Question: I am a second wife with a 2 years old baby and my husbands first and immediate family never know about me and our baby. My husband is living in his country with his first wife with their 3 children and i am living with my parents in my own country, we have four hours times difference and it is 8hours straight by plane. At first i accepted it because he always make an effort to call me in skype everyday. Long distance call every friday and he use to travel and come to me every 6-8 months of the year and spend his 15 days with us. He never failed to send us allowance every month and extra if i asked him to. He says it is only for the meantime because it is very hard for him to find a place for us to stay if ever he will bring me and our baby to his country. It is now my 3rd time spending ramadhan alone as i am the only revert muslim in my family. And in times like this, i honestly dont feel ok, his ramadhan schedule is different, he calls me over skype only every other day and in very short time too..i am not feeling happy the fact that i can imagine he is actually spending happy iftars and suhoors with his first wife and jealousy starts to eat my heart out, i feel hurt and i cannot concentrate in my fasting. I love my husband so much but i feel the need to let him go, let him stay forever with his first wife and live my life alone as a single mom.
I start to switch off my phone and not signing in in skype just to try to avoid him, the more i am not hearing his voice the more i am not missing him, the more im getting myself used to be being alone without him in my life. I am fed up from all his promises that he will bring us to his country sooner, i almost want to give up. What can i do? Do i have to divorce him? In what ground? Im afraid if i ever do that, i will not get my child rights. Please kindly advice.
Answer: Hello Destinedtobeapart,
I am sorry to hear of your situation. Sadly, I don’t really see it altering in the near or distant future. According to islam, you can make stipulations when you marry, add conditions, as long as these aren’t opposed to sharia law. A wife e.g. has a right to give up on some of her marital rights, like equal share of her husband’s time and money. If you did this, verbally or in writing, when you got married, it might be considered a part of your nuptial agreements, and your husband may never have planned on changing anything. That is very likely, the way I see it. Had he ever wanted to change your situation he would have done so when your child was born, especially since the child is a son.
According to most sunni scholars, secret marriages aren’t accepted at all. Were your represented by a wali? Did you have witnesses? Was your marriage made public? If not, most sunni muslims would not consider your marriage legal at all, and your husband is probably well aware. “Society has a share in marriage in the sense that people should know that both of you are married so that they do not suspect you of maintaining an illicit relationship. According to the teachings of Islam, we are under obligation to do whatever we can to safeguard our religion, honor, and dignity; and as such we should stay away not only from that which is considered as strictly haram or forbidden but also from all that is doubtful and dubious.”
Has your husband signed forms to officially assume fatherhood for your child?
Well anyway. As I see it you have a choice. You can either live with things as they are, and accept that he will never spend more time with you, probably less as time goes by. Or you can try to force his hand. You could contact his family and let them know of your existence, your and your child’s. You can contact an imam who can visit you next time your husband stays with you and the imam can tell your husband that you have an absolute right to be accepted publicly, and have an equal share of time and money.
This might lead to a divorce, as you probably understand. But maybe, you’re already thinking about leaving him? It sounds a bit like it in your post. But why stay single? Why not find somebody who actually deserves you, cherishes you?
Being a first wife, I find it a bit difficult to understand why anybody would go behind another woman’s back like this and marry her husband. Sorry. Especially a woman in the West, who is free to make her own choices. 😦
On a personal note I’d say: Girl, you are worth something better! Why sit around waiting for a man who has another family, one he obviously prefers to you? Why settle for being a fortnight-a-year-concubine to somebody who treats you like this?
Is this the kind of father you want your son to have as a role model?
This husband of yours only exists in your dreams, the way you imagine him. In real life, he’s not there.