Member Rara Avis
actually, i think it would apply MORE to women than to guys. 18 year old guys are [generally, of course there are exceptions] little more than sex machines. this doesn't mean they can't have personality, feelings, interests, etc., but there you have it - sex baby, sex.
women, on the other hand, are a little more likely to be less focused on sex than on the relationship at that age. often times, i think it's the relationship more than the feelings that are important for women of this age. emotions certainly play a big portion in it, i'm sure - but how many 18 (and younger even) year old girls did you know who wanted to die, because they'd just lost the only guy they'd ever love in their life... after going out with him for two weeks?
this may be typecasting a bit, but i don't think that makes it far off the mark. i don't claim to be mr. answer or anything, nor am i old and wise. but i can see patterns, in memory, and even here in the forums. at 18, your emotions are out of whack, way out of whack. blame it on hormones, social pressure, impending responsibility of having to go out in the 'real world' and choose a life for yourself (whoever in the world decided 18 was the age someone becomes an "adult?" bad call in my op.), whatever. you're on a roller coaster at 18, and deciding that something is love and not lust is probably a bit unrealistic. (then again, who ever called teens "realistic???")
as to the next part of the question: where do you draw the line? this probably answers the above question about determining the age of adulthood - there is no hard and fast line one can draw.
some people are fairly mature at 18. but not as mature as they'll be at 25, 30, 35, etc. in the same hand, you can find someone who's 25 and is as emotionally mature as someone who's 30. i think a lot of that depends on experience... hell, all of it may depend on experience. i don't feel i gained the emotional maturity to really decide on "love" until i was about... 27 or so... and truthfully, a lot of times i still wonder. my idea of what love really is changes all the time... not necessarily in large degrees, but it's there. i do know that it's not based on sex anymore (though that still plays a large part in intimate relationships). i've been married, had four live-in girlfriends (one was my ex wife), and literally countless other relationships of varying degrees of "depth." of course, it's quite possible i was just slow in the learning... but really, i think it just took that evolution of people and interactions to start whetting down the stone until it resembeled something along the lines of what my idea of "love" would end up being.
ah well, i'm talking a lot, and not all that sure i'm saying much. i have a strong opinion on this, one that comes from my gut telling me that the worst mistake someone under 25 (that's when i started noticing some true emotional growth in myself, though far from complete) to decide on anything that 'sticks' them in something for the rest of their life. love often leads that direction. i don't think it should have to, but that just seems to be the common goal, one i hope we as a society can get away from as time progresses. personally though, i think an 18 year old boy isn't necessarily thinking that way, lol. it is possible of course, but you know what? there's a lot to be learned by having our feelings hurt as well... ok, i'll shut up now.