Rivalry in Polygamy

ThreeringsI was behind the pottery shed, tidying up, when I heard Graham and Mark talking in front of the barn where Graham is fixing us a hammock. Mark came to the Chilterns early this morning for breakfast, to say goodbye to Tamsin and me before he’s off to Oman.

Initially they were just talking about how to attach the hammock properly. Then suddenly Mark says “I suppose you’re the kind of husband she should have had all along” and I heard Graham answer kind of slowly “Yes, I suppose so too”. Then Mark blurted out “Well, I gave her twenty years of happiness and two children before you came along and settled for scraps”. And Graham answered “Yeah – isn’t it a miracle how I managed to make a happy woman and mother again out of a tortured pile of scraps”? Mark: “You’re such a bastard” Graham: “Well, a bastard can’t be blamed for what he is, but you made yourself what you are all on your own”.

Mark took off without another word.

And now I won’t see him for 13 days.

Well my dears, I wish that had played out differently.

30 thoughts on “Rivalry in Polygamy

  1. Lol, that was funny, almost like a movie dialogue πŸ™‚ That was some rivalry for sure.

  2. πŸ™‚

    Yes, I can see it’s sort of funny. πŸ™‚

    But I must admit, I have a bad feeling in the stomach. After all, my husband is leaving to go visit his other woman. I didn’t want him to leave feeling bad about our marriage…

  3. I’ve often wondered if it’s the rivalry that traps people in polygamy.

    Neither woman wants to back down leaving the other woman in monogamy with the man they love/d.

    Do you think that’s why women stay? Are they wanting to stop the other woman “winning” the man. Are they hoping the other will get fed up and leave?

    Fiona sounds like Mark is worried that you will draw closer to Graham as a reaction to him going to Oman. He will be there but thinking of you, Graham, Tamsin playing happy families at home. He knows as well that no2 doesnt have the emotional insight to comfort him meaningfully as she can’t possibly understand the 3-way set up with Graham.

    He must also be insecure over the fact he knows Graham has never betrayed you like he did, and you now share the bond of a child that before only Mark had with you.

    I hope the time in Oman passes smoothly for you. It will also be hard for Graham as he will sense your discomfort with Mark being there and that brings up the old thinking of the other when you’re with the current husband.

    My advice, when you’re stressed by it just remember your crack whore analogy. You’re waiting for a fix of Mark’s love and affection. But you know it’s unhealthy and you know you’ll break from it one day when the time has come.

  4. Haha Graham must have been better at fixing the hammock for the comment to blurt out πŸ™‚ Be like women baking and one doing a better job πŸ™‚

  5. It’s okay Fiona πŸ™‚ I can see how considerate you are in trying to keep up and run two good marriages, which is appreciative by itself. I think Mark got jealous that while he is going to be with his other woman, you are also with your other partner. You know, the traditional way is that when one partner leaves (even though it is to visit another spouse), the other partner stays faithful and waiting for them to return. So it might have felt unnatural to him and struck him with jealousy. There isn’t much that can be done. Perhaps if the jealousy is too much, the co-spouses could be prevented to see each other to avoid sparking jealousy bouts. Anyway, I don’t think you need to worry much. I wish you a good time of your own with your family staying with you meanwhile.

  6. Thank you ❀ You are spot on.

    I can feel the urge for a fix now. It is so strong. 😦

    I'll go and take care of the manure I'm planning on feeding the roses.

  7. You’re right. Graham could easily earn his living as a carpenter or handyman. Mark has huge problems even with a Snorgel or Grofs from Ikea πŸ™‚

  8. Thank you πŸ™‚ Jealosy really is a green eyed monster. And it refuses to die.

    I’ll be fine.

    I’ve bought rosebushes to plant in front of the house. I’ll get to it. It will make me happy. πŸ™‚

  9. Yes, the urge is strong because the drug of choice is being removed from your life for a while. And someone else will be getting your fix.

    This is the insidiousness of polygamy. But you’ve been through much worse times Fiona and you’ll get through this trip too.

  10. Then Mark blurted out β€œWell, I gave her twenty years of happiness and two children before you came along and settled for scraps”. ‘

    I don’t even know where to begin here but Mark playing victim really pisses me off. He acts as though he did NOTHING wrong. He was the devoted husband and father and then along came Graham? Is that how he sees it? How ironic, since he was coming to say farewell before flying off for 13 days with the Yemen Teenybopper. Wow. Revisionist history at its finest.

    Then resorts to namecalling when Graham gives him a tiny bit of truth to digest.

    Don’t give it another thought, Fiona, and enjoy your time with Graham and Tamsin. Much luv ❀

  11. πŸ™‚
    I’m trying to just leave it, but it sort of left a thorn in my side..

