Ben 10s: This is why we date mumamas
What you need to know:
Why would a young man in his 20s choose to date a woman who is twice his age? Do all these relationships conform to the stereotypical view that the man is after a softlife? Young men speak out
Girl meets boy, falls in love, gets married, builds a home, raises a family and lives happily ever after. This is the stereotypical fairytale that we are accustomed to. Often the girl will be fresh-faced, clear-eyed, and full of vigour and the boy will be older, with a bag full of ambition and ready to conquer the world. This may be the classic Cinderella story, but, it’s not always the case.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationships. Relationships are a mixed bag. Online dating has expanded the scope of available men and women who are interested in dating. There are dating sites that even specifically focus on “age-gap relationships.” If the age difference isn’t a factor for those looking to date, these dating sites may give people more dating opportunities, such as dating a sugar mummy.
Today, we speak of one such relationship. Those of younger men, often referred to as Ben 10s, dating older women labelled in Kenya as ‘mumamas’, ‘sugar mummies’, and elsewhere in the world as ‘cougars’.
What is it about older women? Why would a young man in his 20s choose to date a woman who is twice his age? Do all these relationships conform to the stereotypical view that the man is after a ‘softlife?’
According to Florence Wairimu, a counselling psychologist and life coach, cases of young men dating older women has increased in the modern age.
“Their reasons range from the fact that these women are mature, motherly, responsible, and have made it in their career and life in general. Unfortunately, most of these men and women have other relationships and hence, increasing the risks of sexually transmitted infections,” the psychologist says.
In a previous article, we shared the thoughts and experiences of women who date younger men. Now it's time to let the men speak for themselves. One important question we asked was what the men felt an older woman has to offer.
Here are some answers which are clear, articulate and to the point. However, it is important to note that in all relationships, regardless of age difference or gender, partners have their reasons for engaging in the relationship.
‘I don’t get along with women my own age’
Alex Otieno *, fourth-year university student, late-20s currently dating a businesswoman in her 50s
“I like to have conversations that go deeper than the surface level and most of the women I’ve dated in my age group are always busy staring at their phones, or they are non-intellectual and therefore mentally unstimulating, or both. I don’t regret meeting my ‘sugar mummy’, who is in her early 50s four years ago in a club. Mine was love at first and I admired how her face was glowing and her body well-toned despite her age. I was captivated by her smile and maturity and I remember telling my friends that I wouldn’t mind spending hours talking to her. I loved how she interacted with me when I said hey and I kept telling her how beautiful she is, ‘but I am old enough to be your mother, I am in my 50s!’ she kept saying. I couldn’t believe it until she showed me her ID.
She was reserved unlike other girls of my age that were busy dancing with every man on the dance floor. When the party ended, we exchanged contact and since then, we always engage in different subjects ranging from love, politics, religion, and career. Surprisingly, she mirrors my mom’s complexation and character, and I think this unconsciously attracted me to her.
She is my confidant and I admire how she also confides in me. Her 15-year-old marriage has not been a walk in the park as she often shares how her husband neglects her emotionally and sexually because of his work schedule as a businessman who often travels globally. Their sex life is affected as they can go for months without getting intimate. Though she has tried to solve the issue with her husband, he always tells her that she should be understanding of his job schedule and appreciate the few times they spend time together. Her two children in their early 30s have also been affected because they grew up rarely seeing their dad.
“I regret marrying my husband. I wish I listened to my friends who kept asking me if I would be okay getting married to a man that is rarely present,” she often tells me.
Since we met, I have always been there for her and I can’t regret meeting her emotional and sexual needs. We often do HIV testing to ensure we are both safe.
Since I am in Campus, she has rented me a house along Kilimani where we spend quality time together. I am not sure how her husband, would handle the fact that am dating his wife. Sometimes, I fear for my life but my love for her is real.
I have never disclosed the affair to my parents because I am not sure how they would take it considering they hold strict religious beliefs about marriage and infidelity. Few of my friends know I am dating the woman but it’s not a biggie as a number of them have dated ‘mumamas’. I am not sure what the future holds as I would want to have children of my own. We have tried having the conversations and I’m conflicted because she doesn’t want to share me with other women.
I love her but of course, I know I cannot have children with her considering she is married and probably in her menopause. Despite these hiccups, I love the fact that she is a good listener with a motherly heart and trusts me. No man in his right senses would resist her. While I appreciate that she supports me financially, I am not after her money but her heart. If I would get a woman my age with such a kind of maturity, I think I would consider ending the relationship but unfortunately, it’s been hard getting one.”
‘I have found a mother figure in her’
James Kulola*, second-year University student, in his early 20’s dating a psychologist in her mid-40s
“I count myself as a lucky man because I met a humble and nurturing woman. The woman is in her mid-40s and is a close friend of my aunt. I met her in 2020 at my niece’s wedding. My lover’s son is currently studying abroad. We have kept the affair private and we have assured each other never to disclose it to anyone.
My lover is a single mother of one, and the child is my age mate. I recall her approaching me and requesting we start an affair as she desperately needed a young lover. At first, I didn’t think this would work because I had not dated an older woman before, plus she was a close friend of my aunt who happens to have raised me. I met my lover while I was healing from a breakup. My ex had cheated on me with a wealthy man in his 60s or a ‘mubaba’. I was broken and I thought I would never love again.
I accepted my mumama’s proposal half-heartedly, but soon after I was glad I made the decision to be with her.
