My Story

Magnolia_campbellii_flowersMy husband dropped it on me, straight out of the blue, that he had taken another wife. He had married her two months earlier. I thought I was going to die. My heart stopped, I couldn’t breathe.
I don’t really believe in any God, I grew up in an intellectual, agnostic,  family in the UK. I met my husband at university. He’s arab. He’s a muslim, but very liberal. He’s lived most of his life in the UK, and I’ve always thought of him as British rather than arab. We agreed we could both respect each others views. I respect his religion, and I’ve always tried to do my best to make the kids feel part of their father’s culture and beliefs, although I understand that I fall short since I’m no muslim. My husband promised to respect my liberal agnostic view on life. Live and let live.
We got married during our last year at uni. We have two children, our youngest moved out just a couple of years ago. I’m 45, my husband is 47. I thought we were happy. Ordinary, happy, married people. I thought that once the kids were gone we’d be able to start our married life again, travel, go to the theatre, spend quality time together just the two of us.
In stead, he lands me in polygamy. The thought never ever crossed my mind that he could consider polygamy. The betrayal, the disgust I felt was unbelievable.
He said he felt lonely when he realised the kids were all grown up. He felt life was meaningless. Obviously this woman – who is disgustingly young – gave him something he felt was missing.
I thought I was going mad in the start. I just couldn’t get my head around it. And he expected me to just put up with it, just let him go spend half his time with her, half his nights in her bed. And then come back to me to live our half of life as if nothing had happened. I was so close to leaving him!! Or killing him!! He didn’t even have the balls to tell me about it until they had already been married for two months.
I screamed at him, cried, called him every name in the book and some I invented myself. I thought I could never stand having him touch me again, when he tried to it almost made me vomit. He tried to tell me about his woman, or girl rather, but I just didn’t want to know. I didn’t want her, or them as an item, to be part of my life. I was about to leave him when he said that I had promised to respect his religion. Did I want to break that promise? To me, that gave me pause. I do believe that no person is better than his or her word.
I slowly learned to live, one day at the time. If I just made it through the day, one at a time, I could maybe survive.
I took up eveningclasses. Called a couple of old friends. Tried to build a life that would be meaningful even when he wasn’t around. He gave me a schedule. Four days with me, four days with her. OMG, how many times we fought over everything, days here, nights there, why did you do this to me, why did you do this to us.
I started a company. I had given up on having my own business when I had kids, but my expertise is in a field that has allowed me to work from home as an employee. Now I started up my own business. Successful. I built a life on my own. I survived. After a while I even found happiness again.
I think my husband was surprised. Surprised I stayed, surprised when slowly our marriage started to work again. I could be happy again. Last year, we came home from a great day out, when I told him that I love him. That I love him more now. He said he was so happy. That he never wanted to hurt me, that he loved me and had trusted in Allah to save our marriage. That the last year together had been the best ever.

So:

I think my husband was surprised. Surprised I stayed, surprised when slowly our marriage started to work again. I could be happy again. Last year, we came home from a great day out, when I told him that I love him. That I love him more now. He said he was so happy. That he never wanted to hurt me, that he loved me and had trusted in Allah to save our marriage. That the last year together had been the best ever.
I agreed. And I told him that I believed that it was because I had found new happiness with a man I met at eveningclass, and who I had been living half my life with for almost a year. The half that my husband had given up. I told him it didn’t mean I love him less. It didn’t mean I wanted to leave him. It just meant that I wanted to be happy all the time, not half the time. That I want a full life, not half a life. That I wanted to be needed.
I have never seen anyone as angry as my husband. He screamed. He threw things. He broke a cupboarddoor in the kitchen. He called me the most vile things. He cried. He asked me if I had gone from the other man’s bed to his on the same day. All kinds of nasty questions. I told him that he had given up all rights to half my life. I reminded him that he had promised to respect my beliefs, the way I had respected his. He just couldn’t stop himself. I told him I would accept a divorce, if he wanted to give me up entirely to the other man, but that he should remember that we had been happier than ever the last year. That selfishness is a sin. That he should wish for others what he wishes for himself.
When he stormed out of the door I thought he’d never come back. But he did. Step by step. And our marriage is better than ever. I can tell you, he never takes me for granted anymore! When he told me he finally understood what I had gone through, that he realised how much I must love him to have stayed with him, I knew everything was going to be fine.
So now, we are really polygamous, not polygynous

