Yes I feel guilty. I have always felt guilty.
I felt guilty when I started thinking about polygyny. I felt like a creep for even considering it. When I started to understand that I wanted it, that I felt I needed it, the guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s difficult to explain but the thought, the desire, once established is like a drug like an addiction. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, wanting it. I felt I wanted to be needed again, I wanted to have somebody dependent on me, somebody to love and care for. And yes, I wanted to experience the thrill of infatuation again. The thought of two women, two different women was intoxicating. The desire was like a drug. I couldn’t give it up. I looked at my wife and I knew it would almost kill her and I felt extremely guilty. But my desire was so great, I made myself believe what many of my brothers told me, that she would come around and accept it, that she would come to appreciate her time off, that polygamy could add new spice to our relationship. I believed it because I wanted to believe it.
But I did it behind her back because the guilt was agonizing.
And when I told her, my world fell apart just as hers did. I was shocked by the violence of her reaction. If I could have undone everything I would have. But I was already married again, responsible for a young woman’s life and happiness. There was no turning back. If there are any men out there reading this, considering polygamy – please believe me – there is nothing as awful as doing it behind your first wife’s back Her pain, my guilt – we both went through hell. I’m no monster. I don’t know how many times I took the car out to the first exit off M6 and parked and sat there screaming and crying with the pain and guilt of having left Fiona silently shivering, staring at the wall in our dark bedroom with a bucket beside the bed in case she wouldn’t make it to the bathroom.
The time I came home and found she had cut herself and was bleeding all over, I would have done anything to turn back time and be rid of my second marriage. But I couldn’t divorce #2. I was in love with my second wife. She needed me. She loved me. I had promised to care for her. She is so young, so vulnerable, so lovely – I still can’t stand the thought of losing her. And I couldn’t live without Fiona.
So I live with the guilt. I’m somehow glad Fi’s second marriage has given me a chance to atone for what I’ve done, I think it’s a test I deserve.