I am 30, living and working in Nairobi and have been dating this woman for two years. She is 34 and a single mother of two girls. I love her and I am considering marrying her.
However, there are some problems that I am struggling with. First, my family members want nothing to do with her and my mother is threatening to commit suicide if I marry her.
Second, her daughters are from different fathers and I am uncomfortable with that. I love the two girls and we get along well but my family is clear about this. They call her all sorts of names and whenever I plan that she accompanies me for a family gathering, they all boycott attendance.
Please help me.
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When you say you love the two girls and their mother, you cannot be having a problem with their background unless you are not sincere. First, remember that you may have five kids born in your house and 'within wedlock' but all of them have different fathers and you will not know it -- and you will have no problem with them.
The truth is you may be loving just an aspect of the woman. When that is gone, you will have nothing else to love. Secondly, your family members are not marrying her.
However, marriage is in a context and they may be seeing something which the 'bias' you have may not allow you to see. Step back and look at this lady once again. Take your time to share with your family why they feel she is just not the woman for you.
Finally, for purposes of sincerity, either your family or the lady has to be disappointed. Should it be the lady, accept it and move on. However, it is impossible to please two opposing camps and still remain happy.
- Tasma Saka
Leonard, at 30 you are not really of the age to go through all this. Unless you have underlying problems, listen to your mother. Let your mother grow into old age peacefully and happily. You are more confused than in love brother; your dissatisfaction is very clear: the daughters are from different fathers, you are not comfortable with the idea of different fathers, do you want to be the third different father?
What were you told about the whereabouts of these absentee fathers? Were you satisfied with the explanation? So do a bit of soul searching and realise the course of action. Get to the bottom of everything before you slip into a bottomless pit.
Are these daughters results of failed marriages? Failed relationships? Or are they products of an adventurous life? Be sure of the yoke you are adding to your neck before it is late. You have already noted dissatisfaction, so be it. Quit and be at peace with everybody including yourself!
- Ouma Ragumo-Sifuyo
Every relationship will have some odds that stand against it. Some odds are surmountable but some become a clear signal that danger is lurking.
You should appreciate your family members for showing their care and concern. See them as the voice of reason that sometimes could be lacking in individuals when they fall in love.
This is not to say they’re entirely right but I believe there are aspects of your relationship they are convinced you have not fully understood the challenges those aspects would pose in future.
Instead of resenting them, please take your time and address their concerns. I do not think they have many questions apart from your age difference.
Especially that your girlfriend is older than you and the fact that she has two children who are not yours.
There is no rule on who should be older in a marriage but, from our biology, we know women tend to age faster than men. So the question is, are you aware of this and are you at peace with the challenges that this age gap will present?
Have you reconciled within yourselves that at some point she will look way older than you?
Next, talk about the children. Do you know the huddles that mixed families face? What of their fathers, are they going to be actively involved in their parenting or you will assume all responsibilities?
Will you manage their involvement or it will trigger insecurity in you? Remember when it comes to the children, we do not just make decisions favourable to us. The well-being of the children must be taken into account.
Before you finally settle down together, it is important you iron out these issues. Preferably involve a trusted friend or family member, better still, a professional counsellor. Someone that can help you see things for what they really are.
Also note that, you will not live in isolation. You will still need your family for a long time.
So, although your family members appear to be overreacting try to listen and understand them.
- Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology