Does 'love' have an age? Relationships with someone older

Love is a strong feeling of affection or liking someone. There is the love we feel for our family and friends and then there's romantic love. Romantic love is when you have intense or passionate feelings for someone like your boyfriend or girlfriend.

If this someone is much older than you, it can get complicated! An older boyfriend or girlfriend might have access to things you don't: they might live on their own, drive a car and have money which lets them buy you nice things. But when your boyfriend or girlfriend is more 'experienced' than you, you might feel that going out with them comes with more expectations - like the expectation that you will have sex with them. And because of your lack of 'experience', they might have too much power or control.

  • Sometimes being with someone older might make you feel like they have all the control and make all the decisions.
  • An older boyfriend or girlfriend might also be more controlling than a boyfriend or girlfriend of similar age and experience. They might tell you what to wear, who you can spend time with, or check up on you all the time. This is not okay - a controlling relationship is not a healthy relationship.

If you are in a relationship with someone much older or younger, remember that it could be against the law.

In South Africa, if you are under the age of 16 it is illegal to date anyone over the age of 18. Also, if you have sex with someone under the age of 16, then you are breaking the law.

We know that older men infect young women with HIV and are likely to get you pregnant. Please resist having a relationship with older men!

Read more here about dating safety.

Adapted from: Get the Facts.

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