We’ve written a lot about teenagers having older boyfriends here at Gurl. While we generally suggest avoiding dating dudes who are over a few years older than you if you’re a teenager–especially underage–we understand that, frankly, s**t happens. Older guys can be charming and validating, especially when you’re in high school and surrounded by boys you consider immature or uninteresting. Older guys can feel like an escape, like freedom, and they can make you feel good about yourself–intelligent, beautiful, generally awesome–in ways that that cute dude in your AP biology class just can’t.
If you’re a teenager in a relationship with an older guy, you probably appreciate having your romance validated by success stories of adults who were once in your same situation. Now they’re older, and their slight age gap doesn’t cause any controversy or judgement like it does for you now, and you’re like, “GOALS.” Hey, those people exist, and I’m sure their love is real. But there are also countless tales of teen girls dating older dudes who were seriously creepy. Many of my friends who were in those situations as teenagers didn’t really realize how gross their older boyfriends were at the time, but maybe they would have been more prepared if they read these eight signs that your older boyfriend is actually a massive creep. For your sake, I hope your boyfriend doesn’t check off too many of these boxes.
You Met Him Somewhere Most People His Age Wouldn't HangThere's an infamous line from Dazed and Confused in which a 20-something-year-old by the name of Wooderson (played by Matthew McConaughey) is hanging out with soon to be high school seniors at a local hot spot for teens. He oogles some girls as they go by and says, "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age." Um, barf, but take his character as a lesson: Don't trust grown dudes hanging out in spots frequented by teenagers, like your school or a local joint that caters to people your age. Seriously, as someone who is 20-something myself, I honestly don't ever find myself in areas in which I'm surrounded by a lot of teenagers. I would have to actively go out of my way to seek them out. If you met your current older BF IRL while he was casually hanging out by your school or something, listen up: Dude was prowling for teen girls, period. Stay away, he's a creep. Dazed and Confused
He Constantly Marvels At How Mature You AreIt's flattering, right? To be told that you're mature, smart, precocious...and you probably are all of those things. But an older boyfriend can definitely lay it on a little too thick with this line. It can be a way to convince you (and maybe himself) that age doesn't matter because you're both the same age ~mentally~, which just seems a little try hard, honestly. Clueless
He's Always Trying To Get You Drunk Or HighYou might feel like the ultimate cool girl when you're drinking with his friends or when he manages to sneak you into a bar. Maybe he has a great drug connect and lets you in on it. This might seem really cool and exciting and all, but sis, this is straight up grooming. Grooming happens when someone (your boyfriend) lures another person (you) with gifts of sorts in return for sexual favors. This definitely emphasizes the potential power imbalance in your relationship, which happens a lot when you're dating an older guy. Watch to see if your boyfriend is super pushy about getting you to drink or get high with him. If you decline, see if he gets all moody and takes intimacy off the table for the rest of the night. Diary of a Teenage Girl
All His Previous Girlfriends Were Also Notably Younger Than HimWho hasn't been curious about their partner's exes? I suggest you get curious about his, because if he has a history of dating a lot of teenage/high school girls despite being out of high school for years, then you should be low key creeped out. Sadly, you might just be another cool young thing that tickles his fancy at the moment; don't be surprised if he dumps you for another cool young thing soon. Skins
You're Being Kept As A Bit Of A SecretMaybe you're excited to show off your older, oh-so-mature boyfriend off to anyone with eyes. But he, frankly, isn't too eager to show you off to people he knows, like his friends or family. You should never be someone's dirty little secret, but if you're his, it might mean that he knows how sus it is that he's dating and hooking up with someone your age. This might especially be the case if he has a history of dating much younger women; he doesn't want his boys to roast him about having another piece of "jailbait." Oh, and if you're ever referred to as jailbait...it's time to kick this creep to the curb. My Mad Fat Diary
He's Not Really Into You Hanging Out With People Your Own AgeRemember how I said to watch out for your boyfriend going on and on about how mature you are? You should also know that that compliment can also be used as a way to keep you isolated. I know, that last bit sounds so sinister, but hear me out: When he compliments your maturity, does he also complain about how immature your friends are compared to you? If so, he's trying to get you to stop hanging out with them so he can keep you all to himself. This is a huge red flag that your boyfriend is possessive AF and is taking advantage of his older age by manipulating you. Keep an eye out for this, sis. Skins
You're Getting Older, And He's Been Growing More DistantMaybe you guys have been going strong for a couple of years; you were a teenager, he was 20-something, and things were great. But now, you're not a teenager anymore--maybe you're creeping into your twenties yourself. But all of a sudden, he's distant. He's less interested in sex, he doesn't talk about your future together anymore, and at the pit of your gut you wonder if his eyes are wandering more these days. Maybe this relationship is ending naturally, or maybe you're aging out of his ideal teen girl fantasy. Gross, I know, but it happens. Some dudes are just really attracted to teen girls and not grown women, and your boyfriend might be that kind of guy. If he wants to suddenly take a break or break things off entirely for no reason, this might be why. Also, if you two do end things, see how old his next girlfriend seems to be. Lolita
He Only Watches Porn With Really Young Looking People In ItLook, so many porn sites feature videos with the the word "teen" in the title as a way to allure viewers, even though the actresses are actually adults. So don't jump to conclusions just because you notice that his search history has some teeny titles. But if you've noticed that the porn he watches depicts schoolgirls or women who are totally decked out in pigtails and all of that, then you might have a legitimate reason to be a little weirded out. Again, I wouldn't judge too harshly based on this only because porn is just...weird. But if this tidbit coincides with other factors on this list...woof. Some Girls