He's perfect for me. I'm perfect for him. Finally I found him. We're two peas in a pod. We're planning on getting married. Two years together. We are both 53. All is good and well with one glaring exception that I can't put down. And I want to put it down but don't know how. I keep carrying it around in my head. He said early on, during a discussion about porn, you can look in my computer. I have nothing to hide. I've tried porn in the past and it's just not my thing. I get that men like it and some women do too. I am an open, adventurous, GGG person. I'm not a jealous freak.

So, I looked on his computer recently. I wish I hadn't. Does that make me a freak?
I saw that he was checking out brunette teenagers. Teenagers. Now I'm freaked. I don't know how to think about this. It's plaguing me. I have a beautiful brunette daughter, age 20. She has a whole lotta brunette girlfriends. All lovely, young and beautiful. Help me figure out how to put this together with the man I love.

Mom In Angst

I was attracted to guys my own age when I was a teenager. And thankfully, MIA, I’m still attracted to guys my own age. But not exclusively. I sometimes check out hot guys in their twenties, thirties, forties (I’m married to one of those), and fifties. And every once in a while I'll stumble over a pic of a hot young guy who turns out to be a teenager. And my reptile brain was thinking, “Hey, he's hot," before my higher brain had a chance to assess the situation: "Dan! That 'public figure' Instagram thinks you should follow is eighteen years old!"

And when that happens—when I realize the hot young public figure/personal trainer/model/entrepreneur is eighteen years old—I'm always like, “Whoa, nope, he's too young, nope, nope, nope.” But I did look. A teenager did catch my eye. I did check him out. And while the sex-obsessed reptile part of my brain may not be part of the autonomic nervous system—"a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal"—it does seems to be autonomic-nervous-system adjacent. Because I don't consciously choose to notice beautiful teenagers. But it happens. And a split second after my reptile brain thinks, "We'd like to get with that," my higher brain—the part of my brain that processes information, the part of my brain that reasons—kicks in and says, "There are all sorts of reasons why you wouldn't want to get with that guy, however lovely, young, and beautiful he is, however public his figure might be, what with the age and experience gap being so great and so very creepy. So, hey, let's think about this guy instead, Dan. He's so age-appropriate he's been dead for, what, thirty years?"

Am I a monster because I'm not exclusively attracted to men my own age, MIA? Am I a monster because I sometimes check out a hot teenager? I don't think I am, MIA.

And what about you? Are you exclusively attracted to men over 50? Or do you sometimes see a cute young waiter or barista and your reptile brain is all, “He's hot!", before your higher brain can shoot off, "Hey, he's way too young! Check at that silver fox over there instead!"

Just I don't think I'm a monster, MIA, I don't think women who check out hot barista boys who may be a few months shy of their twentieth birthdays are monsters. Instead of being judged (or condemned) for what catches our eyes—or judged or condemned for who we choose to check out or who or what we allow ourselves to fantasize about—we should be judged (or condemned) for our actions.

Absent evidence your guy has done something wrong—absent some other red flag or some evidence he's guilty of worse than checking some girls out—doesn't your guy deserves the same consideration that you and I would like to be shown? Shouldn't we allow for the possibility that he isn't a monster either?

Because what did he do? He looked at pictures online. Did he hunt these girls down on Instagram and leave creepy comments all over their posts? Was he "sliding into their DMs," as the kids said until they heard me say it at which point they promptly stopped saying it? Was he sending unsolicited dick pics to teenage girls? Or was he just, as you said, checking them out?

If he'd done or said something that made your daughter or one of her brunette friends feel uncomfortable or threatened, that plus what you found would definitely add up to a huge problem. But all you've stumbled over is evidence that your guy finds attractive young women attractive. That doesn't mean he's only attracted to young women, MIA, and it doesn't mean he would ever act on his attraction to young women. And I'd like to enter into evidence all the hot sex he's been having with fifty-year-old and hot you, MIA, a woman who's not just close to his age, but a woman who is precisely his age. Even if he's not exclusively attracted to partners his own age (and, really, is anyone?), you are proof he finds women his own age attractive. (And just because he's also attracted to women close to your daughter's age, MIA, it doesn't follow that he would like to fuck your daughter or her friends or will attempt to. You've probably been attracted to men close to the ages of some of your friends' sons. Ever fucked one of your friends' sons?)

All that said—and I've said a quite a lot—I do think you should address this issue with him. He said you could look at his computer, you looked at his computer, you found things on his computer that made you uncomfortable. An assurance from him that he would never attempt anything with a young woman—brunette or otherwise—might put you at ease. Hearing from him that while his reptile brain finds women of all ages attractive, his higher brain prefers to partner with women closer to and/or precisely his age.

And since it bothers you, MIA, you can ask him not to look at pics of teenagers anymore. He'll probably do it anyway, but knowing it upsets you should motivate him to clear his browser history.


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