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Author Topic: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)  (Read 9597 times)

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The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« on: November 11, 2011, 02:17:55 AM »
I don't even know where to begin with this. Here's the cast of characters:

Susan (the mother)
Lolita (Susan's daughter, 14 years old)
Jim (single guy, in his 40's, but a magnet for kids. They just love him. He has known Susan and her daughter for years, since Lolita was 5 years old. For what it's worth, he has never dated Susan; in fact, Susan and Jim aren't even overly fond of each other).

BG: Susan and Jim are part of a larger group of my friends who sometimes do things together. She has always brought Lolita along, ever since she was little. Lolita lost her dad tragically at age 4; Susan has been shattered since her husband's death, and doesn't cope well with the stresses of life. I've often felt sorry for Lolita as she has been dragged through a lot of dysfunction. Lolita has always adored Jim, although she didn't see him often (I'd say maybe once or twice a year!) and when she did, it was always in group outings. I always got the feeling Lolita longed for that missing father figure.[end BG].

When Lolita was 12, Jim told me after an outing (I wasn't there) that she had seemed to always be flirting with him, trying to sit in his lap, and if he was talking to the adults she'd jump in and try to put herself at the centre of his attention (not with the other adults). Jim felt that it was some kind of little girl crush and she'd grow out of it and start getting interested in boys her age.

Nope. It got more overt the older she got; when she was 13 I witnessed her giving him back rubs, leaning close, putting her arm around him, etc. He told me when nobody else was looking, she'd lean over and "accidentally" give him a view down her top, and she'd glance quickly to make sure he saw. Jim told me she was confiding in him things that a 13-year-old would normally tell her girlfriends: monthly girl issues, for example. And she'd text him constantly wanting to hang out with us. Jim felt uncomfortable and told me he had no idea what to do as he didn't want to embarrass her or hurt her feelings. I told him the onus was on him to put a stop to all this, because he is the adult. Still, he acts like a big kid around her and IMO, encourages the behaviour, albeit unwittingly. To his credit, he did avoid ever being alone with her, if for no other reason than to protect himself from accusations of impropriety.

Susan (the mother)? She thought it was ridiculous and creepy when Jim told her he thought Lolita had a crush on him, said she already had a boy she was talking to at school, and got angry with Jim for thinking such a thing. They didn't speak for the next year, and Jim was glad to distance himself from the situation.

Fast forward one year. Lolita is now 14, nearly 15, a very attractive teenager. I was present at a social gathering; Susan, Lolita, and Jim were also present, among other guests. Lolita flirted with Jim relentlessly; Jim was playful back, as he is with all kids. Everyone else noticed the way Lolita leaned on him, put her arm around him, rubbed his back, and so forth. She wanted to go off for a walk with him to talk. He didn't want to be alone with her so he stayed put. She then wrote him a note that to his horror, said, "I'm suicidal."

He worried about this one after that, wondering if she'd said that merely to get his attention or if she was serious. Given her home life and emotional problems at the moment it doesn't seem such a huge stretch that she might be serious. Jim talked to Susan about it and found out that Lolita has been having a lot of problems and has already mentioned suicide. and was having trouble reaching her daughter at all. Jim felt that since he was about the only person Lolita was willing to open up to, he should not turn his back on her, although he was still at a loss for how to deal with her increasingly intense flirtations and physical touching.

He was still pondering this dilemma when word got out that Lolita had run away after an argument with her mother. Three days later she was found downtown hanging out at an "occupy" protest and brought home. Crisis time. I had Lolita and Susan stay with me for a few days to sort things out and have fun in a different setting. I currently live in what many would consider a nice vacation home. I thought it would be good for them. Lolita seemed to enjoy it a lot, was pleasant to have around, and I promised her that although they couldn't stay past the weekend this time, I'd invite them back and she could have the big room with the view for a few days so she could relax and enjoy the getaway. She seemed very pleased and excited at the prospect as she had really taken a liking to that room.

On the last day of their visit, Jim came and spent the night too (mistake). He was in a separate room. Lolita actually got out of her bed in the morning and went into Jim's room uninvited, and lay down next to him where he was sleeping. He was in his underwear. Jim woke up and immediately left the room although he had wanted to sleep, though he STILL didn't tell her off.

I think this is reaching crisis levels and Jim really, REALLY needs to stay away from her or at the very least, tell her her behaviour is not appropriate and stop acting like her peer.....except, as he pointed out, he is the only adult she is opening up to about the problems that are causing her to have suicidal thoughts, run away, etc.

My etiquette question (finally!).  Since that weekend Lolita has been texting me asking when she can come and stay in that room. Then she adds that "Jim had better be there!" because "it's boring without him" (yeah I know, rude, makes me want to withdraw my offer) and she hopes it's without her mom there. (I would definitely have her mom there).  I know that she is now texting Jim a ton and that he is acting like some kind of best buddy to her.

