.....My own view is this, if two people care and respect each other and are of legal age what business is it of anyone else? A father or mother may well have reservations but in the end its the man/ woman who makes the decision. If the relationship is sound it will survive if not both parties will split up. This of course is quite normal in couples where the age difference is not so great.
I couldn't agree more with you Joe and you will see why once I finish my story after this other quote....
Um, can I just say that my fiancé is 12 years older than me, was and is still my Aikido teacher, met when I was 20, dating when I was 21, been together for two years and we're now about to waltz into our happily ever after with our wedding just a month away, and not once did I feel like I was coerced or interested in his "power?"
I am along for the ride here with you. I met my husband in a dojo when I was in 9th grade- don't be alarmed yet!!! He was more or less just another person in the dojo and I paid him no mind for the longest time. In fact, many of those years, I had boyfriends my age. It wasn't until I was 20 that I became attracted to him. An unusual set of circumstances that I was going through had my world falling apart and he became a great friend to me and that friendship slowly grew into something more.
At that time, he was an instructor of mine (he was not an instructor of mine until about a year before that) and was teaching me tai chi and aikido. My main martial arts instructor had a big issue with it because he was in a position of authority over me.... and then there is the age difference. He is older than my parents.... He was in his early 50's when I met him. Disturbing to some.... disgusting to others. To us, it was love.
We were able to keep things professional on the mat. In fact, if anything, he kept more distance away from me in an attempt to not give me preferential treatment and he also wasn't the main teacher, so things worked out fine. That was back in 2005.... now we are going on almost four years of happily wedded marriage and we are still practicing martial arts together. I have found it surprising that among my seminar travels that we are not the only huge age gap couple in the aikido community (I'm talking 20 years plus). Nor are we a rarity that a teacher and a student ended up happily married.....
I'm not saying what we did is right for everyone, but it was right for us. It could have been right for the couple in your dojo too IF she was of legal age at the time. Some states also have really tricky legal consent age things. Like Delaware (I think) is 17, but the other person also has to be within five years age wise… so if anything sexual was going on, then that relationship is still considered illegal. Once they are of age though, then that five year rule goes out the window. Or at least that is what the law used to be… could have changed by now…
BOTTOM LINE: If your daughter wants to do aikido, let her. Find her a dojo you are happy with. The past is the past. You can't change what you did or didn't do.