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SHOULD IT BE AN ISSUE FOR OLDER WOMEN GETTING INTO RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUNGER MEN?

“My friend’s daughter Mss Free has brought so much shame to the family. She is 30 years old and is dating a boy of 25 years old. I learn that they are planning to get married. Her father and mother can not move and hold their heads high in the society.
I thank God because, my 49 years old son has made me very proud, he has found a very beautiful young girl for a wife. The girl is in secondary school in form four and is 15 years old. She will make a very good wife for him.” Mr. Culture said
It is clear that culture and tradition has a very strong toll on our society today. Women are always placed at the disadvantaged position. The Cameroonian cultural believes finds it very normal when the women dates or gets married to older men and not the other way round. It is strange that, a man of 49 and above can easily date or get married to a girl of about 15 years but a woman is criticized when she is just a few years older than the her husband.
I keep asking my self why the society looks down on older women getting into relationship with younger men.
Some men confirmed that, it will undermine their authority in the home. They may not be able to exercise their macho power when they are into relationships with older women.
This matter should not be based on age and authority; love should have no boundaries or limits. Age is just an issue of figure and therefore should not be held as a measuring rod to love on people’s relationship.
Mutual understanding and maturity between the couples should be of paramount importance. If the young man is matured enough and understanding, his decisions should not be questioned as to why he dates or gets married to an older woman or the other way round. Everybody has the right of choice and therefore, if an older woman finds a younger man who loves her and they understand each other, the society should not question their choices. By the way, the younger men are not being forced against their will into the relationship with older women unlike the case with younger girls who are being forced into relationships with older men who are fit to be their grand fathers.
Some of the challenges that face such relationship today are:
Decision making on social and economic issues
Societal influence
Pressure from relatives and friends of spouse
These are some of the challenges encountered in this relationship but are not strong enough reasons why a woman should not get into a relationship with a younger man.

Comments

cece's picture

There should be a limit

I believe there should be an age limit on how far apart a guy and girl can be before they get married. I believe 30 years apart is just too much of a gap. This is more of a dad and daughter relationship. I am totally okay with a 10 year spread since it takes guys longer to mature. It has got to be hard on a girl when she is that much younger than her soon to be mate. I have a daughter that is 23 and she is dating a guy that is 34 years old, she will be 24 in a few months. Having a guy older than you does have some benefits; they are out of the stupid game playing, they know what their responsibilities are, and they also know what their roles are in a house.

I wish your son and his wife the best of luck

Love

Cece

We are blessed to have many Sisters!

Cece

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you

Yes Cece, I am blessed having you all there.
You are absolutely right. It is more of a father and daughter relationship. I pray that the Cameroonian culture shakes off this stronghold on women.

myaphotography's picture

I disagree with the age limit.

Hi Cece,

I disagree with the age limit. While like you, I personally think that I won't be able to relate to a man who is more than 10 years older or younger, I don't think it is right for someone to set a limit. Because when a man 30 years older or younger may not work for you or I, it may work for someone out there in this world. Is it right then for us to tell them they cannot be together because of the age limit ?
If you were talking about an age limit for yourself, my apologies for misunderstanding :)

Mya

Mukut's picture

Agree

Yes Ngekwi,in my opinion love has no 'expiry date'. Even in my society,when an older man dates a much younger woman, its OK but vice versa is usually not prefered and many a eyebrows are raised.

I feel this is discrimination which restricts our choice to choose.There is absolutely ni wrong in an older woman falling for a younger guy. Love is beyond age.

Thank you for posting on such a pertinent issue.

Much love

Mukut Ray

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you Dear Mukut

I am glad you share my view. There shouldn’t be any discrimination or boundary in love. This is just an attempt to restrict women’s choice to choose

Greengirl's picture

Hello Ngekwi

The issue raised is a very salient one, which also reflects/portrays how the society denies women the right to choose.

In my opinion, age has nothing to do with maturity. Even so, an individual's personality plays a greater role than age in determining how successful a relationship can turn out. In clearer terms, I would want to suggest that 'personality traits reveals maturity than age'.

You have made your points clear and I very much agree with you that relationships should be allowed to thrive on mutual understanding and maturity! The society must therefore come to the point of respecting everyone's right to choose in equal terms.

Keep sharing.

Thoughtfully,

Olanike

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you Dear Olanike

I am grateful that we hold the same view and you have even given a profound understanding to the issue at hand 'personality traits reveal maturity than age'. Very true
I pray the society come to respect everyone’s right to choose in equal terms
without a doubt I will keep sharing
thank you

Hi,

This is quite an issue you raise really. As a therapist in the US they say that up to 10 years can be fine but anything more not good. But think of it this way. If a girl is 17 and a man 30. He has developed his essence and matured, knows his interests, values, etc. I don't know about you but when I was 17 I was quite a different person. I wanted certain things, enjoyed dancing, doing this and that. By the time I was 30 I was a completely changed person. I wanted to go to college, get a Ph.D. and make a major contribution to my community and the world. I became very intellectual where before I was more artsy. My husband and I did not fit anymore and there was no way to put us together to fit because we were so different. Unless a young girl is kept in a room for the rest of her life, she will change MUCH for the better, her world will expand, her children will grow and her husband will be old and settled when she is just ready to fly. It is a BIG risk. Marriage isn't easy at best. Take it from me, there is nothing worse than being in a silent prison. The man is doing nothing wrong but he is SO wrong for the woman.

Why would a 30 year old man be marrying a 17 year old anyway, when you think about it. The first thing that comes to my mind is "to control her". At 17 a woman is usually submissive.