I'm getting totally creeped out by the whole thing and now that I know she just has her hopes on spending a weekend away with Jim present, I want no part of it. I totally regret making the promise now, that she could stay here; I was only doing it to give her a little break from her troubled world and it's something I myself would have appreciated at that age.

How do I politely resolve this dilemma, ie not let down a girl in crisis, while still setting limits on this whole creepy thing she has going with Jim? Can I withdraw my offer and just stay out of it altogether? I want to help, but I don't want to enable.

(Disclaimer: I realize the girl needs professional help, waaay beyond what any friend can provide and Susan has been trying to get this without success).


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 02:22:03 AM »
Beandip is all I can think of at the moment.

I really pity everyone in that situation. It sounds awful.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 02:39:58 AM »
There is exactly one though screaming in my head and that is "Talk to the mom!"

As long as the girl is underage, her mom can take care of getting her professional help. Which she should. Right now.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 02:41:42 AM »
Beandip is all I can think of at the moment.

I really pity everyone in that situation. It sounds awful.

For Lolita, beandip sounds like the way to go. As for Jim, he needs to realise that without some very firm boundaries, he could find himself in a VERY precarious position.
"Any idiot can face a crisis, it is this day-to-day living that wears you out". Chekhov.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 02:57:09 AM »
There is exactly one though screaming in my head and that is "Talk to the mom!"

As long as the girl is underage, her mom can take care of getting her professional help. Which she should. Right now.

I agree. The mom definitely has issues too (a good person, but unable to cope sometimes and also, I think, in a bit of denial), and this whole thing is a trainwreck. I did talk to the mom. I suggested professional help. She said she's tried to get it for her daughter and doesn't have the money (unemployed), and that there seems to be nothing in the way of resources for low-income people. I find this hard to believe, myself. We're in Canada. You don't have to pay for a psychiatrist around here. It's covered under our national health insurance. (You do have to pay for clinical counsellors, psychologists, etc).

I hope I haven't strayed into territory which is not allowed on this board, but as a friend I have no idea what to do, how to help, and today the girl texting me to bug me about "when can I come, I want Jim there too" was a delicate situation etiquette-wise as I'd already issued the invitation, with no firm date set. I ignored the "it'd be boring without Jim there" text but I'm still in a dilemma wondering what to do about an invitation I regret issuing.

I'd never have thought at 15 year old could ever be interested in a 40-something male, until I saw it myself.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2011, 03:15:42 AM »
Unfotunately,  I think the best you can do is extricate yourselves from these people.

The daughter is out of control.  Jim is delusional.  So what if she confides in him--he's not helping her and his presence in her life is not healthy for her.  This is like continuing to give drugs to an addict.  Sure, it'll keep them from crisis, but not forever.

And mom seems totally passive here.  For her to continue to allow contact between her daughter and this grown man borders on criminal.
I had a friend who lived next door growing up.  She and her parents would come over when we would have a party.  One of our guests was a nice looking young man and my friend went after him as if she was his peer---she wasn't!  She was 8 years old!
She sat on his lap and held his hand, put her arms around him and generally would not let him alone.  It made him very uncomfortable and none of the adults seemed to know what to do.  They kind of laughed about it.
I knew it was wrong and I was only 9!  We mitigated the situation by not allowing her at our house for parties, especially if that particular man was there.
But, its something I have remembered forever.  It was so uncomfortable.  There were other issues that I had with this particular friend and she and I have no contact in the present.  I just wouldn't even want to go there.
I think you have tried the best you could to be supportive of these people.  But, at a certain point, if they are not going to take responsibility to do what's right instead of letting the daughter control everything they are headed into very dangerous territory.
And if I were you, I would not want to be a part of the ensuing calamity that will result.  There are times when the best of intentions cannot change things.  And the best you can do is look out for yourself.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2011, 03:39:00 AM »

I think you have to have one more talk with Jim, and smack him upside the head if necessary. He's a grown man, and it's his responsibility to avoid getting involved with a needy, emotionally mangled teenage girl.  And he needs to go much, much farther in backing off that he has so far.

For one thing, he needs to make sure he's never alone with her, and has no opportunity for her to maneuver him into that position. He never sleeps over at a house where she is staying. He always has another adult with him when she is in the house or on the same property. That part is to protect him as much as her - if he's found with a naked 14 year old in his bed, it won't matter if she initiated it, he will be  the one who will be charged.

Her behaviour, combined with confessing suicidal thoughts means that he needs to go to the authorities *immediately*. I'm not sure who would be most appropriate, but I'm thinking the school counselling services, CPS, or the police as options, to see what they advise.

If he won't do it, I then as a sane adult you need to step up and speak to those authorities before it's too late.

Scratch that. Rereading the original message from start to finish, you, personally need to go to the authorities right now. You've got a teenager who has said she's suicidal and is attempting to seduce a 40 year old man with escalating behaviour, a mother who sees nothing wrong with this, and a 40 year old man who like the attention and is getting closer to the girl. Call your local suicide hotline or the police and go from there. 


