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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Drawn To Older Women Is Surprised By Attraction To Teen

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 33-year-old man in academia, and it has been two years since my last relationship ended. (Her name was "Erica.") I have always been with older women, the most significant ones being 10 and eight years older. One ended because, in a night of depressed, alcohol-fueled self-loathing, I cheated on her. I don't make those choices anymore.

I have had chances to date, but none has drawn my interest the way Erica did -- until recently. "Angie" is a sweetheart with a good sense of humor. When I'm around her, I start feeling twinges of how Erica made me feel.

I'm surprised by my attraction to Angie because she is only 19. Previous older mates were in education as I am, and Angie is, well, 19. I can't figure out if this is a genuine attraction, or if I'm trying to prove to myself that I can be involved with someone younger. I admit I'm intrigued by the idea of assuming the role of teacher instead of student.

I don't want to see Angie hurt by a mistake in judgment on my part. Is it healthy for a 19-year-old to be interested in significantly older men? Should I stop overanalyzing this and give it a try? -- MR. X IN MICHIGAN

DEAR MR. X: I think it depends upon what you mean by "it." Young women can be attracted to older men for a variety of reasons. If Angie is one of your students, I'd advise against a romantic involvement until after she has left your class to avoid any possible accusations of favoritism or even sexual harassment.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Teens | Work & School