21 and 16 year olds dating, is it okay?
December 25, 2006 11:57 PM   Subscribe

Is it okay (socially and legally) for a 21 year old guy (me) to date a 16 year old girl?

What are the legal and social problems with dating someone that is underage (for the record I live in Arizona). I met this girl who I see at least once a week (she works for my mother).
I could tell right away that she liked me, and to be honest I thought she was very attractive, but I later found out about her age and decided that I shouldn't do anything about it. That was about a month (maybe a bit more) ago. In that time she has been overt in expressing her desire for there to be some sort of relationship between us; hugging me when I come by, making me cookies, offering to make me dinner at her house, inviting me to places. All the while I would be as nice as I could without feeling like I was leading her on, letting her think there was something more there.
The last two weeks though I've been spending more time with her, I had lunch with her five times in the last two weeks (at the deli where she works for my mother), and I've come to the decision that I want to ask her out.
I'm very wary of her age though. From what I can tell in Az the age of consent is 18 (wiki), but that would only apply if we were having sex. You may not think this to be the truth, but I wouldn't let that happen, in the very, very rare chance that it came up.
What I've decided to do is ask her out, but tell her I want to talk to one of her parents (they are devoiced, and her dad is a cop) and make sure they are alright with us dating, if not it would stop right there.
For what it's worth her age does bother me, not that she's immature or I think she's a child, she's not. She's very mature graduated early from high school and going to be starting collage in fall '07. It's more the number then anything else that gets me.
My friends who are closer to the situation, as well as my mother are all in favor of me asking her out, but I wanted some unbiased opinions.
posted by blackout to Human Relations (63 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's a reason such girls are known as "jailbait". You're taking major chances even if you don't end up in bed together. You ask for opinions, so here's mine:

Treat this babe like kryptonite. Handle only with lead-lined gloves, and stay the hell away from her.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:04 AM on December 26, 2006

I wanted some unbiased opinions

My opinion is that your plan is a bad idea and you should not ask her out nor try to date her in any way until she turns 18.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:08 AM on December 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

You may be blinding yourself to this because you're close to the situation, but this is socially taboo in the extreme. Many people will think less of you (and her) if you persue this. They probably already do.

Her dad being a cop just makes the situation all the more absurd.
posted by phrontist at 12:08 AM on December 26, 2006

Stay friends until she's 18.
posted by delmoi at 12:12 AM on December 26, 2006

If her parents are ok with it, and your parents and friends already are, then that's everyone that matters. You'll get crap from other people if the age discrepancy is apparent, but from the sound of it, it isn't.

Take her up on some of those invitations to dinner, so you meet the parents. Make a good impression.

I was dating a 17 year old at 21, everyone throught it was great, no-one outside of the few of us even realised there was an age difference. But I'm the kind that parents are glad relieved to have their daughter dating, so YMMV :)
posted by -harlequin- at 12:19 AM on December 26, 2006

Just back away as nicely as you can. Forget the taboo factor, her daddy's a cop. You could be as gentlemanly as is humanly possible, and he could still ruin your life. Any daddy can claim a false statutory rape, but a cop is going to have a better chance of making it stick. That would give you a criminal record featuring sex with a minor. Furthermore, there's a slim chance you'd wind up on the Sex Offender Registry.

Be kind to her, of course - she may be a "very mature" 16, but she's still 16. None of the logic behind this may matter to her.

If this is love, true and deep, waiting a few years is nothing. Consider it a test of the heart. That way, once she's 18, you'll be much more free to do as you please.
posted by Jilder at 12:22 AM on December 26, 2006

Also, not advice, just random thoughts - after her parents have met you, what about telling her you'd like to ask her out, but feel a bit odd about the age difference, ask her what she thinks. See what she says. Once she knows your interested, assuming she wants it to happen, then she might be your best ally in presenting it to her parents. Perhaps "dad, I'd like to date this friend of mine" might work better than "Mr XYZ, I'd like to date your underage daughter". I don't know, just throwing something out.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:23 AM on December 26, 2006

I see no problem with it, particularly if she's mature for her age... But I think it depends though on the state though in terms of a sexual relationship (do your homework) if you become romantically involved
posted by DudeAsInCool at 12:24 AM on December 26, 2006

Also, waiting until she's in collage might be a good idea - it's not long, and a lot of highschool taboo doesn't apply anymore.

