With so many relationships occurring–and even forming–on the internet in the current era, it sometimes takes an effort to step back and assess what’s actually happening.
For one Redditor, however, the details of a recent situation made it very clear that it was time to take a second look at one online relationship in particular.
They posted about it all on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP), known as throwawayredd393 on the site, got straight to the point with the post’s title.
“AITA for telling my friend it’s weird to be friends with a teenager?”
OP kicked off with a very important piece of information.
“My friend (I’m not sure I’m going to call him this for much longer) is almost 40 and married with kids.”
A recent development explained that shaky ground.
“Today I found out from him that he has an online friendship with a girl who recently turned 17. They have been speaking for months since she was 16.”
OP grew even more stunned as his friend kept talking.
“He told me with a smile that she’s a cool chick and that they ‘talk all of the time’ and he showed me her picture (just a face selfie).”
“I told him that honestly I find it weird and he got offended saying I’m accusing him of something and I’m the weird one to do that.”
OP then hoped Reddit would hear his side of it all.
“I don’t think a grown man should be speaking to an underage girl he’s never met for any reason. Not to mention all of the time. AITA or am I right to be concerned?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
An overwhelming majority of Redditors agreed with OP. They were just as concerned.
” ‘I’m surprised her parents were okay with you chatting with her is all. What did they say to you when you talked with them? You have talked with them right? They do know all about you, right? And your wife? She’s on board with this? She does know too, right? Right? After all, you said you’re not doing anything wrong here. Right?’ “
“Yeah, you’re absolutely right op. That is very much not okay behavior on hous part. Big time NTA.” — Chomper_The_Badger
“NTA. Your friend is creepy as fu**. He definitely should be accused of something. A grown a** man has no business associating with a teenager like that. That makes my skin crawl. He is 100% grooming her.” — MyRockySpine
“I wonder if his wife knows about this friendship. I wonder what do they have in common. I wonder how did this friendship got started. I wonder if she is really a girl who is 17 if they have never met.”
“Regardless I would back away from a grown man who talks all the time with a girl that age.” — mrbuddhawannabe
“NTA. You’re just pointing out that from the outset it’s an inappropriate relationship to have and because he’s the adult, it’s his responsibility to set boundaries.”
“I would definitely be concerned. Ask him if he would want his kids to be talking in the same way to an adult, much less complete stranger online.” — honsandrebels88
“NTA. There is no scenario where it’s ok for a 40 year old man to be having ongoing personal conversations with a minor. He brought it up to see if you’d be as excited as him.” — whatinthef—
Several people offered up a common suggestion.
“NTA. Since according to him it’s so not a big deal, please please, please bring up this super-cool, close friend of his in front of his wife. Very soon. Seriously.” — saucyliltart
“NTA. That’s a huge 🚩. His wife should definitely know, and you should surely not be calling him a friend any longer.” — RolandWayne
“NTA Super super creepy predator vibes!”
“Mention it to the wife.” — AlgaeWafers
Some shared upsetting relevant experiences.
“I found out my ex-partner was being ‘friends’ with teenage girls on social media, he told me it was because they were either ‘family friends’ or ‘workmates.’ I later accidentally found that in private messages and texts, he was hitting on them.”
“Luckily, these girls seemed to be wise to his antics, and they all quickly put a stop to it. Had I not found those messages I would have been none the wiser. Notice he is my EX. It’s beyond disgusting.” — KittenMadeOfStardust
“Nta Reminds me of a 40 year old I knew who said ‘every guy would marry a 14 year old if they could’. Actually no. They wouldn’t.” — jmc-007
“Yeah, no. It is not normal with that age gap. My 40 year old brother had a young ‘friend’ too. And now he’s in prison for 10 years because of course it progressed beyond that.”
“I’m going to say this is almost never innocent with that kind of gap and an underage child. If anything because it can get you into all sorts of trouble even if it was, and adults are hyper aware of that fact. If that doesn’t scare your friend off of this, he’s likely up to something.” — False-Firefighter592
“NTA OP CONTACT THE GIRL’S PARENTS IF YOU CAN. Holy moly this is *not* normal behaviour.”
“I had a co-worker who was a quiet calm dude, he had a relationship. He was also ‘friends’ with younger girls. ‘We just found a connection, we just talk, we’re just friends, she needs me to listen to her.’ He was arrested with images on his computer and sent to prison.”
“Ask yourself this: what could a 40-year old man possibly have in common with a 16-year old girl that they must talk every day if she is not his daughter or a friend of his daughter (and even that’s a stretch). Listen to your gut. If you feel that there’s something rotten in Denmark there really usually is.” — eavesdrew
“NTA, I made friends with an older man on the internet when I was a teenager. Terrible things happened to me. Trust your gut here and report it to someone ASAP” — Azrellathecat
As for the specifics of OP’s next move, only they can make that call.
But one thing is for sure: they don’t need to feel any hesitation about how concerned they feel.