“I haven’t got age on my side. I could drop dead tomorrow.”
These are the words of Iris Jones, the 81-year-old British grandmother who married her 36-year-old Egyptian toyboy last year after a whirlwind romance.
The couple are forced to live in separate countries as Mohamed Ahmed Ibriham is struggling to secure a spousal visa for the UK, Mail Online reports.
“Every day is precious,” laments heartbroken Iris. “It’s bloody awful being apart.”
The octogenarian wed Mohamed in November last year after meeting him on Facebook.
Iris has been on national television to gush about her sex life with the man 45 years her junior.
“It was incredible. I felt like a virgin again. It wasn’t easy but it was very loving and romantic,” she told ITV’s This Morning show.
The couple married in
an unconventional ceremony shortly after meeting last year, when Iris flew to
Cairo in Egypt to be with Mohamed.
Instead of a traditional wedding, Iris and Mohamed signed documents written in Arabic to make things official.
“After that, the document was handed to us, one for Mohamed and one for me, all in Arabic. I don't know what it says at all,” Iris told Metro.co.uk.
“It might say that I’m completely under his thumb, but if that's the case, I'm not.”
The couple then celebrated their union at the local KFC, Iris adds.
But the fairytale was short-lived.
She returned to the UK on 11 December and hasn’t seen her husband since.
Mohammed, a former quality inspector, is struggling to secure a spousal visa because of red tape.
“I get days when I’m alright and other days when I’m just crying all the time,” Iris says tearfully.
“I’m separated from someone I love. It’s so hard. I haven’t got time on my side. His lawyers know that.”
She has flown to Egypt three times to be with Mohamed but says she has no plans to return to the country, Mirror Online reports.
“I can’t go back. That country does not suit me. It’s too hot, it’s too dusty. I don’t like the food and the fumes from the traffic are absolutely horrendous. Half the cars on the road would be crushed if they were in Britain.”
She also can’t afford the plane tickets and accommodation costs with the £200 (R4 150) she claims for pension and disability each week.
Iris is desperate to get her husband to the UK and says the issues with Mohamed’s visa have put her under physical strain.
“I’m suffering from headaches and stress and I’m going to the doctor to get a letter saying I’ve got so many health issues I need my husband with me in Britain, hoping they’ll bend the rules a bit and let him come over and look after me.
“There’s lots of documents and papers to get. In Cairo, people have to queue up, men in one line, women in the other, and there’s nothing online. Mohamed has to get many, many documents to fill in to come to Britain.”
Her children aren’t supportive of the relationship, Iris admits. She says they’ve been giving her the silent treatment since she tied the knot with Mohamed.
“He is wonderful, but the fact that their ‘father’ is younger than their sons is maybe a point of contention,” she says.
Iris, however, isn’t letting go of the love of her life to please her children.
“My mother-in-law and father-in-law are younger than me,” she says.
“It makes no difference. We love each other and that's all that matters.”