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February 20, 2019

I was warned about widows, now I am suffering

Hi Valentine,

Have you heard that in some communities men are discouraged from marrying widows? This is because in whatever you do, she compares you to her late husband. I married a widow and she is in the house but not in bed. However much I try to touch her supposedly sensitive parts, she does not respond. In bed she is just there staring at the ceiling while I’m sweating on top of her. Does she regard me as a rapist, though she is willing? Or does she fear her late husband might be watching? She does not moan, sigh, or shout in joy while we are having sex.

Valentine, did I make a mistake in marrying a widow? I have realised it is very difficult to please one. Please advise. Should I leave her? Despite telling her my concerns and expectations she seems lost.



Albert, I am so sorry. Here you are an eager new husband and your wife turns out it be, from what you describe, sexually catatonic. How frustrating.

I would not write off all widows from your experience with one woman. Grief takes many forms even in siblings mourning the same parent. Some people drink, others find a new found focus on their health, others have babies to name after the late parent and yet others seem to go on untouched.

What you describe might be grief in your eyes, but she might have been sexually unresponsive with her late husband. She might have been taught that good girls do not enjoy sex or she may just hate it and endure it for your sake. She may also feel immense guilt for being alive and remarried while the man she loved is in the ground and this could manifest as sexual reticence.

The decision to leave her or stay is very personal and I cannot tell you what to do after reading a few paragraphs about your marriage. Before you decide though, you might want to try marital counseling. The Amani Centre offers free professional services and you might find that she opens up in that setting. You will also learn more about how to talk to each other. It might be that when you tell her your concerns, it sounds like a list of demands for a sexual performance of moans, groans and heavy breathing.

While you are doing that, you could also ask her to tell you what she likes while you are having sex. Do not ask her for a list over breakfast. Rather ask her if she likes kisses as you are kissing her etc. Also share what you like with her. Does her touch turn you on? Where? What kind of touch? Lead by example and you might find that she opens up that way. Also be patient and remember that kindness goes a long way. There is no prescribed way to grieve a husband and this is just hers.

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