By: Haley Brezina
Photo credit: Haley Brezina
("Sam, born March 1999, and Justin, born July 2002 could be a cute couple- but should be careful when dating someone with such a large age difference.")
A year may not seem long- 52 weeks, 365 days; but those days make all the difference when it comes to high school dating.
When you’re in the same school with other kids who can be as much as four year older than you, it’s not uncommon for kids to date someone a grade or two ahead of them. While to some this may not be a big deal, but age plays a huge role in relationships.
From the younger person’s perspective, it may seem obvious why they may want to be with an older individual. According to Psychology Today, girls mature faster, as they tend to optimize brain connections earlier than boys. This would explain the most common younger girl/older guy dynamic.
Lexis Macie, a freshman, elaborates on her past relationship with a seventeen year old. Macie states, “[Older guys] have more experience and knew how to treat me better”. Macie also expresses that dating someone older than her is better than dating someone her age. However, the parent perspective varies from teen to teen. While Lexis’ parents didn’t have too much of a problem with it, sophomore Baylie Westervelt’s mother offers her view on Baylie talking to a senior.
Mrs. Westervelt is not at all fond of her 15 year old daughter being smitten with a 17 year old, but she is not going to hold her daughter back. “I don’t feel like I should be the one to say ‘you’re not doing this’. I can guide her through the relationship, like I would if you were dating someone your own age,” Westervelt elaborates.
However, it’s a different story from the older individual’s perspective. Isaac Green, a junior, provides insight on his past relationship with a freshman. “It was a two year age difference. Yeah, it kind of bothered me, but not that much since we really liked each other,”
In a relationship especially such as one as a junior/freshman one, these are two individuals with very different realities. A junior is preparing for their ACTs and SATs, maybe learning how to drive or just beginning.
On the other hand, a freshman is just getting used to the flow of high school, and is probably more focused on their social life. Westervelt agreed that goals may not be compatible; and Green also states, “Issues arose because he is a friend inclined freshman, meaning he was really friend oriented, while I just wanted to spend time with him”.
When it comes to dating someone younger versus someone his own age, Green admits it is easier to date someone his own age, but when you really like the person, it tends not to matter as much.
In the end, we’re all human beings looking for a special someone to share our time with. Dating someone older than you or younger should be taken with precautions- you should make sure you understand each other and are on the same level.
Having feelings for someone in a relationship is only a small part of keeping it safe and stable. Make sure you watch out for red flags, always listen to your parents and understand their concerns, never lie about your age, and never date someone 18 or older. The latter is very illegal.