 

When I first found out that my husband had taken another “wife” my reaction was to leave him – asap. The concept of polygamy simply didn’t exist in my world. I can tell you honestly that all through our marriage up to that moment I had never looked at another man, never thought of wanting anyone but my husband, never lent a thought to being able to feel anything for anybody but my husband. I was a monogamous person, flesh and bone. As I told you, I went totally berserk when my husband told me he had “married” again, that he claimed it was his “right” and that he actually expected me to suck it up. The day when he left for work and told me he wouldn’t be coming home but start a 4 day schedule, I told him I wouldn’t be there when he got back. He said he loved me, that nothing could change that, that we still had everything that was precious – our life together, our kids, our shared experiences, and that he didn’t want to give that up and he thought I didn’t want that either.

Ok, so I cried my heart out, had fits all by myself, packed and unpacked. I so didn’t want to give up on my marriage, I thought maybe it’s just a midlife-crisis, maybe everything will go back to normal. But as time passed I started to realize that wasn’t going to happen. When he came back, the screaming and crying started again, he slept in one of the spare rooms, the pain was unbelievable. I forced him to tell our children. They just couldn’t believe it at first. Then they told him they hated him, that he wasn’t their dad any more. They refused to meet his girlfriend. They still haven’t forgiven him. I think I have, most of the time, but it still hurts to think about this.

Anyway, I tried to find something meaningful to do with the half of my life that he had rejected. One of the things I did was I started taking eveningclasses in business and management. And there I met a man.

He’s a couple of years younger than me. He’s a computer engineer and he was starting up his own business. It took a while before I realized he was attracted to me. Was I feeling vindictive? Did I want to get back at my husband? Well, maybe that was part of it at first, I’m not really sure. I do know that it took a lot of time connecting, talking and getting to know one another before I understood that I was getting emotionally involved with this man. When it dawned on me that I was falling in love, I told him all about my marriage, and the fact that I was still hoping my husband would decide to come back to me full time. He said he understood, but that he couldn’t help loving me.

So, it happened. And I felt a bit guilty, but not as guilty as I would have expected. I didn’t take anything from my husband. He had taken half the rest of my life, and thrown it away. He had stolen my life as I knew it from me. He had destroyed our monogamous love, and turned it into something else. He made me polygamous, not I. This man chose me, when my husband had chosen someone else. We took nothing from my husband. Actually, it was finding love again that brought me back to my husband. By feeling fulfilled, by getting back my sense of self, by being happy again, I was able to forgive my husband. A week after I first made love to my new partner was the first time I was able to let my husband back in my bedroom. I know it hurt my husband when he realized, but I think that now he has understood that our current happiness, or the existence of our marriage at all, is due to my becoming polygamous too. (When I told my husband about my partner I tried to remind him about all the times when he had told me that love is about sharing, one should want for ones neighbour what one wants for oneself, exclusiveness is selfishness et.c. and he screamed to me: “I meant YOU!! YOU should share, YOU shouldn’t be selfish, I wasn’t talking about ME!!!”)

25 thoughts on “My Story

  1. Wow Fiona…….i totally understand where you are coming from now.One question ….do your children know what is happening? i have a remedy to happenings like this…..don’t EVER marry a Muslim man period.I would have divorced him.So how many years now has this double polygamy been going on? If i HAD to make a choice between being forced into polygamy or being single (no sex) i would be single hands down. Polygamy is from hell.

  2. My children know everything, but have reacted differently. My son says he has no father. My daughter tries to keep him in her life, but has huge trust issues and a vast amount of harboured anger.

