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Kathy Belge

Should a 14-Year-Old be Dating a 18-Year-Old?

By July 24, 2009

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I recently heard from a teenager asking for advice about dealing with her mother. She says her mom is unhappy with her dating another girl. That may very well be so, but then she told me that she's 14 and her girlfriend is 18. Suddenly, I'm siding with mom.

Can a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old have an equal, loving relationship? Maybe, but not in the eyes of the law. In most states, a 14-year-old cannot legally consent to sex, which means her partner could be charged with statutory rape, if the relationship is sexual. But even if it is not, it would be a rare 14-year-old who could have an equal and balanced relationship with an 18-year-old. One has to ask permission of her parents just to go out, the other can vote, drive and join the military.

But how do you convince the 14-year-old that, when she's sure she is in love? Here's what I said. What would you say?
By: David Silverman/Getty Images

Comments
July 24, 2009 at 6:12 pm
(1) Kai says:

I agree with you, the age difference is unacceptable regardless of gender or orientation. Statutory Rape laws are there for a reason.

July 24, 2009 at 8:45 pm
(2) sue says:

yes i agree with your mom this 18 needs to back off untell u r of age if she truly loves you and cares about you she will cool it. or she will find herself in lots of trouble.

July 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm
(3) Jackie says:

I agree with you. I work in Child Protective Services and I would tell the 18-year old to run as fast as she can. All Mom has to do is call authorities and she would be arrested. If convicted, she would be a REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER and possibly put on Megan’s Law where everyone would know where she is and what she had done.

July 25, 2009 at 7:46 pm
(4) Katrina says:

Well, I do think caution should be taken in such instances, but I once knew a 12-year-old girl who was dating an 18-year-old guy with the consent of parents and as far as I know, nothing bad eve happened.

I think the parent should use her own discretion in determining if the 18-year-old is safe for her child to be with and discuss the dangers with the 14-year-old and ask her to put the relationship on hold until she’s a bit older. If she is reasonable, the child ought to be reasonable as well.

I’d also like to note that as an 18-year-old, I also dated a 14-year-old, and it was a perfectly equal, loving relationship. However, when we started dating, I was 17 (I turned 18 a few months later), and her parents knew me and knew I was a safe individual for their daughter to date and trusted me with their daughter.

July 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm
(5) annie says:

I say love is not in age but laws are..Dont get your lover in trouble if you love them wait time is on your side…and forever is a long time dont rush stuff that is forever like love..you will grow and change so much in forever.you will hardly recognize you or your patner by age 50..you change …

July 26, 2009 at 12:49 am
(6) Surgicalgirl says:

I don’t think a 14 year old should be dating an 18. I don’t think a 14 year old should be allowed to date.

I know when I was in school there wasn’t a lot of girls my age who were gay.

Grade school and high school for gay kids can be lonely and hard depending on where you live. I didn’t meet my first les girl until I was in college.

July 30, 2009 at 11:43 am
(7) Lulu says:

I agree, a 14 yr old should not be dating an 18yr old. I have a 14yr old niece and while she is pretty mature for her age, I wouldn’t want her dating someone more than 2 years her senior. She’s still a child. She thinks she’s a grown woman who knows everything, but she is still a child with a lot of growing up to do and that is true of every 14 year old!

July 30, 2009 at 11:47 am
(8) ferneo.vc says:

i try to think this situation happening in my life if when i was 14 years old. i think i never accept what is adult advise and advise just a advise and did effect of your decision. well you can try to having sweetie love when you are young and take well in your education and enjoy with your friends..

July 30, 2009 at 12:02 pm
(9) eternityawaits says:

Just wondering, since our relationships are not supported by the government, do laws like statutory rape apply to girl-on-girl or to gay men? I agree that it can absolutely happen but can a prosecution actually happen in this situation?

