Alex's Answer

Dating an older guy

Your Question

Hi so I’m nearly 15 and this guy I like is nearly 20 is it ok to date in ireland basically like friends if it is non sexual?

Answer

Hi there, welcome to Ask Alex!
 
Thank you for reaching out with your question. It’s great that you feel comfortable enough to ask for advice on this topic. Relationships can be complicated, especially when there is an age difference, so it’s important to think carefully about your situation.
 
At 15, you’re going through a time of big changes and personal growth. People who are 20, however, are often at a very different stage in life with different experiences and responsibilities. This gap can sometimes make it challenging to find common ground and mutual understanding. It’s important to ensure that any relationship you enter is healthy and respectful, with both parties feeling safe and comfortable.
 
In Ireland, the age of consent for any kind of sexual activity is 17. This law is in place to protect young people from exploitation and pressure. While you mentioned that your relationship would be non-sexual, it’s still important to be aware of these laws as they reflect the importance of emotional and physical safety. You may find this article helpful www.childline.ie/sex-and-consent/.
 
Your mental health and well-being are paramount. Relationships, especially with an age gap, can sometimes lead to power imbalances. Ensure that you are not feeling pressured to take things further than you are comfortable with. It’s ok to set boundaries and prioritise your happiness and safety above all else. This article explains about the importance of boundaries www.childline.ie/how-to-set-boundaries-in-different-areas-of-your-life/.
 
Staying safe also means having open and honest conversations with trusted adults or friends about your feelings and the relationship. They can provide valuable support and perspective. Remember, it’s ok to ask for help and advice whenever you need it.
 
If you’d like to chat more about this or anything else, you can always contact us at Childline by freephone 1800 66 66 66 or Messenger at www.childline.ie, (just click on the purple chat icon). We are confidential, non-judgmental, open 24/7, and always here for you for any reason, any time.
 
Take care of yourself and don’t hesitate to reach out!
 
Best wishes,
Alex

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