  3. I giggled to myself as you mentioned the turn around what many of us call karma. I read it to my husband who has also taken a second wife but now vows he will never leave and said but you don’t have me half the time you have me all the time, I said yes but am so proud of her she showed him what is good for goose is good for the geese

  4. I’ve found myself in a similar predicament. I’ve always been poly, but my husband has not. Though he was completely understanding, he still had doubts and feared that I would leave him. Then, he found someone else also and I went ballistic. The thought of him being physically intimate sickened me. I couldn’t make love to my husband and it was killing our marriage. I realized, almost too late, that my own insecurities had gotten in the way of what should be a beautiful and loving marriage. Though we are still together and on the mend, things will never be as they were before. I love our marriage, but I do miss the one on one at times. I hope all works out for you.

  5. Hello, and welcome!

    It really is quite daunting the way we can respond to our spouse doing the same thing we are doing ourselves. My husband went absolutely crazy when I told him I had married #2, even though he himself had been polygynous for a long time, expecting me to chew and swallow. I’ll never be able to understand it!

  6. I just keep reading this story and have almost read through the entire blog. The raw unfiltered truth that you consistently present has been a source of strength in this very trying time. Although I am a second I can identify with the betrayal because I didn’t know about the first until a child and marriage was involved.

    I feel so bad for her because she is over in Africa with no husband for 6 years. Although she gets way more financial support than me… the least I can do is not be mad about that. I love the guy and I prefer him to be here with me have the money. I know she is a woman so it must hurt no matter what he says “they are used to it”. Whatever! Im always saying to him that she has some Mandingo over there beating that box out lol no woman can go that long. I hope for her sake that is the case. Anyway if she doesn’t love him I pray that she find true love and I wouldn’t care if he supported her for the rest of his life as long as he’s here with me. she does really love him and wants to share him the only way I can live believe in me is for it to be equal.
    I have an ex that has loved me for 10 years and will not marry another. He always says I am your husband. We still talk occasionally and I plan on asking him to become my second husband. He is a free spirit and I’m sure he would agree. I told my husband now of my plans but I don’t think he believes me lol.

    Anyhoo… thank you from the bottom of my card for writing this blog. I do not know how I would have been able to deal with it otherwise. You are an angel!!!! Best of luck your marriages and with the new baby

  7. Welcome – and thank you! I’m glad if anything I write can help you.

    I can understand that your husband won’t believe you. They are taught that women can only love one man, which of course is untrue. I wish you the best. Please keep us posted! 😉

  8. Pingback: Polygamy in the family – Part 2 | Sisterhood across continents

  9. this is very funny. its combination of religion and world. you can have only one way not two ways. it wont work in long run. islamic polygamy is not new. it’s mentioned in bible. many orthodox still practice it and promote it too. Only difference is, Islam gave clear instructions and put a limit. In other religion and cultures there was no limit nor any guidance.
    i’m afraid it wont work. simply religious ways always worked (or at least most of them in the history of religion) but worldly ways were never successful. You would know better in future.

  10. Hi!
    This too is a religious way of practising polygamy. You´re right, we can have only one way. Polygamy is allowed for all, or not at all. Islam did not give clear instructions, scholars disagree all the time and most muslim men only cite half quotes from the quran, the ones that justify their point of view. My way works just fine. We are very happy, my husbands and I. Thanks for visiting.

  11. Please understand you are not a Muslim believer but the Quran addresses how a Muslim man can have his sexual needs met with an infidel woman. You are still together out of mutual kindness, as this is not true love. Its about control and pleasure as derived from it. I have live in Saudi Arabia for a good part of my professional life. Islam is a false religion as dishonesty is permitted as an ends to a means. Deceit is ok if it furthers the interest of the believer. Women are creatures of words as it fills their emotional needs. Men logically evaluate deeds.

    Now I have had 4 wives, (one at a time) and people over time grow together or they grow apart. As an American the love of my life was my third wife was and English secretary who I met after the desertion and divorce of my second wife in Saudi Arabia, but I lost her through death in a car accident there.

    When you bend your spirit to accept less than you deserve you only cheat yourself. You have wasted time on the wrong man who has prevented you from the freedom of truly finding soul mate you deserve. You may think you have equality in your relationship with a Muslim man but you don’t.. You are property in his mind which is to be controlled until you reach the point of becoming baggage to be jettison when the load gets to heavy.

