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  1. #1
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    Default Predatory situation? Worried...

    My college-aged niece is in a lesbian relationship with her 2nd cousin, a woman 20 years older than her. I'm very worried. There are rumors that this lady was violent towards her now ex-wife, who is also quite young. There's considerable concern that this could lead to violence or even suicide. Despite being 20, this is my niece's first relationship, I think. She's 20 going on 13 - very naive, previously emotionally frozen, likely quite vulnerable. And she's stunning, so perfectly attractive to a predator. Now she's talking about leaving college in her senior year to go live with this lady. We offered to take away the financial stress to keep her in school, with no luck.

    I don't even know what questions to ask. I'm just worried. I hope she comes out of this ok.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  2. #2
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    She is an adult. All you can do is keep in touch, keep offering support to her, respond when/if she reaches out.
    And err, the "stunning" part of your post is just weird. Predators choose their victims by how vulnerable/compliant they are, not whether or not they're total hotties.

    What happened in niece's brief life to make her so very vulnerable and naïve and emotionally frozen?
    Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


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  3. #3
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    I'm more concerned about the second cousin thing than the age difference.

    Are you also related to this person? I would assume there are lots of mutual relatives that could steer one or other party away from what sounds like a less than ideal situation.


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  4. #4
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    I'm not related to this other lady and haven't met her. My niece is actually my sister-in-law's child from a prior relationship, but she's very much a part of the family. Not sure why she's vulnerable. I think part of it is an undiagnosed issue, maybe depression. Then she's had men leering at her since she was a tween and I think that caused her to shut down further, maybe especially to strangers/unknown men.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  5. #5
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    All you can do is for you and other relatives to not alienate her with advice she doesn't want to hear. That way if the relationship ends badly, your niece may be willing to reach out for help.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


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  6. #6
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    My first thought at hearing of a 20-year age difference, with one member of the couple still in school, is not "how wonderfully healthy". Perhaps unfair, but there it is.

    But also. My first thought on hearing you describe your niece, very vulnerable, emotionally shut down, possibly since her early teens, possible undiagnosed mental health issues (if these go along with the emotional shut down, they also date to her childhood), apparently so fragile that the family has "considerable concern" about suicide... none of that makes me think "why, what a healthy and supportive home life this young woman must have had while growing up" either.

    So maybe this older woman is her escape from a family that failed her somehow growing up? I mean, you're kinda dancing around pretty long-standing issues with this niece. Did she get mental health help growing up?
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  7. #7
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    I think her childhood wasn't horrible. Her parents aren't perfect, but I haven't met many that are. She has not exhibited any overt symptoms of serious depression, rather it's just been notable that she's been a little socially awkward and disinterested. The thought of suicide originated because apparently this older lady has threatened it previously.

    My niece is moving across country, so I'll be the closest family. I've told her to call anytime and I will go fetch her. I can just hope to get that call...
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  8. #8
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    Ah, the suicide is about the older woman, not the niece.
    Under what circumstances did the suicide threat occur? If the suicide threats only occur if/when the romantic partner wants to leave her, it's classic manipulative behavior. It's also a pretty classic characteristic of a type of personality disorder.

    But still, all you have are rumours of this and apparently's of that. Just stay in touch with niece, be there if she needs you. That's all you really can do.
    Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


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  9. #9
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    Niece is what Jr. in college w/ one more year to go til graduation? While the naive issues of the niece are concerning, the red flag for me is the 40-something partner who convinces the niece/partner to dump college and move in with her. And is 40-something girlfriend then going to support niece? If the 40-something GF was mature and responsible - she would show her "love" for your niece by telling her to stay in school and then move in w/ her after graduation. I've got no advice to give other than to hope your family can convince niece not to throw 3 years of college away.. the other thing I guess would be to send her off w/ family blessings and now that she's made this decision to leave school and move in w/ this person- the bank is closed.


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  10. #10
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    Second cousins share a great-grandparent. That's the least of my concerns.

    From whom did the rumors originate? Is your niece comfortably out with her family? Did she come out as a result of this relationship? How did the niece meet this woman? Kids leave college for their first "big" relationship all the time. Wiser and older heads see the folly of this, but it is rectifiable, and within reason she has to make her own choices. Actually, I take back the "within reason" part. The concerned adults in her life need to be there so she lands softly, but sometimes nothing more.

