Relationships in which one spouse is much older than the other often attract a lot of talk from society. But how do you bridge this gap and make things work? Mwereti Kanjo seeks the answers to this question.
You have found yourself in love with an older man. You want to make it work, but the difference in age brings in a whole new set of challenges for both of you. For starters, you cannot agree on which movie to watch or what music to listen to.
You want to go out to a club and he wants to listen to classical music. When the kids do something wrong, you decide to give them a time out, but he thinks spanking them is the only form of discipline. The differences do not end there. In fact, they are too numerous to list down.
However, in the face of all these challenges, you know you love him so much and you would like to make it work, yet you have no clue where to start from. Below are some facts about older spouse marriages:
Marriage counsellor, Constance Masamba, says it is important for the younger spouse to go into the marriage with an open mind accepting the fact that it is not going to be all rosy. She says older spouses, especially men, present a father figure in the relationship and they expect to be respected as such. When this fails, you have problems.
Secondly, most men who will take on a younger wife are divorcees or widowers. With this, unconsciously or otherwise, they will compare you to their previous spouse.
According to Masamba, the unfortunate thing in all of this is that you, the younger woman, goes into the marriage expecting to be pampered, spoiled and loved to the extreme. Again, when this fails, the red bulb lights up and you have more problems.
So, what is MasambaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advice?
She says the only way to make it work is for both parties to adjust their lifestyles and expectations and sort of meet in the middle.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is not always that the man must have it his way or you winning all the time. Sit down and listen to that classical music, you might just like it, but he should be prepared to do the same for you when you need him. It must have been known from the start that the two of you were different, so do not pretend to be surprised when things start not working,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Masamba.
Louella Vaz, an online relationship adviser, says many such relationships have often encountered problems, not least among them insecurities. The older man is afraid the younger woman is no longer happy with him and actually has her sights set on hot, young neighbour while there are uncertainties about the future on the part of the younger woman where she fears she will be left alone or a widow when he dies.
Then there is the issue of feeling like misfits from both where they cannot gel with each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s group of friends due to age differences and conflicting interests or simply the younger woman sometimes getting tired of making all the adjustments because the older man is set in his ways.
But according to Vaz, the important thing is to ask which relationship doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s share of problems and obstacles?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While some are of the view that an age difference only exacerbates some of the typical problems inherent in a relationship, that does not necessarily hold true in all cases.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“As in any relationship, age only becomes a matter of numbers if ultimately the older man and younger woman, are both adult enough to enter into a consensual union, you have mutual respect for each other, the age difference doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter Ã¢â‚¬â€œ at least to both of you that you could not care less about what society thinks. This is because you have found something in this relationship that satisfies you like no other has,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Vaz.