    A Muslim doctor told me I had a disease that actually required surgery. reluctant to have an operation I quarried can it be treated by medicine as I felt fine and OK.. Well It was a Gaul stone and eventually the illness would overcome me and the stone would pick the time for the required surgery after the disease weakened me. Or I could select the time before the inevitable would happen while strong and i n good health. Wisely I headed the advice and I chose to pick the time and after the operation I was up and walking within three hours of the surgery. Be in control of yourself, you pick the time when it is right for you to move on before you are jettison like unwanted cargo.

    I happened this article quiet by accident I hope my comments work for your benefit. Rick

  12. Rick, thank you for your comment. I couldn’t agree more. And I’m very sorry for your loss of your soulmate. I hope you’ve been able to find healing and some happiness.

    I did what you said and surgically removed the gallstone from my life a year ago. Best thing I ever did.

  13. How’s your book coming on unchained? I’m looking forward to reading it! I’m so glad you found me again because your voice of sanity has helped me many times 🙂 What about your dreams of Kashmir? And M? Are you still in contact?

  14. Hey Fiona. Just to be clear since I am a little confused by your blog. What is your personal attitude to Islam? Is it just you blogging or do you allow others?

    Ciao

  15. Book is coming along. I’ve actually now got 3 of them going. ACK…I’m not a multitasker either, it’s just I got inspired to start 2 more completely different novels. They’ll get done, sooner or later. I’m at over 100K words with my first one, and eventually I’ll get this pesky first draft finished so I can turn around and rewrite the damn thing -_- ah, the joys of revision and editing.

    One thing that the 50 Shades of Shit craze has taught me – my own first draft work that I thought was sucktastic superficial drivel? Is Pulitzer Prize winning stuff in comparison to the word-vomit that passes for EL James’ work. OMFG. And that’s not even to say a word about what passes for the content. No I haven’t actually paid money to buy the book(s)…fortunately there are enough people laughing at them and posting enough about them that I’ve been able to essentially read them anyway. I’ve been wondering when you might say something about 50 Shades!!!

    I haven’t spoken to M since November. That ship has sailed. He’s in Kashmir, and I’m here wearing out my fingers in self-therapy. I also got rid of my fulltime job that was sucking the life out of me and not allowing me much creative outlet time, and picked up a part time gig in a bookstore 😀 I’m currently looking for another part-time gig to pay the bills til my book is ready to sell 🙂

  16. Honestly, I’m glad M has sailed into the sunset. You seem so much stronger and happier without him! Yes, re-reading is hard work. I find it difficult to kill my darlings, but since I’m good at piling on words, I often have to do that to fit into the frames of an article. So, you work in a bookstore. Now I’m picturing you like Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle 🙂 Is the book you’re working on about your experiences with polygamy? I’ll get back to you on 50 Shades!

  17. My personal attitude…tricky. I used to have great respect for islam. I got to know islam through my husband and my parents in law. They are all very liberal and managed to combine islam with modern, democratic values. To me, islam used to be about getting to know oneself, trying to live a life of peace, humility and respect for the rights of others. Then polygamy happened. At first, I was stupid enough to actually believe islam would help me. Since Mark told me he “married” a second wife because his religion allowed it and his religion is about respecting people’s rights, I thought it would also respect my rights. So I went to an imam, another imam and a third imam and they all said the same thing. A wife has no right to object if her husband wants to remarry. In fact, she has no right even to be informed he has married another and is shagging three other women. A wife has no right to divorce if her husband marries three other women and fucks them every day. She will go to hell if she asks for a divorce without a valid reason. A wife has no right to deny her husband sex, even if he comes to her straight from having fucked his three other wives. A man can marry a teenager, in fact he can marry a nine year old. A wife has no right to object. If she does, the husband has a right to beat her and stop givin her food. A husband has a right to lock his wife up and keep her as a prisoner in his home. A wife has no right to leave her home without her husband’s permission. So he can simply starve her into submission, into accepting polygamy and marital rape. Which of course isn’t rape according to islam.
    Well, it all altered my view on islam. And I started to study islam myself. And Arabic. And the more I learned, the more I detested the culture and set of ideas that gives one group of people total power over another group of people. And I am amazed that cultural relativism says we must respect this BS. Here goes: If you believe in a religion that says love your neighbour and do unto her what you would have her do unto you, fine. I’m all for that. If you believe in a religion that says some people have rights that are one degree over another group of people, I will call you a bloody nazi. That’s about it.
    I have allowed others to post, questions most of all. But I’m open to new ideas 🙂 Welcome.

