This is actually something very close to my heart; having been on both sides of this, and I can tell you right here right now. Be wary of age gaps when dating.
I was once told the rule of 5's. Divide your age by five, this is how many years difference you can have in dating. For the most part, its not that bad. An 11 year old, and a 13 year old wasn't all that uncommon for my school, one of the guys in my class dated my friends younger sister; we saw nothing wrong with that. But a 15 year old and an 18 year old? That was tricky, illegal even. The rule became debatable, but people still followed it.
I can understand the attraction, they can seem more mature, or it can be some kind of trophy for you, it can make you feel like the reason people your age don't like you is because you're too mature. But stop to ask yourself this one question. Why don't they date someone their own age? People will tell you, don't date older men, they just want to take advantage of you, and while that might not necessarily their reason, it will happen regardless. You are impressionable, young, and in wanting to seem just as mature as them, you can put yourself in danger.
Being in this situation myself, I, a 15 year old, was persuaded into a sexual relationship with an 18 year old. At the time, I thought that nothing was wrong, we were in love. Age didn't matter to us. But that doesn't mean it wasn't rape. After this relationship ended, I took some time to look back on it, and actually take a properly look at what happened. Without my knowledge, without even a shred of doubt, I was taken advantage of. Had I been in a relationship with someone my own age, I wouldn't have done half the things I had, I wouldn't have started smoking, I wouldn't have let him treat me like he did. So why did I?
Because he was older, wiser, and I trusted him to know better, to treat me better. I was manipulated, and used, causing a large dip in my crippling spiral of depression, and when he left me, it was a pain I had never imagined. I had become dependant on him.
To make matters worse, I did the same. After looking at what he'd done and calling it disgusting, I didn't trust older people, and I never trusted people my age. Without meaning to, I manipulated someone too, and the relationship became emotionally abusive for the both of us.
But I still came out better than my friend. She fell victim to an abusive relationship, him being 5 years older than her, he could control everything she did. She couldn't argue back, and once she had become completely dependant on him, she practically disappeared off the face of the earth.
While abusive relationships are something I'll cover at a later date, I want to focus on the matter at hand. If you're reading this, chances are you are young, probably under 16, you're in school, you're learning, you might even have exams soon. Dating is the least of your worries. Try to keep to your self, and don't let anyone take advantage of you.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.