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2011, 04:09:18 AM »
Jim has to do a cut direct with this girl. Get others involved in her situation if her mother is not doing enough, but not Jim. If he continues to stay involved, it is not going to turn out well for him.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 04:22:01 AM »
I understand that thinking about having her over is difficult, but if I were you I would try to anyway. I’d make it very clear to Lolita that she can come over with her mother for a few days, but that there will be no other guests during that period for xyz reasons, full stop. If she likes doing ‘girly’ things you could suggest doing this together – perhaps she could bring another girlfriend? (On the other hand, suggesting girly things would point out to her that what you’re saying is that you specifically don’t want Jim there – that might make her feel awkward?)

This would mean that you’d stand by your promises – if she’s had experiences of adults not sticking to their promises that might be important for her?

But I’d distance myself from her other issues. You can provide a fun few days – be happy about that and support the mother to get professional help.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2011, 04:54:01 AM »
I agree with what Blargh314 said.  Someone needs to put the fear of God into Jim, and unfortunately you seem to be the best person for the job since you can see it needs doing.  Do not hold back!  I suspect that although he is worried by Lolita's attentions, he is also too much flattered by her 'need' of him to take the situation as seriously as it deserves.  He has to step up, be an adult, and get out of the situation before it goes horribly wrong.  He is doing her no favours, and is putting himself at serious risk of prison, because he is not doing the right thing.

But the poor child needs some help, too, and professional help since she has a lot to deal with and no guidance.  It sounds as though Susan also needs a come-to-deity meeting as she seems to be fluttering about and not *doing* anything, which as a mother she really has to do.

A thoroughly uncomfortable and unpleasant situation all round.  I wish you the best of luck.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2011, 05:25:35 AM »
Ask Jim what he will miss most if he is locked up.  Tell him you are putting a care package together now because it is just a matter of time. Lolita will make sure of that  ::)

I would insist on going with Lolita's mom to the school to set up somethign with the social worker and to find out from the counselor what kind of mental health assistance is availabe to the public.

I would not allow Jim and Lolita in your home at the same time and if they are ever together in the same place outside of your home I would leave immediately, trying to get Jim to come with you.  Right now he is the :savior".  Lolita will be just as happy to blame hime for her problems in a year or even a month.  He needs to put his well-being first.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2011, 05:43:40 AM »
I can understand Jim's feelings of wanting to help Lolita out. But, at the moment, he really isn't. I would have a serious talk with him about how to set boundaries with the girl (if she touches you, move her hands and tell her not, if she tries to sit on your lap, stand up and tell her it isn't appropriate, etc). I would also tell him very plainly that if Lolita starts talking and mixes facts and imagination, he will end up arrested and a registered offender.

I would not have him and Lolita at my house at the same time. I would also think about how to call Lolita out on improper behaviour myself.


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2011, 05:51:32 AM »
I'd tell Jim, "Fifteen will get you 20". No matter how messed up Lolita's life is, his will be exponentially messed up when he's sent to prison on trumped-up charges.

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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2011, 06:08:42 AM »
Jim needs to be proactive on this one.  He needs to gently disentangle himself when she drapes herself over him.  As a PP said above, he needs to avoid being alone with her.  He needs to deflect personal texts with something along the lines of, "That sounds like something you need to discuss with your mother or a school counselor."  For goodness sake, I like a backrub as much as the next person, but I'll sacrifice my pleasure when the situation isn't appropriate. 

Am I the only one who read this and thought, "There's been some abuse going on in Lolita's life"?  I'm not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on the internet.  But to me, her actions scream of a child who's in a difficult situation and is looking for someone to rescue her.

ETA - do not invite Lolita and Jim over at the same time.  But you know that.  Why not make it a girls weekend?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 06:18:13 AM by Just Lori »


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Re: The etiquette of dealing with Lolita (epic length)
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2011, 06:13:15 AM »
I think Jim enjoys the attention and he is putting himself into the perfect position to be accused of something awful.  Or for something awful to actually happen while he "tries to find a way" to get her to leave.  He needs to block Lolita's phone number, avoid situations where she is present and just plain cut her off.  It is not his job to make her better, and frankly, he can't, because she has unhealthy feelings for him.  She is opening up to him and sharing her "suicidal thoughts" to get his attention, which just perpetuates the cycle.  He is letting a 15 yo girl control him, and there is no excuse for that.

I don't think you need to be the one to put the fear of God into him.  I think your group as a whole needs to do it. He is more likely to see your point if he think that more than one person has noticed. 

 And if Jim can't stop himself from "helping" Lolita, his invitations to group events probably need to be curtailed for a while.  This is not a situation you want to enable.

And I don't want to be mean, but you are not helping either, proving her a place to run to.  She and her mother need to work their issues out.  No more weekends at your house.  I know your heart is in the right place, but she seems to think of your house as her hideaway to be with Jim.  That's not OK.

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