My Husband has Married in Secret! Q&A

400px-Young_Saudi_Arabian_woman_in_AbhaSalaams Sisters,

I am an American revert, I live in Saudi with my husband. We got married 8 years ago, it took quite some time and effort I can tell you to get our marriage approved! The Kingdom really is a stickler for rules, in every way. We met while my husband was working in the US and I fell madly in love with him, took the Shahada and accepted that we’d one day move to Saudi for good. My husband is a devoted husband and father and a good Muslim in every way. I have trusted him with my life. And not just as a saying but for real, since for a woman to move to Saudi is to put her life in the hands of her husband.

It took some getting used to, I can tell you. I still prefer just to stay in my house since the culture here is stifling. I have a few friends who are also American reverts married to Saudis, but that’s about it. I’m not at ease here, not even with my husband’s family who expect me to wear a niqab even at their house because of my husband’s brothers.

Maybe this isolation is the reason why everybody else knew my husband had married a second wife before I did. He still travels a lot because of his work, and when he finally told me he had a second wife, he had already been married to her for almost six months.

So for six months I’ve been sharing my husband with another woman, without knowing it. The reason he told me is she’s trying to become pregnant so she wants him to start spending half the time (nights) with her so that can happen asap. Obviously she had agreed to give up her time for a while, until he told me about her and now she has put a stop to that. So suddenly my life is a turmoil, a tornado of pain, tears and fear.

I found this blog, and just love it. The way you stick up for women! Right now I’m in so much pain I don’t know how to get through the day, and the nights are even worse. And he just expects me to come to terms with it. He says he’s sorry, and he says he loves me and doesn’t want me to hurt. And I keep saying: Then how could you do this to me? Why did you do this to us? But he doesn’t have any answers.

He says he will not divorce me, and he will not allow me to leave the Kingdom. And he won’t get a chauffeur for me so I’m basically a prisoner here, in this country in my home in my marriage.

And right now, my husband is off trying to make another woman pregnant.

Please, sisters. Help me. Give me some strength, or at least some company.

How do I survive this?

136 thoughts on “My Husband has Married in Secret! Q&A

  1. I respect your honesty Abdul and wish you and your wife well. You described the intoxicating forbidden fruit well. Refreshingly honesty that polygamy is largely about sexual variety.

    Dale, I also felt some sympathy for the 2nd caught up in the fantasy. Then I wondered if she was living out her own fantasy. Her role being the favoured/younger/probably revert/”im better than your 1st cos I accept polygamy” wife. I think many 2nds get an initial ego boost from it, knowing the husband is choosing them over the 1sts objections. It makes them feel special, important. Only later reality sinks in.

  2. Abdul

    I hope you are still reading. I intended to write another post to you yesterday but go caught up in the daily dutys.
    I think you asking for advice was a very brave thing to do, men dont often ask for advice, especially from women, it showss you care. I wanted to add that I know it will be difficult for you to listen to your wife without having the solution, men rarely bring up a topic if they dont have a solution. Please remember that she wont expect you to have an answer or a solution to what she says. For example. Most women will say they felt like their husband ‘left’ them. The man says he didn’t leave hes still here. But thats how she felt/feels. You dont need to combat every sentance with a reply. An try not to get defensive. Please let us know how you are getting on. If everything we advised isn’t working, let us know and we/I will try to help you further.

  3. You must think me a very bad person but I dont think I can do what you ask. If I go to my first wife and say all was a mistake, how can she forgive what I put her through for a mistake? Would not that be even worst if I say I did this to her over a mistake? And can I tell my second wife she is a mistake when she just want a marriage and husband and did nothing wrong but wanted more then I can give and she has made me happy when we was in love? And now I cant be a husband to either of the wifes because they dont want to share me and say they dont want to be a wife to me. I am willing to listen to my wifes but they say nothing that helps when I ask what can I do the say leave me alone.

  4. Abdul,

    Then that may be the solution. That was exactly what happened in my marriage, and now my ex-husband has no wife at all. I want nothing further to do with him and I believe the same is true of #2. You reap what you sow.

