Shall I Marry a Narcissist Who Wants to Live in Polygamy?

13 November, 2020
Q As Salaam Alaikum. I am a very new Muslimah. I am still learning and growing as a Muslima, and have many questions. My most prominent dilemma is my relationship with the father of my children.

He is also Muslim and has been for about 3 years now. We have been together for 5 years, but we are unmarried. I know that our relationship is not halal, and now that I am Muslim I have been thinking about marriage and he has also mentioned it a few times since I have taken Shahada.

However, we have many struggles that cause me to shy away from the idea. His own mother has been telling me for years that he is a narcissist, and after some research of my own, I agree that he does possess the majority of the traits.

I’m not sure how but recently he came across the term narcissist himself, and after taking some sort of personality assessment agrees that he may, in fact, be narcissistic. Our next biggest issue involves polygamy.

He has expressed to me that he wants to live this lifestyle. However, I have expressed that I do not. He even went as far as to try to force it upon me by dealing with another woman and then presenting her to me. What he wanted though was not of the norm, he wanted the three of us to live together in a 3-way relationship.

I explained to him that this would be very haram. He then says that he would settle for having sexual relations with us separately if we could all just share the same house and go on dates and spend time together, which I am still very much against. Also, because of past experiences with him, I honestly think his statement of this is an attempt at trying to get his foot in the door and force things later on.

I also disagree with his desire because I understand that he must be responsible and financially able to care for more than one, although he is neither. His solution is that we all (all 3) pull our money together and this would make things work.

However, in my experience with him, financially it has always been an 80/20 scale with the 80% falling upon me. Even from what I do know of his situation with this other young lady it is pretty much the same. Therefore, I suspect that it will be more of a situation where she and I would end by taking care of him and my children (she has no children of her own).

I have grown very tired of his narcissistic behavior, and the conversation about polygamy. Although, I haven’t completely given up on my relationship with him because I truly love him and wish him a happy life. I have even suggested many times that if polygamy would make him happy that he explores this with this other young lady, as she has expressed that she would be willing to live the way he wants.

He has refused and said that he is happy with me, and would never choose her over me. He only hopes that one day my feelings will change and I will accept what he wants. He has stopped dealing with the young lady, by my wish, but has admitted that if I change my mind he only wants her as my future co-wife.

I’m not sure if I mentioned that she is non-Muslim, but he tried to convince her to convert because he only wants to marry a Muslima. Overall, I have become very drained by these conversations and his behaviors and I do not know how to handle them anymore. I don’t want to let go because of these slight changes within him that give me hope that we will be able to exist.

I have suggested counseling, and he has suggested it himself as well. However, it seems as though I am serious about it, and he is only sometimes serious about it. Will counseling even help us?

I know that when I marry I do not want to divorce so ironing out our differences is extremely important to me. I am not sure what to do and I pray to ALLAH (swt) for answers and clarity on my circumstances.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• I would kindly suggest that your fiancé seek mental health counseling insha’Allah to determine if in fact, he does have NPD or if he is suffering from another disorder.

• Connect with your local Masjid and Islamic center. Take Islamic classes to learn more about Islam, as well as make friends with the sisters at the Masjid.

• Take some time to reflect upon and pray about this situation and ask Allah to guide you towards the best path.


As Salamu Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your concerns. First of all, I would like to say congratulations on your reversion to Islam. May Allah guide you and bless you in your journey as a striving Muslimah.

Marriage and Mental Health

As I understand, you are in a relationship with a man who is also a Muslim and you both have children together. You stated that you have been together for five years and that you have had many struggles during this time. One of these struggles involves the possibility that he may have a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

As you both agree it is a possibility after much searching online, I would kindly suggest that your fiancé seek mental health counseling insha’Allah to determine if in fact, he does have NPD or if he is suffering from another disorder. Addressing and resolving any known or suspected mental health issues prior to marriage, may insha’Allah, increase marital success.

You may want to add it as a condition for considering marriage with him as it does seem to be an underlying factor in your concerns.