Reading Jilder's comment - yeah - make sure you're comfortable with the parents as well as they you. Think "what could happen if I break her heart". If the answer could be along what Jilder suggests, do as s/he suggests.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:28 AM on December 26, 2006

Socially, you're much better off waiting until she's started college. Right now you'd be a twenty one year old guy dating a girl in high school -- doesn't matter how you dress that up, it still comes out looking really really bad.
posted by tkolar at 12:38 AM on December 26, 2006

It's a shame that arbitrary laws criminalize what could be otherwise fulfilling relations between two people. C'est la vie (in your particular jurisdiction).

As others have said, you could pursue a friendship and bide your time before getting romantically involved, but be prepared for some tests of character.
posted by wolfsleepy at 12:40 AM on December 26, 2006

Well age of consent is a very arbitrary concept. Why are teens in Arizona assumed to be less mature than teens in Ohio? It doesn't make any sense.

Besides, social conventions and practices are not necessarily tied to the legal age of consent. Relationships with such age differences happen all the time, it depends on the individuals.

But, you're thinking of asking permission of the parents, and you're thinking of avoiding sex - that's two complications you don't need at 21.

If she already has such a crush on you, how are you going to deal with dating without getting sexual? What if she wants to? You're going to be leading her on that way. You can't date her and then suddenly turn all "oh no no you're only 16" when sex comes up, and oh it will come up, don't delude yourself. If you're going to treat her like a child then do it from the start and just don't start anything. A relationship has to be on equal terms at any age.
posted by pleeker at 12:51 AM on December 26, 2006

Legally, it's shaky enough that I'd stay away from the situation. Socially--when I was in high school, there were 16-17-year-olds dating men ten years their senior (legally over the age of consent in that state). I've seen the same thing now and then since, especially when I've been in work environments with a lot of younger folk.

In general, other teenagers think it's cool that you're so openminded, that she could impress an older guy, and are cool with the idea in general. Most adults think it's creepy, and no amount of justification or rationalization can change their minds, even if upon meeting the sixteen-year-old the adult in question would guess her to be much older. Whether it's "acceptable" depends on your community, but for dating a teenager not to hurt you at all socially, you'd have to hang out in either a very open-minded social group, or a very young one.
posted by Cricket at 12:58 AM on December 26, 2006

Dude, her dad is a cop. STEP AWAY. STEP AWAY.

Seriously, I would not touch this with the proverbial ten-foot pole.
posted by rossination at 1:00 AM on December 26, 2006

blackout, you can moon around this girl and get into various awkward situations, or you can take a deep breath and recognize that while you're doin' that, bunches of 23, 24, 25 and 26 year old women with minds of their own are gettin' away. Really, they are! Right over there, other side of the tall grass, in front of the mall!
posted by paulsc at 1:01 AM on December 26, 2006 [2 favorites]

um, people in relationships generally have sex. or do fun naked things together. and she is too young for any of the naked things you have in mind, especially sex.

so why do you want a relationship? for hanging out? you're already doing that. for kissing and touching? also inappropriate. i don't care how "mature" she is, i was "mature" too, and i guarantee that she's still a kid. saying you won't have sex is bull. you've already broken one of your taboos by even considering dating her:

I later found out about her age and decided that I shouldn't do anything about it. That was about a month (maybe a bit more) ago.

that took you all of what, five weeks? if you two become "an item", you're both attracted to each other, which means that in five more weeks, you'll end up getting undressed, because your bodies will want to. because that's what relationships are FOR. so don't have one with this underage girl.
posted by twistofrhyme at 1:18 AM on December 26, 2006

Quite apart from the age thing, I'd be wary of a relationship with someone who worked for a family member too.
posted by Abiezer at 1:40 AM on December 26, 2006

Maybe you don't plan on having sex. There's a chance you actually won't do that. You know who cares? Not her dad. Not the judge. Not your neighbors in twenty years when they find out they live next to a sex offender.

You can't prove you didn't have sex. Maybe she can't prove you did, but recent high-profile cases indicate she probably won't have to. IMHO, that (and the sex offender registry for "crimes" like this) is a complete bullshit way of operating a justice system -- but, such is the system as it stands. Know that going in.

