Is it OK to date someone who is a different age than you?

Last updated on January 2, 2021


What do you say? I am 18 and my girlfriend is 15. Do you think that is ok? We are still just big friends and we watch TV together sometimes, like once a month or so. Do you think that it is ok with that age difference? Tell me, please.

That’s it. Bye, and God bless you.


While three years seems to be a big difference now, in a few years it will make less of a difference. No one thinks twice of a 33-year-old man married to a 30-year-old woman. What makes it so noticeable now is that both of you are growing up.

I hope you don’t mind my being frank, but this is the first I’ve heard from you so I don’t know what else might be going on. Your note leads me to believe that you two are not having sex or doing things that lead up to sex. I hope that is true and it is wonderful if you are maintaining a proper relationship.

Because boys and girls develop at different rates, many 18-year-old boys have a hard time finding a girl close to their own physical age who is interested in them. But 15 and 16-year-old girls are eager to establish a relationship with a boy. Girls at this are far more physically and mentally mature than the boys their own age, so they look for older boys. Besides it is an ego boost for them that an older boy is interested in them and it gives them “bragging rights” with the other girls. So the older boy / younger girl combination at this age is more common than you might think.

But what both of you must remember is that neither one of you has completely finished maturing. Oh, physically you are there, but there are still several changes in the brain that will continue for several years. The one I want you to be aware of is that the section of your brains that governs judgment and weighing risks is not fully mature in either one of you. That means both of you will be impulsive; doing things without thinking fully about what the consequences might be. A lot of times it appears fun and spontaneous, but it can get you into trouble. Probably the biggest danger in an older boy dating a younger girl is sexual temptation. Both of you are capable of sex and I would hope that neither one of you has had the experience. The combination causes young couples to try things because it feels good and they don’t know where it leads. Worse, people don’t think clearly when they are sexually aroused.

In an attempt to protect young people, lawmakers have place limits on who can legally have sex with whom. A person under either 16 or legal majority (usually 18) cannot give consent to having sex with a person over the legal majority. This is to discourage an older person from pressuring a young person into having sex and then claiming it was consensual. They usually also put an age range in their laws as well to say that if the two are within one or two years of each other they won’t say anything. I’m mentioning all of this because if you two broke God’s laws and had sex before marriage, you will also be in danger of man’s laws as well. Legal such an act of sex would be statutory rape; that is, it would be legally called rape whether it was forced or not. There have been young men who have been sent to prison for having sex with their much younger girlfriend.

But even if you got away with it legally, you would still face the wrath of God. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Having sex before marriage would be fornication.

The only other thing that I would like to warn you about is that relationships at your ages are notoriously short-lived. That is because both of you are new to dating. Neither of you is fully sure about what you want in another person. And as you grow, your likes and dislikes change. The typical teenage relationship only lasts about 3 months — which is just another reason to stay away from sex. You don’t want to be making a baby with someone you might not like before the baby is born. And I doubt you are ready to be a father yet and I know a 15-year-old girl is nowhere close to being ready to be a mother. Unfortunately, many young people think they can “fix” a dying relationship by throwing sex into it. It never fixes things, it only makes things more complicated and sinful.