There is a growing trend of overly busy husbands. They have absolutely no time or interest in raising their children, leaving their wives to do single parenting within the constructs of marriage.
Tales have been told of unavailable husbands who are hardly home with their wives and children.
Take, for instance, men who work in industries that involve frequent redeployment.
We have all heard of pilots, long-distance track drivers or military men who stay away from their homes for so long that upon their return children hardly recognise them.
Basically, in such families, the mother plays both roles of father and mother.
Now, the a million dollar question is, how do such wives cope with this situation, bearing in mind the freedom they have?
Well, some women in such unions wait until their love and patience banks run bankrupt.
Among the many things they do to kill boredom or to spice their dull lives is ‘having fun’, which, among other activities, includes cheating on their husbands.
Most Kenyan husbands are unavailable, so much so that their wives live like they are single mums or widows.
While in office, Barrack Obama seemed too busy for his wife, Michelle.
So much that in a TV interview, Michelle let her tongue slip and referred to herself as “a busy single mother”.
Of course, she quickly corrected herself and regretted the slip of tongue.
But then, we all know what psychologists say about slips of the tongue; they are windows into our minds and clues to repressed thoughts!
That was before Obama defended her in a separate interview saying, “But there’s no doubt that there have been times where Michelle probably felt like a single mum... when I was running for the US Senate, when I was running for president, there were times where I wouldn’t see her for a week and she was still working and looking after the girls...”
Michelle Obama is not alone. Closer home, we have many women who feel like “married single mothers” because either their husbands have jobs that require them to travel too much or to work during ‘family time’ or, for reasons known to them, spend their ‘family time’ with other women.
When love dies
When love dies in such homes, mostly wives end up cheating with watchmen, shamba boys, drivers etc. Take the case of one desperate housewife in Nairobi who requested anonymity. She complains that her husband is hardly home on time.
“I hardly see him, I can’t remember the last time we sat down with him and our children over a meal. He leaves home very early and returns late, when I and the kids are asleep,” she says, adding she can’t recall last time her husband took her with their two daughters out as a family.
“I can’t even remember when we last went together to church, shopping, or even out on a picnic. In fact, a neighbour once asked me if I’m married and when I answered her, she wondered why she has never seen my husband,” she reveals.
The woman, who hails from the Coast, likes cooking but unfortunately her passion is slowly but surely fading away because her man never eats her meals, which is one of the biggest insults to a woman.
“In my house, love died long time ago. I don’t have another man on the side but I’m considering that...,” she says.
Seeing as women are very good at multitasking and covering their tracks, these affairs go on unnoticed for decades.
In the process, some husbands end up raising kids sired by wife’s secret lovers.
That many married women have increasingly become available for social excursions is no secret.
It has increasingly become commonplace to see married women hanging out in clubs till late, and posing as single and ready to mingle.
Many married women who live like single ladies, or single mothers cite reasons such as emotional and physical neglect, or physical separation especially in cases where the two live in different towns, cities or countries due to work commitments.
Others talk of revoking or slashing down the man’s privileges and rights as a husband if he can’t provide, among many other odd reasons, as we found out.
Take the case of Jack, a city businessman, for instance. For slightly over five months, the 29-year-old was in a relationship with a woman who turned out to be someone’s wife.
“She was a good-looking and reasonable woman. We did all the things that lovers do. The parties, the drinks, the outings, gifts, fights and all that,” says the businessman.
In fact, he says, it is the fights that made him realise he had been going out with a married woman.
That she was always readily available surprised him. Never did she even express fear of being caught.
Jack explains that even after he found out later that the woman was actually married, she reassured him and told him not to worry about being caught because her husband was too busy to notice a thing.
She told Jack, among many other things, that her husband was too busy for her.
She went on to agonize that there was no love in her marriage, her husband never even “touched” her and that they lived like a brother and a sister.
Interestingly, this happens to be one of the reasons given by wives in such marriages.
“He is never home. He cheated on me, then I found out. Although he apologised, and I forgave him, the incident opened up my eyes; I no longer just sit there like a fool while he is having fun out there,” says one who gave her name only as Ann.
Ann lives with her husband but goes out on dates with other men. She accepts drinks and is game for outings whenever an opportunity arises. In fact, she has a steady boyfriend whom she meets at least once a week.
“No, he has no clue and will never know. But my boyfriend knows that I’m married, he does not care,” she adds.
Her reason for doing this is clear; if he has a ‘side dish’, then she too can have one. Better still, she feels entitled get everything a single lady is entitled to.
Providing for the family is not the issue for most of these men. They provide basic necessities, pay school fees, pay rent but are not available; something some hot-blooded wives can’t stand.
However, there is another group that doesn’t provide and whose wives are on their own. Yet most women believe that men ought to provide and that if for some reason the man can’t provide, then he forfeits the respect and privileges that he is entitled to as the man of the house.
If he is not providing and a lunch offer comes, she will take it. When the drinks come, she will take them. When the ride home comes, she will get into the car.
When the tumble in the sheets comes, she has no option. To keep the goodies coming, she is only too willing to pay in kind, as she knows there is no such thing as free lunch out there.
Some unavailable husbands suspect their wives cheat, but they are either too busy (looking for money or with other women) to investigate or take action. However, some know their philandering ways are well known to their wives, thus they have no moral authority to complain!