July 30, 2009 at 12:12 pm
(10) Carol says:

This issue really caught my eye and heart. I am 70, came out at age 12 in 1950. By the time I was 14, many older women were trying to make some kind of relationship with me, some of them, as I understand it all now, were predators. People find it hard to believe women are predators as well as men, just not as common. Believe me after lots of therapy,and becoming a therapist mysef working primarly with gays and lesbians, I know relationships are about balancing power in the end. I was hurt, damaged and confused by women who were not my peers because I could not do anything but feel “important” for being chosen by them. But then they were always the “boss.” I also did not have a close relationship with my mother and certainly this leaves lots of room for getting involved with an older woman. And in the the days when most of us were alone in being a lesbian. Once I tried talking with the “older” woman I had my first sexual experience with, I was 13, she was 21. By the time this happened, she was 35 and I was 28. She refused to talk with me as she was now married to a man and had children of her own. Was she still a predator? Who knows. I hope not for the sake of her children. She still couldn’t be a healthy adult and help me to close that part of my life. And so, I had to do it without her help.

July 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm
(11) Tee says:

I agree with the majority in this case and that is that I would not allow my 14yr old daughter to date the 18yr old girl. I actually have a 14yr old daughter and she isn’t even allowed to date. The mother needs to simply let this 18yr old young woman know that she is not going to allow her daughter to date and if she doesn’t back off I would alert the authorities. I would not initially get the authorities involved, but if this 18 yr old persists I would. Good luck to Mom and her daughter because these kids are very experimental these days.

July 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm
(12) Elizabeth says:

I agree with the majority. A 14-yr-old really shouldn’t be dating anyone in the first place. But everyone has their moments. When I was 17 I started dating someone who was 44. The relationship lasted until I was a few months over 18. I don’t think it’s the same, but in some ways it is.

July 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm
(13) Meg says:

I am a firm believer in the saying…there is a big difference between 14 & 18 and 20 & 24. It’s a maturity thing. I think the 18 year old should back off. I’m with mom!

July 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm
(14) Meg says:

Re to: …since our relationships are not supported by the government, do laws like statutory rape apply to girl-on-girl or to gay men?…

I think it may be some form of child molestation…but I doubt it would count as statutory rape. But I am not 100% sure :c)

July 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm
(15) Frenchie says:

I don’t think (about the side of the mother) that forbid someone to see someone else is a bad idea. This is the kinds of things wich push someone to do something wrong.
The teen could feel very angry and at her place i would be and i think i would have lie to my mother and date the girl.
I blame the mother.
But on the other side i also agree with you, this could end very badly…

July 31, 2009 at 7:11 am
(16) GLBT-NoLetterForMe says:

In LA… Where some say the toothbrush was invented… It is not uncommon to see 50 somethings men or women in pickup trucks (plus gun rack) with 14 year old children.

You can’t tell if the child’s (male or female) relationship is wife, husband, sister, brother, mother, or father…

No one seems to care…

By the way, we know the toothbrush was invented in Chalmette, LA because if it were invented anywhere else it would have been called the teethbrush.

Have a fine Texas day girls! Love your main squeeze every minute, as life is way to short!

July 31, 2009 at 9:21 am
(17) tink says:

I agree with the mom in some ways and the daughter in others.
I am a 20 year old women and I’m going to marry a 45 year old woman
Everyone where we live (which is in TN) sees this as a horrible thing
But we love each other very much. If the daughter wants to date a 18 year old
Let her but under supervision. Mom just keep a close eye on her and in the long run
She will thank you. My mom had to go through this with my sister and my mom called the
Police all that lead to way a run away that went to juvey and now my sister is 19 with a
3 year old and a 1 year old. Mom you better be glad its another girl and not a guy!

