Question: I’m 17 and want to date a guy who is 23. My parents think he’s too old, but I’m just curious why it’s OK for adults to date people who are much older people, but not teens. Why is it so bad? What’s your advice if we really like each other?
Answer: Really good question! When adults reach a certain age, the age difference may not matter as much as it does for someone your age and the age of the guy you are interested in. One interesting reason may be: The human brain is not fully developed until age 25! At the age of 17, you are still growing and changing a lot. Even if you are super-mature, a 23-year-old is farther along in the cognitive-developmental process and because of this, may want different things, relate in a different way, and be incompatible with you. Most adults are of the belief that those under eighteen should delay being sexually active. An older guy may be too “advanced”. I know this may sound “lame” and you may not understand the consequences of sex at a young age-I didn’t either-but there are real consequences. When you are older and have more life experience, I promise this may make sense.
My advice is to at least wait until you are eighteen to become physically involved, because doing so with a twenty-three-year-old is actually illegal. Maybe get to know him a bit more casually as friends-until you are older.
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About the Expert: Rachel RUSSO, MS, MFT is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a Matchmaker, Dating & Relationship Coach, Author & Speaker. She has a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy from Iona College, a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, and a certification as an Intentional Relationship Coach. Rachel is the founder of Rachel Russo Relationships-a NYC-based dating and relationship consultancy-and has worked as a matchmaker for twelve years. She currently acts as the resident relationship expert on Brooklyn Savvy Tv, is a matchmaker with Lisa Clampitt Matchmaking, and trains entrepreneurs at Matchmaking Institute. Her drive, credentials, and unique experience make her the ultimate dating and relationship expert. Read More…