  12. I understand.
    If it makes you feel better, read my latest post in the other thread. Jackpot baby!

  13. and they say that jealousy is women’s thing. Put the men in similar situation and then compare.
    Don’t worry Fiona, you are in the best situation a polygamous woman can be. Mark has equal right to divorce you for getting back with the other but things that follow might not be very good for him. I see why you might be worried for him as well as yourself but worst has already happened to your marriage with him. Maybe divorce and separation is better for him. Why make a man go through what you yourself hated the most. I still see you and Graham having a great future and nothing but trouble for Mark.

  14. I think the best I can do is let things evolve the way they do. Que sera sera.

    Love is weird.

  15. Laila,
    “and they say that jealousy is women’s thing. Put the men in similar situation and then compare.”

    No kidding. The funniest thing I ever read on Ana’s blog was from a Muslim man who wrote in to say, verbatim, “you women need to get over that jealousy thing” . Then he went on to say a paragraph or so later, that any man that ever caught his wife with another man would kill her. I felt like writing in to say “yes, you men need to get over that homicidal thing.” But I was always just a reader.

  16. It’s amazing really how islam has managed to paint jealously in women as something natural but childish and sinful, while in men it is something noble.

  17. Yes true unchained, it’s like Mark refusing to see that he opened the door for Graham. Although in anger we all say things that we know are baseless but say them anyway πŸ™‚

    I find it soooo hard to understand how “normal, decent, intelligent” men like Mark think polygamy will be fine. No matter what I’ve read I just can’t grasp it. Idiots like Walif, sure I get that, but evolved men. Don’t get it.

  18. and men’s desire to Yes and even lusting for more than one women/desire to support the SISTER in need is also noble! While doing the noble deed also keeps them away from Zina! Or change the rules to do Zina and call it polygamy! I don’t see any ways to help married women stay away Zina. Oh wait they keep them busy as house slave, as baby machine to increase ummah, full time single mom for majority of the time. Some modern Muslims also do a favor by letting them work outside the house. Wasn’t the life of a woman in patriarchal world hard enough already that created this additional torture of polygamy for Muslim women. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering 😦

  19. Yes Dale, height I hypocrisy of male commentators is unbelievable. One guy said it’s mainly the women who complain about polygamy! and the genius related it to female nature/jealousy…. Well someone needs to make them all share their wife with another man and then ask if they have any complaints about polygamy.

  20. Fiona,

    It will be interesting to see what the yemeni’s reaction is to you now.

    She was jealous before but since then Mark divorced her (ok took it back, but showed his preference for your marriage) and you have a child – something she can’t have with Mark.

    If she was jealous before she must be more so now.

  21. I am wondering if views like the people in the post are due to Islam dividing into sects. It is the Sunnis and the Shias who have most often succeeded in distorting the Quran’s verses and putting words into the Prophet’s mouth by creating fabricated Hadith to justify to people their thinking and distortion. The Prophet (SAWS) did receive beneficial guidance apart from the Quran, but the guidance in the form of Hadith and Sunnah is far too pushed in society to make them more mandatory than Allah’s words Himself apparently. That is also partly obvious by people ignoring the first condition for polygamy because they are more busy following hearsay, such as Hadith with questionable chain of narrations.

    The Quranists (people who follow the Quran’s words alone) are the ones who read and follow the Quran’s text as it is without complicating things and adding rules and laws (e.g: which foot to enter into a bathroom, stoning of married adulterers, etc) when they are not mentioned at all in the Quran. They are a small minority though, I am not sure why. Edip Yuksel is an example of a Quranist and an Islamic intellectual who tries to spread an Islamic understanding that is more rational, progressive, and humanistic. He and a couple others (Layth Saleh al-Shaiban and Martha Schulte-Nafeh) also wrote a Quran’s translation with the same understanding. Other Quran’s translations are usually written with strong Sunni views and having some level of patriarchy and sexism. Sometimes an Arabic word can have multiple meanings, but the sectarian translators chose to pick the most brutal meaning to fit into a verse, even if it turns out to be impractical and deeply unfair (such as ‘daraba’ in verse 4:34 being translated as ‘beat’, instead of ‘separating from’). One of the views of Edip is that equal divorce rights have been distorted by making it one-sided and uttering a few words. Since I don’t really know classical arabic for now, I am still being hesitant and somewhat uncomfortable, but also checking out his teachings and YouTube videos. You guys can check him too if you want.

  22. I’ll take a look – thanks Mariam.

    I love your posts, I always learn a lot!

  23. Thanks FIona πŸ™‚ Truthfully from your blog mainly I got a head-start to dig deeper. I grew up myself in a typical Muslim environment in United Arab Emirates, and some things which we may have ignored, brushed aside or simply accepted it as normal, I am figuring out further on them.

