Thursday January 16 2014

I am 33 and single - is time running out for me?

By Esther Oluka

The problem
Dear Heart to Heart, I am 33 years old and I am not yet married. Sometimes I get worried that time is running out and it is getting late for me to settle down. The thing is, most of the men I meet are younger than me and I am not so comfortable dating them because I fear to be looked at like a sugar mummy. Does age really matter in a relationship? What should be the standard age gap between a man and a woman? Please advise me.
Your solutions
Dear Hellen, age is but a number. Marriage is about readiness and preparedness to take responsibility with another person. Unfortunately, there is no standard age gap between a man and a woman. If you are uncomfortable with young men, date agemates or one relatively older than you. The key purpose of marriage is “founding a family”. Think of the reasons why you need to get married. Don’t be pushed into marriage just because you think time is running out. Biblically, marriage is for two major reasons; companionship and procreation, all founded on “love”. Allow God through the Holy Spirit to guide you on the man who will love you and whom you will love too. Believe in yourself and trust in God. Each of us needs someone who cares, loves, supports and understands us. Talk to a counsellor for further guidance.
Pr Allan

Hellen, relax. There are so many women either dating or married to men younger than them and are happy. If any of those young men has feelings for you and you feel the same, just go for it. Ignore people’s opinions because it is your life. You have a right to pleasure and having babies. Just go for it.

My dear, there is no such thing as standard age gap. It would be fine to date younger men but the challenge is that age manifests faster more in women than it does in men. At 33 you are not too old yet. Wait a little longer. Good things come to those who wait.

Hellen girlfriend, I am sorry about your situation and how it makes you feel. If I told you about my two aunts who are over 40 and been declared spinsters for life, would it make you feel any better? I know dating a younger man sounds complicated but wait a little more longer. 33 is not that bad really. When you get to 35, then you can echo your desperacy and I will advise you to go with whatever.

Hellen, does age really matter in a relationship? YES. Most people in ‘cross-generation’ relationships usually claim they are happy. But truth is, they are not - I have witnessed many crumble. This is usually because of differences in life experiences. For example, if a 52-year- old man meets a 23-year-old girl, what will they discuss? She will compete for attention with his teenage children, while he will run mad because of her younger, more up-to-date boyfriends. Wait for someone your age.

Dear Hellen, pressure for marriage comes from family and friends. At 33 years, you are able to know what works and what won’t work for you. You can’t make everybody happy. Follow your instincts. If he is young and is able to make you happy, go for it. How long will you let people judge you? Life is about the choices you make and how they will benefit you.

Hullo Hellen, age matters a lot for a stable and continuous marriage. Although it hurts, be patient God has a suitable partner of your age.
Peter Nabaasa

Dear Hellen, you should not be worried that you won’t be able to find someone to settle down with. In case you find someone who is younger but is understanding, caring and willing to settle down, then why not? There is no standard age for a healthy relationship. There are many people who find partners at later ages than you and are happier than those who marry young. Take heart, one day you will find your better half.

Hellen, age doesn’t matter, provided two people love each other. A gap of at least five years sounds okay. You should stop minding about public perception. As long as you do that, you will stop thinking that people see you as a sugar mummy.

Hellen my dear, you are way too young to be stressing over marriage. Who told you that getting married has a timeline? About the young men in your life, I am tempted to think that you have not met the one. Because if you had, other people’s opinions would be the least of your worries. At the end of the day it is you who will spend the rest of your life with this person, so if someone makes you happy and they hold the ideals that you stand for, age is just that - a number. Do not lose out on love because of age, because you do not marry digits but rather the person.

Your problem is fear - of yourself and of others because even if the opportunity comes, you are not able to see it. You are 33 and you are getting scared because you think time is running out. What time? Is there a deadline for these things? Hellen, age doesn’t matter and there is no standard gap (whatever that means). By worrying over nothing, you are attracting negative energy and negative energy does not attract anything positive.

Hellen sweetheart, I hope by the time these responses get to you, you haven’t committed suicide yet. Jeff is four years my junior but we have been together for one and a half years now. I am 29 and not married yet but I see hope in this relationship. Luckily for me though, no one can tell I am older because I was blessed with a “stunted” body. Know that women always think ahead of men and we all know men need a person who can guide them. It feels good to be in control sometimes. Give the little lads a try, you never know.

Dear Hellen, it is not your fault that you are older than the men who approach you. What matters is being comfortable and happy with the man you are in love with. Trust me, even at 42 years you can still find true love.

Counsellor’s take : Jean K Nuwagaba, Care Counselling Centre

Hellen, the issue of age should be highly considered when you are getting into a relationship. Couples who are within the same age group tend to have similar goals and aspirations in life unlike those with a wider age gap.

In case you find someone who you really love and he feels the same way about you, but is five years younger or less, give the relationship a try. You never know how far it will go.
Remember that once you are in the relationship, people are always going to talk about it. There are those who will respect you and your partner while there are those who will obviously want to only identify the negative stuff about your relationship. Ignore the negatives.

Incase you start dating, both of you should talk openly about your worries and fears and come up with practical solutions. As much as marriage is a cultural issue, remember that it is also a personal one. Do what makes you happy. Do not do things because you are trying to please your family members or friends because in the end, you will be the one to stay with this man, not them.

Another important thing is that if you get someone younger than you and he is not quite comfortable being with you, for example he is ashamed of introducing you to his friends, walk out. Do not worry yourself, some time you will eventually settle down.

Give those who are interested in dating you a chance, of course not by sleeping with them but getting to know them. You never know who Mr Right is.

Next week’s problem

Dear heart to heart, I am 26 years old and I have been in devastating relationships. I had decided to give dating a break but at the end of last year I met an old friend from campus. She was my friend’s girlfriend but they broke up four years ago. We hanged out for a while and after sometime she confessed that I was the only one to heal her love wounds and I also believed that she was the only one to heal mine. Although I am not scared of her recent broken relationship, I worry about how my friend will look at me. Will he forgive me? (Never mind that he is set to introduce his fiancée). Can I go ahead with this girl? She is eager to bear me a child as soon as I agree. She has also entrusted me with her bank pins, which I look out as a sign of love. I love her so much. Please advise me.