I am a forty years old Lebanese man living in Dubai, UAE for the past twenty five years. I am married with two children. I got married at the age of thirty to my wife MA who was twenty five at the time. MA is a good woman and the decade that we have spent together has been one of happiness and contentment. She is a good wife to me and a good mother to our children. She is a housewife and takes really good care of our home and family. She has never given me any cause for complain. Although at times I felt our marriage had become a bit boring and monotonous over the years, I never gave it much thought believing that this happened as years go by, that the magic couldn’t last forever. That is until JL came in my life.
It all started a year ago. JL, who is twenty seven, joined our company as a PR executive where I have been working for the past five years and am now a director there. She was vivacious, outgoing, lively, good looking and very confident. Many men in our office tried hitting on her but she ignored everyone. Because of my senior position in the company and having a wife and children, I didn’t try to befriend her in the manner the other men tried to. I think this appealed to her and she started showing interest in me. At first I thought it was just out of professional duties as she knew I was married with kids but as time passed she made it quite clear how much she liked me and enjoyed my company. It was a big boost for my ego, to be approached by the most good looking young woman in our company. I didn’t decline her advances and we started going out together. One thing led to another and we soon started having an affair. This affair has been going on for more than six months now. I have fallen in love with her and want to spend the rest of my life with her. She too wants the same.
The problem is that she is unwilling to accept my wife. Being a Muslim, I can have two wives at the same time. Although JL is also a Muslim, she is against my having two wives at the same time. She has made it quite clear that she would only marry me if I were to divorce my wife, MA. She is willing to accept my children if I share their custody with their mother, MA.
I have thought a lot about it and though I don’t feel very good about divorcing MA, not least because she has been such a good wife but also because of not having my children with me all the time under the same roof, I have decided that I will still go ahead with it as I love JL too much to lose her.
I spoke to my wife MA about divorce and naturally she was devastated. It was very painful to see how much of a shock she got when I told her that I loved somebody else. She was completely shattered and kept on crying for days at end. Eventually she accepted the idea of another woman in my life and begged me not to divorce her and let her stay married to me. I am a rich man and can quite easily afford to keep two wives in two separate homes. But JL is adamant. She has threatened to walk out of my life if I don’t divorce MA within three months. I am in a quandary now. I love JL and don’t want to lose her. At the same time, I don’t feel happy divorcing MA because of no fault of her own. What should I do?
Let me start by saying that you are being quite selfish and self-centered in this whole episode. All you are thinking of is yourself, your love and your happiness. You are not giving much consideration to the other people involved who would be dramatically and negatively affected by this action of yours, meaning your wife and children.
MA has given you ten of the best years of her life. She has given you two children. She has been a good wife to you and a good mother to your children. Do you honestly believe she deserves what you are planning to do to her? What would be her future after that? What would she go through emotionally? How many suitors would she find being divorced and a mother of two? She is already shattered and heart-broken.
And what about your children? Right now they have a happy and complete family. They come home to loving and caring parents – parents that are in the same house. Imagine what would their reaction be when their parents split up and start living in separate homes? How would they feel alternating their days living with their mother and father separately? How would they take it? They are quite young and the divorce of their parents is no doubt going to have a devastating effect on them. Instantly they would go from a complete home to a broken home. It most probably would affect them for years to come, if not their entire life. Are you ready to make your children go through all that?
Has JL met your children? Have you seen how she is with them? What guarantee do you have that she would prove to be a good mother to them and a good influence on them when the kids are over at your place? What I have gathered from your letter is that JL seems to be a selfish person who is only interested in her happiness and well being without giving two hoots about anyone else. If she truly loves you, as she claims, then why is she not willing to be the other wife? Why does she want you to divorce your first wife when yours and her religion allow it? She seems like a manipulative woman who knows she’s got you wrapped around her little finger and based on that is making demands that are cruel, unjust and would negatively affect your entire family. And how do you know that she truly loves you and is not with you because of your position, status, money, etc? If she truly loves you as she claims then how can she find it in herself to leave you after three months if you don’t divorce your wife? That’s not true love. That’s manipulation and cold calculation.
