Man Dragged for Giving Friend ‘the Ick’ Over His Younger Girlfriend

A woman has asked Mumsnet if she is being unreasonable after revealing that her male friend’s behavior has led to her getting “the ick.”

User WetBandits explains that she has been friends with the man for 10 years or so and stresses that it is a purely platonic friendship. She goes on to say: “We’ve supported one another…so there aren’t really any topics of conversation that are ‘off limits’; discussing sex/relationships/general life s*** is pretty normal for us and always has been.”

The frustrated friend explains that this man, 43, has recently started dating a much younger woman. The woman is 21, and “he now regularly jokes about having a hot, young girlfriend and it just makes my stomach turn as he’s giving me real ‘dirty old man’ vibes and I can’t seem to shake it! He asked me for advice on buying her lingerie recently and the sets he showed me made me cringe as they were far from classy.”

Market research company Ipsos conducted a survey in 2022 that found that nearly four in 10 people (39%) have previously dated someone with an age difference of 10 or more years. They also found that men are more likely to have dated someone 10 or more years younger than them compared to women (25% vs. 14%) and in comparison, women are more likely to have dated someone 10 or more years older than them compared to men (28% vs. 21%).

The main issue this Mumsnet user has with her friend is that he doesn’t want any more children, while his 21-year-old girlfriend does. When she asked him if he was going to tell her, he allegedly replied: “I would but I don’t want to lose out to someone else, and the sex is so good I don’t want someone else to have that instead.”

Despite their friendship, she says she is struggling to shake the “creepy old man vibes”.

Some 91 percent of people on Mumsnet voted that the user wasn’t being unreasonable.

A file photo of a man and woman arguing. A woman has described how she has got “the ick” with her male friend due to a 22-year age gap in his relationship.
Deagreez/Getty Images

Newsweek spoke to relationship counsellor Dr Martha Tara Lee about the tricky situation.

“It can be difficult when our friends make choices that don’t align with our values and expectations. It can feel like they’re leaving us behind, or making decisions that are selfish or unkind. But even when we disagree with someone’s choices, we can still love them! And even if we don’t agree with their choices, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with either of them — it just means they’re different than we are, and that’s OK.

“Your friend may not realize what an impact his actions have on your relationship with him and his girlfriend (or vice versa). So it’s important that he hears from people he cares about how what he’s doing is affecting them. You could say: ‘We’ve been friends for a long time now, and I want to make sure we stay good friends for many years to come. I know how much you love [girlfriend], but I cannot help having some strong feelings about what’s unfolding in your life. Can I share my concerns with you?'”

Users supported the OP.

MrsTWH agreed: “I’d get the ick from that too.”

Hawkins002 observed: “Seems these days various celebs eg Cher, Carol [Vorderman], Madonna, Leo etc are or have been mix aged gap relationships.”

TwoBigNoisyBoys said: “Urgh. Yeah, theoretically there’s nothing wrong with this blah blah but I’d have the ick over this too. To be honest I’d probably just distance myself from him. He sounds creepy and duplicitous.”

Newsweek couldn’t verify the details of the case.

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