A older friend of mine approached me about a month after Mr Aisi’s death and said “Tara when you start having boyfriends don’t have them close to home ooo.”
I laughed and told her “ah Aunty my grief is still fresh nah, let me heal first.” That was however not to say that I hadn’t thought about dating and maybe remarrying.
Mr Aisi and I had an understanding that each of us could remarry after being celibate for one year after the other died. Ehem, by that one year we meant wait for one year before dating ooo not marry one year after I am dead.
That was theory. The reality for me now is even though I talk and joke about it a lot, deep down inside of me I know I am not ready for it yet. I can’t even think about dating now, not to talk of remarrying. Mr Aisi and I were together for 29 years so it’s kinda strange thinking of being intimate with someone else.
Now, some of you may be thinking that haba is it not too early to even be thinking about dating and marriage, how long ago was your husband buried, can’t you keep body together, did you really love the man, and if a man did he love his wife.
We seem to have a need to want to paint a picture of “happily lonely after” for the spouses of our departed loved ones. A woman is seen as more virtuous when she doesn’t re-marry after her husband dies and a man extra-devoted if he waits some years after his wife dies or never even marries again.
We all have our personal perspectives as to how soon a person should start to date after the death of their spouse. I know of someone who married within 6 months of his wife’s death and another who hasn’t been able to enter the house they shared together since his wife died over 18 months ago. I know of women that have sworn not to remarry and some who remarried years after their husbands died.
Our society is, however, more forgiving of a man who marries shortly after his wife dies, we tend to think a man’s sexual needs cannot be contained for a long period of time and that if he has young children, he needs a wife to take care of them.
The same society holds women to different standards and if a woman remarries within a period we consider “too soon” we label her promiscuous and allude to the fact that she may have been cheating on her husband whilst he was alive.
We forget that women also have sexual needs and most importantly a need for companionship.
We stay in the comfort of our homes, snuggled in the arms of our spouses and judge someone for wanting what we have, conveniently forgetting that people marry for different reasons and have different needs and/or wants and that everyone has a right to be happy.
We forget that some marriages were marriages in name only, the passion having long died.
We fail to consider that the surviving spouse may have neglected and/or forgotten their sexual desires and needs especially if the dead spouse had been sick for a while before death came calling.
We refuse to remember how stormy the marriage was and how the parties to the marriage were practically strangers never experiencing deep intimacy.
We may be oblivious to the fact that there was some form of emotional or physical abuse behind the happy facade the couple presented to the public.
In my opinion, so long as the spouse didn’t kill our loved one to enable them be with their lover or to benefit from their death, it is really none of our business if they have intimate relationships and eventually remarry and we should stop castigating people for falling in love, dating and/or remarrying because for some of them it just might be their only shot at true romance and an opportunity to be really happy.