Ghana’s Dating Crisis

Kwaku David Photography
Kwaku David Photography

A quick glance at any magazine or TV ad will probably signal that there is a relationship crisis where you live. It’s a global pandemic. No one is able to find ANYONE who they deem a viable match! Previously, it was primarily women who suffered this plague of malcontent where a happy match is concerned, and women just learned to settle. However these days men appear to have jumped in the canoe as well. There growing numbers of men who are becoming more vocal about a lack of “wifey” material and how it has kept them from that stroll down the aisle. Though they are not as verbose about the methods they use to cope with the dearth of “quality” female companionship, the few men have opened up to me about it have confessed that they do so by accepting sex wherever it’s to be found (and in Accra, it’s found aplenty). But what they really want is someone to begin a life with.

Adventurers, I think we should hear what the other side has to say as well. Bear in mind that this sample of men is over the age of 35. Men have a ticking biological clock as well and marriage goals as well, but where a woman might take the opportunity to wed herself to solve her dilemma, most men settle for casual, meaningless sexual encounters.

“Meaningless?” I asked.

“Yes,” Adu* replied. “Absolutely meaningless…as in it’s not going anywhere. You realize the person that you are in bed with for the night only wants you to buy her a cell phone or pay for her dad’s “medical bills”, so you take what you can get and break her a little something off.”

I resisted the urge to point out that this sounded very much like prostitution, because the brother was hurting. He really wants to date, fall in love, and get married.

“The trouble is, a lot of these women are not realistic,” he went on. “I’m just a man. I am subject to the economy. Sure, I have lots of cash now (and he does), but I want to be with someone who understands that there may come a day when I only have GHC 50 to my name, and will be okay with eating plantain and beans, a Smirnoff Ice, and the pair of us go home with GHC 20 remaining in our pockets. At least we went out, right? At least we enjoyed each other’s company!”

I had to laugh. I can’t think of a single one of my friends who would allow the guy she’s dating to take her out for plantain and beans on a date, let alone act like it was okay. (I would, but that’s because I’m a bush girl who doesn’t know how to set high standards for herself.)

Adu is a returnee, so I proposed that he might try to spend more time with women who had lived abroad. He claims they are not much better company, as returnee girls are aloof and uninviting. Of course, this is a generalization, and I pointed this out to him with examples of the opposite. He countered that all the women I named were already/about to be married, and with good reason.

“Those women are practical. They are grounded in reality,” Adu said. “When a lot of women see me, they see an opportunity. They see an upgrade.”

I felt really bad for him. No one wants to be treated like a commodity…but women have been treated in that way for years, haven’t they?

The conversation brought to mind the recent (and very foul) utterances of Maurice Ampaw, a man who calls himself an advocate for women and who practices law in Ghana. He said that Ghanaian women are “very cheap” and have been raised to “give sex easily”. Assumedly discussing the recent rape allegations against KKD (a longtime broadcaster), Maurice Ampaw said he did not see why any man should have to rape a Ghanaian woman. All a man had to do was offer her a few sweet words, buy her an item or two and in return, he’d be “rewarded” with sex.

“Ghanaian ladies are not difficult at all,” he asserted.

Now, I am never one to tell a woman how and what way she should show her appreciation for gifts or money she’s received, but a man can’t come armed with gifts, approach a woman with the sole intention of having sex and expect to fall into “wifey” material. That’s just not logical.

Kofi* agrees. He too is on the hunt for a wife.

A few months ago, Kofi sent me a still shot of another woman’s gaping vagina. It was crimson red and slurry. I did not feel turned on at all. I asked if he was.

“Not a bit,” he sneered. “It just looks odd.”

In talking with Kofi this weekend, I was reminded of the flame red vagina with no name and asked him if he had any plans to get personal with it, since he’d be meeting its owner for dinner later that evening.

“What for?” he asked with a scoff.

The question had answered itself. What for indeed? That’s the risk one takes in sexting. Sometimes, it has the opposite of the intended affect. Kofi tried to explain how quickly he was turned off, but could hardly put it into words. He’s not alone. Can I get an amen from any girl who’s ever received snaps of a tiny penis in her What’sapp?

I’m really bothered by this, because I want to see my friends – male and female – settled and happy with their spouse, since this is what THEY want. I don’t think you should ever get married if you don’t want to; but a good number of people in Accra want to! What’s the problem? Is it a lack of quality men? Is there an absence of practical women who are too devoted to The Fairytale? Or is everyone just a little too invested in what they think they can get from the other person?

I’ve painted a bleak picture of the Ghanaian dating scene, but I’d love to hear how it compares to where you live. Tell us, so I can send my friends to your corner of the world!

12 comments On Ghana’s Dating Crisis

  • Oh wow. I have so many questions. I feel like women suffer from a lack of ‘eligible’ dating options but I do not think that is the same at all for men. For example I know so many amazing single men, but very few amazing single men, and those I know tend to be single out of choice, or are on a break. Adu for e.g. is clearly with the wrong kind of woman – sounds like he is with a younger woman who is not very established in her career or life, and is maybe from a lower economic bracket who needs help with what she sees as the essentials of her life.

    Kofi is just disrespectful. Why would he forward you pictures of another woman’s vagina? I wouldn’t forward a dick pick that someone sent me – and I think if it’s unsolicited then it’s not cool

  • Oh Kofi dierrr…That image is forever burned in my mind. I deleted it right away though. Not the sort of thing I need on my phone in MY situation.One day, we should have a talk about sexting and possible consequences!

