Should I meet his wife?

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By Nyambura Maina

I am 27 years old and about to get married as a second wife. I have been with my lover for two years now and he has diligently provided for me. He has started me a business of my own, bought me an apartment and a car. Material things are not what bind me to him; it is more than that. I genuinely love the man. I believe he has noticed that I am for real because he decided the other day that it is time for me to meet his wife. I am really scared to meet her because I hear she is a harsh woman and might deliberately cause problems for us. Is it wise to go ahead with his wish and meet her? I do not want anything to jeopardise our relationship.

Alice, Nakuru

Not many Kenyan men are willing to disclose their affairs to their wives and family. They prefer to sneak around behind their wives’ backs until they get caught. Having another woman outside marriage (or mistress) has become common. In many social circles a man is deemed inadequate if he does not have mpango wa kando.

Unfortunately, these extramarital affairs have led to a lot of pain and suffering within the family. If the husband contracts HIV and other STIs, he passes them on to the wife. This has serious implications. We hear of cases whereby families have to deal with other dependants who show up, seemingly out of nowhere, at funerals of the man.

In that respect, it is refreshing to hear of your case and how the man in your life wishes to put things out in the open. His desire to disclose everything to his wife indicate that he has planned for a future that includes you playing an integral part in his life. In other words, he wishes to make a commitment to you and at the same time keep his family abreast of the situation.

However, being well informed does not mean that his wife will agree to the arrangement wholeheartedly. There might be a lot of resistance to your plans. It is the task of the man to smooth things out and set the record straight. All you can do is decide if you are going to be a willing player or not. The wife has to decide on this as well.

You claim to love this man, regardless of benefiting materially. It would be wise to ask yourself if that is actually the truth and you are ready for the commitment that has been proposed.

Are you willing to accept the fact that you will be sharing his love, affection and time with the other family? Are you ready to confront any feelings of insecurity and jealousy that may crop up? Will you be honest about your relationship with your own friends and family?

Take time to think about how this relationship will impact your life. This is uncharted territory you are exploring and you will need patience, courage and confidence in yourself and your relationship in order to proceed.

Common counsel

Familiarity breeds contempt

Being with a married man is just fun and that’s all it should be. A married man will only stay with you as long as you show him you don’t belong to him and can do without him. Once you commit to him and become his second wife, he will eventually get bored of you and look for another mistress. I don’t think it is a good idea to meet his wife. Live your life as a free woman and don’t allow this man to hoodwink you into living a shackled life.

Cecilia, 31

Sacred union

As a married woman, I would be horrified if my husband came home with another wife. Thankfully, I have never had to travel down that road. It would cause me such grief that I would have to be hospitalised so that I do not harm my husband and his lover. I believe marriage is sacred and there is no room for third parties. Alice, you are making a huge mistake by breaking up a home. Girls like you need to put themselves in the shoes of the wife. How would you like it if the same happened to you?

Martha, 49

A big heart

I have three wives and eight children. Each time I introduced a new wife to my previous one(s), I made sure everyone was happy. I love all my children. Although they all live in different houses and one is upcountry, they are civil with each other when we all meet. It is hard work dividing myself amongst them, but I have no regrets. My heart and my love are big enough for them to share. So Alice, you too can walk this road comfortably.

Thomas, 57

Seal the deal

The man decides what works and what doesn’t. It is not up to the wife, so stop fearing her. There is little that she can do if her husband has decided he wants you in his life. Just in case the wife turns out to be cruel and manipulative, now is the time you should think of having a baby with this man. Getting pregnant with him will ensure that the two of you are connected for life. It will seal the deal and the wife will not be able to sabotage your relationship.

Kendi M.

Bottomless pockets

Don’t worry yourself about the wife. The more prudent issue here is if your man can sustain your lifestyle. He has already bought you stuff and although you say all that matters is love, material wealth is also important. I learned this the hard way after another man with bottomless pockets snatched my beautiful lover away from me. It was a bitter pill to swallow. I could not support my own family (wife and two children) plus her. She had many demands and I just could not meet them. I am working very hard to build myself up financially so that the next time I meet a beautiful woman I will be able to have my cake and eat it without worries.

Gerald, 43

Win co-wife’s approval

Alice, since you have decided to continue this illicit affair, I can only advise you to get to know your man’s wife. Get to know her as a co-wife and try to relate well with her. Learn what she feels about your relationship with her husband. If she is unhappy with it, try to bring her round to accepting it.

Mageka Denis

Find your own man

At 27 you are young enough to find a man of your own, so why go for someone else’s husband? Why should you play second fiddle? Marriage is for just two people so walk away from that affair and start your own life with a single man. Besides, maybe his wife is cruel and spiteful and will not give you an inch. As a wife she has certain rights that you do not have. End the affair, give the man his stuff back and move on.

Millicent Aluoch, Eldoret

Next agony

I am envious of my younger sister. Everything she has in life, I want. I am torn apart by guilt and shame most of the time because I always picture myself leading her life. I envision myself in her clothes and buy similar ones. I find her wearing new perfume and the next day I find myself in the store buying the same bottle. I am always at her place and interact with her two children often. The other day her daughter called me ‘mum’ and my sister hit the roof. Her poor daughter left the room crying and I felt a peculiar sense of satisfaction as to how things played out. Am I sick? As the older sibling shouldn’t I be trying to lead my own life? Sometimes I feel pathetic and depressed and turn to alcohol to soothe myself. I live alone and have no children of my own. What do you suggest I do to settle this madness?

Anna, Nairobi

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