    What did #2 think when she married you – that you’d divorce your first? Why now doesn’t she want to share you, when apparently she had no problem with it in the beginning? Or – did you not tell #2 that you already had a wife?

  5. Ditto. My husband ended up with no wives and still hasn’t been able to find anyone.

    It was never going to be easy to fix Abdul, but Sots advice is your only chance.

  6. Abdul.

    I get the feeling your NOT LISTENING. look at the situation your in. BOTH your wives want a divorce, they have told you to leave them alone (I expected them to give you this answer). You have a few choices. 1. Stay as you are, have miserable wives, be miserable untill one or both seek divorce. 2. Choose which marriage means most to you and has the most chance of survival. As they both want a divorce this shouldn’t be too difficult, you dont need to call any one a mistake or tell your 1St it was a mistake. Just admit that you had no idea what you was doing, you wanted it to turn out good but it didn’t, your sorry and you want to make the marriage work MONOGAMOUSLY. just pick one before its too late because judging by your words your running out of time fast. 3. Give them both what they are asking, and divorce them both.

    Its not going to be how you want it, give up. You tried and failed. Get over it. It hasn’t been easy for your wives either. You made your bed and now you have to lay in it…..both of them.
    Your 1St wife probably wont be too disturbed if you say you didn’t know what you was doing, she already knows that.
    I never said you was a bad person, but you must think you are for saying such. But you tell me, does a good person leave their wife crying while he goes and fucks another women.

  7. I have been quietly reading this current thread and Sots and First wife, what you describe in a nut shell describes how I feel. First wife, I sat mouth wide open when you described how you have spent many years coping with polygamy, years which have now passed which when you look back could have been spent moving on. Wow, hard words which hit home.

    I used to read the 411 blog in the past, before it became very subjective with anyone with an opinion against Ana’s being thrashed to the ground and labelled a polygamy hater. Ana has alienated many commentators who had valuable insights and real experiences to share that were interesting and a source of comfort to others. Now, when I dip in and out, it reads like the Ana and Gail show, with a few random snippets from passers by who soon tire of the repetitive rhetoric and leave.

    Me? After several happy years of marriage my husband took another. I went through the heartache, the despair, the acceptance and perseverance. Several years later I am still in the marriage, living life with sporadic episodes of intense drama thrown in. I still feel bitter but I cope, it is amazing how one can hold onto something that is causing one pain, I suppose that is what forgiveness is. Like you said Sots; “I can’t fault him as a husband in general, he does all the right things, but my feelings are changing, I tried hard to hold on to the love I have for him, but it seems minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, its fading away.”
    Why is that? Simple, everything they say and do with you, they do the same with the other, that love, intimacy and exclusivity once shared is gone, she stole it and he freely gave it.

    ALHAMDULILAH ALLAH gives me the strength and patience and I do not regret anything, but I do wonder what the future holds and how many more downs are to come. I admire first wives who remain firm in their marriages, it can be the hardest job in the world, they’re not foolish wimps as others would have us believe, but have their reasons. But what is even harder is to step back, take a good look and realize that maybe life could be better. I think this is when fear steps in and there can be a tendency to bury those feelings rather than face the unknown alternative, especially when your self esteem has taken a knock.

    I have been a Muslim all my life, a devoted believer in Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) and admit I do not agree or condone some things discussed here, but I do appreciate being able to read these comments so thank you Fiona for allowing others to share their thoughts and experiences without being judged, attacked or ridiculed.