In America if a woman is older than a man, 5 years is fine but it depends on the ages. Like at 25 who knows who they are. Here a woman ages and then the man is still young and wants a younger woman. Maybe it is different where you are.

Age difference is okay but the woman first has to be a WOMAN. If you want to see the affect on me, please feel free to read my pulsewire column on women empowerment and the death of my spirit and how I got it back.

Thanks for raising this very important issue. It needs to be addressed and discussed with young women. We really should do more of this in the open as you have so young women will question the issue, think about it and WAIT ! Haha.

Come on WP women, let's talk lots more about this.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together).

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Ngekwi's picture

Thank you

Dear Ubuntu,
I am so happy you share the same view with me. You are very correct, the analysis you gave on early marriage is very true.the zeal to control women by men is so strong such that, getting married to girls who are fit to be their daughters means noting to them. I will surely take the walk into your pulse wire column. I am sure it will be of great help to me.

remain blesses

Wendyiscalm's picture

Hi

I just now saw this reply. Today is January 22 and you wrote it Dec. 4. I hope you will continue to keep this topic IN OUR FACES as we really really need to educate and get through to young girls who are vulnerable.

Thanks and have a good day.

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Ngekwi's picture

Hi Wendy

Hello Dear Wendy. I am so happy reading from you. It’s wonderful having you all onboard. I will certainly keep the topic on. You are right when you say young girls need to be educated so that they would not be exploited.

Dear all,
May God bless you for your wonderful contributions.
I thank the author of the topic for many reasons.
As we bring up topics like this and discuss them in public writing, we indirectly influence cultural norms and affect mentalities.

Some of the problems the society is facing today is partly due to bad love relationships.
A wrong choice of partner may end up in a broken marriage with far reaching effects on the children and this will have consequences on the society when they become adults.

I want to buy the author's point of view, that age should not be a deciding factor in marriage. I think MUKUT is right when she sees it as some sort of discrimination against women limiting our choices. TRUE!
But thank God there is neither a legislation in favour of ladies who espouse men older than them nor a legislation stopping older ladies from getting married from younger guys who have attained age of maturity. We are blessed!

OLANIKE makes a very powerful point when she says that personality plays a greater role than age since personality traits reveal maturity than age. I give a positive and a resounding applause to this because there are some older persons who have immature brains and so behave childishly while some people are younger in age but more mature in their reasoning.

Again it may depend on the level of exposure in life, a 25 years old person who has traveled widely or interacted with many people from various walks of life, or has had many challenges and tough experiences in life will turn to behave more maturely than a 35yrs old person who has been confined to one place, understands just one culture and so on. I think our upbringing too has a part to play when we become adults. Some parents take time to train their children to be very mature at very tender ages - they inculcate wisdom and maturity into these children and these children are always different amongst their equals.
This class of children when they attain adulthood are mature irrespective of their ages.

In as much as I am a lady who had been confronted with a similar situation severally, I want us to look at the other side of the coin.

My sister the therapist - UBUNTU tries to explain what i want to express. I think psychologists hold that there is an age when young people are sexually very active. They further explain that youths are very sexually active till the age of 35yrs. I may be wrong. But if this be true, it means that if the bride is 35yrs while the groom is 20yrs old, the union may suffer wreck because the bride's sexual curve is already on a decline while the groom's is still ascending. A time will come when the bride will think that the groom is too demanding in bed and the groom too will think that the bride is not living up to her responsibilities.

Again, you all may agree with me that the very essence of beauty is for attraction. The groom might have been drawn to the bride by her physical attraction. I think child bearing makes the bride at this age to metamorphose faster, and before long, menopause is threatening with all its symptoms and complications. If she doesn't put in a lot of effort to abreast with the changes, this may affect many things in the relation.

I am not insinuating that the very elderly men should go in for the very tender and innocent girls. If this happens it would be a father-daughter relationship. Some older men think that getting married to very young and innocent girls guarantees their leadership and control over these girls. This is true just for a while because as years are passing she outgrows her innocence and tenderness. Before long she is a full fledged woman, and the things the older man thought he had evaded begin to happen paving way for trouble.

In a relationship, there must be someone to take the lead even when we talk of gender balance. Biblically, this leadership has been conferred on men. This has been tacitely expressed by CECE who holds that a woman whose husband is older, has some advantages. I want to add by saying that its only someone who can add value to your life, who can assume this leadership role because most of the time it comes with age.

Please let us forget we are in Africa where we have been trained to respect elderly persons to the maximum. As such if the bride is older than the groom in the african context, it may really be difficult for him to exercise his leadership role and earn the respect of his bride.

Above all, the idea of indiscriminate age is western. We are still trying to copy it and so may not work smoothly when copied out of context.

CECE holds that 10yrs difference is too much. I agree with that. Though we may overlook some variance in age, but i think more than 10yrs difference is exaggeration because this may mean two generations apart!

MYA has added the jewel on the the crown by saying that this age indiscrimination may work for one person and may not work for another. In essence, she is stating that life has gotten no formula , therefore if the bride and the groom understand some of these fundamental issues raised and decide to forge ahead irrespective of age, there is no problem with the union. WE WISH THEM THE BEST!

Experience has shown that this type of marriage exists in churches where faithful believers always carry God along in every of their decisions. When complications stem up, they believe God is in control and their faith carries them through the challenges to a safe haven.

May you all stay blessed till I hear from you again

NITA

Osai's picture

Choices

Everything is about choices. As long as minors or underage persons are not involved in this kind of relationship issue, no one should complain about another's choice of a partner.

Best wishes,
Osai

Twitter: @livingtruely

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