Age gaps do not matter for a lot of people. They claim that age is just a number and that love is eternal, and that people with their unique differences can live happily with each other. Love conquers, irrespective of race, tribe or ethnic nationality.
In Africa, there seems to be a standard for relationships. Men prefer to date younger women, while women look for older guys. Although, this norm is gradually changing, it’s still a standard that will last for years to come.
But do age gaps really matter, especially in African homes? To what extent can it be dangerous?
Factors That Contribute To Large Age Gaps
There are a lot of factors that can directly or indirectly contribute to large age gaps
- Cultural perspectives: In Africa, it is the normal custom for the man to be older than the woman. In times past, the men were allowed to marry more than one wife to fuel their ego and masculinity. But because of religion and civilisation, most men who decide to stick to one wife ensure that they marry someone younger. Men that marry older women (especially when the age gap is considerably large) are considered weak or incapable of being the head of his home.
- Children planning: If a man stays for a long while before deciding to settle down, he would most likely go for a very young woman to avoid complications in child bearing.
- Family relationships: If the families of the man and woman are close, and have seen that their children have good moral and financial standing, they may not really consider the age difference. But this hardly happens.
- Health and fitness: Parents encourage their sons to marry girls that are way younger than them because of their cycle. After childbirth, the woman may begin to look old and gain weight due to lost blood. While that is true to an extent, we all know that premature ageing is caused by poverty. There are so many rich women with kids that look younger than teenage girls. Nobody should deceive you.
Benefits of Large Age Gaps
A lot of women prefer older men, and vice versa
- Financial stability: Most times, one partner is the major finance source. So, the younger person stays in the relationship or marriage to gain their ground financially
- Age gaps aid interesting life perspectives: The older person has almost heard and seen it all, so they tend to guide and lead their younger partners. Their views of life are different, so they have influence on their partners. He/she also acts as an emotional support.
- Maturity: The mature one makes mature decisions both emotionally and financially. He/she also settles disagreements in their relationship in a mature manner.
Possible challenges associated with large age gaps
The suitable age gap for most people is often between 5 to 10 years. Women tend to marry men between that range to strike a balance. They want the man to be their best friend and confidante, and someone old enough to lead them and correct them when they are derailing.
They prefer someone who has been through certain experiences and is able to help them whether personally, financially, spiritually, or otherwise.
Studies have even shown that most women tend to lose respect for their partners who is or close to being their age mate, and the likelihood for divorce after 15 years increases.
But what will you say about 15 to 20 years, either for the man or woman?
- Large age gaps often bring marital dissatisfaction: It may look rosy at first, but with time, the bond between the both of you may wear out. This is why it is important to marry someone you’re close to aka marry your best friend.
Do not marry someone that small joke will ignite civil war trauma that leads to PTSD. Every little thing may be a case of disrespect to him. The tendency to abuse may be there. The Egungun may enter express sooner than you think.
Same goes with women. If the age gap is substantial, the spirit of ‘see finish’ may settle in the marriage. The woman may begin to tell her husband things like “Is it me you’re shouting at? Am I your mate?”
This doesn’t happen in all cases, but is a common scenario.
- Different priorities: There are different priorities and interests for partners with large age gaps. Most times, interests and experiences change after 10 to 15 years, so the thing that interest one may not interest the other. This causes a strain in the relationship.
- Unsatisfactory romance: Younger people are vibrant, so they would want sex more often than most. Older people may be burdened by a lot of responsibilities that they may not have the time. Younger women may want more intimacy and varying sex styles, while the old man just wants to cum once and sleep. He can’t go and die on top woman. He needs the energy to make money.
Same applies vice versa. The young man may want more sex rounds, but his wife may not see reasons to. Dissatisfaction sets in. Read how to improve your sex life here.
- Having children: This is often a problem with men that marry older women. They may have some health issues when trying to raise a family, although this is uncommon.
- Socialization skills: They may not like the same type of music, going to the same party, or hanging around certain friends. One may like Fela. The other may like PSquare and Dbanj. How do you strike a balance?
How can age gaps be managed?
- Communication is key. Communicate consistently
- Have a great sex life. Age should never be a barrier
- Be open to new and better things
- Give each other space when the spirit of see finish sets in. Absence increases fondness.
What are your thoughts on age gaps? Leave them in the comment section. Don’t forget to share with friends and family.