Interviews, Life Style

Is age just a number or does it really matter in relationship?

– Relationship experts share insightful thoughts on dating/marrying a much older or younger person

While some place much emphasis on how old a person is, others believe age is just a number!

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some relationship experts and they shared thoughts on the age factor in relationship and marriage.


‘Marriage is like a box of chocolates, you never know until you get on board’

– EYA AYAMBEM; Relationship counsellor and author,  Wives Connection Blog

Is age just a number or does it really matter in a relationship or marriage?

Age does not really matter in a relationship. However, when the gap is so much like say 20, 30 difference, that generational gap could make a spouse unconsciously try to control and parent the other. Aside that, for me, age is just a number.

What are the potential pitfalls of dating/marrying someone significantly older or younger?

There are no pitfalls at all. Nothing wrong with dating or marrying someone significantly older than you. Governor Adams Oshiomole and Iara are there having a jolly good marriage. If the couple understand each other well, their temperaments are compatible and as adults have consented to being together, there is no danger.

I still say age is just a number because there are very young people who carry themselves with so much maturity and wisdom, while there are also old people who think and act like kids! It all depends on the personality.

Dating or marrying someone of your age grade does not guarantee happiness, neither does it guarantee a successful union. Same way marrying one significantly older does not mean the marriage will last forever or that it will fail.

Same age or not, marriage as a union between two adults is sometimes like a box of chocolates, you never know until you get on board and start dating or getting married to this person. Age can only cause friction when people lie, claim younger numbers to enable them hook someone. Aside discovering that a spouse or fiancee lied, confrontations and all, age is nothing but a number.

What could be the benefits of such relationship?

The benefits are still same as when you marry someone close to or your age. It all depends on your compatibility and temperaments. When people separate or get divorced, many times their reasons are irreconcilable differences and not age differences.

The benefits are what you get in any good marriage, there is companionship, understanding, respect for each other maybe the older spouse in some cases might just be wiser due to age and life experiences. Well, for the lady, I can say that marrying a much older man could mean enjoying some of these obvious benefits: He is already successful; financially stable; He’s more mature; sexually experienced; less likely to stray and can easily provide all the comfort you need.

When the man is much older than his wife, it seems society endorses faster than when the woman is the one significantly older. When the women is older, there could be fears that with pregnancies, child birth and parenting she’d age before her husband.

What is the success rate of such relationships, where one party is significantly older than the other?

Some studies say that if a wife is five or more years younger than her hubby, they’re much more likely to avoid divorce. Others say she needs to be four to six years younger. According to a Canadian study, “Divorce rates are lowest when the husband is two to ten years older than the wife or when the magnitude of their age difference is extremely large.”

What’s the ideal age gap between both partners?

Honestly, generally speaking, there is no ideal age gap for adults who want to date or get married.

This solely depends on individuals and I just cannot generalise here.

Let’s talk about me as an individual entitled to my opinion and feelings; the ideal age gap for me? The woman should be 5 to 10 years younger than her husband. That’s not to say that I fault other age gaps, no, I don’t.


1-Toyosi Alabi‘Maturity is not a factor of age, it’s a thing of the mind’ – OLUWATOYOSI ALABI, Relationship Coach and Author,

Is age just a number or does it really matter in a relationship or marriage?

The effect of the age factor in a relationship/ marriage is relative for most people. We all should know what works for us depending on our knowledge of ourselves and personalities.

In as much as I wouldn’t subscribe to a 12 year old girl getting married to a 40 year old man, I probably may not bat an eye lid to a 21 year old woman doing same. This is because the level of maturity of a 21 year old may be able to accommodate a 40 year old’s regardless of the age difference between them.

A lot of people have attributed maturity to age which doesn’t necessarily need to be so. Maturity is largely a thing of the mind.

While I am not saying such relationship will be rosy and not complicated, I am only pointing to the fact that it’s not completely out of place if the relationship is deliberately managed by both parties involved regardless of their generational differences, backgrounds and idiosyncrasies. Sadly, only a few have been able to strike a functional balance.

However, the underlying question should be; what drew them to one another in the first place, what conviction did they have that it would work and how much work are they willing to put into the relationship if certain challenges as a result of their age difference begin to spring up and threaten to cause a strain?

What are the potential pitfalls of dating/marrying someone significantly older or younger?

We can’t deny that over time, if there is a major gap in the age of a couple, a few conflicts may begin to surface. However, there isn’t any area of a relationship that we don’t have conflicts cropping up.

Couples of different tribes, backgrounds, social/political views etc have had to admit to the challenges they face in the differences of their beliefs.

All aspects of relationships require a significant level of dedication and effort and same is applicable to couples with a significantly wide age difference.

