Short version : Both your behaviors are inappropriate, but the age difference and connection makes that doubly bad for him.
There's a rule of thumb : you should not be dating or in a relationship with someone whose age is less than around half you age plus seven years.
"Vic" is 44. That rule of thumb puts his lower limit age range at about 29.
So you're way out of the "recommended sane range" for Vic.
But what's far worse is that he started eying you up when you were 17. That's under legal age in many places and you were a friend's daughter - that's off limits by any normal expected behavior for a guy.
And he's married. Is there any rule of behavior this guy doesn't break ?
So his behavior is that of a very selfish and creepy guy. Now I'm going by your description, and that may not be entirely accurate, but it's what I have to go on.
Do not trust him.
And a rule for you : marriages look different from the outside than the inside. Don't ever get involved with someone married. Ever. Get involved with a married person when they're divorced (not separated, because they go back to the wives a lot of the time).
How do I approach a conversation about this with him (if there is any to be had). I don't want to be some sort of home wrecker, but he is giving me signals as if he wants something.
He wants something. And he'll possibly use you for sex and then dump you when the going gets tough. He'll say what you want to hear (if he's what I think) and then when you look for more than he wants to give, you'll be dumped.
I've seen this before and it's hurt friends of mine. A lot and for a long time.
I am so confused.
You're young (even at 21), that's natural.
And a guy like this can ruin your young life.
Put it to you this way : how would you feel if your Dad were behaving like this guy to one of your friends ? Would you encourage her to have a relationship with your Dad ? I'm guessing we both know the answer to that.
For reference: Both of us are from South Asia, but living in America. I am currently 21 and he is 44.
Honestly if he was a younger (say 30) and actually single I'd say good luck to you both and take your chances.
Update: I know subconsciously, that I want for something to be there between us. I just don't know how to go about approaching a situation where I can make that happen, if that makes sense.
What you want is sometimes something you should walk away from.
This rule works for desserts, jobs and, sad to say, relationships.
And here's a scary thought for ya : this sort of feeling probably won't ever go away. I'm older than you (and Vic) and I still get that kind of "run headlong into fire" sensation. It's just that experience has taught me two things :
- Fire burns and touching it leaves scars
- The fire will pass and then one day you'll find a source of warmth that doesn't burn and lasts longer (and isn't 23 years older :-)).
There'll be plenty of better chances for romance, but this is the one where you learn to walk away from your desire. Learning to know when to follow your desires and when to trust them is a lot of this stage of your life.
But not Vic. My gut says Vic is a creep. :-)
And P.S. As an older guy I'm 100% for women liking older men. But there are sane limits and this isn't one of them.
This time you should suffer your desire in silence and it will pass.
And in a properly written script Mr. Right will turn up after that. :-)
Response to OP's Update 2
What you are in essence saying is that you have a desire for a physical, but not deeply romantic, relationship with this older married man.
First of all note that you've previously said you did find him charismatic or romantic. So you have all the signs of someone trying to say the equivalent of "I can stop any time I want to, so it can't hurt to start"
It's as simple as this : he's married and ( being as broadminded as possible here ) it would be morally wrong without the wife's full consent. Wives normally don't go for that idea.
What about your desire if she's not willing ? Tough luck.
Life doesn't provide you with everything you want, no matter how badly. Sometimes you have to walk away and this is more than likely one of them.
The question of should you do it behind the wife's back is a simple moral one. No one but you and the husband can make that decision. But it would be morally wrong period.
Should you do it if the wife does consent ?
I would strongly advise against it.
Sex combined with your apparent romantic interest is an overpowering cocktail for anyone (regardless of age). Even if you entered this expecting nothing more than a sexual relationship, you will often find that that will not last long and you'll want more. And that's especially the case if it all works out well without other problems.
In your original post you indicated you considered the man and his wife's relationship to be difficult, perhaps in trouble.
First of all this is a very hard call to make from outside a relationship. You'd be amazed how robust some relationships can be between people who, on the surface, bicker and squabble. It's not that simple inside a long term relationship. So be wary of surface impressions.
Secondly, if their relationship is in trouble you should not stick yourself in the middle of something that might be merely a difficult period for them (I think all long term relationships have these). This is where the term
home-wrecker comes in. Please don't be one.
Lastly I'll cover an option you may be considering : trying to have a platonic but deep relationship with the man.
Again, I think this would be a bad choice. It's like picking up a drink in a bar and saying you don't want it, but not putting it down. Eventually you'll do something (or more precisely both of you will) which is one of the poor choices I mentioned.
I'm not saying you can't be friends. I'm saying it's a bad idea to pursue such a friendship when your head, heart and hormones are looking for more.
So my strong advice to you is to walk away from your desire. It's a good lesson to learn for your life : be in control of your desires, not the other way around.
That doesn't make you less passionate. But it would make you stronger and less open to damaging life choices.
Remember finally that when you get involved with a married man, you're really involving yourself in his wife's relationship as well. And perhaps his children's, if he has any.
So there's more than you involved in these choices.
I want to remind you all that I am by no means a careless middle school/high school student.
With respect, what you are having trouble with is controlling your desires. With more maturity you will gain that. And if you were as mature a thinker as you may feel you are, you would not need advice.
But Vic's flirtations (taking your view of them on face value) indicate someone with dubious moral priorities. I addressed this in my first response and I'd remind you to consider those views again. Pursuing a relationship with a free agent is one thing : Vic is not a free agent.