If you lived in another state, where the age was 16, my advice might be different. But in today's legal climate, the advice to stay far away could not be made strongly enough. Sorry.
posted by SuperNova at 1:49 AM on December 26, 2006

I'll be honest I came here wanting people to tell me it was okay, I wasn't totally crazy to ask this chick out, because even though I had made up my mind, it was still bugging the hell out of me (which should have been all I needed to know it was wrong). And I got that, some of you are saying do it, but even with the support it still just doesn't seem right for some reason.
I like to think of myself as having a more logical thought process then an average person so this whole thing has been driving me bonkers trying to figure out.
You all make very good, and valid points, but I think pleeker and twistofrhyme bring it home, I know I could keep from bringing sex up, but if she wanted it I don't know if I could stop it, and therein is the biggest rub I guess.
My biggest concern is and should be her, I don't want to hurt her or make her fear relationships at such an important time in her life for relationships. As such I think I should just steer clear.
posted by blackout at 1:54 AM on December 26, 2006

I think you've made the right choice. It's a teenage girl thing. They don't want to be kids anymore, they want to be seen as mature by their friends and family. Just because you're comparatively much older than her (30% older, natch), you're instantly 100 times more attractive to her, since being able to talk to you makes her seem more mature to herself.

She probably looks like an adult, and acts like an adult, but upstairs, she's still a kid. And her dad's a cop. Like someone said, there's a reason they're called Jailbait.
posted by theducks at 2:02 AM on December 26, 2006

Echoing what others have said, it doesn't matter how "mature" she is, a 16 year old is in a totally different place, mentally and physically than a 21 year old. To be frank, you might want to consider where you are psychologically that are you are even interested in this girl.

Arizona sex offenders are routinely placed on lifetime probation, and have a lot of restrictions and invasions in their lives as long as they remain on it. Just fyi.
posted by !Jim at 2:15 AM on December 26, 2006

You should be wary of any 16-year-old girl lavishing you with attention. It's not just possible, but probable, that it's not really you she likes, but the simple fact that a 21-year-old man is paying even the smallest bit of attention to her.

Teenagers get very bored very easily.

These relationships rarely work in the long run. There are exceptions, of course, but in my opinion, even if you're totally in love with her, this is a very, very bad idea.
posted by Brittanie at 2:19 AM on December 26, 2006

As a girl who was in a position similar to hers (started college a little before turning 16), and as an adult who agrees with the lunacy of random/arbitrary age-of-consent laws... I feel like I had plenty of self-confidence and positive sexual awareness at that age, but I remember being attracted to other people in their mid-teens rather than older people. I can't begin to read her mind (any more than the rest of the people in this thread can), but just from what you're saying, it sounds like she's not even necessarily expressing sexual interest in you.

Beyond your own attraction to her, you're also being forced to think of this in sexual or potentially-sexual terms by a few other factors (the laws, the fact that her dad's a cop).

I think the best thing you could do is stay her friend and give her your support and advice as she navigates the landscape of relationships and sex in college.

I think it's really sad that some people in this thread are saying you can't be her platonic friend and should drop all interaction with her. But I do think you need to consider your relationship carefully and communicate with her VERY clearly from now on. You can be just friends with her if (and only if) you're crystal-clear with yourself and with her that that's what you want, *and* you trust she agrees with this.
posted by allterrainbrain at 2:45 AM on December 26, 2006

To be even more clear (I was, but it bears repetition), I do not think it would be a good idea for you to be friends with her if you *can't* be 100% sure in your own head that this should be a platonic friendship.
posted by allterrainbrain at 2:59 AM on December 26, 2006

I'm in agreement with Brittanie, but for slightly different reasons. I think men have an easy time picking up younger women. Younger women, in my experience, want to learn everything that a more mature man can teach them. I imagine the same goes for an older woman/younger man, but I've never been in that situation.

In the teens, a single year makes a big difference in terms of maturity. 5 years between people in their twenties won't create relationship problems, but 5 years between you and a 16-year-old might. You've gone through the experiences of living on your own, finding work, and supporting yourself financially and emotionally. A 16-year-old still has Mommy and Daddy's support to fall back on if anything should go wrong. You're well beyond that point-- do you want to have to sneak your girlfriend out of her parent's house to stay out late? Want to take her to get drunk with your friends? You're at different stages of life; its not to say that you can't love her or share an emotional bond, but I think it will be a fragile bond due to the difference in maturity and the barriers created by the law and social norms.

