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I Can’t Bear Seeing My Husband Happy with His Other Wife

11 February, 2022
Q My husband and I had been married for 10 years. I am 54 and he is 42. When we married I was already a mother of two children and I was prepared for no more children. My husband said he didn’t want children.

Over the years he changed his mind and decided to take a second wife to have his own children. We discussed it for years and finally I accepted. He found a good sister who also accepted the fact that I was his first wife.

My struggle is that after the wedding with the second wife I feel my husband is not only happy that he is going to have his children but also he is very happy with his new 26 years old wife. He talks very highly about her making me feel I am less.

My jealousy has escalated, we are constantly arguing, constantly upset and I am constantly crying feeling like a loser. My husband assures me he loves me but I cannot deal or cope with the pain of having to share my husband.

The second wife appears to be cool about the whole situation making me look bad and immature being that I had already accepted the marriage.

How should I handle myself and how can I cope with my pain?

I am sad and no matter what my husband does to make feel loved, it’s not enough to erase the fact that he loves another woman and she brings him joy and hope of being a father. Help me please.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

The key is to remember that both wives struggle a great deal, facing their own insecurities and jealousies.

I truly believe that the secret to being able to positively live in a polygamous situation is not comparing oneself to the other woman. But in developing one’s own self-confidence and self-esteem.

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Rather than focusing on what your husband has with his other wife, focus on what you have for yourself, and within your marriage.

Always turn to Allah.


As-salaam alaikum,

Thank you for reaching out to us. I understand that your situation is an emotionally difficult one, and one that requires a great deal of personal strength to navigate.

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I have a few suggestions and insights to share with you that I hope will be of benefit. Polygamy is always a challenging experience, for both the women involved as well as the men.

It is a steep learning curve in terms of accepting a drastic change to one’s relationship, discovering one’s own strengths and shortcomings, and coming to terms with and developing a deeper understanding of one’s own sense of self.

I Can't Bear Seeing My Husband Happy with His Other Wife - About Islam

Challenges

Being a first wife has its own set of challenges that are difficult to compare with the second wife’s challenges. However, the key is to remember that both wives struggle a great deal, facing their own insecurities and jealousies.

No matter how calm or put together the other wife may seem, know that she too is adjusting to a situation which is not common, and for which there are very few good resources to turn to.

While this may seem cold comfort to you initially, know that you also have certain aspects of your marriage and situation that advantageous: the history of your marriage with your husband, the depth of your relationship with him, and the security of knowing who you are as a person, and as a wife.


Check out this counseling video:


Dynamics

Many second wives, especially when first married, go through a honeymoon phase that is eventually followed by their own set of challenges: their own jealousy, insecurities, and growing pains of their own marriage and the dynamics within polygamy.

Some people view polygamy and the relationship of the wives with the husband as a competition. However, I truly believe that the secret to being able to positively live in a polygamous situation is not comparing oneself to the other woman. But in developing one’s own self-confidence and self-esteem.

People in such a marriage needs to work on positively improving their own specific marriage and relationship outside of the other marriage.

Rather than focusing on what your husband has with his other wife, focus on what you have for yourself, and within your marriage.

(And as a note: he really should not be talking about his other marriage to you, both for your sake and for hers. That marriage deserves its own space and privacy, and there should be sensitivity for your own emotional state as well.),

Focus on yourself

What are the things that make you happy, as an individual and as a wife? What are the things that you can do to improve your own emotional and mental well-being? Do you have passions and interests that you can spend time on for self-care?

What hobbies or activities do you share with your husband that are meaningful and enjoyable to you both? How can you both spend more time connecting positively rather than being stuck in a cycle of emotional toxicity?

What do you provide your husband, and what has he done for you, over the course of your marriage, that is special to you both?

While I understand that the situation is still quite new and that him having children with his new wife is something that is a point of emotional difficulty for you, there is also another option to consider in the future.

Co-wives

Once you are personally in a better state of being with regards to adjusting to polygamy, you can ask yourself what you want for the future of the polygamous unit. Are you willing to consider establishing a relationship with your co-wife?

Would you be willing to become friends with her, or at the very least, connect with each other as respectful sisters in Islam? How will you deal with your husband’s future children with her? Are you willing to consider becoming a larger family unit – one where the children will know who you are, view you as a family member, and feel safe and comfortable with you?

While all those may be heavy questions to ask, and may seem jarring or unrealistic, it is worth keeping in mind. No doubt, your husband wants to maintain a happy marriage with you while also developing his marriage with his other wife, and his family as a whole.

That means not just two separate marriages, but connecting together as a larger family unit that shares certain values – such as remembering to love one another for the sake of Allah, and trying to cooperate as best as possible.

Turn to Allah

It may be that you do not come to a place where you are comfortable with this. On the other hand, you may reach a point where you are open to this option, and will inshaAllah benefit greatly as a result.

In the meantime, always remember to turn to Allah. He alone can soothe your heart, ease the pain in your marriage, and transform your situation from one of overwhelming negativity to one of the blessings even in times of difficulty.

I also recommend doing research on how to handle the emotional challenges of poly, in particular, feelings of jealousy, hurt and anger. There are actually many good resources from non-Muslim outlets, specifical ones about polyamory.

By learning about the methods used to process those emotions, and combining them with an Islamic perspective and remembering one’s Islamic values, I hope that your journey into polygamy will become easier to cope with.

May Allah bless your marriage, grant you peace of mind and heart, and strengthen you as a woman and as a believer,

salam.

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Zainab bint Younus
Zainab bint Younus is a young woman who finds constant inspiration in the lives of the Sahabiyaat and other great women in Islamic history. She hopes that every Muslimah is able to identify with the struggles of these inspirational women and follow in their footsteps to become a part of a new generation of powerful Muslim women. She blogs at http://www.thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com