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Is age a factor in a relationship?



Age has always be a major issue in relationships since time immemorial. Different people have different views on this issue.


The topic:

I am 24 and dating a guy who is my exact age mate. I have heard many things about relationships and more so how people of the same age cannot really cope with each other. Is it true that it is hard for such a relationship to work? I know of friends who are in similar situations but they are struggling with their relationships. What makes it difficult for such relationships to work and why is it that the guy always has to be older?




What the readers say:

Nadia, follow your heart and do not listen to what your friends say. If you love that boy then that is the only thing that should matter. Many times women want to date older men so they can be babied around and spoilt. They also do this because they expect the men to take control of many aspects of the relationship including finances and others nit because it is the way it really ought to be. Any relationship between people of the same or different age can work based on the understanding of both parties. Ignore the noise and move on.

{Loise Nderitu}


I know of several people of the same age who have long lasting relationships from an early age in relationships but not many. At your age I encourage you to try different relationships and compare notes. You may still end up in the same situation but at least you will have had different experiences to compare and contrast. However, do not write this relationship off just because of age, they sometimes work.

{Anne Njeri}


Those things you are hearing are just rumours and wrong perceptions people have about age in a relationship. The age debate is an old belief that no longer holds especially for the current generation. Desist from being derailed by such misconceptions and unfounded rumours and focus on your relationship. I assure you your relationship will work. Remember, love has no boundaries.

{Robert Ojou}


The fact that you are already in doubt about issues of age means you are not in love. I think you are just in a relationship. Your relationship should not be affected by what other people say. If you are both comfortable with things as they are just ignore those friends and move on.

{Aseri Dick}


The age gap between you and your man does matter and it will influence the quality and length of your marriage. I will suggest that you look for someone who is older than you. Marriages where the parties have some age differences have been found to have lower incidences of divorce. Listen to the opinions of other people especially those that are older than you and seek your parent's approval about this relationship.

[Onyango Outha}


Simon says:

Nadia, issues to do with relationships are as complex and diverse as the individuals that are involved. These issues are informed by many things which include personal beliefs, peer influence, upbringing as well as ones character and personality. Personal beliefs are often shaped by the environment in which one is brought up while the other beliefs are primarily based on secondary influencers such as friends and content that one interacts with which may sometimes be far from the truth.


That said, I will remind you that everything between two people in a relationship is a variable. Everything is always relative to ones perception and thus may not be applied across the board. People of any reasonable age can get into and build strong relationships. This includes persons of the same age, couples where the lady is older, couples that have a relatively large age difference among others.


Yes, society has shaped our perceptions to believe that the man should always be older but this is just a belief. Relationships that are the direct opposite of this have worked out while many that are in line with this belief also break down. The most important thing in a relationship is building the friendship based on how we know and feel about the other person.


In many instances, focusing on the other person always helps overcome prevailing issues that may not be in line with common belief. Such issues are many and they may include age differences, financial situations, social and economic status, religious affiliations, cultural backgrounds among others. Dealing with these issues may not always be easy to live and deal with but with time they can be overcome by focusing more on the other person and the relationship than on the prevailing differences. However, be in the know that these issues will always get in the way especially when normal relationship issues come up with time many couples have learned to deal with them. There is therefore nothing wrong with dating a person of your exact age, it is only ideal for him to be older again according to societal beliefs.


In the next issue:

I am 19 in campus and joining 2nd year in September. I am also dating a man who I really love but he is married and he says and always shows me a lot of love. He has even promised to marry me as his second wife once I am done with college. He is in his early 30s and has introduced me to many of his friends so far. However, sometimes I worry about this and think that it may not work out as he says it will especially because I feel as if he is drawing away from me as the days go by. His communication with me has declines and he just seems rather different. Please advise on what I can do, I really love this man.



Simon is a relationships counsellor who helps couples face the hard truth in dealing with issues towards reaching reasonable solutions.


Hilda says:


A relationship is complex and multifaceted such that it's not easy to point out to this one thing that makes it work or this single thing that makes it fail. Issues overlap and are intricately interconnected.

A lot has been said about age; that age is just but a number, you're as old as you think or feel and then there is the conventional belief that the woman must be younger and the man must be older in a marriage relationship.

We can easily say age is a number if we're just looking at the chronicle of numbers but when we look at age as time, we realise that time is a major factor in life. This time never leaves us the same. For example, an eight year old and an eighteen year old seem worlds apart. This is not just because of the difference in calender years but because of the difference in the phase of life that this individuals are in. Age does not only affect our physical body but also our approach, view point and attitude towards life.

Young people tend to be energetic, impulsive, spontaneous and adventurous. In mid life, people become more cautious and apprehensive. While in old age, people tend to be less excited, low on energetic fervour and aloof among other things.

A relationship between people in the different age phases would truly be a challenging venture.You and your boyfriend are in the same age bracket and phase therefore, this may not pose any challenge if both of you are committed to the relationship. If your being agemates does not make it difficult for you to respect your boyfriend, then you have nothing to worry about. As earlier stated, the man being older does not on its own guarantee a successful relationship.

Work on your relationship and while at it enjoy your journey together. Your friends' experiences are not your yardstick.


Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology and loves to share her knowledge in matters of love and marriage.

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