Paul, 28 and Erica, 35 have been married for three and a-half years. Erica says even though her family and friends were against her decision, her feelings for Paul, now her husband were always real. “I am currently seven months pregnant and I have no compliant because my husband cares for me. Despite the age difference, Paul has all the qualities I always yearned for in a man,” Erica says.
Jonathan Okiru, a counsellor with Family Life Network, says in such a situation, as a couple, you must get back to the drawing board, where you each talk about your past extensively.
“Avoid hiding anything. It is important because we all have our own histories. Do not only talk about the good. Talk about the bad too so that you each find a way of forgiving the other and moving on,” he says.
“Unlike my mother and some sisters who were totally against me marrying an older woman, my father was okay with it. He was more focused on my happiness knowing the troubles I had gone through in my past relationships, Paul says.
Okiru says it is imperative to share your present, what you are doing at the moment, who you are, where you see yourself in the near future, what your fears are, including your strengths and weaknesses. He explains that for any relationship to last, the genesis must be solid if not concrete. So, give no room for doubts, be yourself, do not paint a picture that he or she wants to hear, paint the exact picture of yourself and let the other party decide whether they will love you for who you really are or not.
In spite of the interests you have for each other, the counsellor points out the need to set a clear agenda for the relationship from the start. “Take note of why you are interested in each other, your core values and set boundaries to avoid devaluing each other. Agree on how to resolve conflict because differences in this will make or break a relationship,” he advises.
Okiru says the couple must ask questions such as why you are dating and how long you should date before taking the next step. Okiru says such questions will also help you avoid time wasters.
Just as Paul trusted his father, Okiru says it is important to get accountability partners. “Accountability partners come in handy when the relationship is facing challenges,” he says.
Although some relationships are becoming a success, Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, a counselling psychologist with Talk Therapy Uganda, attributes the growing trend to the social and economic status. “Psychologists assert that boys who missed growing up with a mother are most likely to marry an older woman who will act as a mother figure and the same is true for girls who did not grow up with their fathers. The former seems to be more in action although we do not refute that there are those who are looking for maturity in women and end up with those older than them,” she says.
To have a successful relationship, Kharono stresses that individuals in such relationships have to know what they want and that marriage is a decision not just a short term feeling.
“If one decides to marry a person who is older than them, they need look beyond the stigma because society will look down on a relationship in which a woman is older,” Kharono affirms, adding, “Look out for activities that draw you closer including compromising on some for the relationship to have life.”
Is age important in a relationship?
“Yes because i think older women are intelligent and more understanding as compared to one who is younger. Such women also know what they what and are ready to settle down.”
Fred Sserwada, married
“I think it is because an older woman will not respect me as the younger husband. Older women are bossy since they are in most cases financially independent.”
Alex Ssekibembe, single
“I would depending on the love we have for each other. Other things such as her character and reaction to different things will also count. We must also be compatible as husband and wife.”
Geofrey Tiwaku, married
Going for professional counselling once in a while is another point Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, a counselling psychologist with Talk Therapy Uganda, emphasizes. She says this will help you learn how to navigate the challenges in a marriage.
She adds that if you are just contemplating marrying a woman older than you, then visit a relationship expert to learn about both the negative and positive aspects of such a relationship and make an informed decision.