She's probably enamored with you because you have so much more experience than her, which I entirely understand. But at some point, you'll want someone who understands your experiences and can teach you a thing or two. Its easy for older guys to pick up younger women-- but I'm not sure if they satisfy our needs.
posted by jstef at 3:08 AM on December 26, 2006

Regardless of how/when any relationship between you progresses, here's some advice that will ensure your legal and moral safety: never be alone with her. I mean it - do not EVER let yourself be in any situation where the two of you are alone - without witnesses - in a social setting. For her protection, and for yours. No matter how honorable your intentions (or hers), there may be other people who may try to turn any opportunity into a chance to "get" you. Whatever you do together, do it in public - go to the zoo, concerts, parks, etc.
posted by davidmsc at 3:44 AM on December 26, 2006

I really like the 1/2 your age plus 7 years rule of thumb for the minimum age of a potential partner. In your case 0.5 * 21 + 7 = 17.5 (round down if you're liberal, up if you're conservative). Sorry, looks like you have to wait till you're 23 and she's 18.

Yeah, I know it's not a real rule but it does have a certain intuitive appeal. B

On the other hand if you can keep it non-nude for a couple of years, then that's ok too ;)
posted by singingfish at 5:14 AM on December 26, 2006

Chiming in, blackout, you are displaying unusual wisdom by leaving this opportunity on the table for a few years.

There is really no upside to having this relationship at this point. "Mature for her age" is still 16. Arizona society has issued its opinion on the issue, wrong or not. You can fight City Hall on this concept, and maybe win, but it still means a fight. Fights are costly and since the 'other guy' is much bigger, your chances are slim to none in prevailing. Its wiser to avoid a fight.

It is an EXCEPTIONALLY good idea to make a habit of using some intellect to assess emotional decisions, as you are doing. What's truly remarkable about Mr. Blackout, is that you are doing it in advance! This will come in handy over the next few decades.

Congratulations on making a good choice and taking care of both of you.
posted by FauxScot at 5:21 AM on December 26, 2006

The "dad is a cop" angle is delightful. Are you freaking serious? Are you sure he's not also a consultant for Dateline MSNBC's "To Catch a Predator."

Go find a nice teenager your own age.
posted by spitbull at 6:27 AM on December 26, 2006

Wisdom in music (yes, I know you plan to keep it non-physical):

When true love knocked on my door, she'd just barely turned sixteen;
And I was a little bit nervous, if you know just what I mean.
But I heard somewhere that true love conquers all, and figured that was that,
then I started havin' dreams 'bout bein' chased out of town wearin' nothing but my cowboy hat.

I said, "No deal..." (Townes van zandt)

When I was nineteen, I dated a fifteen-year old. We did not actually have sex, though it was very difficult. In the end, despite that she was very mature for fifteen, the age difference wound up being a problem.
posted by notsnot at 7:00 AM on December 26, 2006

That little voice saying it doesn't seem right? Listen to it.
posted by mecran01 at 7:01 AM on December 26, 2006

Not too many people seem to comprehend the idea that she might actually want to have sex with you. This is a distinct possibility that complicates things further. Shame about the law, but there it is. Walk away.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:15 AM on December 26, 2006

True Story: A friend of mine dated a girl that was under 18 in Phoenix, AZ. He was probably 19 or 20. This was a few years back, so I don't remember exact age. But, he got consent from the parents and started dating this chick. A month down the road, he pissed the girl off, which in turn pissed off the parents and they took it to the cops. They warned him to stay away, but how could he? He already spent a month dating this chick like every day and he wanted to work things out. And you know she probably only stayed upset for like a day or two, while the parents never forgot. So while trying to work things out (picking her up from school, taking her out more, etc) he somehow ended up in prison for few years. True story. I guess the moral of the story is that parents can change their mind about consent while you too are deeply in love.
posted by stlboi at 7:52 AM on December 26, 2006

Run away right now.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:05 AM on December 26, 2006

and she works for your mother? seriously? this is just all bad, that brings it out of the arena of age of consent and into work-related sexual harrasement in a worst case scenario. Especially with this discussion here, now, in the public record.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:29 AM on December 26, 2006

When I was 15 I briefly dated a guy about your age. There were upsides and downsides but ultimately it didn't work out. I couldn't go to bars with him which was a pain. His friends' girlfriends were older and thought I was too young and weren't particilarly nice about it. He wanted to have sex and I didn't want to. In my world this was normal and in his world it totally wasn't. When I stayed out late with him it was, again, normal for him and really not normal for me.

