Kaffy Dance, Lola Omotayo-Okoye, Deola Art-Alade, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Cameron Diaz, Lisa Bonet, and of course Gabrielle Union...
What do all these women have in common, you ask?
Well they're all older than their husbands, is what; the lowest of them (Aishwarya) by three years; while our Nigerian queens each got between 6-8 years on their husbands. And yes, I deliberately started with popular Nigerian names who are making it work excellently—shout out to the person who figured we could use some positive examples—because apparently there are still people among us who reckon that a woman being older than her man is the first recipe for 'disrespect'. Bruh, I don't even wanna get on that line of thought because you honestly can't argue with certain minds; it will ruin you.
If you're a join-body type feminist, this also is the part where you click on another link, for I am not a jagaban feminist: I do not have any interest whatsoever in switching oppressor roles or having men out of all the important conversations. So if it, for you, is about running the men off the table instead of having the seats divided equally, then please: your feminism is not my feminism. I do not hate you though, but we would not agree on many things. That being said, let's get right to the next detail from this post:
Respect, Actual Honor Matters
I have always thought that if you can not respect his opinion or trust his judgement enough to (want to) defer to him on important matters without feeling some type of way, then you have no business being with him. If the decision always has to be yours, if he can not lead you, for whatever reason, then he's not the one for you, don't matter if he's younger or older.
I personally love a man who can kiss-smack me and say, "let's do it this way, it'd turn out better, you'll see." I so love a man who can take charge and make me listen, make me consider and actually be willing to accept his way/stand. And this is a huge thing for me because assertiveness is my middle name, and dominance is what I do even in my sleep, so you have to be able to make me; literally. So it only figures that I do not tend to get pulled in by men who are "lesser than" me, personality wise; I couldn't live it through for a week and he would lose his godamn mind because: orders agbasa. Hell, it would turn me off if he was wont to "yes, my queen" me all the damn time, like...sweetie, use your big boy voice, will ya? I happen to be a my-way person, you see, so you gotta come with your own dose of bossy. Not in an arrogant or disrespectful or talk-downy ish way, though; just...force of personality. Damn, that shit be sexy as hell. Hell, I have been caught grinning once or twice in an otherwise unfunny situation when the boo would go, "we could debate this all night or you could just accept that we're not doing it that way and I suggest you calm down now because it's already decided; give it a chance." I find that shit hot, not only because it takes all that age difference and just slaps it onto him—with extra, but 'cause I'm also a hot-head and it usually turns out that I needed to not have been the one who won certain arguments because: foresight = near zero; even with all my overthinking and overstressing and overanalyzing, I do have a tendency to be too much of a "right now" person and if you're not careful, see rag-dolling. 😂
Healthy Neediness Matters
If there is anything I have picked up from my own age difference relationships and those of folks around me (namely my kid brother who's blissfully married to an older lady), it is that men love to be men and they are at their absolute best when they're allowed to be who natured planned that they be in the relationship: a shield, a covering. Please note here that I ain't talking about the dumdum "boys will be boys" boohoo that we justify male foolishness with; I'm talking pants, wallet...protector factor. Men, even when they won't expressly ask for it (because: agbero feminism) like to know that their women need them with the heavy lifting; not because she can't handle it, but something about a woman peering at her man and puckering her lower lip as she says "could you sort this" when she very well knows that he knows that she could sort this with her eyes closed? Chest-puff type shit. Good, serious, mature, traditional men love to be needed, and you letting them know this just does something for their breathing. And no man needs this more than the one with an older partner, plus if it is a real love match, loosening up and letting him hold the door or fix the plumbing for you wouldn't make you feel like you still can't do bad all by yourself, it's not like he's trying to take your job, Joan. All that going all "I got it, I got it" could take you from partner to cougar very fast, too, because he might as well be existing in that arrangement just to 'service' you, so he'll just do that and go plant roots somewhere else: where he's needed; where his presence actually counts for something.
So you need to be able to show him—your younger partner especially—that you're not dragging the pants in the relationship with him, that you're happy to stand side-by-side him without talking over him or overshadowing or overcrowding or altogether obliterating him: his place, and/or his voice. It matters that he feels like the man in the union; and I have observed that men generally act better when they have a woman who is literally "looking up to" them, regardless of her own personal accomplishments. And no, it doesn't mean he's got ego issues, unless of course that's your type.
Healthy Differences Matter, Then Shared Interests, And Space
I'm putting these three in one bullet because they're linked.
I am a home girl through and through, like I literally am a tom-mom until the discussion gets to home-making. I am that woman. I love being that woman. I do not, however, love that type of man, LOL. Like, get a job, Joe. I tend to be drawn towards the nine-to-five professional type guys, because you have to have a life, lmao! I just can't...you gotta have a legit life that takes out of the house in the morning because that is how I know to get space, and give you some, 'cause it ain't me who's leaving this house—even if you cook like Martha Stewart. Or maybe if you cook like Martha Stewart? Child, I just don't know, being with a work-from-home creative would be a true test for me because side-by-side all that 'give him space' inside of me is someone who is also obsessed about spending all "our" free time together; but it gotta be "free" free time, throw in weekends, yeah; but not time that shouldn't be free. Nah, I need to know you're doing other things that involves seeing and talking to other people and making a choice to return to me anyway. I need you to be able to say "all those people, and this is the face I been wanting to see all day." Yes, I am that mushy-romantic. And I appreciate the choice too. Of course, my "face I been wanting to see" happens in a random mid-day text (because: indoor) but you get the point: decided choices.