July 31, 2009 at 9:29 am
(18) FeFe says:

I understand this situation all to well. This two females may very well be in love but according to the law its not the best situation. I’m 18 and I think that 14 is quite young to believe that you are in love. I also say that a 14 and 18 year old are at 2 different places in life. One is starting puberty and the other has it all figured out. I think that if the love is real that they should wait until the 14 year old is at least 17/18. At that point it wouldn’t be that bad. I know how ppl may look at age. I am 18 and my girlfriend is about to be 22 in a couple of weeks. But then again @ that age we are both adults. In this case the 14 year old is still a child whether or not she feels that way or not.

July 31, 2009 at 5:01 pm
(19) Deb in Sac says:

I agree with the majority as well. 18 and 14 do not mix when it comes to dating. The 18 year old needs to take a good hard look in a mirror. What is staring back at her is a child molester. The genders of the two involved don’t matter. If it were my 14 year old daughter, I’d be pressing charges faster than the speed of light.

August 3, 2009 at 2:30 am
(20) Kasey says:

Well i’m a 13 year old girl and my girlfriend just turned 17… but she says she might not be able to see me once shes 18. it’s sort of depressing… T^T

August 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(21) Rockelle says:

I don’t see a problem with it. Would you be looking at it like that if a 22 year old and a 26 year old were dating? I am 16 and my girlfriend is 19 and we have a perfectly equal and loving relationship and we are getting engaged soon. I just believe that a 4 year age difference shouldn’t matter as long as they are happy. As for the sexual part, they should wait until the 14 year old is a little bit older, but I believe it is perfectly fine for them to see eachother. I wish them the best.

January 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm
(22) David says:

Dating between women is wrong.

February 10, 2010 at 9:27 am
(23) Lolipop says:

Well im 14 years old n my boyfriend is 18 n we have a great relationship so yall dont know whta yall talking bout age aint nothing but a number

March 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm
(24) anna says:

im 19 and to me 14 to 18 is not a big differnce at all , it depends on the maturity of the 14 year old and the 18 year old some 18 year old just became adults remember. it all depends on how mature the 18 year old is. ibut i do think any younger than14 will be and issue then.

September 6, 2010 at 8:44 am
(25) tiff says:

I am a 15 year old girl dateing a 26 year old women for 3 years now and i think thats just lovely and the law cant do any thing if thay dont have sex and just kiss and stuff. the poet Sappho where the word lesbain came from loved young girls and had sex with them lol

September 30, 2010 at 9:56 am
(26) amie says:

I know this is an old post but why does everyone assume its going to be a sexual relationship we maybe young but we aren’t stupid. I’m 15 years old and going out with a 17 year old (Male). We have been going out for 2 years and we have been sensible. So I think an 18 year old would know what he/she can and can’t do and a 14 year old would too as I did when I was 14.

December 13, 2010 at 7:49 pm
(27) lila says:

I think the mom should lay off!
Im 18 an am an adult and im now starting my new life with a loving sexy 45 year old and we love each other!
She proposed to me 3 weeks ago and i couldnt be more happier! i dont think theres anything wrong with a little age diffrence!

February 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm
(28) Brittany says:

I completely disagree. It doesn’t necesarrily mean that the relationship has to be sexual. Cant a 14 year old take intrest in an 18 year old? I think the parents should give it a chance, get to know the kid before making judgements. Because, if the mother says theyre not allowed to see eachother, the 14 year old may not follow that rule. They could end up sneaking around..and isnt that worse? 4 years isnt that bad of an age difference, really.

March 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm
(29) Hayezie says:

I think it’s fine for them to date. Im a lesbian and dating a 15 year old, she is 16 in three months and i am happy to wait for her to turn 16 before anything more intermite happens, its up to her what we do and when we do it, whatever makes her happy. I think the mother should get to know the 18 year old better, its not like she is going to get the daughter pregnant now is she? if she was truly in love with her then she would wait to do things like that. The mother needs to chill and relax and if it means talking to the 18 year old about things like that then so be it, the 18 year old should be able to stand up for herself and explain her feelings for the mothers daughter.

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