Age: Still Just a Number?

MarySandra Do, Public Relations Editor

If you’re lucky in high school, your significant other will be your age, in your grade, and you may have even grown up with this person. You will be well in tune with each other’s friends and peer groups. However, there are those of us who are dating people outside of our grade—some older, others younger—nothing unusual at North Hills, right? Some of these couples will most likely argue that age is just a number, and in truth, it is. In high school, the age gap in relationships never usually surpasses two years, yet even this obstacle is enough to cause problems.

Whether you’re a guy dating an underclassman girl or a girl dating a younger guy—being older than your “babe” can cause some complications. Your younger sweetheart will obviously feel special because you’re choosing to be with somebody outside of your peer group. He/she will definitely hold some bragging rights, especially if you can drive and take him/her out to parties, go on real dates, and help them to be a part of all the things he/she would have had to wait for otherwise. Your significant other will look up to you, look to you for advice, and probably lean on you more heavily than if you both were the same age. In some cases, this kind of closeness can be seen as clingy. In addition to that, you both will most likely be moving on to bigger and better things. Seniors, for example, are most likely looking to pursue higher education, and if you’re going to an out-of-state college, the distance can often cause strain on the relationship, often leading to break ups.

There are also those who are dating upperclassmen. If you’re in this group, then you will most likely feel a mix of anxiety and pride. You’ll feel mature compared to your friends, but at the same time, it’s intimidating to think about people in the older grades who are closer to your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s age. Speaking from experience, dating an older person puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders—you just feel like there is more expected of you. You almost have to change your pace in the relationship to keep up with the other person, and some people are just not comfortable with that.

A one-year difference in high school constitutes the same amount of stress as an adult relationship whose age difference is seven years. It’s complicated. That’s not an opinion; that’s a fact. If you can’t make it work, don’t sweat it. If you can, more power to you. I am not telling anyone to take a break from or dump his/her significant other. All I’m saying is this: Be aware of what you’re getting into. Relationships are already hard enough.