  18. Actually, the first two don’t. One, that I’m over 100k words into, is a tale about reincarnation (it’s a romance), the other about a famous rock star who succumbs to heroin addiction and fights hard to overcome that, the death of his wife and daughter, and find meaning and love in his life again, out of the spotlight and living in the middle of nowhere.

    The third, however, the one I’m really devoting my time to right now – yes. It deals with polygamy, but not Islamic. FLDS polygyny, the Warren Jeffs kind. About an 18 year old pregnant girl who flees the compound and her much much older husband. He’s their prophet, and the price for running out on him is blood atonement. Of course, he’s not about to just let her get away.

    The 31-year-old hero of the tale meets her when they end up stranded in the mountains of Colorado when both of their cars ended up going off the road and into a ravine during a blizzard. He’s a confirmed bachelor (and a coke addict…I see themes here) who ends up almost dying in his effort to save the girl and her baby. He does, and to protect her, he poses as her husband and gives her baby his name and takes them home with him.

    That one is also a paranormal romance, because he’s a paranormal investigator. Turns out she is a psychic medium and never knew it – she’d always suppressed that side of herself because of her religious teachings. The whole thing will come together in circumstances surrounding a gold-rush era hotel infested with dark spirits and a very mysterious owner of the place.

    And it goes on and on LOL….

    Your story about Islam is identical to mine, pretty much, and I was told the same stuff. I tried to capitulate and to some degree I did, in pure survival mode. But that would only keep for so long before it was get out or die time. I decided I have a lot of living to do and a lot to say, so I put that whole mess and M behind me. I spoke to him around the 20th of November and not a single word since. He hasn’t tried to contact me either. It’s been blissful.

    IDK if I’m quite Meg Ryan LOL…but you definitely meet interesting people working in a book store. I’m so in my comfort zone there – surrounded by literature and people who love it as much as I do. Plus the general manager, my boss, is really hot 😉

  19. Please leave your man, go to find a man like you and let musmils and their religion, and stop complaining, wtf husband you have to marry a liberal woman!

  20. Pingback: Women Can Have the Niqab OR Equality, not Both | Arguments Worth Having

  21. Dear

    In our society,we seen prostitute,live in relation,contract merriage,boy/girl friend

    Every society have a problem,polygamy merriage alllowed Islam,Bcs Islam didn’t want to dishonour women as a bad name,u seen most of nude pic of women,pornograpgic industries,all leads to dishonour women,

    We also try to respect ,polygamy is option for men’s desire

  22. Dear

    Yes, there are problems with prostitution. Allowing men exclusive right to take plural wives, without consent from their prior wives, nor without obligation to inform spouses about new marriages, does not solve those problems. Nor does it honour women. The claim is absurd.

  23. Polygamy is allowed because islam didn’t want to dishonour women?

    And women only have 2 choices, polygamy or prostitution.

    How do these people write such nonsense without realising how stupid they sound? I’m so grateful God didn’t make me an idiot, life would suck.

  24. Hi
    I’m Western female and have been married to a Nigerian Christian for the last 20 years. We live in Nigeria. To cut the long story, our son is proving to be a disappointment so much so that my husband is considering taking a second wife so that he’ll some more male children (we only have one son and one daughter) as it’s imperative that there must be a first son. I’m not sure what to feel or think as on the one hand, I feel bad that our son is misbehaving but I still feel that he is a gift from God and therefore I should be grateful, for the children I have and stick by them, for better or worse. However, I realise the pressure on my husband being the first son, it is natural that he should want a suitable heir to be a proper chief to the villagers.

    It makes me feel selfish to be thinking about myself but I wonder what all this means for me. Thanks for listening.

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