  8. Lost

    Welcome. I’m glad if you feel welcome here. I apologize if I offend you, if you feel anything over some of the discussions here like the agony I experience when I read some of Ana’s views I really am sorry. You know, I do respect people of strong and honest faith. Any faith. As long as that faith does not deny some people rights it grants others. I just can’t agree with that, ever. If people could just never do unto another what they would not have them do unto themselves – the world would be so much better off.
    I admire first wives. Who can blame them for the choices they make? We can never know what another woman’s life is like, feels like. I admire anybody who keeps her sanity and her belief in life and humans while facing polygyny.
    “Everything they say and do with you, they do the same with the other, that love, intimacy and exclusivity once shared is gone, she stole it and he freely gave it.” That’s the rub. Yes. This is the true and unbearable core of polygamy.
    But you know, forgiveness is not about being able to hold on to something that is causing pain. Please, please don’t believe that. To forgive is to love. We can forgive somebody who offends us, even if we don’t care about them very much. But you can’t forgive somebody who shatters your soul if you don’t love them with all your heart. If we don’t, we just cover up the wound, we don’t really forgive. And from what you tell us, I don’t believe you love him in a way that allows you to forgive him, not any more. Do you? ❤
    I really love Mark. I have gone through enough now to know that I really really do. But it took everything I had to be able to forgive him.

  9. Lost,
    I’m not sure what you are intending, or reaching for. It sounds like you mainly want to share your feelings, and be listened to in a confidential atmosphere. This is a group of readers that cares. I think it is perfectly OK to put any comment on the most up to date thread, because you are more likely to get responses.

    I couldn’t tell from your story if you were previously a regular contributor at Ana’s blog, or just a silent reader.

    You said: “I do wonder what the future holds and how many more downs are to come. ” Personally, that is where I would start, by asking yourself what you want for your future, and by looking at your own view of it. The viewpoint described above is inherently passive and pessimistic, I only wish to point that out to you.

    Fiona did more than “forgive” her husband. Forgiveness is tricky, it works when it happens, but much of what others define as forgiveness is another thing altogether. Much of what I hear being defined as forgiveness is actually inducing oneself to believe that a painful bed is not painful. I believe that what worked for Fiona more than anything was making decisions and building her own life, and refusing to be a victim.

    Lost, I wish to contest something you said: “…she stole it and he freely gave it.”
    Lost, she did not steal it, he stole it. I understand that you love your husband, and it may be the right thing for you to stay with him forever, as you planned when you married him. That does not change the fact that you are living with a thief and a liar.

  10. //Much of what I hear being defined as forgiveness is actually inducing oneself to believe that a painful bed is not painful. I believe that what worked for Fiona more than anything was making decisions and building her own life, and refusing to be a victim.//

    Excellent statement you made Dale. Thats an important observation that several of us have noticed when we see some women talking regarding forgiveness such as in the context of polygyny.

  11. Thanks Fiona and Dale 🙂 I have been busy with school recently. Also managing my health, for which I have been visiting a doctor.

    I have been reading all the comments though. Sometimes I don’t know what to share. I am still finding myself. Questioning and moving away from my religion has been the hardest thing for me, which has taken a toll on my emotional health as well. But otherwise, I did the best thing since I also feel a load has been taken off from my shoulders, giving me permission to start finding my own way. Things that I had intentionally blocked out in the name of religion, and made no other sense to me except that a God said so, I am checking out and finding if I can embrace for myself, or at least embrace for others if not for me.

    Religion for many of us is the peg on which we base our morality upon. Even if we don’t quite follow it, it still feels like a safety bed in case we lose our way. The problem is how most religions are constructed. The good and the bad parts are meshed together in a confusing mixture. The excuse making and hypocrisy to protect the religion’s negative sides from getting exposed in clear light doesn’t help either. That is why it gets so confusing and disturbing for so many good people who are devoted religious people to know what to do when they start spotting AND acknowledging the negative parts within their religion.

    I am glad you people here are good and wise people who are compassionate, which makes it easier to ask for advice, but then also don’t let too much of negative parts slip out without acknowledging their presence.

  12. I wish there is more of a reform in a number of religions, including Islam. Otherwise there is so much of good present within each. Also sometimes the religions become more like a cultural heritage which we base a number of our morals and living upon. I don’t see why all these need to be wiped away. It doesn’t make sense. A reform would be essential though, to make life and living easier, and to increase tolerance and harmony among people.

