Coping with Polygamy – From Monogamy to Polygamy

Wedding_rings_photo_by_Litho_PrintersI stumbled across a book called Coping with Polygamy – From Monogamy to Polygamy by Umm AbdurRahma. In this book you can find some interesting observations about the psychology of reacting to polygamy. However, pseudo scientific baloney about women and men being emotionally, physically and intellectually different species, and that polygyny is beautiful, a man’s right, divinely ordained and that a woman must submit and will be happy once she realizes that she must enslave herself to her husband and allah, the same ol’ islam bullshit, is also to be found in abundance in the book.

Some time ago, I was told by an islamist woman that my being polyandrous is abominable, while my husband’s being polygynous is beautiful. She wrote: ” To compare that a woman accepts that her husband practices polygamy to a husband who accepts that his wife has sex with another man and commits adultery is to compare apples with oranges. There is no comparison. It is not the same animal. Fiona is (an) enemy to her Muslim husband” This woman, being a brainwashed islamist, can not get it into her head that I am married to my #2 just the same as my #1 is married to his second. That somebody should have beliefs contrary to hers is obviously impossible for her to understand, more so to respect, which of course is symptomatic for the fundamentalist fanatic.

However, her statement made me wonder about what coping with polygamy has been really like for my first husband. Did we react the same? Has the ride to coping been the same?

I asked my husband to read through the description in Umm AbdurRahma’s book of how women cope with polygamy, so we could compare our reactions. Was the fanatic woman right when she said that we are not the same animals, that comparing what I went through with what my husband went through was like comparing apples with oranges? I can tell you, we had an extremely interesting conversation!

Let’s begin with the beginning:

Phase 1 – Depression

Phase 1 is the initial reaction. The woman is flooded with new and intense emotions usually resulting in depression. During this time it is made clear to her that her husband wants, will or has acquired a new wife.

Emotion: Shock – Caused by a violent or sudden emotional disturbance, in this case caused by finding out the husband’s desires.

Effect: The woman may experience a range of emotions and moods, but typically including numbness and disbelief.

Role: Short lived, the woman moves quickly into other more dominant emotions.

Verbal manifestations: How could you do this to me? Why all of a sudden? Why now`You didn’t want this before! What have I done to you? Don’t you love me anymore?

Physical Manifestations: Uncontrollable crying, yelling, hitting, silence (Source: Coping with Polygamy – From Monogamy to Polygamy by Umm AbdurRahma)

Fiona: Yes, I recognize this, shock numbness and disbelief. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, that I was in a sort of glassbauble, and I couldn’t breathe and I could only hear what you were saying from a distance, through the glass. There was a sharp physical pain too. Like I was being racked. I didn’t cry at first, because I simply couldn’t believe it was happening. I was caught in silence instead, I couldn’t speak.

Husband:I knew you would be hurt of course, but I really didn’t know what reaction to expect. I thought you would scream and yell, so when you just went quiet that really scared me. I thought you were having a heart attack first… You scared me really bad initially. I felt like shit for doing this to you, but I had heard so many people say that after a while women adapt and even like polygamy. I just thought I would have to ride through the initial storm. So when there was no storm at first, that scared me.

Husband: My head exploded when you told me. A red explosion of anger and hurt. I just exploded. I ran my fist through one of the cupboard doors in the kitchen. I don’t really remember thinking anything. I had no control over my reaction. And yeah, numbness. And yelling. I remember screaming. And I remember asking ”How could you do this to me?” I couldn’t believe you could have done that to me. I was close to passing out, it felt like all blood left my body.

Fiona: I actually didn’t know what to expect. I mean, in a way I thought you wouldn’t take it as badly as I did, because you had already chosen polygamy. But at the same time, I knew that it would never ever have occurred to you that I might become polygamous too, so I guess I knew really that you would be just as shocked as I had been. The violent reaction with the cupboard door scared me. For just a second I feared you might loose it… But when you started screaming, I knew I didn’t have to be afraid of that. So the screaming actually helped me..

Next, Phase I, step II – To be continued….

7 thoughts on “Coping with Polygamy – From Monogamy to Polygamy

  1. “Husband: I wanted to be allowed to be happy” Did it occur to you that she wanted to be happy too?

  2. Please help My husband says he will have new wife. I can not cope. What can I do not break? Please help. Make duaa all the time but I am not better about this is always making sad. Soon is nikkah and I dont now how too cope i dont think I can do this. Please how can I find peace with this please sister?

  3. Salam ,Sad wife,

    Oh my dear sister,i do not want to tell you.First you must sit down and analze your life,do not make the mistake of being fast to react, rather sit and think. Second what ever you decide is your right as a muslim,that if you want to leave ,than leave,but if you want to stay than stay.I will not tell you what I would do, because it might not be right for you ,but rather look deep inside yourself and make that step that will make you happy first,not your children,not your family,and not your husband. Allah has given you choices in Life,and sometimes we must choose ourself above all,because than we can create the happiness for ourselves , our children and those around us.You must speak to your husband,if he does not hear you than speak to an imam ,or someone that will listen.Can ask what is reasons are for taking the second wife,maybe than we can come up with another action plan.I hate this ,now I can stop crying because this is not fair to these women.May Allah protect you,and please do not feel like you must accept this if it not your best interest(financially ).Good luck my dear,and hope I helped alittle.


  4. Salam Sister thank for kind words I feel lonely and talk is difficult I dont want to tell anybody I dont want them think I am bad wife or husband is bad or I am forbidding and jelos. Maybe I will speak to imam I can not speak to husband and show him I cry not now. Husband say want new wife for I am always with children and not with him. Please thank for help

  5. Salam habibti,

    My dear sister please do not blame yourself,you must remember that you did not have the children by yourself,he was there too. I have been married for 8 years and have little girl,and not once has my husband complained that taking care of his daughter is some how annoying because after all it is his child.You must be strong,do not show him that you cry,cause thay is what men use against women.Speak to the imam ,you have the right to take care of yourself,and think of what is benefiting you and your children.Allah says that there is no force in Relgion,that means there is no sin on you if u refuse (say no),so do not worry about Allah being mad,because he gave you the right to fight for your rights.Fatima bint Mahammad refused Ali to take a second wife,or she asked for a divorce,so he did not take a second wife.I wish I can help you more,but this is the time to show your husband what you are made of,show him how strong your are,and trust in Allah.
    To Do List:
    1)Sit down and speak to her husband on how you feel.Let him know this hurts and he would not want you doing this to him
    2)speak to an imam,make sure he is an imam that is aware of women’s rights,not some crazy man
    3)If you can start working,do so you will not depend on your husband for money
    4)Go to the mosque and start getting friends ,so you will not be lonely,trust me you will need the strength of other women
    5)Be strong,your husband is not Allah.There are million of men who are looking for good women no matter what these men say.
    May Allah Bless you and give you strength, contact me anytime sweety


  6. thank you blessed sister for your words. neighbour helps me find imam and i will see together with her him.

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