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Terra's Past Letters


Age difference:
"Is it OK for a 14 year old to go out with a 19 year old?"

Hey Terra,

Recently I met this guy. He's really nice and funny and cute and like, perfect. We get along really great and can talk for hours. I really like him, and it seems like he likes me too, but there's kinda a problem. He just turned 19, and I'm 14. I know that I should probably just be friends with him for now, but do you think it would like, be okay to hang out with him still, like, go to movies and stuff? My mom knows him and thinks he's really cool too. What do you think?



Dear Wondering,

I'm wondering too! I'm wondering about this guy, for instance, and why he is hanging out with a 14 year old. No matter how charming and mature you are, something seems off. Why isn't he with a young woman his own age or closer to his age? Why do you suppose that's the case? Is he not mature enough to handle a relationship with a 19 year old woman? (Just wondering.)

Another thing I'm wondering about is how safe you are emotionally with this guy? What I mean is, how involved are you already and what's going to happen when he stops paying attention to you? You say that you met this guy "recently" -- how recently? Like in the past month? The reason I'm asking is because I can read between the lines of your email and tell that you already have a major crush on him and your mind is working overtime imagining you and him being together if not now, sometime in the near future. So while you say "I know that I should probably just be friends with him for now" that's not what you're really trying to do. Be honest.

I'm glad to hear that your mom knows him and agrees with you that he's "really cool," but does she think it's okay for you to spend time with him in date-like situations (movies, etc.)? If you were my daughter, I would not be cool with that. It's way too risky.

And here's something else I'm wondering:

Even if the two of you "get along really great and can talk for hours" he's too old for you to be involved with romantically. The two of you are in very different phases of your emotional and sexual development. The sexual needs of a normal 19 year old guy are not the same as a 14 year old girl. I'm concerned that hanging out with this guy, as "perfect" as he is, is very likely to lead to sexual situations that you aren't ready to be in yet.

In friendship,


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