In fact, my Mom flipped out once when I came home at 3 am and threatened to have him arrested for statutory. That fight has created a rift between us to this day (my Mom and I). In the end, we broke up because I didn't want to have sex with him. In looking back at it, he was somewhat immature and generally into dating high school girls, which seemed cool to me, a high school girl, at the time, but now I'm sort of like "what was he thinking?" As far as advice, it seems to me like you know what the good path is. If it were me, I'd wait and see what college brings her, assuming she'll ber more independent from her family, out on her own etc. On the off chance that she's the one for you, she'll still be there.
posted by jessamyn at 8:38 AM on December 26, 2006

Do you remember the old saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? You do? Ok, good, my work here is done for those of you who are late to the game.

(Thanks Mr. Congreve)
posted by bilabial at 8:41 AM on December 26, 2006

I know a guy who is in jail for multiple years for a consensual relationship with an underage girl (she was 17.) You don't want nothin' to do with this.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:42 AM on December 26, 2006

Risk of arrest + child sex offense + possible jail
Benefit of potential relationship
The math is really clear. Be nice, but be clear that she is too young for you to date. Recommend she date some young men nearer her own age.
posted by theora55 at 9:08 AM on December 26, 2006

posted by nathancaswell at 9:08 AM on December 26, 2006

"her dad is a COP" [emphasis added]

I would never date a close relative of a cop whether she was "legal" or not. Even without the "jailbait" angle, this guy could murder you (or get a cop buddy to do it) and get away with it. You could be shot while "resisting arrest" or something; not too long ago a cop in my city shot a guy in the back as he was running away "because he feared for his life".
posted by davy at 9:27 AM on December 26, 2006

I say date her.

Try to stay out of jail. This means having a little sexual discipline, but it isn't like you can't touch each other.

Try to take it very slow. She's really young and naive and her parents are divorced so she'll have some issues. Respect that.

Meet the parents. This is always essential when dating. They'll have reservations. Be open and honest with yours.

Having a cop in the family is always good.

Wow. What a bunch of whiners on this thread. Like age gaps never worked out in relationships. Check out the divorce rate. Being the same age never helped anyone.
posted by ewkpates at 9:55 AM on December 26, 2006

I agree with almost all others. Wait until she is 18 to start dating her. If you fall in love for 'er and 'er and get married, it'll be a romantic story. If you break up, you will be the guy who dated a *high-school girl*, and that might give other women the creeps. I would run run run run from any grown man who dated a high school girl. Eww. Gross.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:11 AM on December 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

Sorry, there should be a sentence between sentence 2 and 3: Wait until she is 18 to start dating her. If you don't, there are two things that will happen- you'll stay together until you die, or you'll break up. If you fall in love.....
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:22 AM on December 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine, at the age of 22 or so, started dating a 16-year-old. He learned the valuable lesson that if you actually have to look up statutory rape laws in your area to make sure your relationship is legal, you really shouldn't be in that relationship.
posted by kalimac at 10:27 AM on December 26, 2006

A good friend of mine discovered a beautiful girl who wanted a relationship with him.... she was 15 and he was 25. He didn't let it happen... until she was 19 and they were both between significant others. They've been married over 30 years now and have raised 3 great kids.

I recommend waiting.
posted by Doohickie at 10:41 AM on December 26, 2006

Wait it out, be a family friend or what not till then. I tried that with some one older than me once. Turned out, I was in love and he just wanted to bang me. It is good to get perspective on intentions for all parties.
posted by stormygrey at 11:03 AM on December 26, 2006

Let's keep this simple.

Your question was, is it okay (socially and legally) for you date this girl?

The answer is no, and no. We're done here.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:17 PM on December 26, 2006

Just a recap of what I said before I don't intend, now, to go after some sort of relationship with her.
One thing I don't understand is why love keeps coming up. I don't know about you guys but I can't fall in love with someone after a month (a month of not dating even). I've only been in one relationship before this, it lasted five years and I'm not totally sure I was in love with her, as I have nothing to compare it too.
FauxScot thank you for the kind words. I do somewhat pride myself on my logical more then emotional outlook on life, and thinking things through is just something I do it's just the way I am. Sadly I often over think things, and that as well has caused problems with past and possible relationships.
posted by blackout at 12:31 PM on December 26, 2006

I'd stay away - someone that age has so much growing to do still emotionally, and being so young, at some point she'll want to see other people - just leading to heart break.

plus, she's 16, not legal for you - didn't you just hear about that 17 year old who went to jail for boning a 16 year old ?

he's not labeled as a sex offender, because the law dictated so.
posted by MathewS at 1:03 PM on December 26, 2006

Just adding to the chorus... Seriously don't do it.

