Dating Age Gaps: How Far is too Far?


Photo by Savana Moore

Two “love birds” kissing in front of a sunset scene.

Savana Moore, Staff Writer

Age matters a lot when you’re dating in high school, but maturity levels are what matters most. You might come from a background that forced you to grow up quicker than your peers, so when you date someone close to your age, there could be an immense difference in your mentality as compared to dating someone who is older than you. It is near impossible to form a deep connection with someone who has a vastly different maturity level than yourself. 

As someone who is in a relationship with a person older than myself, being of a close age and maturity level is very important, especially in high school. Many others have opinions on it as well, junior Drake Benton is one of them.

“I see relationships with big age gaps here all the time,” says Benton. “It can be weird, but it depends on the age gap itself. Two, maybe three years is pushing it. Because if you think freshman and senior, that’s definitely walking the line.”

However, age gaps aren’t an issue just because it’s “weird.” It can also become dangerous in the way that it influences the younger person. 

“Say you’re 14, they’re 17 or 18, there is definitely influence in the relationship,” says Benton. “The older person could change them, maybe not for the best. Like drinking, that’s a key one. You hear of underage drinking all the time; that’s not gonna change. The only thing that age difference would do is just encourage it.”

Underage substance use has been an issue in high schools for quite some time now. One of the ways that it spreads is through the influence that older students have on younger students, whether on purpose or not. Personally, I know of at least one underclassman who has been trying to impress an upperclassman through smoking. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any changes that I’ve made in order to get someone to like me, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t,” says Benton. “You can’t really notice the changes you make in yourself.”

Actually being in a relationship with someone that has a significant age gap isn’t generally considered to be good while you’re in high school. Having a crush on someone with said age gap though is completely normal. 

“I feel like that’s everyone in some way, shape, or form, though,” Benton says, “it’s just a part of life.”