What you need to know:
- Two things are clear about your girlfriend’s perspective of your relationship: she is in unhappy with the relationship, and with her choices so far.
- As much as you may think that she was happy with the idea of being a second wife, it is clear that she still struggles with it.
I am a young married man with two children. I started an affair with a woman whose character I admired, and she agreed to become my second wife.
Our relationship was rocky at first, and we overcame many hurdles. At some point, I suspected my girlfriend was having an affair. On the other hand, my wife also found out about our affair and felt betrayed. She sent abusive texts to my girlfriend.
I asked her to marry me a year into dating, but she told me she was not ready for marriage. She later changed her mind and agreed to be my second wife.
We have tried to end the relationship more than three times now, but we end up getting back together. The last time we tried, she found out that she was pregnant. We found ourselves in talking terms again as I had to support her.
She told me she could not be my second wife because she could not stand my first wife and did not want her child to be the subject of insults or mockery. She’s also afraid of disappointing her family, though she’s yet to introduce me to them.
What should I do? What options do I have? I love her that much.
As much as being in a healthy relationship is a dream of almost every person, no one grew up thinking, “I can’t wait to meet a divorced man!” or “I can’t wait to be a second wife.”
Somehow, most people find themselves gravitating towards relationships which they never planned. They confess to having regrets for settling down in relationships with married people. Being attracted to a married person does not mean one is a bad person. In most cases, compromised choices have played a significant role.
Statistics show that close to 50 per cent of first-time marriages end in divorce due to lack of commitment that arises from unfulfilled and unmet expectations.
Two things are clear about your girlfriend’s perspective of your relationship: she is in unhappy with the relationship, and with her choices so far. She does not want to commit to a lifetime of secrecy, shame and constant fights. This is not what she bargained for in life.
That is why her people do not even know about this part of her life. Although the second wife syndrome has become commonplace, one cannot underrate the challenges that are associated with it.
It is a common fact that in certain cultures and faiths, the idea of settling down in marriage as a second wife is unacceptable. The journey your girlfriend is on is typical of many such relationships. She has to deal with inner conflict and stigma from her friends and family. You have to let her make the choice that will not conflict with her beliefs. That is why she has not told her folks about your relationship.
As much as you may think that she was happy with the idea of being a second wife, it is clear that she still struggles with it.
Could she be facing a values-crisis? What was she taught when she was growing up? What does she consider to be right? Does she feel trapped in a relationship she regrets to be part of? Specific values get embedded in us as we grow up and may haunt us later in life if we deflect. Of course, I cannot speculate what she is facing.
But what she has disclosed to you is clear. She appears to be ashamed of being in this relationship. Second, she may be tired of fighting for her place in your relationship. Second wives will always be seen as intruders and home-breakers. Third, she could be afraid of what the future holds.
Just like first marriages start with love that is unadulterated by the realities of life, second marriages tend to have far less of the instability and appear more seriously put together. However, what those involved fail to sense is the emotional backlash arising from values, beliefs and expectations held.
You need to determine if it is the life she wants to continue living. Remember, she is currently living a lie. She could also be facing a values crisis. Second, the two of you are expecting a child whose future needs to be decided. It is not right for the children to be left to suffer the consequences of their parents’ choices.
As much as it is important for your girlfriend to rethink her choices, it is important for you too to think about providing your official wife and family a safe environment. It is essential to live a life that affirms your beliefs, values and faith.
My new wife left me for another man
I have been married for three months, and my wife left our marriage for another man. I don’t know the reason why she left. Please help me.
Statistics show that about 50 per cent of first-time marriages end up in separation or divorce. Three months of marriage is too short to gauge the issues that could have caused the split. In addition, you have shed very little light on the problems that could have led to her departure. That said, maybe we can look at the causes of such separation.
Why would a wife leave her marital home to be married to another man? Some of the reasons that have led to separations include poor conflict management, physical and emotional abuse, or irreconcilable differences, which a couple may face.
Since she left and went to be with another man, there is a need to let her go. This is the only way to deal with any baggage that could be associated with her departure. It is not helpful for you to dig into the “why,” your wife left. Instead, stay focused on doing a better job next time.
Here are some practical ways to help you chart a new path ahead: First, you need to ask yourself what you missed in your desire to cultivate a thriving marriage. Knowing this will give you valuable lessons on how to carry on, the mistakes to avoid and areas on which to put more efforts.
Second, you must not let your past fears and pain define who you are becoming. Your resolve will be vital in confronting any doubts associated with future encounters. This implies that the perception of oneself will influence how you face other women and determine the path you take in life.
Third, the ability to forgive will do wonders for you. Forgiveness will cleanse your heart from the wrongs committed by others against you. Don’t let this past continue to echo in your mind. You must resolve in your heart that relationships are about mutual agreement while at the same time, they could become complicated and messy. Just ensure that the hurt and disappointment you have faced is dealt with.
Fourth, your future relationships will draw from your beliefs and current practice. Having complete control over what you think, choose to believe, and practice will help you make wise choices in the future. You have every right to be concerned, but the future will depend on a healthy you.
Don’t allow the dreams of what marriage could be if the right choices are made to fade away. I suggest that you take charge of the path ahead of you and not let what has happened influence you negatively.
Important pillars necessary for a relationship to thrive.
Three key pillars support great relationships. They are ownership, affirmation and belonging. Ownership is both an important and central ingredient to what makes a relationship work. This refers to a sense of responsibility.
As much as we take responsibility for the growth and successes in the relationship, we need to own or take responsibility for the mistakes and failures too. This is the bedrock upon which good emotions that enable a strong connection sit.
The marital connection is an emotional, spiritual and physical bond that holds a couple together. Some people call this chemistry, which represents a heart awash with love, emotion and romance. However, this is not just about the feelings we have about each other.
Rather, it is about tangible emotions based on the realities that exist in the relationship. I have met many men and women alike who have shed tears at the altar—overwhelmed by the emotion of being connected to the one they love. Such a romantic expression of emotion is informed by a feeling of oneness.
Affirmation of each other’s gifts, weaknesses and failures is the first step towards oneness that is essential to ownership. Acknowledging that our spouses are gifts to us is an affirmation that makes them feel appreciated. Appreciation of beauty, for example, starts with accepting that your partner possesses gifting that is special and needing recognition.
We don’t love and appreciate our spouses just because of what they have but for who they are and have been made to be. Acceptance of each other without reservation enhances ownership which in turn makes a couple get the sense of belonging.
Acknowledging and celebrating differences helps in valuing and affirming the diversity that exists. What we may perceive as our partner’s weakness, differing opinions and our styles of doing things end up not dividing us but helping us find a sense of belonging. Such acceptance must be seen in how we show appreciation in our homes.
Send your relationship questions to DN2Parenting@ke.nationmedia.com