A 29-year-old Kenyan woman has defended her marriage to a 50-year-old man, who she met online.
Brenda Jepkorir, a writer, says she met Ssemakula Mukiibi, a blogger turned computer scientist, six years ago.
The two got married and have a 4-year-old son, but Jepkorir has often faced negative criticism from relatives and friends, who disapprove her relationship with Mukiibi due to their 21-year age difference.
“Every time when people see us together, it is a problem. Some people think that he is my dad,” Ms. Jepkorir says on Switch TV’s “Real Talk”.
“We first met online. There was this conversation that the world was ending in 2011, and some people were making conclusions about things without thinking [deeply] through them. So, we began online conversations with intellectuals, who had philosophical approaches to looking at things around the [controversial] topics. I love thinkers. That is what I found in my husband. Every time I wanted to read what he was saying; we shared and conversed. That is how I got to love him,” says the mother-of-one.
On his part, Mukiibi, who has Ugandan roots, says that Jepkorir’s brains “turned him on.”
“I am a sapiosexual; I get turned on by brains than looks and stuff. She had a unique way of expressing herself, a unique way of writing. She is a brilliant writer. She has a way of writing, talking, doing things which really touch me. Well, things happened. I love brains, she loves brains, and that is why we got together. Maybe, we did not notice the difference between us,” says Mukiibi, adding that he has never married before.
“I have been in a situation, where I am walking with our son and her [Jepkorir], and somebody would say: ‘Are you his grandfather?’ I am like: ‘That is my son’,” says Mukiibi.
“We have gotten used to it. I don’t think we thought of it at the time we were starting our relationship. Our age difference is 21.”
Jepkorir says although her husband is much older than her, she feels he's still “young at heart”.
“My husband is really young at heart. When I read him [online], I thought he was a young person. When I read people online, I never look at their profile pictures. Because of his [creative] expression, I thought he was a young person. When we met, I still really liked the way he looked at the world, and it was not his age."
She says she has lost friends and family members, who abandoned her after finding out that she was dating a man who is 21 years her senior.
“I lost close friends because they could not approve of my relationship. There was enmity between me and family. Some family members really found it an issue that I was dating an old guy. I did not have a problem with the relationship, but the people around me had a problem with it. My husband is kind, good; I enjoy spending time with him. I did not understand why people [close to me] had issues [with our relationship]."
Jepkorir says she does not regret marrying Mukiibi and would choose him again if she was given another chance.
“With age, there are things that he would have a better understanding than I do, and there are things that I would have a better understanding than he does. We have a way we communicate about what we feel; we give backgrounds to our approaches. That bridges a lot; it becomes like a learning process, and not manifestations of the age gap."