We’re at a point in a time where society is coming to grips with some uncomfortable truths, especially when it comes to predatory men and not allowing their behavior to continue on unexcused or unacknowledged.

It’s important that these things no longer be kept in darkness, even though it’s not a lot of fun to dredge up.

One such conversation took place on r/AskReddit when user pizzaroll94 posed this question:

Women who “dated” older men as teenagers that now realize they were predators, what’s your story?
byu/pizzaroll94 inAskReddit

Sadly, this is an all-too-common tale, and well over ten thousand comments quickly filled the thread.

Here are just a few of the tales of red flags and other behavior that needs brought to light.

1. So many young women find themselves in way over their heads.

I was 15 and definitely didn’t understand A THING about love or danger, I found out that he was married and had a child because he literally disappeared and I was trying to find out what happened.

– chickenwing-coffee

2. Some got out before major damage was done.

I’ll put it my experience in here while I’m at it. I was 14, he was 21 and I thought it was cool that he had a car and could buy alcohol.

Luckily I didn’t interact with this person for more than a few months.

– pizzaroll94

3. Things that are clear in retrospect aren’t always evident in the moment.

I was 15 with a 21 year old. He hung around youth group and made all us younger girls feel special with his attention. I was shy and quiet, didn’t stand out much, but obviously wanted the special attention that all the prettier, peppier girls got. He wasn’t interested until he found out my mom worked nights and I was home alone.

We ended up getting into a pretty heated argument and split when, two weeks in, I still hadn’t let him come over because I was terrified of what my mom would do if she knew I’d had ANYONE over while she was gone.

– NurseNotJoy

4. “Eventually I realized it was strange.”

I was 11 and he was 23.

We didn’t date (he had a girlfriend) but he would sext me and send me nudes. Eventually I realized it was strange and blocked him.

Didn’t tell anyone about it. I sometimes wonder if it’s impacted me more than I would care to admit.

– goldenphoenix16

5. When you’re young enough, it’s hard to know how or why you’re being manipulated.

My mother found older boys to introduce me to when I was 15/16. She would take me to coffee shops or sneak me into bars and charm her way with men in their 20s only to introduce them to me. I would date them, and she would get chores done around the house that she needed. Painted kitchen, fixed cabinets, roof work, stuff like that. I remember my best friends mom trying to warn me and explain to me why it was wrong of my mother to let her 15 year old date 25 year olds, but I just thought I was really cool.

It wasn’t until one of them found me online and reached out a few years ago, that I realized what she’d actually been doing all that time.

And of course, none of these guys knew what the fuck they were doing so the house looked like shit anyways.

– operachick209

6. There are too many tales like this coming out of schools.

He was my guidance counselor.

I didn’t realize how creepy he was until he proposed.

The whole thing was fucked.

– z0mbiegrl

7. It’s always heartwarming to know that good parents are out there.

My first boyfriend- I was barely 15, he was 21. Worked in a local shop and all the girls at my school liked him so came as a bit of a surprise when the biggest dork ever (me) somehow landed him and not any of the popular girls.

We dated for maybe 4 months, turned out he was sleeping with 3 girls in my year which I found confusing because I’d begged him to take my virginity to no avail. Always found that really weird and insulting that he never even wanted to sleep with me.

Plot twist: my mum had stormed into the shop when we first started dating and told him, ‘if you take my daughter’s virginity, I will kill you with my bare hands.’

God bless my mum.

– bbbccccddddd

8. If you don’t know you’re dating someone too young…why?

I was 14 and dated a 25 year old cop. He never asked my age and I never told.

One day were chatting on phone and I told him that I got some homework to do and I’ll call back later. He said freshmen year of college getting to ya huh? I said, college? I’m in high school. Dead silence, then he asked how old I was and I said 14.

He freaked out and was saying I’m gonna go to jail for this and I’m gonna lose my job. He said I can’t see you again and please don’t tell anyone. I said yeah of course.

I got why he was scared and I never saw him again and never told.

– geri73

9. “You’re mature for your age” doesn’t discount your age.

I was 15 and met a 30 year old who was an older brother of a boy I met in group therapy. He used to tell me how complicated and mature I was (lol so cliché).

I’m now 24 and seeing or interacting with anyone who is 15 makes me sick. I felt so old then but it’s insane now how obvious to me that people that age are children.

– Nini423

10. It’s a wonder some of these guys aren’t in prison.

I dated/had sex with a 28 year old when I was 13 and thought it was perfectly normal. He always complimented me, bought me stuff, and drove me places when I needed a ride. Looking back now I can’t believe I didn’t realize how fucked up that was.

To this day he can’t find someone to date that’s his age (I’m 24 now) from what I heard from rumors.

– katdunks

11. “When I was finally old enough to date him, I no longer wanted to.”

It honestly never clicked for me until I was MUCH older myself. I just thought I was super mature and that’s why it wasn’t weird that I was 14 with a 19 year old boyfriend. It was a super toxic relationship, he cheated on me, stole from me, lied to me and lied about me so much.

He pretty much only came around when he wanted sex and would tell me whatever he thought I needed to hear to keep stringing me along. In my naïveté, I thought this was just how “grownup” relationships were.

So I stayed, until I finally got fed up at 18 years old! Isn’t it funny that when I was finally old enough to date him, I no longer wanted to???


12. It’s amazing how far perspectives can shift.

My best friend in high school dated a teacher and the school found out somehow.

I don’t know if she is thinks of it like this though.

I for sure do.

– jennybgenius16

13. For some, it’s about power and intimidation.

I dated an older woman when I was a teen. She was in her mid 20’s, I was still a minor. When we broke up, she told me she’d been stopping her friends from coming after me, but now she wasn’t going to stop them anymore.

She proceeded to make my life hell, and even faked her own death to make me look bad. She stalked me online for a while after that. I don’t know if she still is, but I can’t deny the possibility.

I don’t feel safe. Don’t know if I ever will.

– legaladult

14. Her parents must have felt awful about this.

I was 13 and my parents had a friend who was 24 that started hanging around the house a lot. I developed a big crush on him and ended up losing my virginity to him.

I thought we were in love and going to get married. My parents found out and I never saw him again.

Didn’t realize how creepy it was until I had my own kids.

– arsenicookie

15. The whole thread is pretty sobering.

As a father, the comments scare the shit out of me.

– ForeignFlash

Remember, if you see situations like this, call them out. There’s nothing open-minded about predatory behavior, it’s just toxic, and it should be stopped.

Do you have any experiences like this?

Share them in the comments if you’re comfortable.