    Your role in this is hard to pinpoint. If your niece were moving cross country, closer to you, and she weren't in this relationship, what sort of closeness and interaction would you have with her? If you would be seeing her for lunch, weekends, movies, etc. then I would attempt to maintain that level of closeness, regardless of the relationship. If you were more distant, and the family has laid this at your feet with the hopes that you will forge a relationship that wasn't there before, I would expect to be met with resistance. I sure knew when my family was checking up on me!

    I also am confused geographically. Is she changing schools? Is she entering her senior year now, at a different school? Or has she been coming to a college close to you for three years already? Again, this has significance in terms of the role you should have, and the role she will allow you to have.

    It's a tough situation. There's a big difference between being there for someone whose heart has been broken, versus intervening in an abuse situation. How you will find out which it is will hinge on your prior relationship and your niece's openness, I'm afraid. And also will depend on whether the rumors are based in fact, or the family's fears.
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?


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  11. #11
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    I just think it's pretty strange if they met through mutual family and still think that person is fair game for a sexual relationship. Maybe it's just me, but I don't feel like that's super appropriate, especially if the older person watched the younger person grow up. Just me?


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottagrey View Post
    If the 40-something GF was mature and responsible - she would show her "love" for your niece by telling her to stay in school...
    EXACTLY!! And, of course, I said as much.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by starhorse View Post
    I just think it's pretty strange if they met through mutual family and still think that person is fair game for a sexual relationship. Maybe it's just me, but I don't feel like that's super appropriate, especially if the older person watched the younger person grow up. Just me?
    Nope, not just you. I strongly agree. FWIW, I don't know if they ever met until my niece was 18. I still don't feel this is appropriate. I feel she was groomed by a predator.

    I have some really cute 2nd cousins. I wouldn't look to have a sexual relationship with any of them. I also wouldn't look for a sexual relationship with somebody half my age, related or not.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  14. #14
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    I think a 40-year-old wanting to be with a 20-year-old is skeevy.

    Very different, to me, than a 60-year-old and 40 year old or a 50-year-old and 30-year-old, all of whom are, chronologically, at least, "mature," old enough to have been around the block a few times, etc.

    At 20, you can't even buy your own booze, for heaven's sake.
    Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.


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  15. #15
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    I didn't think the point of this post was whether or not we think it's skeevy or not. I think there's a really good chance it is. Though I will admit I was not imagining these two having grown up together. As in fact was not the case. But I was going by my family where I don't believe I've ever met a second cousin, so that did frame my initial thoughts. That would be what, the grandchildren of your great aunt or uncle? Yeah, our extended family gatherings didn't reach out that far!

    But anyway, I thought the question was what this aunt, the OP, could do about it. Or should do about it. And I still don't think that's clear, because I don't understand their aunt-niece relationship.
    Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf

    Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoZ View Post
    I didn't think the point of this post was whether or not we think it's skeevy or not.
    The thread title uses the word "predatory" -- think of "skeevy" as a synonym for that. My point being that every other weird factor tossed aside, the youth of the niece relative to the age of the older person ALONE makes the relationship highly questionable at best. The fact that they're second cousins is of little relevance to me, personally.
    Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.



  17. #17
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    She's not changing schools. She says she's taking a break for a semester and temporarily moving across country to be with this woman.

    I want to say we're close, but we live across the country and we see each other 1-2 times a year during my vacations and we don't keep in touch much. I think we generally would see each more regularly now that she'll be 2-4 hours away, if this situation were less awkward. I don't know if this woman I haven't met - and already strongly dislike - will be with her all the time or what.

    Hopefully I'll know what to do when the situation calls for action. Hopefully she does reach out to me if she needs help. I don't think she's speaking to her parents much at the moment, because of this situation. I'll reach out periodically and keep the conversation open.

    Of course, I'd rather do unpleasant things to this older woman, but that's obviously not going to really happen.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  18. #18
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    P.S. I think I'd wonder about folks on here if everybody thought it wasn't skeevy!!
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


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  19. #19
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    I think it would be reasonable to tell your niece that you think the relationship might be a little sketchy. That you love and support her, that you hope you're mistaken about the way you are interpreting the situation, and that you will be there for her if the relationship doesn't work out.

    Let her know, without judgement, that she has someone who loves her and will be there for her should the need arise.

    I know I stayed in my marriage way longer than I should have because I didn't want to hear the "I told you so's". I never did hear that, instead I heard "what took you so long". Turns out the support for me really was always available, I just didn't realize it at the time.


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