It’s perfectly normal to have feelings for two people at the same time. It happens. But what you need to ask yourself is that do you really love JL or is it just infatuation or lust? Do you really want to spend your whole life with her at the expense of breaking up your marriage and your children’s home? And what guarantee do you have that you won’t find being married to JL monotonous and boring after a few years?
I would advise you to seriously and impartially take stock of the whole situation. Weigh all the pros and cons. Consider the lives and happiness of all people involved. Do all this before taking any drastic measures.
I am a 23 years old young, educated woman living in Pakistan. I got married six months. My husband is a distant relative of mine whom I used to get to see on special occasions such as weddings when all the relatives got together. A year ago, right after I finished my MBA, his family approached my parents for my hand in marriage for him. My parents were quite happy with this proposal and accepted it. They did ask me about it and I agreed too. He seemed like a decent and caring chap and I was sure that I would be happy spending my life with him.
But alas this was not to be so. He is a decent and caring guy who loves me a lot but is under the thumb of his mother. My mother-in-law is a widow and as my husband is the only son, he does whatever his mother says. His mother is like a typical mother-in-law who seems to believe that a daughter-in-law’s main aim in life is to snatch her son away. She does everything in her power to try to influence my husband as much as she can, even in matters that do not relate to her. She literally rules over his life. She even chooses his clothes.
Last week was his birthday. I got him a sharp looking suit to wear to his office as he works in a prestigious multinational company. But my jealous mother-in-law ruined everything. She was quite critical of the suit that I had bought him. She came up with the silly excuse that it doesn’t go with his complexion and hair colour. Needless to say I was hurt and told her that I believed it would look very nice on him. That is all I said and she started accusing me of being rude and talking back to her. She started crying and my husband started consoling her. This resulted in my husband and I having our first major spat. He believes that I was rude to his mother and even if she did say something, I shouldn’t have reacted.
I was very hurt and disappointed by his reaction. I felt as if I had no importance in his life, that it was only his mother that he cared about, not me. I told him this later but he claims that he loves me and wants us to be happy together as a family including his mother. But it all seems just words to me especially since he didn’t side with me in my argument with his mum. Tell me honestly. Was I wrong? Was I being rude? What should I do? I want my husband and me to spend quality time together, develop a deep and meaningful relationship but my mother-in-law is not letting that happen.
Dear Hurt Wife,
What you are feeling is absolutely natural and to a great degree completely justified. The relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law at best is usually always a tricky and tumultuous one, especially so in the part of the world where you come from where couples don’t always live alone and some member(s) of the family, a parent or a sibling or even more people, live together.
Living in a setup like that requires tact, patience and understanding because things always don’t happen as you want them to. A lot of adjustments have to be made.
There can be many reasons why your mother-in-law is being difficult towards you. She may be feeling less important to her child (or still see them as a child rather than someone’s spouse). She might be having difficulty standing behind someone else in their child’s life.
She might be feeling insecure and less valued. Before you married her son, she was the only woman in his life. Now she has to share him with you. This might be making her feel as if she has lost the importance in her son’s life. And because she also happens to be a widow and the fact that she just has one son, she might be thinking that if she loses him to you, she won’t have anyone left in this world to call her own. Justified or not, this is a very real fear that she must be going through. Therefore, you need to understand this and try to cut her some slack wherever possible without losing your dignity and self-respect.
You will have to be patient and accommodating with her and try to talk things out with her. Try to convince her that you don’t mean to snatch her son away from her, that you love him a lot too and want to take care of him too as she does. She might not warm up to the idea immediately but you will have to be persistent and firm on this matter. Hopefully, when she sees that you too want the best for him without her losing him to you, she might start accepting this.
Another reason could simply be that she may be a completely different person from you. She might be petty and vindictive by nature and someone who loves making trouble. I hope this is not the case. If it is, then you seriously need to consider whether you want to stay with her under the same roof or not.
