In this counseling answer:
• Make istikhara and ask Allah to guide you to make the decision that will be best for all of you and most pleasing to Him.
• Don’t neglect yourself. Don’t feel it’s completely selfish that he is with you at times too.
• Maybe you could discuss mutually agreeable lengths of time that he could be with his other wife so as to satisfy her own need to be with him and then to come back and be with you so as to satisfy the bond between your children and him.
• Seek the advice of someone else also to ensure that you really have covered all options and not left any stone unturned.
Wa Alaikum salaam wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh sister,
Certainly, is a bit of a complex situation with a second wife and other children involved in the whole scenario.
In a polygamous marriage, all parties being aware of one another can be beneficial as it means there are no secrets to be kept or lies to be covered up or hidden. However, with this might come some complications due to jealousy between the two wives. But when wives do not know about each other, this can cause further difficulties.
In your case, the difficulty is that you are aware of her, but she is not of you. Therefore, you are almost faced with the consequences of both approaches to polygamous marriage.
Masha Allah, you are very considerate towards the other wife even though she doesn’t know about you. You are concerned about how his absence will make her feel stressed. As a result, you are willing to let him go, so he and his other wife can enjoy their time together. However, your children are very close to him and you are worried about the consequences that taking that option would have on them.
Contemplate your options
Think about your options one by one. Give each option your full attention. Explore the good and bad parts of this option, potential consequences for all involved, and whether it’s a realistic option and a solution that would be pleasing to Him.
As you consider these options, make istikhara and ask Allah to guide you to make the decision that will be best for all of you and most pleasing to Him.
Think of everyone involved
This is not just a simple dilemma between a husband and wife. There are so many other people to think about here too and the consequences of whatever choice you make will have an impact on many. This is why it is very important to consider things very carefully from multiple angles and why ideally, you will discuss these options with him also.
Think of yourself also
However, whilst it is important to consider others also, don’t neglect yourself. You may feel it is not fair that he is not with her, but you are also his wife and have rights over him. So, don’t feel it’s completely selfish that he is with you at times too.
Besides, if he has a business in Malaysia where you are, then regardless of if he divorces you or not, he has a need to be there for business purposes, which will take him temporarily away from his other wife regardless.
Keep in mind also that being in this marriage is a protection for you. Thus, if you seek divorce just to make things easier for the other woman, that you leave yourself at risk.
“They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” (Qur’an, 2:187)
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Qur’an, 30:21)
Is there a middle path?
As it stands, it feels like you are considering two options; divorcing him so he can be with his other wife at the cost of your own children’s bond with him. Or stick with him, at the cost of potentially causing his other wife much distress. Either route comes with consequences that will be potentially devastating to someone.
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However, perhaps with further thought, there may be other available options to consider. Obviously, you can’t make decisions for him, but perhaps you could be there to support him in exploring other options.
To begin with, what is it that he feels will bring great stress by allowing her to travel with him to Malaysia? Is it the thought of two of you being in close proximity? If so, this is something you can discuss to see if there is any way you could make it work for everyone. You don’t have to all live in the same house, for example.
If this is not an option, then maybe you could discuss mutually agreeable lengths of time that he could be with his other wife so as to satisfy her own need to be with him and then to come back and be with you so as to satisfy the bond between your children and him. The amount of time with each person can be agreed upon between you.
Write it down
With so many options, so many people, and so many potential consequences, it could become mentally quite confusing. Writing it all down and visualizing your options might make things a little clearer and give you something simple to keep referring back to avoid having to mull over the complexities mentally all the time. It will also allow to continually check if you have missed any important details and be sure that you have considered absolutely everything necessary.
Get a second opinion
Given the complexity of the situation, it might be advisable to seek the advice of someone else also to ensure that you really have covered all options and not left any stone unturned. This is because when you are personally amidst and invested in the situation, it can be very easy to overlook certain things.
Asking someone who is completely absent from the situation might be able to give you an alternative opinion. It might be especially useful if this advice comes from someone like your local imam who will be able to advise from an Islamic perspective
In this complex situation, there are many people to think of and many potential options available, all of which need considerable thought and discussion, perhaps even with a neutral third party, to ensure the best outcome. You should consider all potential options from multiple angles due to the number of people involved, whilst also considering if there may be middle grounds that can be taken that would cause less hurt to fewer people.
May Allah guide you to do what is best for all and grant everyone in the situation happiness and success.
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.