Once you get to high school, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for you. Suddenly you aren’t limited to dating the boys you’ve known since kindergarten—the same ones who put gum in your hair or threw spitballs at you from across the room. Nope, you can leave those immature losers behind for a sophisticated older guy.
And believe me this is tempting. High school guys love the first day of school because a new crop of freshmen are roaming the halls. When I started high school, it wasn’t long before many of my girlfriends had snagged themselves a junior or senior boyfriend which definitely made them cooler (and me, too, by association). But dating an older guy also brought up much more grown up issues. Like how older boys often expect more out of a relationship than we had been used to. They can drive, so they want to take you out on real dates, they don’t have as much parental supervision because they’re older, and they may want to take things further sexually than you’re ready for. I don’t mean to say that a relationship with an older guy or can’t work. But there are some things you need to be realistic about if it’s going to.
First, you need to know what you’re comfortable with—and you need to be confident about telling him or exactly what that is. If he wants to go beyond your comfort zone for physical stuff, don’t be afraid to make that known. If that’s all they’re after, you’ll know pretty quickly and you’ll be able to get out of the relationship before you get hurt. Even if you really like the person, it’s better to know that your expectations are way different before you do something you might regret.
Another thing to keep in mind when you decide to date an older guy is how your parent(s) will feel. Odds are they won’t be super excited to learn that their 14- year-old daughter wants to date a 17-year-old boy (or their 17-year-old daughter going out with a 22-year-old guy, for that matter). But if you keep them in the loop about your relationship—and don’t lie to them or sneak around behind their backs—they’ll feel better about the situation, which can translate into more freedom for you.
Only you will know whether you’re ready to date someone who is older than you are. If it doesn’t feel right, or you feel pressure or trapped, listen to those feelings. They’re there for a reason. And don’t let your friends influence you either. Just because they’re ready for a more mature relationship doesn’t mean you have to be. You’ll know when the time is right. You just have to trust yourself.
Have you or any of your friends ever dated an older guy?
Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number: 90-FE-0024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.