Youth Pastor Crush
Image: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

Youth Pastor Crush

It's natural to be attracted to older people. But you have to keep that attraction in perspective.
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Q. I'm attracted to my youth leader. He's 23 and I'm 14. I feel so grossed out, but I can't help it. Do you think there could ever be a chance for us, or am I taking this too seriously?

A. When I was 11, I had a huge crush on John Barry, the boat guy at Bible camp. When I was 14, I had a big crush on my English teacher, Mr. Magaard. When I was 16, I was totally infatuated with my brother's college roommate, Eddie. My point: It's completely natural for teenage girls to be attracted to older guys. But you have to keep that attraction in perspective.

First, let's talk about why you have these feelings. The biggest reason has to do with the relative immaturity of guys your age (sorry guys, but it's true). Girls mature faster than boys, especially in the relationship department. So while you're longing for romance and a guy who really appreciates you, many guys your age are still trying to gross you out with fart jokes. So when a mature 23-year-old guy comes into your life, he seems like the greatest thing since John Barry.

I'm guessing you have great talks with your youth leader, that he really listens and cares about what's going on in your life. He might even be super fun and funny and cooler than any guy you've ever known. So when this great attractive guy pays attention to you, it's the best feeling ever.

But it's not romance. As difficult as it is, you have to remind yourself that this is a crush and it will eventually go away. Think of other guys you've liked in the past. You've moved on from them, and you'll move on from this guy, too.

In the meantime, I think it's wise for you to spend less time with this male youth leader and get connected with a woman working with your youth group. The last thing you want is for anyone to think there's something going on between you and your youth leader. He could get into a lot of trouble if untrue rumors get started about the two of you—he could lose his job and reputation, and even face legal problems.

One other possible concern: If your youth leader has been encouraging this crush in any way—by touching you or telling you he likes you or talking about how fun it would be to date you—you need to talk to your parents. I know that would be an incredibly awkward conversation, but no 23-year-old man should be flirting with a 14-year-old girl.

So let your crush run its course. It won't be long before the boys your age outgrow the bathroom humor and turn into some pretty crush-worthy guys themselves.

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