Coping with Polygamy – Part Five: Comparing yourself with your Partner’s New Spouse

495px-The_DrunkIs the other one better looking than me? Funnier, more exciting? Maybe better in bed? Younger and more attractive? Wealthier? ….

Emotion: Comparison: The woman will examine herself against the new or imagined woman to establish similarities and dissimilarities

Effect: She will compare herself to the other woman/women for differences in body size, hair, beauty, intelligence et.c.

Role: Women with weaker self-esteem will have a harder time moving past this stage than those whose self-estem is healthy

Verbal Manifestations: You’ve always wanted someone like that. You don’t like my body anymore. I must not be pretty to you. You have what you want now, don’t you?

Physical Manifestations: Obsessive focus on maintaining beauty, or sloppiness (Source: Coping with Polygamy: From Monogamy to Polygamy By Umm AbdurRahman )

Fiona: I wanted to know what it was about her that was attractive to you. Please don’t tell me though, because I don’t really want to know, not anymore anyway! When I met her she was in a niqab so I had no idea what she looked like. Her voice made her sound like a child. So I imagined what she might look like…In my head, she looked like Megan Fox..and always in a bikini… 😦  I have always cared about dressing well, about exercising, I know I have a killer body and I know most men find me attractive. I knew your getting a new woman wasn’t about my not being good looking. But still, I wondered what she had that made you want her… I was exhausted and deeply depressed. I stopped caring what I looked like, so that part is true. I didn’t get out of bed many days, so why should I get dressed or brush my hair? I simply lost interest…

Husband: You are an incredibly beautiful woman. I have always been proud of you, the way you turn men’s heads when we’re out together. Sometimes I have compared my wives  in my head, but more about habits and personality, not about how attractive you are, I promise. I know you hate hearing it, but I love you both, I am attracted to both of you. When you became lethargic, stayed in bed and stopped taking care of yourself, it made me very worried, because you have always taken pride in looking good. Also, my friends had said that their wives started to compete for attention, to dress up and look sexy, when their husbands married again. So your reaction really made me worried. Instead of competing you just didn’t care. I thought you might stop loving me. So in a way, I started to work harder to get your attention instead..

Husband: I felt immense rage and jealousy towards your new man. I felt threatened by him, afraid that you might leave me to be with just him. I wanted to know what kind of man I was up against, and I wanted to find out what you found attractive about him. I pictured some kind of Sean Connery type, because I know you like men who are elegant, macho gentlemen… So when I first met your #2 I was surprised. I had pictured Sean Connery in smoking but the man was more like Liam Neeson in jeans. I was surprised. But I could see he would be attractive to women, and I really hated that. And he is so different to me, and that made me feel inadequate and insecure. I started to go to the gym more often, and felt a need to be very virile around you. 🙂 And I felt, if I had sex with you all the time, you might be tired and not want to have as much sex with him. So yeah, I felt very competitive! It was excruciating…

Fiona: The first time the two of you met, I was very nervous but it was rather funny too. You were both obviously measuring each other, like two boxers in opposite corners of the ring before a match.. I could tell you were very jealous and you were comparing yourself to him. A couple of times you said disparaging things about him, and I had to tell you to stop, that I wouldn’t take that from you any more than I would take it from him. That sort of put a stop to it, I think you realized that you didn’t want me to listen to my #2 putting you down …. The way you started to go to the gym more often, and buy new styles of clothes was a bit funny – and touching! It showed me how you were trying to please me, and I liked that…

(Texts are moderated transcriptions of our recorded conversation)

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