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Teen in relationship with older man worries about college

DEAR AMY: I have been baby-sitting for “Matt’s” two grade-school children for two years, since his wife died. He is 32. My relationship with Matt turned sexual on my 18th birthday and we sleep together now at least three or four times a week. We agree that we are doing this just for fun and don’t have any long-term plans to be together. I will start college several states away next year. I worry about being away. I know I will miss the physical relationship. I am afraid of becoming the campus slut, looking for a guy to have sex with. I don’t dare talk to my mother about this because she freaks out about anything that might interfere with me having a “career.” I’m still holding down a 4.0 GPA, but I am distracted by this relationship. I missed a sports practice last week in order to be with him. How can I make the transition to college? My best friend thinks it is creepy that I hook up with someone this old. She says that when college starts I should try to forget him and enjoy the guys on campus. Should I try Match.com?

Perplexed

DEAR PERPLEXED: I don’t think most college students use Match to find one another. There are other apps and sites that might be more suited to your age group. There are also multiple opportunities to find people in real life.

I have a visceral negative reaction to your choices (and his), but at 18 you are legally an adult and you are free to be sexual in any way you want.

You are ensconced in this current sexual relationship, but one thing you’ll see as you mature is that you will be able to tolerate separation better simply by trying it. It does get easier.

If you don’t want to be a “slut” in college, then don’t be. There is a double standard regarding how men and women are branded based on how they behave, but anyone (male or female) can be characterized this way by being needy and promiscuous. You need to be intentional, safe, respectful and as rational as possible regarding your sexual life.

I urge you to pay attention to your studies and friendships. You must always use birth control and condoms to protect your health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov/family/college/), “Nearly half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed each year are among young people aged 15 to 24 years. Women can have long-term effects of these diseases, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal scarring, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.” You should get tested every year for chlamydia.

DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I are 70. We have been together for two-and-a-half years. He has had zero real relationships. I have been married and divorced (30 years) and married and widowed (10 years). We have so much fun together — we laugh, sing, travel. I love him and care about him, and am even sexually attracted to him. He has periodically admitted he doesn’t love me, but cares about me. He has always been kind and thoughtful. He’s also admitted he’s not sexually attracted to me, although we’ve done a lot of serious snuggling. I treasure our fun together, but I’m left with hurt feelings. Should I try to get over my hurt and just enjoy the fun we have together? I am very grateful for our kind of late-in-life romance.

Grateful but Frustrated

DEAR GRATEFUL: Your question carries the implication that you may need to settle for less than what you want in a romantic relationship because you are older. This may be true (I know it’s tough out there), but the basic rule of relationships applies at any age: You get what you will settle for.

It sounds as if you two have a fun and active friendship. He has been very honest with you about what this entails — for him. As long as you see him as a potential partner, versus a friend, you will be disappointed. I hope you will be open to meeting and dating other people.

DEAR AMY: The question from “What to Do” involved a young family member who wanted to bring a dog on a family visit. There are an increasing number of options for people doing this, including finding locals who would be willing to temporarily “foster” a dog.

Dog Lover

DEAR DOG LOVER: I like this idea.

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