Give me room to decide to bring my attention back to you, always. We need to keep being sure that this is still a choice: mine, yours; and not some inevitability happening just 'cause we're trapped together.
And this this something that age difference relationships need even more of, I think: space to act our age, because let's face it; y'all can't hundred percent always roll in the same circles or hundred percent like the same things, even if you met at work. Especially if your gap is Gabrielle Union-Dwyane Wade or Lisa Bonet-Jason Momoa wide; you would definitely have circles you're better off not rolling in together because: freedom to do "our" thing.
So when dealing with a younger (male) partner, it is even more important that you're not all up in his personal mental/emotional space. You want to be careful to not be so gotta-be-everywhere-and-do-everything-together clingy to noose point. Men need their time-outs too. They need their time with the boys or whatever other (healthy) vice equals that for them. And you have to be careful to not be taking this away from your younger partner especially, or have him on any leash whatsoever. This, of course, also just serves to make your time together even more refreshing than if you was all up in his bid'neh or in allabaht in each other's foot space.
And this is where shared interests come in, 'cause there has to be something that keeps bringing you back together from all that given/gotten space. I personally am such a bonding junkie that I literally would save certain experiences for later just so we can share it. Yes, I have also been known to whine about how you couldn't hold your curiosity about that movie until you got home so we could watch together "cause I waited till you got here to watch! :'(" And yes, my appeasement is always a re-watch, like, choke on them spoilers, bloke. So yes, with all that respect for him doing his own thing so you particularly don't come off all Mother-Hen ish, unable to let him out of your sight (for fear of the under twenty Kafayas 'fa-ing' him away from you 😅), you also have to make sure there are little experiences you (would) only want with each other. And it could be as basic as some nightly routine involving food or movies or music or gossip or...yeah, work, pfft!
Ex/Relationship History Matters
Like all the other details, this too is not restricted only to younger partners but while you could pass it up with an older male, you want to double check with a younger one. Because, and this especially is a Nigerian thing, dating a younger man could go from beautiful to disgustingly "Aunty agbaya" embarrassing real fast. And it begins and ends with exes and/or side pieces with whom you share no similarities whatsoever. It however doesn't get more disgusting than a thirty-four year old lady playing leave-my-man-alone with a twenty-five year old honey. Like....brrrhhh!! Because: shame. And that's best case scenario. Worst case, it would wreck your self-esteem and general mental health, depending on how long or how invested in it you've been. So you want to make sure you're not making serious plans with a young thug who's only just age-curious.
It is possible to get into a relationship and have it work with someone who's never been with anyone like you, yes; but it is also very possible that, presented with familiar option, they would leave you with your boob in your hand (which is best case scenario anyway). Some embarrassments are just not worth it, I mean, not even with an older man and a younger side piece; now imagine you're the oldest of the bunch. 😲 Obara Jesus!
Reminds me of my plus sized neighbor who recently had to show this guy the door because he had a history of only ever having eyes for slim ladies and here he was, so dead ass convincing my girl he wasn't just fat-curious such that it was hard to not get on team give-him-a-chance myself. But thank God for public dates, because it so turned out that nigga would gawk at every long-legged skinny missy that passed by their table and I couldn't even begin to describe how much of an insult that was for her because...pffft! I mean, we already know what he was gon' cheat with sooner or later; and that's a mental torture she could do without. And this is why taste/preference is an important get-to-know-you question. Because God forbid that some 22-year old shows up at your door or does you a "leave my boyfriend alone" early morning text while you was sure you was building forever with le reve.
Clearance: I honestly vote for if history shows that he has a steady, repeated, tendency-to-gravitate-towards "type" — in every "-ally" that exists, and you're not it (and this is in no way a bad thing, mama), ko ya lookaway; to avoid stories that pierce the ears.
So, did I miss any details?? Lemme do a quick recap and see:
-He physically looks AND talks/thinks the part: mature, grown.
-The gap is acceptable in your deciding society (read: family) if it's an ultimate deciding factor for him particularly; especially if it's leading to marriage or forever (don't ask me why I use 'marriage' and 'forever' separately, plis dear).
-He's making his own money, can make his own decisions; can choose you in the face of parental/peer disapproval.
-You can respect him and let him wear the man pants in the relationship.
-You know to understand that he needs to do age-appropriate things for personal and joint balance. As do you.
-He's seriously been in 'unusual' relationships before.
I think that about covers it—para mi. I mean, you do know that when I write for you, I write for me, right?
If I missed something, please let me know in the comments section.
And yooooo, I saw something on twitter today that I hadn't particularly thought mattered before especially if you're not celebrities. It was on one of those would you marry a younger man threads and it was that age difference marriages/relationships are much more common in Nigeria than we know but—and this is the part I didn't think mattered—"it's only a topic if it shows or if y'all go telling people." And I was like, damn; that is a thought. So...yeah: this even makes bullet 1 even that much more important, yeah? Body body, sisters: go big or go tall.
I love you for reading.
Have a productive week.