Regardless of the man’s age, he would have certain cultural expectations which may be accompanied by his genetic make up. We all know men crave submission/respect from their women.

Can a woman of 37 submit to a man of 27? Can she condition her mind to submit to her man’s leadership regardless of the fact that she is a lot older than he is? Would she still do all that is expected of her as a wife without looking down on him or questioning his authority? Can her mind accommodate/embrace the wide gap in age?

In the case where the man is a lot older than the woman: Can a man of 40 years old ‘rub minds’ with his 21 year old wife without having doubts about what she could possibly offer?

Would he resist the temptation to ‘lord it over her’ and treat her as an equal regardless of their age difference? Will the young lady even be free to air her views without feeling intimidated?

I strongly believe that generational idiosyncrasies, experience, exposure or lack of it, beliefs, culture, norms and traditions as well as genetic make ups can constitute a pitfall if not probably managed.

What could be the benefits of such relationship?

The major benefit in my opinion is the blend that can be enjoyed as a result of their generational difference. If and when a couple work towards a compromise by embracing and working around their differences, this tends to put a spice into their love life hereby appreciating one another more.

Learning new things from one another in terms of exposure, experience, ideas etc. will always be an added advantage.

As this may cause a lot of friction if not properly managed, its management can also turn around be fun and an avenue to achieve a wider range of results.

What is success rate of such relationships where one party is significantly older than the other?

I haven’t had the privilege of doing a research on this so this is strictly based on my opinion.

Now, in as much as we find people delving into this kind of relationship by the day with different reasons (genuinely or otherwise), a lot of these people haven’t been able to reach certain compromises and strike a balance. So it’s safe to say that even though these relationships may last, it isn’t necessarily successful.

What’s the ideal age gap between both partners?

Like I said earlier, it depends on what works for everyone. I don’t believe it’s in my place to put a figure to it. Matters of the heart are very sensitive with people seeing things from different perspectives.

When two consenting adults have an understanding of each other, one another and what they are getting into with genuine intentions, they should be able to figure out what works best for them.


1-Dr Tolu‘Success in marriage depends largely on the level of understanding and compatibility’ – DR. TOLULOPE OKO-IGAIRE, Sex Therapist, Relationship & Marriage Counsellor

For you is age just a number or does it really matter in a relationship or marriage?

Age is one of the factors that need to be considered when choosing a life partner, especially in this part of the world. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the success of such relationship depends on age. If we say age is just a number, we won’t be far from the truth and if we also say it matters, it’s not false as well.

Research show that women who marry men who are a little bit older than them enjoy more tolerance, understanding and affection from such men, even though this might not be in all cases. Success in marriage depends largely on the level of understanding between couples as well as compatibility, even if the wife is younger and there’s no understanding, that marriage might crash.

What are the potential pitfalls or benefits of dating/marrying someone significantly older or younger?

Just like I stated earlier, significantly older men tend to be more tolerant and could be more possessive sometimes as well. One cannot state the benefits and disadvantages categorically, but these few are trends that are common to such relationships/marriages:

– Older men tend to be more tolerant and caring

– Older men tend to be more possessive, most times older women are more financially stable.

It’s difficult to command the needed respect to boost a man’s ego from an older woman in most cases. There will be serious hurdles to cross in form of friends and family interference.

Marrying someone with significant age difference shouldn’t be a big deal, it’s not in the developed world; the fact remains that Africa has not developed to that level. Many people will frown at it and mount pressure that might start choking the relationship/marriage.

To enter into this kind of relationship/marriage, there are few questions one should ask:

What is the motive? Are you entering that relationship because you are in love and will like to spend the rest of your life with that man/woman or you are doing it for material gain. If the motive is wrong the marriage will not survive. If the foundation be destroyed, what can anyone do?

Are you ready to live with the consequences of your action? If you find yourself in a function where your friends’ spouses are almost their age, will you still be happy to flaunt your partner without feeling ashamed. You must be ready to stand by your decisions and see your choice as the best irrespective of what anyone thinks or says, if not there will be crises.

Culturally or religiously speaking, the man remains the head of the family and not the other way round. As a woman, if you are dating or marrying a younger man, are you willing to respect him irrespective?

What’s the ideal age gap between both partners?

When it comes to the issue of ideal age gap between partners, there’s no one size fits all, or one age fits all. What works for couple A might not work for couple B, in as much as there is understanding and compatibility. But one should also consider the number of years especially when the older is a woman, 10 years and above might be way too high even in the developed world, some people will still frown at outrageous age gap in such cases.

I always counsel couples in this situation that they should keep their little secret to themselves as much as possible, the less people know about their age difference the better for them. Having a wonderful marriage is not age dependent though it could be a factor.


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