    I feel like this is a tough one. You and I believe that there are tons of what we feel are eligible, but we’ve never seen these women’s performance in a dating environment/scenario, have we? Their behavior could be completely different, and on some level it SHOULD be.

    I don’t believe in either man’s case it comes down to something as simple as dating younger women who are not established. Neither guy spends a lot of time in the company of very young women. And as far as economics goes, you know how insular families of a certain income bracket are in Accra/Tema. Everyone knows everyone and those people have all dated within the same circles. It’s really incestuous!

    That’s what I’m gathering in conversation. 🙁

  • This sparked all sorts of thoughts for me. I’ll focus on one in particular though: maaaaaaaaaaaaajor kudos to Malaka for the evenhandedness and empathy of this piece.

    I hear many of the same comments from both men + women in my circle. Rarely, however, do I see people try to step beyond their default knee-jerk responses and perhaps consider that each camp may have valid concerns.

    Simple but insightful comment you made: “we’ve never seen these [people’s] performance in a daring scenario”. We all vouch for our friends, colleagues, those closest to us. But til you’ve actually partnered up with that friend who’s a “flawless specimen of eligibility” and seen how they test a (potential?) significant other, none of us can claim to actually know how terrible of a mate they might actually be.

    Not without some heavy guess work at least.

    Hence, the reason it’s cool to see such an open-minded take.


  • It’s unusually quiet from the Adventures crew. LOL! I’m guessing they don’t share your sentiment, but I appreciate that you believe it was an evenhanded approach. Honestly, it was very hard for me to write with empathy for my male friends, because my instinct is to lay blame for every relationship that ever went wrong in the history of mankind at a male’s feet.

    I’m hoping more people will chime in, for and against!

  • I find it hard to believe these men have NEVER met an eligible women they had an opportunity to date? I feel like men sometimes put serious dating/courtship on the back burner until they reach a certain age and then expect to just waltz into an amazing relationship. I totally believe that men may encounter challenges because finding and/or maintaining a successful and healthy relationship is a challenge for everyone.

    Tell your friends to suck it up!

  • If men knew what they wanted it would make relationships much more easier. Eligible women with looks, a brain and their own stuff don’t want to start trying to figure out these eligible emotionally dwarfed men. Men today are very duplicitous in nature, their talk and walk are completely off.
    They go around talking about sweet nothing and end up with bitter anythings. Money can only do so much for you and if you can’t do the rest, you will realize that you have chosen a Levi’s 501 woman instead of Proverbs 31 (since religion is a big factor in choosing a wife in Ghana).
    A today’s woman wants a honest, stable and able man point blank period. It behooves a woman to look out for the interest of her future family because love can’t pay the bills and put food on the table. If you have money and want a woman that’s going to respect your riches, you need to set that tone and don’t go around flaunting it and using it as a fishing net because you will fish piranhas.

  • A short intro: i am a year and a couple of months divorced, dated a guy for a bit and got out about 3 months ago. So i finally decided i was ready to date a couple of weeks ago and a friend of mine sets me up on a blind date with his friend. Dude picks me up and i notice he is rather reluctant to speak english but is very talkative when its twi. Ooooook… we go out for lunch and we are discussing something and he asks me to check Goggle’. YES Goggle not Google. I almost died right then! I almost hyperventilated. i bet you are thinking ‘hmmm…she sounds very uptight’. Trust me, i am sooooo not! i just draw the line at bad english especially when its coming from someone who’s apparently getting his MBA done. That was one bad experience but generally my single girl friends have warned me abt the terrible man market out there and how its slim pickings if any at all.

  • The dating system in Ghana IS bleak, in my PoV. I for one, in trying to be open minded and not fit into the heavily economically influenced brackets Malaka spoke of earlier, dated guys both above and below my economic bracket. The guys below took advantage of my insistence on not being a dependent girlfriend, turned the tables around AND then became the leeches. So guys, its not just us ladies that are in it sometimes just for the money. For the one above, hmm, I was viewed as a “too known”, “hard” girl who was taking the fun out of letting him “be the man” with my adamant refusal to let him pay for my hair, credit and other stuff. I was accused of emasculation and dropped for someone who knew how to make her man feel needed. Truth be told, these encounters made me give up on serious dating for the past three years! I mean, I want a loving, responsible, financially stable man who will not insist on having a hero complex. Most of the guys in my age bracket (mid twenties) are not financially stable for more than a week after payday + most of the older men DO have hero complex. You just can’t win!

  • Please, could you get these guys or other guys to describe their idea of women who are practical and grounded in reality and what exactly it is they are looking for.

    Obviously, both sides have things to work on and perhaps we can get a conversation going.

  • I’m a recently widowed woman in my mid 30s and the thought of re entering the ghanaian dating scene scares me shitless! You hear of eligible single men out there also looking but it seems the good ones are aall already taken. The single guys don’t seem to know exactly what they want. You keep being hit on by the wrong ones who are just out to have a bit of fun. It’s tiring and emotionally draining I hear. Can someone set up a service to hook up vetted decent singles? Help!! ????

  • Interesting read. The whole passage seems like a beef burger of issues. I think for some funny reason men in the country also have same reservation about women in the country when it comes to dating. Whose burger is getting delicious ?

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