    But then I wonder, how open are people like Muslims towards a reform in their religion? Many of them are adamant that it is a perfect religion, and it is US people who are misinterpreting it or not following it properly. If this mindset is succintly addressed, in a compassionate way, I think people would be more open as well. Many people themselves are getting tired as well, and confused about certain parts in living life, so it looks like there would be more openness than expected.

  13. Hi Mariam,

    I understand exactly what you are going through, having been through a similar process. The sense of a God is still very strong in me, but is that because religion played a big role in my childhood, so it’s ingrained? I pray, but confusingly, I don’t know who I’m praying to. Sounds absurd now I’ve put it into words.

    I often wonder if children that grow up with no belief in God ever believe as adults? I imagine it’s rarer than the other way around.

    Anyway, hope you still enjoy your studies and get on top of your health 🙂

  14. Hi lifeisgood, thanks for your comment. I have been feeling the exact same as you. The sense of God being strong in me, but when I pray, I am not sure who I am praying to.

    Last night I had a crying session on this, since I had realized I have been carrying a sense of betrayal within me for the past several months. I had been so convinced regarding the God I had been praying to all my life, and the nature of that God, and felt sorry for the people who had to go through the confusion stage, that I realized with all my growing, I still know very little regarding God and It’s nature.

    The good thing out of this is that I understand the people who don’t want to question and investigate, better. The last thing they want is to land in this confusion and sense of emptiness inside because of it. Also a sense of anger, that a truly loving God would allow all this misunderstanding and oppression in the world to happen without intervening at least to correct us.

    Anyway, I am trying not to hold onto the anger part much, because it does not really help me. Some spiritual teachers I have seen said that learning to be more intuitive is a major step in this journey. And of course, not to give up.

  15. Lifeisgood, regarding belief in a God, its just a whole other topic that has a long discussion on its own. Now if we could actually see God, feel God in a tangible way that is undeniable, hear God’s voice without a shadow of doubt that it is It, and this happened to mass numbers of people and can be arranged in a statistical data, there would have been much less confusion among people. And after that, if the God laid out It’s ideas and rules for people in clear terms which doesn’t need too much thinking or analysing and is not so allegorical to create confusion in understanding, all the better.

    But since this is not the case, hence we see the confusion regarding God and what principles to follow in this world. Also confusion on how to deal with our numerous problems.

    Certain people, whether they were gifted that’s why or persistent enough to find the truth, have caught glimpses of the grand mysterious reality working in the shadows and away from mass public view to grasp more clearly.

    For the rest of people they may either believe those people’s glimpses, or be too sceptical because they themselves have not anyhow caught even nearabout glimpses, or it contradicts their current idea of reality. Or because they have seen enough self-brainwashed people and even charlatans to know they can also be potentially made up.

    For those who grew up not believing in a God, it may be easier to be that way (if they live in a similar minded community) since they can always say there is no rational evidence of God. Also finding out more on the unknown can be a scary journey for them.

    But then as we all have experienced here, when we are living life, its not all rational, even if it may be that way often. Our feelings tell us that as well. There seems to be clearly a mysterious force working.

    Now further details on this force, I do not know. The religious people (especially of the Abrahamic religions) can to an extent pretend to know, and make up vast details on the nature of It and what It wants, depending on how they were taught by other people, but I am not that person anymore.

    There is another thing regarding faith in a higher power. It could be religious people are more open to listening to their feelings and observing them, which is why their faith in a higher power is stronger. This is more lacking for the logical and rational type people, so it’s possible the latter are missing out certain observations that the religious ones are already making. This openness to listening to feelings is something I am trying to increase within myself currently.

  16. Did you try reading anything by C S Lewis? I mean, not Narnia, but something like The Problem of Pain?

  17. Fiona, I had been thinking of C S Lewis for the past few weeks for some reason lol. How is that book of his, what is it about?

