Dear Miss Emily:

I've recently been talking to a guy I met a few weeks ago. He's friends with my dad and is in a band. I've gotten to know him a lot, but I'm being careful. We've met once, and that was when my dad was with me. The thing is he is quite a few years older -- 11 years older than me (I'm 16 1/2).  I'm leaving secondary school in a few months but can't stop the feelings I'm having for him. I'm really confused right now. I don't know what's wrong and right.  Please help me.

------------------Miss Emily's advice--------------

I'm not opposed to relationships that have several years in age between them, but certain factors have to be in place.  You are still sixteen, and that's a problem.  Your father may be very much against you having a relationship with this man (if this guy's even available to you). And if he is against it, then it becomes a dicey game of deception to keep your father from finding out.  I would make sure your dad would approve of this relationship first (again, this guy has to be on board) before developing a greater, emotional invested in him.  If it does work out for you, make sure you take all the precautions in terms of intimacy and birth control.  Pressure on this score can be a real problem when a young girl takes up with an older guy.  Your level of maturity is a key factor.