age asynchrony

Teens should stop engaging in large age-gap relationships

When our beloved Taylor Swift was just 19 years old, she was speculated to be in a short-lived relationship with John Mayer, 32 years old at the time. Then, when she was just turning 21, she and Jake Gyllenhaal, age 30 at the time, also had a romantic relationship going on. Although these 13- and 9-year age gaps inspired some masterpieces, including “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve” and “All Too Well,” these songs were based off of the traumas of the age gaps and the manipulation that came with them. Teenagers and young adults should be more aware of the risks while dating an older individual, and the majority of age-gap-prominent relationships should come to an end.

Often, I hear about seniors dating freshmen, and sophomores dating college-age students. Although the age gap between these students is only around 3-4 years, as a teenager, maturity levels are the real issue in these slight age gaps. A freshman is not going to have the same level of maturity as someone 4 years older than them. Throughout high school, the mind grows so much, experiences cause changes within individuals and different grades have different priorities. While seniors are planning for college and careers, freshmen just got out of middle school and are still figuring out their way around the triangular Freshman Center.

Also, relationships like this often lead to the older significant other to prey on the younger and more vulnerable one. The older person probably has more experience with relationships than the younger one; therefore, the younger one follows their lead and almost never questions what is going on. Almost always, there is a sense of fake trust going on from the younger individual to the older individual. This can lead to manipulation, grooming, abuse and regret. However, in Indiana, the legal consent age is 16, meaning that it is illegal for individuals over the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity with someone younger than 16. When age-gap relationships cross this line, not only are they inappropriate, but they’re also illegal.

Like Swift said, “I was never good at telling jokes/But the punchline goes/‘I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age’” in “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) [Taylor’s Version]”. As an example, Gyllenhaal is still loving on younger girls and his current girlfriend, Jeanne Cadieu, is only 27 while he is now 42. Swift may have learned her lesson the hard way with dating older men, but the men still carry on with their repetitive, manipulative actions. All in all, young teens need to avoid putting their full trust in older teens, and older teens need to stop their manipulative relationships with younger teens.