  18. Well he found faith within the CoE. But his was a very humanitarian and philosophical faith, and he worked hard on his relationship to god, because it wasn’t simple and it wasn’t a given. And he was an extremely empathic and intelligent man, making his writings interesting for everybody, regardless of faith. I found solace in his writings after my parents died, even though I am an agnostic of RC background.

    Lewis’ wife died from cancer.

  19. Thanks Fiona for your explanation. It makes sense. I did a wiki search on him as well and read some parts of his biography. I will take a look at his work soon.

  20. I will check that out too Fiona, thanks.

    It is a very scary thing Mariam to question beliefs that have formed the basis of your life, especially in your situation where your family and country all hold the beliefs and expect you too also.

    When you get overwhelmed try to step back for a while, say ok Ive reached this point, its a marathon not a sprint, give myself a rest. Recognise the progress you have made. I hold on to the hope that if there is a God, whatever that God may or may not be, it will understand my quest for knowledge and forgive any mistakes along the way.

    Do you walk Mariam? It’s a great way to clear your mind and ease tension in your body. Especially somewhere by nature like beach, mountain, park even.

  21. Re mean blog comments.

    ‘Twas me. I wandered over and found her mealy mouthed, goody two shoes blathering interspersed with gloating about how she’s sure she’s the favorite and that she’s more special to her “husband ” than his other wife, who spends too much energy on her six kids. Typical second wife arrogance, and having seen at first hand the devastation wrought by exactly these sorts of selfish, pseudo religious assholes, I told her what I thought of her and all her disgusting convert ilk. And I’m not a bit sorry.

  22. Thank you lifeisgood for your advice. And its true in my community I have hardly seen too many people questioning beliefs that have formed the basis of their lives. They may live and act in ways that they want, but actually question beliefs and move from that point onwards? Very few. Many people seem to function on autopilot, where they live and act in ways as expected from them, which includes their religious and cultural beliefs, and not let their curiosity get the better of them.

    I will try to do as you suggested. I need that space a lot.

  23. Amal, good for you!!!!

    I got the same vibe from her. And now she’s asskissing Robin. Well, she should feel right at home there, since Robin is all about one-upmanship, both on the blog with her followers and how she used to talk about Carolinah.

    Fiona, some of my comments aren’t making it through apparently…hoping this one does??

  24. I am actually one person who grew up without religion. I dont remember one person in my entire family mentioning God to me. Even at funerals,weddings ect. As I entered my teenage years, I had spoken to religious people about why they do X,y,z. It was more for ‘conversation purpose’ than actual interest. My belief at that time was I dont know if there is a God and I dont particularly care, I knew logically if there was HE had to have certain attributes, nothing any, Muslim,jew,Christian ect told me sounded correct. I had a good fulfilling life, had a picture perfect childhood. I was happy.
    In my mid twenties, I read a lot, I dont know how but I came across a book called “Islam for idiots” 😀. I read it, and it sparked my interest. I wasn’t missing anything in my life, I wasn’t looking for anything. I read loads of books on islaam, particularly ‘who God is’. his attributes ect. After a few years I had made my decision. God is real. And islaam is the truth. I became Muslim.

    Mariam, the basis of my life was not built on God, or any belief for that matter. My parents always said do what makes you happy, I wasn’t forced to believe anything. I live in the west so society expects me to drink alcohol, go out partying, have a job, get married and have babies ect. Although I am married with children I never planned that, infact I had no intention of ever getting married. I only got married because islaam required me to if I was going to live with a man. My life is nothing like my family’s or the people in the area I live. Im the odd one out.

    I thought id just share this.

