Should I date a 17 year old guy when I am 13?

13-year-old MJ from California writes:

Dear Chauntel,

There’s this guy that I met but he’s 17 and I’m only 13 he wants to go out but idk if I should because of the age difference. We are always texting 24/7 and he says he doesn’t care about the age difference. I’m not all that new at dating so idk if I should say yes I really do want to he’s really sweet and nice. But also he lives 4 hours away he usually comes on the weekends and we hang out but never alone. When I’m with him I feel like I’m his gf he’s always flirting with me and he’s always saying sweet things..he’s my friends “cousin”..and one of my best friends¬†….should I date him or not?
Hi MJ,
I understand your hesitation. This guy is too old for you, and it’s not as much the age difference as it is the maturity level.
Older guys can more easily take advantage of you. I am sure that you are mature in many areas, but when it comes to dating I would like to see you gain some more  more years before you begin dating a guy that is four years older than you. I am sure that he has had much more experience with girls than you have with guys. He will therefore begin to introduce you to things that you may not be ready to encounter yet.
It would be better to find someone who is your age, and who you are able to grow with. The fact that he lives so far is also going to limit your ability to date. I honestly don’t think this is a good idea. You can be friends, but being anything more than that at this point is not a good idea.
If you are completely for this you need to get permission from your parents, but you will be setting yourself up for heartache. Soon he will be 18 and out of high school, and who knows what will happen then. Just save yourself the heartache on this one and date someone closer to your age.
I Hope This Helps!

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