A three year age gap

Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Female
My ex boyfriend is three years older than me. Is that to much. We had to break up because our parents thought there was a really big age gap and we shouldn't see each other. I miss him sooooo much. I know he misses me to. I really wanna keep in touch with him but I don't know how. He wants to go into the military. HELP! Thanx.

RomanceClass.com Advice
It really depends. If you're 50 and 53, a 3 year age gap is nothing at all. Many people who marry have a 5 to 10 year age gap. But they're adults, and once you cross that 18-21 age frame, you sort of 'settle' into who you are and what you want. Before then - when you're in junior high and high school - you are changing constantly. Just think how different you were 3 years ago! So it does make a much bigger difference in those years.

I think that once you hit high school you cross into a 'group' because everybody interacts so much and tends to get the same signals from media and TV. So it's very common for seniors to date freshmen and so on. If you're a freshman and he's a senior, that's pretty normal. If you're still in junior high, there is a pretty big difference between the 7-8 grades and the 9-12 grades. So maybe that was there concern.

Also, every couple is different. In some couples, the older one is sensitive and doesn't try to press the younger one into too much intimacy. But in other couples, the older one decides he/she wants the higher level and drags the younger one along. Your parents could be very worried about this. And it's a reasonable worry - if you get into intimacy when you're young, you can really regret it later on.

So, think through your options. First, if you're not in high school yet, I bet they'll loosen up when you are. It's normal for high school kids to date each other. So stay friends with him, stay in touch, and when you get in there you can be together.

Second, if you're both in high school and they still resist it, maybe it's something about the relationship itself that worries them. They worry about you, remember, they don't want you hurt. So maybe they worry that you'll get pregnant early, which can really, really harm your life. They don't want that to happen to you. So sit down with them and talk to them reasonably. Explain that you two care for each other, but you also respect each other. You both want to do well with your lives, to graduate from high school and go on to productive lives. You would not risk that with STDs or kids. If your parents realize that you have the same goals for yourself that they do for you, and that your caring for this person won't harm those goals, I think they'll be reasonable. No parent wants their child to end up lonely and alone, either.

As far as him going into the military, that's a route that some people choose because it appeals to them. If he wants that, then it's best that you not get too serious now, before he leaves. It can be really, really painful to date long distance. Look at the millions of military relationships that fail every year because of the stress. So your best bet might be to be best friends, pen pals, who love each other but who don't tie each other down with a permanent commitment. That way you can support each other and care for each other, but not be under the constant stress that the permanent version causes. Think of it like the civil war. Many great relationships grew from the pen pals that stayed in touch over those years ... but many marriages broke completely under the strain. If you use the military time to date him, to prove to him that you'll be there for him and wait when he comes back, it could really work out. But if you try to rush into a commitment, and then keep it strong while he's away, that can be really too much.

Good luck!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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