  25. Thanks sots.

    You know, in a family of Roman Catholics and High CoE, I’m the odd one out too. When I married a muslim there were some eyebrows going up in my family, but they found it easier to accept since he has an English mother and went to the right schools. One of my elderly uncles even referred to him as pukka
    I have studied religion and since polygyny entered my life, I’ve completed a BA in Islamic Studies. Partly, I wanted to understand what had happened to me, and all the women who come here, partly I felt I had better get to know the enemy. I admit.
    I have searched for knowledge and understanding all my life. I have felt deeply connected to philosophers and religious thinkers alike, just nobody in particular. Schopenhauer, Rawles, Wollstonecraft, St Francis, they have all been part of my life in different ways.
    I don’t party either, never did. I drink wine on the rare occasion. I got married extremely young – because I loved. And because I believed, and believe, that marriage is a gift from the weltgeist, the most sacrosanct gift of all.
    If I hadn’t had some kind of faith, a deep sense of ethics and the sacrosanctity of marriage, I suppose I wouldn’t have been so utterly destroyed by what happened to me.
    But the same faith, in life, man, love and equality, was also what offered me a way back.

  26. Hi there 🙂

    Fortunately, I checked the spam folder, and found your posts. For some reason they had ended up there 😦

  27. Thanks for checking, Fiona. I suspected that’s what had happened! It’s all good 🙂

    Raised RC but non practicing here too. I’ve been all over the place trying to figure out who/what I am. Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Atheism. I just wanted the universe and why we are who we are and why we are where we are to make sense.

    I’m at peace with my beliefs now 🙂

  28. Hi Amal and welcome,

    I know exactly what you are talking about, the arrogance shone through despite her efforts to conceal it with fakeness. That kind of woman is the worst to be a second wife.

    Unchained remember Ana always bleated about having leverage against other wife? Being the legal one, the insured one etc. She’s not honest about that when other less fortunate women end up there and she tells them to only rely on god – Ana doesnt, she has protected herself legally and financially. She’s not honest about how much she hates her co-wife either but is in fact a hypocrite lecturing others.

    Sots, I didnt realise that was your background, thanks for sharing.

  29. LIG, yes, I sure do remember that. It was a constant theme when I first joined up there. In fact, she counseled me on holding fast to my position by citing herself as an example…saying Carolinah was insanely jealous of her wealth, beauty, legal marital status, etc. and that “burger-flipper”, that “gap-legged ho” couldn’t compete.

  30. I see now Robyn is biting her tongue big time over a new poster talking about sects and hadiths. Normally she would rip a person’s head off, but she must be reading this blog as she regularly does, and realised her Quranist position drives posters away.

  31. Thank you for your welcome Fiona and making me think about forgiveness and my interpretation of it. I feel I have tried to forgive and others have convinced me that I must really love him, but why then do the slightest little things that happen stir me up again? I now realize that I haven’t actually truly forgiven as I still hold feelings of resentment and the hurt I feel is still there, although not as strong or apparent as in the beginning. I know now that I am tolerating the circumstances, being patient I guess until I don’t know… maybe I am being passive to some extent.

    Dale thanks for your response also, let me try and explain why I think she stole – It’s like leaving your front door unlocked. You could say it’s the owners fault if a thief comes into the home and steals, however, the thief still has a choice. They can have a conscience, do the right thing and choose to walk by, or they can satisfy their own desire, enter and take what they want regardless of the consequence to others. My husband left the door to his heart open and she happily walked in.

    It is refreshing to read peoples responses to a situation, @life is good you were right when you said everyone is understanding here and no one is bashed as having lack of faith for struggling, a recurring response at 411.
    Thanks again

  32. Ha . Lord knows I went into full on research mode about Islam to know the “enemy”. I have read some scholarly books and translations of the Quran but I frequent blogs because I am more attracted to personal experiences than academia because I find real life situations which I can relate to. that’s how I found this website! 😁😁😁Then when i found out about the random wife in Africa I became completely obsessed with polygamy Islam, and Senegalese culture. I read so many horror stories I started treating him bad as a result. For our lives to get better I had to look at him as an Individual rather than an African Muslim. But I’m definitely guilty of research lol
    one of the saddest things I’ve ever read on here is when someone (Lost or Sots maybe? sorry pregnancy brain lol) said just when I’m at the verge of being OK then plummet back to zero. I just want to give you a hug, I’m so sorry for your pain!

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