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Him 22. Me? 14.

Maddie wrote:

I met a guy in 2008. He was my instructor for an after school program. Even after I left the program, we remained good friends. I went through 7th grade without speaking to him, only visiting him about once. I felt like I loved him, but as a brother, because I knew very well that he was much too old for me. (By now you're probably sighing and thinking this is all preposterous and silly, but please continue reading.)

Then came 8th grade and I came to hear through a friend that the guy wanted me to go visit him again, but I knew I could not, due to many reasons. So I wrote him a letter, and told my friend to give it to him. For a short time my friend played the role of mailman, passing the letters back and forth. At one point though, he began to tire of it, so instead me and the ..'guy', decided to write each other through email instead. The emails went well at first, friendly, and I always looked forward to a new email every day.

But soon enough, the... how would I put it... 'relationship', began to escalate. I told him how I had dreams about him, because I missed him so much. And he told me he had dreams too, even a dream of us.. er, kissing. I saw this as odd, because I only saw him as an older brother, who would always be there for me. But instead, I felt warm and fuzzy inside.

And from there, it escalated even further. Soon enough, I felt myself falling for him. And when I confessed it to him, he surprised me by saying that he 'had the same feelings for me'. I felt baffled. I could not bring myself to believe that this guy, who was now.. (hmm, how old is he now..) oh! This guy who was now 22. I was only 14. I saw this as wrong, very, very wrong. But the fleeting emotions that had grown in me over the time we had emailed buried the feeling of uncertainty deep within me. He began to tell me how we could take the relationship of friendship to the next level. And I could see it. Imagine it happening. At one point, he even spoke of marrying me, and he even thought we were soul mates. I imagined it all, and when I did, the warm fuzzy feeling I felt inside of me once again buried the building uncertainty. And most of all, he imagined us 'exchanging our feelings' through the way of kissing.

Everything had gone so quickly. We had gone from friends that joked around constantly, to a relationship that was escalating faster then I had ever imagined. But I believed everything he said, the affectionate words he wrote me, the reassurance that he would never hurt me, even at one point confessing to me that he loved me. And as we all know, those three words are the words that every girl wants to hear. (Or read, in this case.) And in my way of returning my "undying love" for him, I happily wrote back to him those three words as well.

As the emails progressed, in every email, besides the fact that they became more and more less friendly and more intimate, they seem to become more careless. When I visited him a few times in real life, he did not seem to show the same affection that he wrote in the emails. I felt confused. Did this guy love me or not? Was he tossing my emotions around, only using me to his benefit? At one point I told him how I wasn't sure I wanted to trust him, because if I did, he could suddenly disappear or walk out of my life. But he reassured me once more, that he would not leave. And with that I felt somewhat indeed, reassured. So I forced myself to believe him, and I did. I instantly replied, telling him that I believed him, and that I loved him.

And everyday I waited for his reply, wondering what he would say next. Days passed, and still nothing. The days turned into weeks. Weeks into months. 3 months to be exact. And now I sit here, my heart still aching, and my spirits crushed. All because I trusted him. But I am not sad. I am upset and my heart remains confused. I keep wondering, why did he do it? Why did he say all those things, and then I give him my trust, and then he suddenly disappears? Did he just do it for attention? Did he do it because he's secretly a predator? All I want is an answer... To put my heart and mind to peace.

Please help me. Please.

Dear Maddie

I suspect we'll never know for sure how deep his feelings were; he desire to move things quickly suggests to me that love was not his real motive.

I further suspect that he has 'come to his senses'; he's 50% older than you, he is in a position of responsibility, and any relationship with you could lead to him losing his career, as well as possibly facing a jail sentence.

Think back; if you think you were the only one, then maybe simply move on; age and experience isn't everything.

If, however, you suspect that he may have had similar relationships with others, then you must report his approaches - you just may have had a narrow escape.

Keep the letters in a very safe place, and if in doubt, talk to your Mum.

This is NOT all preposterous and silly - far from it. It could be very dangerous.

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