    The below is the translation I am checking out:


    I found an online version under the names Edip-Layth:


    This is another online pdf version. From page 17 to 39 you can check out some queries being answered, such as beating wife, polygyny, chopping of thieves’ hands, etc:


    I saw it before as well. I was just quite a little shocked by some of it’s ideas. They are using a Quran-only approach, without Hadith or Sunnah, and sometimes comparing with the Old Testament because some ideas seemed to be taken from that as well. The logic used for slavery is that since freeing slaves is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Quran, hence slavery must be forbidden. War is allowed for self-defense only. Khimar is described as something that covers, or a cloak (Covering our bodies is a social and cultural necessity aimed to protect ourselves from harassment, misunderstanding and undesired consequence, and as an adornment, from verses 7:26, 24:31, 33:59). A menstruating woman is not regarded as unclean; she can pray, study Quran, fast, etc. Only sexual intercourse is prohibited since it can be painful or lead to infection. For fasting, if due to illness or hardship she cannot fast she can make up on other days (verse 5:6, 2:184). I think menstruation can also fall under that category if required.

    But I think the biggest one for me, is that two verses from the end of Surah Al-Tawbah (Surah number 9) is canceled out, since the validity of the verses are questionable and to suit a mathematical structure (of number 19, which was Dr Rashid Khalifa’s original idea from studying the Quran). Their idea is that Allah protected the original Quran He sent down, but there are some minor distortions present in these two verses by comparison with other Qurans, which He did not protect since they are not from Him. This is a very big assumption which I have no way of proving. This is a matter of huge controversy with various strong arguments, from historical text.

    I still got a long way to go. I just presented what I know for now. I am trying to check for their validity, which will take time. This is very difficult for me, since most people are not Quranists or interested in knowing about it. They had rather combine Quran and Hadith knowledge for understanding Islam in general. So far though Edip Yuksel seems like quite a good Muslim man, some of whose ideas are very freeing and that you can actually have a rational minded talk on religion and life in general, in comparison to other more close-minded scholars (he teaches Philosophy courses in a college too). But I just can’t accept his Quran-only approach (even if the two verses are not canceled out). Quranists even have problems whether there are five or three prayers sanctioned in the Quran, each using various verses to prove their point. Anyway, you can take a look at the links I posted. But I must admit, I am not jumping to any conclusions whatsoever till I can properly and fully verify them for myself.

  24. I envy you your zeal πŸ™‚ I recognize it, and used to possess it. Maybe I’ll find it again. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything of substance. The past few years, I have simply toured and read from what I already wrote.
    I hope I’ll find myself again someday soon.

  25. Thanks a lot Fiona for your compliment πŸ™‚ You know, I was supposed to be completing an engineering assignment in the library now, at midnight, but instead I am going through these links and your blog lol. I think you have more than enough zeal on your part Fiona, which is admirable at your age while also juggling multiple responsibilities. I seriously don’t know how you keep up. I would say you are an inspiration by itself.

  26. Hi Fiona, I found another non-sectarian translation of the Quran, the writers being called ‘The Monotheist Group’. You can check out the pdf version in here:


    Especially you can check out the heading ‘How to Study the Quran’. It includes some interesting descriptions using examples such as that the word ‘daraba’ used in the context of other verses and for the verse in wife beating, divorce and cutting off thieves’ hand. Also for verse 2:228, the part on husbands having a degree over the wives is instead translated as the husbands having a greater responsibility over the wives. It makes more sense I think.

    To compare the Edip-Layth version with the Monotheist Group version


    I am liking these non-sectarian translations much more than any other sectarian-based translation of the Quran. I am still taking my time though in learning more and verifying their translations, since it is so different from what I grew up with. And by the way I still keep in mind that after all the translators are human beings, and there is still chance in having some errors in them, so it is better for us people to pick and choose the translations we prefer and what makes sense to us, and also learn more of classical arabic, however much is possible.

    By the way I can understand if you are frustrated. The vast majority of people are sect-based, where they rely on Hadith and Sunnah that has been passed down, more than the Quran’s words itself. Some cross-referencing the Quran’s words or using logic to choose the correct meaning of a word out of multiple meanings can also bring light to the meaning of a verse better (the more knowledgeable the person in classical arabic, the better), but the strict sect-based people may ignore such cross-referencing and rely on Hadith and ancient scholarly interpretations to know the meaning of a verse, even if the meaning may clash with other Quranic verses or the meaning of a word chosen to be harsher and different than what is expected. I am just saying.

    The people around me usually have minimum interest in studying the Quran themselves and leave the interpretations to various scholars (who may have a patriarchy mindset in particular). Even knowledgeable people around me, who may educate me in other matters and may be good people, may prove to be unsatisfactory for other deeper matters or matters related to women. So I am pretty much a loner at times in this, and am in my own journey.

    I am sorry if I have errors in my words or if I am mistaken in any way. I am a budding learner myself. I am just letting you know these stuff as additional information. I hope you, Tamsin and your husbands are doing fine, and your current vacation with Graham is going peaceful and hassle-free as much as possible.

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