mate‘ type attraction can trigger powerful feelings, it makes sense to think things through before you get more deeply involved. The more you feel for this person the less able you may be to accurately judge the positives and negatives of being with him.
To begin with however, if you are under 16 years of age there are possible legal consequences of being in a relationship with someone five years older. There may be issues for your workplace too. Also, if you are over 16 but still in your teens, even five years age difference can be a lot. The younger we are, the more differences in age and experience can affect how we view the older person: we may be more easily influenced by them than we think. You do note though that “he’s immature, I’m mature”, and this is also interesting: he will need maturity to deal with this situation responsibly.
With an existing girlfriend and a child, he does have a lot to sort out. The honesty with which he deals with all three of you will tell you a lot about his character. While it might feel easier not to sort the “catch” out now, it will probably become a heavier – not lighter – issue the more deeply you get involved. It sounds like this is a relationship you are thinking of putting a lot into, and not just a casual fling. So it could help if you first work out what you would and would not like to see happen in it, and then discuss this with the guy. While he may technically be the one who crosses the line if he hides your relationship from his girlfriend and child, how would you feel about going along with it, and for how long? What kind of treatment and communication would you expect if you were in his current girlfriend’s shoes?