Though she's dating way past 40, The 18 Year Old lives in confusion and uncertainty when it comes to relating to men. She doesn’t have the skills or the knowledge of herself or men to be able to make good decisions. Like most 18 year olds, she acts and reacts basedalmost solely on her emotions.
The 18 Year Old has lots of first dates and when she does snag a guy, cycles in and out of relationships pretty quickly. (One might call them affairs.) At the first sign of trouble she probably overreacts, and then one of them ends it soon thereafter. (Usually him.)
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Most often she feels bad about herself. She asks all her friends what they think of her situation, even though many are no better off than she. She makes bad choices and chooses men who do not make her happy. That ends, and then she repeats the cycle.
The 18 Year Old hasn’t a clue as to what's going wrong. Because she isn’t introspective and hasn’t learned how to talk to grownup men and communicate maturely, she remains confused and disappointed.
The men she wants won’t commit (But they "click" and they turn her on!), and the good guys who come her way get kicked to the curb. About these guys you'll hear her say things like "I wish I liked him, but he just doesn't do it for me!"
Dating The 18 Year Old leaves a nice guy like Fred frustrated and feeling like he can’t win. He's getting mixed messages. He's irritated because he's looking for something real and lasting. He feels like he's dating like a grownup but not getting the same in return. Some of his past insecurities of “always being the nice guy” may be triggered by dating The 18 Year Old. He can't believe that at his age he's still living the old saying "Nice guys finish last."
WHAT A GROWNUP DATER DOES
The compassionate and adult dater prepares herself and makes shifts as she ages. She knows what she needs to be happy and that she is deserving. She's not just looking for a good date; she's looking for a good husband. When she has decisions to make about whether to choose a man – either to date or with whom to enjoy a relationship – she has the self-confidence and the tools to make decisions that are not only good for her but also respectful and kind to the gentleman she meets.
I confess that I held on to my 18 year old long after it was appropriate. Thus, I had more than my share of bad boys and dead-end relationships into my 30s and 40s. Getting out of this cycle took a good amount of introspection and growing up. I realized it couldn't be that all men were jerks. I did it with a lot of help and firm conviction…because I was sick and tired of the nonsense and of being alone!
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Finally I was able to recognize a good guy and attract him. I appreciate my husband every single day. But I also honor myself for becoming the woman who attracted him.