Even if (for some really bizarre reason) her parents are fine with it, that means they're fine with it now. That doesn't mean they'll still be fine with it tomorrow or after a few weeks or after a few months. Take that thought even further, if they decide to press charges (admittingly far-featched but still very possible, dad's a cop yo.), you don't have a leg to stand on. You're a 21 year old man going after a 16 year old girl. Right or wrong, you have no defense. And these things RUIN LIVES (I'm referring to yours).

anyway, just wanted to scare the shit out of you. Seriously, don't do it.
posted by menace303 at 1:23 PM on December 26, 2006

Statutory rape laws are stupid and vary from state to state. What matters greatly is the circumstances, mainly whether her parent(s) are likely to have you busted and declared a Sex Offender or not. Cops are used to using the law as a weapon against those they disapprove of, and in my experience divorced fathers tend to be a little more hard-ass concerning their daughters than fathers who are part of an "intact nuclear family" because of their guilt and/or power issues -- so cop + divorced = Very Bad News.

(By the way, does it strike anybody else as stupid that consensual relations with a young woman who's legal in the next state can ruin someone's life, and that a lot of employers etc. won't care what the facts are once that label's been applied? "I don't care if she was 17 years and 11 months old, you're still a Child Molester!")

Then too, most people who are not Sworn Peace Officers would have a hard time "legally" killing somebody; when cops kill someone they seldom suffer more than a paid vacation and "demotion" to a desk job. Admittedly this sounds less likely than ruining your life by making sure you become a Registered Sex Offender, but still.

My advice is don't do it because it's "wrong" (it isn't) or because it's illegal (so's pot), but don't do it because her father is a cop. If you do insist on being involved with her then make sure you always drive the speed limit, never drink and drive, never possess any illegal substances, try to follow the letter of every law you can think of, and let her win every argument she thinks is important. You'd basically be mortgaging your manhood and your sanity for fear she really will "Tell Daddy on you." And remember too that not doing anything wrong is no defense: who's her Daddy going to believe, his Precious Baby Girl or some guy who's stupid enough to date a cop's "underage" daughter?
posted by davy at 2:01 PM on December 26, 2006

I was a "mature for my age" 16- and 17-year-old too. Like jessamyn, I very briefly dated a 21-year-old with whom I broke up because I didn't want to have sex. I also dated a really, really nice guy who put the brakes on due to my age and always behaved appropriately. I remember him fondly, but while it seemed like a big deal at the time, I really just went out with him a couple of times right before I left for college.

Looking back, echoing brittanie, I was more flattered by the attention than really interested.

/posted in hopes that it makes you feel better about your wise decision to not date this girl
posted by desuetude at 2:22 PM on December 26, 2006

I would say that your position depends mostly on the character and disposition of the people who could pose a threat to your relationship. As for the age difference being a problem between just you and her, I don't think it would be fair to you or her to not give the relationship a chance based on that. You'll never know if it's a deal-breaker or not unless you let the relationship run it's course. This applies to any conflict that comes up in the early parts of a relationship.

I was 16 when I started by relationship with my fiance, who was 21. In my state, the age of consent is 16, although I was 17 by the time we had intercourse. (I'm 17 right now, but will be 18 when I'm married)

So far my parents have taken my fiance very well, they both like him a lot and are confident he's doing his best to treat me well. His parents seem to be afraid that their son is taking advantage of a young, impressionable sixteen year old... but they don't know him or I very well.

The first man I fell in love with I kept a secret the entirety of our relationship. I was 14 when it began and he was ten years older. There were many things wrong with our relationship, but I don't feel like the age difference was one of them. Right now, I'm watching my girlfriends who are older than me make the same mistakes I did then.
posted by Niomi at 2:44 PM on December 26, 2006

That's a terrible plan. Sixteen-year-old girls can appear very mature - especially when you want them to - but they're still kids.