She has boosted my ego and attitude, which I had missed in life. I didn’t have time with my late mum as she died when I was six and was left in the hands of my aunt. missed motherly love as my aunt struggled to raise her five children and I, single-handedly. Things were tough and I wished I knew who my father was. Maybe, then I would have proudly said I have one parent left.
My partner is kind to me and we have fun and adventures together on weekends. I have not disclosed our affair to my aunt, and when she finds me in her house, she assumes I am there for parental guidance because the woman is a counsellor by profession. Since I met her, my life has changed. I am emotionally stable. She also asked my aunt if she could also step in and pay for my school fees since my aunt has been struggling to do so and she agreed.
To some extent, I regret my actions and I wouldn’t want my aunt to get wind of it. It will break her trust in me.
My partner has also expressed that just in case she gets pregnant, she will proudly raise the child. The only question we have is how will we disclose our affair to those close to us. It's a question we keep revisiting as we cannot keep it private forever.
I don't have plans to settle down yet but meanwhile, I’m enjoying my life with my lover.”
‘I am doing it for money’
James Mwangi* 30, Customer Care representative dating a company director in her 50s
“I am the first born in a family of two. I grew up in extreme poverty as my parents couldn’t afford basic needs and so school fees was also a problem. Luckily, I got a scholarship to pursue a degree in computer science six years ago. After the excitement of graduation went down, I was soon left to face the grim reality that is joblessness. Due to frustrations, I became bitter and started looking for ‘mumamas’ that would help me to pay bills.
Nature has a way of giving you what you want. In 2019, I began the search on Facebook and I joined a group that helps you meet sugar mummies. I interacted with a few of them but somehow my heart clicked with my current lover because she agreed to give me her number, unlike others who only requested for nude photos. At first I didn’t know how this would turn out, but I was ready for anything that would make my life better.
Our first date was in 2020 in a hotel as we thought this was a safe space as we were yet to know each other.
When we met, I was so captivated by her beauty and at some point, I forgot that I was interacting with a woman in her 50s. She was shapely, with piercing eyes, and glowing skin and I recall asking her, ‘what’s the secret to your beauty’ and she answered, ‘I exercise a lot and always eat a well-balanced diet’. We bonded very well on our first date and she told me that she was a widow, a mother and her child was in her 30s. She had been widowed for the last 10 years and it was tough getting re-married because she held such good memories of her late husband. “All I want is a young man that will meet my sexual needs, make me feel youthful, and give me companionship, and I will meet his financial needs,” she confessed.
When I shared my life struggles, she assured me of her support and true to her word after six months, she got me a job in the company where she works as a director. She also rented me a house where we meet. She has kept the affair away from her daughter who is getting married soon. Most of my friends know that she is my aunt and she always introduces me to her friends. My parents don’t know the life I am living in the city and they assume their son is doing well in life as I always support them financially.
I would want to settle down in future but unfortunately, she told me when I marry I will surrender everything she has invested in me as she wouldn’t want me to enjoy her wealth with other women. I did this out of desperation and unfortunately, I don’t have time for women my age. Though I am getting everything I want, this is not the life I am proud to have. Questions still linger, ‘How will this end? How will I get out of this?’ At times I feel like a toy boy as the woman demands for so much time and I have to be there for her sexually. There are times, I see beautiful women my age and I lust for them but I feel like it's too late to change the script.
It’s easy to judge men dating older women but I would request people to take time and understand why they are doing it and maybe warn those headed in that direction. At first, I thought things would be all good, but it’s tough because she always monitors whom I talk to and lately, I have been worried about my social life because I can hardly socialise with other women.
I am distressed and I am planning for an escape as soon as I sort out my finances because I am not also satisfied sexually. All I want is her money.”
‘I am attracted to a woman who has some degree of self-possession’
John Kamwaro* 36, Businessman, dating a businesswoman in her mid-50s
“I met my lover in 2018 at a party planned by some friends. When I saw her, I thought she was just the perfect woman for me and my gut instinct was sure about that. I loved how she carried herself, she was calm, confident, and composed and that captured my attention. I wasn’t looking for an older woman and she wasn’t looking for a younger man, but it just happened. (I was 31 and she was 49 then).
Our relationship is unique because it’s not just built on sex, but on respect, trust, and love. She is a single mother of one child who is in her 20s and she always narrates how the divorce from her ex-husband seven years ago traumatised her and she vowed never to be married again.
She is my confidant and can share anything without feeling judged. We have a lot in common. For instance, we are both morning people and nearly always in a good mood. We are both hard-working and focused with many hobbies in common. In our five years together, we have never had a serious problem and we are very happy. It’s been hard disclosing our affair to her daughter because we don’t know how this would turn out. We fear how the daughter will take it and so, she always introduces me as her business partner.
I am the first born in a family of three and I haven’t disclosed my love life to my parents and siblings. I am not sure how they will take it. Often, we meet in my house. I am glad that she has offered me space to interact with other women and she doesn't mind me dating another woman provided I use protection. Five months ago, I met a woman my age and I shared about it to her and she was okay with it. She knows my girlfriend and sometimes she finds her in my house. I always introduce my lover as my close aunt who is my confidant and so, my girlfriend often confides with her when we are in conflict.
She is a best friend who validates to me that I’m a good person, which builds my self-esteem and confidence. She stimulates me mentally with her sharp intellect and I feel very relaxed around her. I am not sure if I can compare her with any other woman and hence, I don't have plans to end the affair even when I settle down. I find this relationship more fulfilling and I don’t mind sharing my body with her. The only reason I would want to settle down with another lady is to have children with a woman my age.”
*Names have been changed
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