You will also need to talk to your husband and make him understand that as a wife you love him and want to be part of his life in every way, including picking out gifts for him. Tell him that his taking his mother’s side unconditionally everytime is bound to have a negative effect on your marriage. Try to make him understand that you don’t mean or want to be rude to his mother and that his mother also needs to show you some respect. Tell him gently that it could become very difficult to carry on with a relationship if episodes like this keep on happening on a regular basis. Try to convince him that you are not trying to take him away from his mother or being disrespectful to his mother.
If he is a man of reason then hopefully he would understand. But if he is the sort of man who lets his judgement get clouded because of his sense of duty and love towards his mother, he might find your point of view quite difficult to grasp. Unless your spouse is willing to take charge, outline clear boundaries over which the mother must not step, and be willing to follow up these statements with action and definitive consequences, you will have to face the fact that you will not be able to ever change this relationship. In that scenario, you need to consider if you would like to stay on this relationship if it keeps on carrying like this.
Lastly, don’t expect miracles instantly. It will take time for things to work out, if they do work out. So be patient and try to work towards making things better.
I am a 55 years old businessman. My wife passed away a few months ago. We had been married for nearly 30 years. We had no children. We just had each other and now she’s gone. I miss her terribly. Life seems so meaningless and not worth living without her. I wake up each day and go through the motions of a typical life without being interested or experiencing joy in anything. When I am at home, everything reminds me of her. When I am out at work, I constantly keep on thinking about her. I try to keep myself busy in my business but it isn’t helping.
My siblings, who are all very close to me, are very worried about me. They have suggested that I remarry. I was shocked to hear this. I can’t imagine a life with any other woman after my wife. I have told them so. They say they understand but want me to have a complete home again with a life partner. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine being with any other woman. Even the thought makes me sick. It makes me feel as I would be cheating on my dear, departed wife. I know they mean well but how do I make them understand that that’s something I don’t want.
Dear Widowed Husband,
First of all, please accept my condolences on the demise of your wife. May God have mercy on her and bless her with a place in heaven. Amen!
It’s been a tragic loss for you and what you are feeling right now is completely natural. The feeling of life having no meaning and being uninterested towards everything is normal. This is how it will be for quite some time. Right now you are going through what is call the grieving period. This is the time when one is the saddest after losing someone, when everything seems unrealistic, when nothing in life holds any charm or happiness, when everything – even the normal everyday chores – seem like a burden.
With time, things will improve. This does not mean that you will forget your wife. What it means is that you will come to terms with the fact that she is no longer with you and that you have to move on with living a normal, emotionally healthy life. It will take some time – depending on you – but it will eventually happen. There will come a time when you will be able to think of your wife without feeling as much pain as you do now. There will be good days when everything would seem fine and then there would be bad days when you simply won’t be able to bear the loss of her. Hopefully, as time passes, there will be more good days than bad ones.
Although your siblings mean well, as they want to see you happy and settled, I believe it’s too early – in the state that you are in – to be attached to someone else. You are still very much living in the past with the memories of your wife. Right now, it must be unfathomable for you to think of any other woman. And rightly so. Please tell your siblings that at present you don’t even want to think of any other woman, let alone contemplate marriage. Try to make them understand that you need time – as much time as you want, not as much as they want to give you. Talk to them politely but firmly so they don’t keep on pressurising you constantly. The condition you are in, pressure is the last thing you want. Tell them that when they talk about you marrying again, it pains you and makes you sad. Being the loving siblings that they are, I am sure they would understand eventually.
Lastly, give yourself time. Time to think, time to feel, time to assess your situation and your feelings as they evolve over the coming months and years. This would allow you to plan what would be best for you in your given circumstances.
Also don’t close any possibilities. You don’t know how you would be feeling in the future. Therefore, don’t make any decisions in favour of or against remarriage right now.
Also don’t rush into anything. Time is a great healer. Give it a few months, even years if you want. If and when you feel you are emotionally ready to move on then think about getting married again. Not before that. Otherwise it won’t be fair to you and the new woman who comes in your life.
All the best!