Shall I Marry a Narcissist Who Wants to Live in Polygamy? - About Islam

Polygamy, as you know, is permitted in Islam. However, there are many conditions and stringent rules that go along with a man who chooses a polygamous marriage. The Qur’an states

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].” (4:3)

When one chooses to practice polygamy, it is with an understanding of the Islamic conditions regarding polygamy, not only to fulfill one’s own desires as this is haram. He must be able to treat both of you equally and justly. He must support you both financially.

Sister, the fact that he wants you to have a three-way relationship in a haram way (from my understanding of what you said) is also indicative of his not practicing Islam and his ignorance concerning polygamy in general. Done correctly, there are some wives who live together as co-wives and everybody gets along fine in the same home, but usually, each wife has her own home and time is divided equally among the wives.

I can understand how you must feel being presented with this living arrangement should you decide to marry him. It must not only hurt, but it is confusing because of the way he desires it is not Islamic.

Please, sister, do know that what he is proposing is not of Islamic values nor Islamic lifestyle. Please, do read more about polygamy to understand your rights and his responsibilities. It is a very serious issue.

Connecting & Setting a Good Example

Sister, you have discussed a few issues and I would like to bring out the biggest problem that I see here which is, he is Muslim, but he has been living with you and you are not married. This is a sin, as you know. As he is Muslim, he should be setting a good example for you and the children by actually practicing Islam. This would mean addressing his issues and marrying you, or the two of you break up.

The fact that you have been together for five years and have not married indicates that he is not taking his Islamic life nor yours and the children’s that serious. It has taken you as a new Muslim striving to please Allah, to bring him to the point wherein he is contemplating marriage.


Check out this counseling video:


Sister, I will kindly suggest that you connect with your local Masjid and Islamic center. Take Islamic classes to learn more about Islam, as well as make friends with the sisters at the Masjid. This will provide a platform for learning, drawing closer to Allah as well as developing lasting friendships that are healthy and can provide a solid foundation of support and sisterly love.

As you stated that you are you are new and still learning and growing and have many questions. By attending the Masjid and Islamic classes, you will learn so much about Islam and your current situation. Also as a new Muslim, it is incumbent upon you to gain this knowledge.

And as Muslims, we are to strive for clear knowledge and answers to our questions from an Islamic standpoint. Insha’Allah, sister, this may also prove to be a turning point in your fiancée’s life in regards to his relationship with Allah and taking his deen more seriously.

Insha’Allah, as he watches you grow in Islam, his heart will yearn for Allah as well.

Sister, I think that insha’Allah a lot of the questions you have regarding a possible marriage with him will be answered by knowing more about Islam. As I read your question, I hear your confusion and hurt regarding this.

However, I also hear your love for Allah and your desire to do what is right. As you are now Muslim, your first concerns should be to please Allah and provide an Islamically conducive, healthy environment for you and your children. It may mean having to leave your fiancé if he does not truly agree with living an Islamic lifestyle.

Islamic Knowledge & Setting Criteria

As he has agreed to go for counseling, I would highly suggest that you check out your local Masjid insha’Allah to see if there are counseling services. You may also want to see what Islamic centers are in your city or near you that may offer counseling as well. As some of the issues that you have presented are specific to Islam. It may be important to have a counselor on a regular basis who is Muslim or at least familiar with Islam and respect our values.

As he may possibly have a narcissistic personality disorder, it is important that individual counseling for him is ongoing.

Sister, I would not encourage you to marry him without first obtaining more Islamic knowledge specifically regarding marriage, family, and husband and wife relationships. I have focused on these three areas to start with as you do have a decision to make rather quickly.

I understand that you love him and you do wish the best for him. However, you have to look at your own situation right now as a new Muslim as well as the situation for your children.

I would suggest that you take some time to reflect upon and pray about this situation and ask Allah to guide you towards the best path.  Make a list of what you want from him based on Islamic principles and discuss these with him. Insha’Allah, this will be a wakeup call for him because as a Muslimah, you cannot stay with him under these conditions.

We wish you the best, sister,

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.