Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I'm 17, he's 31.

I recently met a guy at a party and I got talking to him through my brother who is roughly a few years younger than him. We agreed to go on a "date" type thing to get to know each other, he was really honest and told me his real age and decides to mention the fact that he is a teacher. I'm unsure as to wether or not it is ok for me to keep seeing him. I have never ever been taught by him and I am in fact in college and turning 18 within a month. Are there rules against him seeing me?

My mum is also aware of what is happening and has said nothing against it.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Age can make such a difference in relationships during teenage years and can prove to be a problem for some. There are laws around age differences for things like sex and relationships, and they do change if someone is your teacher. The law is only one part of this situation though and you also need to think if it’s right for you.

Although this person is not your teacher, it’s worth bearing in mind that if he was then it would be illegal to be in a relationship with you until you are 18.

He isn’t your teacher, but he is someone’s teacher and it is very unusual for someone as old as he is to want to be with someone your age. It’s very possible he has students who are your age and the school where he works may not approve of him being with someone so much younger.

It's important to think about how you feel, how you want things to be and what you think this relationship is going to be like. You are both at very different stages in your lives and so there will naturally be big differences between you. You could ask yourself whether getting into this now is going to affect you in the next couple of years - as you want to do things that young adults tend to want to do and he might want to do things an older adult does. Our relationships page has tips advice about age difference.

I am not going to tell you that you shouldn’t enter into this relationship – large age differences can work when they are between two adults. You are nearly an adult yourself and so it’s your decision, however I’d say you should think about this carefully and what you think you both want out of the relationship. If you were just a little younger, or if he was your teacher, this would be against the law - you need to feel comfortable with that.

I hope that helps but it’s a tricky decision to make so if you need to talk it over with a ChildLine counsellor then there’s someone here for you – it can help to have someone listen to you and have a space where you can say how you feel.

Take care.


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