He took off with a load of gifts and a guilty smile on his face. We kissed good bye like two strangers with a wall of unasked questions, untold fears and undivulged feelings between us.
Last night he called me on Skype. They are in a hotel because his parents won’t allow #2 in their house and my first husband can’t stay at his aunt’s with #2 since she has an elderly friend living there who can’t be expected to be bothered by the inconvenience of a strange man in the house.
So my husband called from their hotel room. #2 was having her hair done so he was free to talk to me for a while. I asked him if everything was alright with his family and yes, his mom and dad and siblings are fine and his aunt is fine and is enjoying having a young woman in the house. So I had to ask about #2, and he said she’s ok. And that’s when the talking became difficult.
This is my husband. We used to be able to talk about everything. We could always be honest about our feelings and when I was afraid or angry or sad my husband was always my greatest support. Now, there’s a wall of silence between us.
I know he wants to talk to me. I know he needs somebody to talk openly with, somebody who can listen to his worries and advice him. He’s got nobody. He can’t talk to his parents because they are still very angry about #2. He can’t talk to his children of course. And he can’t talk to me. I could tell from his look and his evasive answers that #2 isn’t at all ok. She is probably angry and sad and afraid. I can understand that. But my husband can’t talk about it because he knows I don’t want #2 to be a part of my life, and he knows #2 would hate it if he told me private things about her, just like I would hate it if he discussed me with her.
Things are happening right now that might alter his life forever. And he can’t talk about it with his wife. He is making decisions that will affect both him and me, maybe irrevocably but we can’t discuss it.
I know there are women out there who won’t even let their husband’s tell the other wife that they are having a baby, or already have one. So a wife might not even know when her husband becomes a father. This is real life polygyny, these are the ethics of polygyny.
We are best friends. We love each other. We share a life. But we can’t talk about the things that matter most.
Polygamy means living behind a wall of silence.