The Beginning

Magnolia_campbellii_flowersMy husband dropped it on me, straight out of the blue, that he had taken another wife. He had married her two months earlier. I thought I was going to die. My heart stopped, I couldn’t breathe.
I don’t really believe in any God, I grew up in an intellectual, agnostic,  family in the UK. I met my husband at university. He’s arab. He’s a muslim, but very liberal. He’s lived most of his life in the UK, and I’ve always thought of him as British rather than arab. We agreed we could both respect each others views. I respect his religion, and I’ve always tried to do my best to make the kids feel part of their father’s culture and beliefs, although I understand that I fall short since I’m no muslim. My husband promised to respect my liberal agnostic view on life. Live and let live.
We got married during our last year at uni. We have two children, our youngest moved out just a couple of years ago. I’m 45, my husband is 47. I thought we were happy. Ordinary, happy, married people. I thought that once the kids were gone we’d be able to start our married life again, travel, go to the theatre, spend quality time together just the two of us.
In stead, he lands me in polygamy. The thought never ever crossed my mind that he could consider polygamy. The betrayal, the disgust I felt was unbelievable.
He said he felt lonely when he realised the kids were all grown up. He felt life was meaningless. Obviously this woman – who is disgustingly young – gave him something he felt was missing.
I thought I was going mad in the start. I just couldn’t get my head around it. And he expected me to just put up with it, just let him go spend half his time with her, half his nights in her bed. And then come back to me to live our half of life as if nothing had happened. I was so close to leaving him!! Or killing him!! He didn’t even have the balls to tell me about it until they had already been married for two months.
I screamed at him, cried, called him every name in the book and some I invented myself. I thought I could never stand having him touch me again, when he tried to it almost made me vomit. He tried to tell me about his woman, or girl rather, but I just didn’t want to know. I didn’t want her, or them as an item, to be part of my life. I was about to leave him when he said that I had promised to respect his religion. Did I want to break that promise? To me, that gave me pause. I do believe that no person is better than his or her word.
I slowly learned to live, one day at the time. If I just made it through the day, one at a time, I could maybe survive.
I took up eveningclasses. Called a couple of old friends. Tried to build a life that would be meaningful even when he wasn’t around. He gave me a schedule. Four days with me, four days with her. OMG, how many times we fought over everything, days here, nights there, why did you do this to me, why did you do this to us.
I started a company. I had given up on having my own business when I had kids, but my expertise is in a field that has allowed me to work from home as an employee. Now I started up my own business. Successful. I built a life on my own. I survived. After a while I even found happiness again.
I think my husband was surprised. Surprised I stayed, surprised when slowly our marriage started to work again. I could be happy again. Last year, we came home from a great day out, when I told him that I love him. That I love him more now. He said he was so happy. That he never wanted to hurt me, that he loved me and had trusted in Allah to save our marriage. That the last year together had been the best ever.

9 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. I have read your story,is very intresting. I dont understand what is now.Are you still living with your husband?I hope have 2 wifes but I am very afraid my wife will live me whan I say I want One more wife. I love my wife very much but I feel I want more when my soul is longing for more wife. How do I make my wife stay and love me if I marry new wife? Why did you stay? Can you help.I will have my wife and not divorce,but I cant stop wanting 2 wifes.

  2. Hello Amir, and welcome to Polygamy 911. Your question is a good one. Why did I stay? My first impulse was to leave. I was so hurt, and disgusted by what my husband did. Him having another woman hurt like hell, but the lies, his doing it behind my back, was even worse. So my first advice is, don’t do anything without your wife’s consent. If she says no – swallow it. You should not do anything to her, that you would not willingly have her do to you!!! Would you accept it if your wife decided to have another spouse besides you? If not – don’t do to her what you would not have her do to you. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you muslim?

  3. But a wife is not must say yes. If that was rule no man could get more wife… Woman is jelos of husband and will not share. How make wife not jelos, make her see I love her and will not leave her. I just will have new wife to live polygamy and care for 2 wives. A wife can not have 2 husbands. Yes, am muslim.

  4. Just curios: How do you argue that it’s good that women are denied the right to have a say on theur husbands becoming polygamous? What rational arguments can be made?

  5. Hello, and welcome to Polygamy 911, thank you for commenting! However, I don’t really understand your question. This is my story, what happened to me. What sources do you want? I’d love to hear more from you! 🙂

  6. Islam doesn’t dictate that a woman has to tolerate polygyny, Islam gives her the right to divorce if she doesn’t want it. Your husband trying to play the religion card was BS, because he knows quite well that in Islam, women do NOT have to tolerate this, but it seems he took advantage of your ignorance.

  7. Yes, he took advantage of the fact that this was a part of islam I had never cared to investigate. But when I did, both using islamic forums and meeting with an imam from a London mosque, they confirmed my husband’s interpretation. A woman is only allowed khula if her husband is missing (for severla years or:

    • has failed to provide maintenance,

    • is sentenced to imprisonment for seven years,

    • has failed to perform marital obligations,

    • is impotent,

    • is insane,

    • is suffering from leprosy or venereal disease,

    • is cruel, (constant and severe beatings causing e.g. a handicap)

    • is associated with women of evil repute,

    • attempts to force her to lead an immoral life,

    • dispossesses her of her property, or

    • obstructs her from practicing religion

    Polygamy is not in itself grounds for khula. Not as far as islamic scholars go anyway… Why otherwise would muslim women have it in their marriage contracts as a special clause that they be allowed divorce if the husband becomes polygynous?

  8. Hello, I am just starting to read your story, but I was hit by the fact that when your husband reminded you the promise to respect his religion you paused. You wrote earlier that you knew him as a moderate muslim, that never in the world you would have thought he would consider poligamy, so it seems his own views on his religion changed through time to the point that they made him break the promises between the two of you. When you got married did you not vow to be faithful to each other? To care and provide for each other, and for each other only? I honestly think that your respect for his religion, or for his way of living his religion, blinded you of the fact that he had broken the marriage pact between the two of you. Plus he chose poligamy without even telling you. How can someone so disrespectful pretend to be respected? Sorry I do not mean to be judgemental and as I said I am just starting to read your story, but your words about respecting his religion really hit me as I saw so clearly the first one who was being disrespecful was him.

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