I'm a girl. I developed early. Adult males made sexual advances toward me when I still very much felt like a child, and it was scary. In retrospect, I'm sure that some of those guys were deluding themselves into thinking that I was "very mature for my age", which made it okay, I guess?

Even if this kid is giving you the impression that she a) wants you and b) knows what it is to want an adult male, the second cannot be true.

She's a kid. Don't do it.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 3:10 PM on December 26, 2006

There are incredibly large portions of the population who believe that rape cases should be considered "guilty until proven innocent" and many of them will even tell you that in those exact words.

She's probably more mature than a lot of 18-year-olds, there's a good chance she's more mature than a lot of 21-year-olds, but there are so many unknowns towards the beginning of any relationship that "Will I end up on a sex offender's registry for the rest of my life and be banned from certain jobs and even neighborhoods?" should really not even have a possibility.
posted by dagnyscott at 3:11 PM on December 26, 2006

I've seen way too many guys like you end up on sex offender websites for stuff like this. Run screaming.
posted by forensicphd at 6:17 PM on December 26, 2006

She will forget about you when she goes to college anyway. No.
posted by travosaurus at 8:41 PM on December 26, 2006

I do somewhat pride myself on my logical more then emotional outlook on life, and thinking things through is just something I do it's just the way I am.

1: Jail is not fun. For sex offenders, it is really, really not fun. Everyone will hate you in jail. You would run a very high risk of being sexually assaulted, beaten up on a regular basis or maybe even killed.

2: Shtupping this girl is illegal

3: If you are dating her, people will reasonably assume, at some point or another, that you are shtupping her.

4: Her father is an agent of the law

5: If her father manages to nail you, he will be in a good position to make sure that you spend several years of your life learning more than you ever wanted to know about number 1.

Is that logical enough for you?
posted by jason's_planet at 8:45 PM on December 26, 2006

Anecdote alert. Just to chime in with my own experience: I met (online~!) and began to date a 21 year old man when I was 16. We got physical within a few weeks of meeting. Six years later we're married. It's been a rocky road - fights with my parents (who were for the most part very cool with it), mental health issues, long-distance moves for us both and periods of separation and/or long-distance-relationship. We've both grown and changed so much that I feel like it's been three or four serious relationships in one.

But the situation you're in worked out for me, and it's been worth the hassle. Caveats: age of consent is 16 here; I am freakishly old for my age and always have been; he was a pretty immature 21 year old.

If you were in the UK, I'd say go for it. As you're not, take the advice of those who know the US culture and laws better than I do and steer clear for now.
posted by corvine at 3:08 AM on December 27, 2006

Bad idea. Nothing personal, but if you're thinking about it, you're just proving my my belief that people 21 or under don't have great judgment.

Now, consider the judgment of a 16-year-old. I wouldn't have trusted myself at 16, 18, or 21.

Skip it. It won't last, she's too immature and probably too naive, and it will end in disaster.
posted by owl at 10:08 AM on December 27, 2006

Okay. So, I was 17 when I started going out with my boyfriend who was 24 at the time and while where I live this was legal we still had to contend with the social implications of such a relationship. My advice is: Run away...for now and come back when she's no longer jail bait. If you can really see something blossoming between you two then that'll probably still be there in a couple of years. It's not worth the angst and worry you're already putting yourself through and will continue to do so until she's legal.

She may be mature, but I doubt it. 99% of us aren't and only pretend to be on our good days. I know I'm not, but neither is my boy so it works out pretty well. You've already gotten the best advice in this thread, I just wanted to add my two cents. And if you're worried that her wee heart will be broken, I'm sure she'll find someone new to crush by next week. It's just how most teenagers minds work. : )
posted by liquorice at 7:53 PM on December 28, 2006

Don't do it. When I was 16, I met and fell in love with a 23 year old. I was a tall, busty, literate blonde who didn't look or act at all like a 16 year old girl. It was probably pretty easy for him to convince himself that I was mature for my age. Thing is, I was just as immature as any other kid my age - I was just better at hiding it. And hide it I did...I was terrified of this guy finding out how awkward and unsure of myself I really was. Add in two parents who constantly threatened to file charges if we did actually have sex (we didn't), and you have one very sad situation. He moved on and I ended up one very angry, depressed, heartbroken kid.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:35 PM on December 28, 2006

« Older Northern California Backpacking in January   |   Motivation, Leadership, Learning, Change Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.