Last summer at the age of 18, I was in a relationship, that I took seriously, with a 21 year old girl. The relationship ended up being a summer fling. The thing that would deeply offend me was when she would call me a "baby" solely because of my age and when I protested that, an argument began. One time she stated, "You're not a man". In defense, I listed the things that make me a man:

Good work ethic

Manners

Pay Bills

Respecting

Considerate

Stand up for my beliefs

Presentable

Pursuing an Education

Self Reliant

(Not to brag or be arrogant)

The argument ended the relationship. I felt belittled.

But was I wrong in saying that? Is age a bigger factor in being a man than I think? Do the things listed qualify me as a man? 

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Age has next to nothing to do with being a man. It does however have great bearing on the amount of life experience one accumulates.  At 18 you are still a very young man with lots to learn, which in all manliness you should humbly accept, and it seems you have just come through a learning experience.

   If you can walk the walk and do all that you said, you certainly qualify for the title.  Just look at the great quantity of infantile 20-35 year old man-children we have mooching off their parents and whining? Age is no garauntee of wisdom.

Thats exactly how I feel. Being raised mostly by my grandparents has taught me so much, and working in an assisted living nursing home has also been a learning experience.

I suppose at the time, I cared about what she thought because I wanted to have a successful relationship with her, but now, thanks to alot of you gents, I have more confidence in my manhood.

A man is someone who is responsible, mature, has noting to prove to anyone. He takes ownership of his own mistakes. He stands by his principles and doesn't bend to peer pressure, but he keeps an open mind and is not afraid to listen to those who have different points of view than himself. 

His heart is not guarded, but neither is he needy, or quick to complain. 

Well heck, I could go on, but you get the point. A man creates himself by the decisions he makes through his life. If it sounds like it's a life long process, you're right. Going out in the wild and killing a lion with your bare hands is impressive as heck, but doesn't say anything about their honesty, compassion, leadership, and so on. 

I can sympathize with the sting you felt when that girl said you weren't a man, but I'm sure you've heard the expression, 'pearls before a swine'. If you expect, or care, how others rate you as a man you'll be in perpetual frustration. 

You're spot on about the problems with her father. Good advice!

I think you nailed it, Rick. 

You're way ahead of the curve for 18. The problem seems to have been her perception, not yours or your actions.

There are men out there providing for families, being relied upon by others and doing some of the other things you mentioned, such as being self reliant and respectful, who are even younger than you.

No, not at all. You were standing up for yourself.

From my vantage point you both are terribly young, but that still does not excuse what she was trying to do; belittle you.

Hope you find someone who doesn't pull that crap.

Thats what I thought it was at first, and would be over after a couple of weekends, but after 2 months, I thought I might be perceived as something more than jailbait!

Shane, you're comments are quite refreshing too! 

And I intend to do just that...

Sounds like the one thing you were missing that would've changed everything was confidence.

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