Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Relationship nightmare – he forgot to mention he was married!

Assalamu alaikum,

I first met my husband 16 months ago, when I was still a Christian. We got married very quickly because we basically wanted to have an intimate relationship. We discussed how we did not want to feel guilty about spending time together etc and therefore we decided to get married. At the time I did not take this as seriously as I should have because from my Christian/Western perspective it was just a religious contract to make our relationship legitimate, not legally married.

I was and still am completely independent, I work full time and I have my own flat, therefore I was not interested in being supported and did not think this was my husbands responsibility anyway because I get paid well. My husband had never hidden the fact that he had children and was open about his need to spend a lot of time with them. He told me he was divorced and lived with some family members, hence why he always came to my house.

Earlier this year I converted to Islam alhamdulilah because the more I discussed this with my husband the more it was obvious to me that Islam is the right path. From this point we both took our marriage much more seriously. We confided in each other about previous sins and current weaknesses and poured all of our efforts in to leading a pious life.

Literally two weeks after I converted we were in Dubai and I overheard him on the phone to his so-called ex-wife. It was completely obvious that they were still married to each other. So I asked him about it, not in a mad way, I was just stunned by the sheer hypocrisy of the situation. We had confessed some horrible sins to each other and he forgot to mention he was married?! Anyway I did not get cross or upset, we just discussed the situation and what was going to happen now. I will hasten to add that if I had not converted I would have left him there and then, but obviously I cannot divorce him! I do not intend to be a second wife, I do not think there is anything wrong with it, I just want a companion that I can rely on all of the time, not just on specific days of the week.

My husband then told me he was in an extremely unhappy marriage and that he had no affection for his first wife and vise versa. He also told me that he wanted to leave but felt she would 'lose it' if he just walked out. He had his children to consider etc etc. By this point he had already given two divorces previously. Anyway long story short, this situation dragged on for months and months. I repeatedly stated I was extremely unhappy and he assured me that it would be over by November. I have felt riddled with guilt about this deceit since I found out about his wife, my husband has tried to justify it on several religious grounds but in reality we are having an affair and his poor wife had no knowledge that her husband was running off to spend time with me.

Earlier this month I was on holiday with my parents, obviously I was in contact with my husband. He told me that things had got really bad and he was intending to leave before I got back from holiday. Anyway that didn't happen and I came back to London to my empty flat. I was feeling sad about the situation, super hormonal and had serious jet lag, so when I got home I sent him some pretty awful messages about how this situation makes me sick and how I had been tricked and effectively trapped in a marriage that was riddled with sin and that I had not chosen. (I'll admit that those messages were pretty out of order, I was just so sad.)

Three hours later, I was fast asleep when I got a phone call from his wife. She had seen the messages and now knew everything. She completely lost it (not with me, with him) and he described her as 'having a mental breakdown'. (I would hypotheses that this was probably a proportionate response to what was obviously horrible news). Obviously his family got involved, most of them demanding that he divorce me and stay with his wife and children. This happened three weeks ago and he is still living with his wife, we now see each other even less than before. (Literally a few hours a week). He is now saying that he can't just leave her because she is so upset and that he does not want his children to be negatively effected by their mother's instability. I have consistently stated and wholeheartedly agree that children must be the priority. He has also been telling me how he cuddles his wife and tell her he loves her 'to soothe her'. This confuses me further because he has told me over and over again how he does not love her. I told him I think he is lulling her in to a false sense of security if he intends to leave anyway. He tells me that he desperately wants to leave and that he has told his wife and family that he will never leave me because we are in love and good for each others deen. One of his brothers has proposed we accept each other as co-wives and move on. I will absolutely not accept this. It is not what I want and not what I signed up to. Fortunately his wife will not accept this either so it is not an option.

Despite all of the above, the time we have spent together has been wonderful. We get on so well, enjoy each other's company and he has taught me so much about Islam. I truly am in love with him (clearly or I wouldn't still be in this mess!)

I'm sorry this tale is so long and complicated. Please advise me on how best to proceed. I am trying my best to be patient and support my husband (because regardless of his actions, he is still going through a very difficult time) but I am really struggling with this. I cannot help but get upset about this current situation. I also cannot help being very blunt about the situation, in my mind if he does not want to be with his wife, he should divorce her and if he does not want to be with me, he should divorce me! At this stage I just want a resolution, we have been married for 16 months now! Some days I want to request a divorce, other days I want to love and support him through this. The worst thing is I genuinely do think we will have a happy and pious life together inshallah, albeit with a traumatic start (if things ever do get resolved). Also I haven't told anyone about this situation because I am ashamed, so I literally have no one to talk to or ask for an alternative perspective.

Please advise me on this issue or even just give an opinion, I do not know what else to do, I cannot look at this objectively anymore.

Best wishes and thank you for any help in advance.


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7 Responses »

  1. Sister you need to ask yourself is he right person for you knowing that he has had numerous divorces and he allegedly "forgot to mention he was married" he didn't tell you the truth from the start. What if he gets bored of you in the end and marries someone else you might get the same fate.It doesn't matter what he knows about Islam if it's not turned into good action and unfortunately he hasn't shown that. You are not a good muslim unless you are practicing it aswell and that includes putting it into action. You need to ask yourself if he really loved you that much why would he hide things like these from you and put you into these misery? Or is he just playing the field and following his lustful desires? Sometimes love can be a weakness that can lead to destruction so you have to be careful.

    You also mentioned you don't want to be a second wife but he is looking for second wife. Is there any compatibility here? Or will you continue because you love him?

  2. Walaykum salam,

    Alhamdulillah you're Muslim! Congratulations on that 🙂
    Just so you know, it feels odd to me that you both confessed sins to each other, aside from (mental)health issues (anyone correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think you need to say anything to your husband nor anyone of your loved ones. Allah knows what you have done, hopefully you asked His forgiveness, because that's the most important thing and that's sufficient. And the only one You need to confess anything to in any case is Allah, unlike for instance the Catholic Church. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad, I'm just putting it out there so you know it for future reference.
    Obviously your husband is also in a dilemma, 'who to choose?' etc., but that has caused for much heartache for you and the other wife. Even if everything will result 'positively', the effect of his (previous) actions will be felt by all parties involved for a long time. I'm not sure what to think of your husband, clearly he should've known better as a Muslim, especially at the time when you were not yet a Muslim. It sounds like some sort of a relationship was formed between the two of you before marriage. To be honest, this is definitely not fair to his first wife (neither is it halal), he should've honored her first and he should've thought about his children before he made a jumble of everything. Now, because of his actions, he's not only treating his own family unfairly but also you. On the other hand, I don't know his side of the story so I cannot really judge, that's why I want to emphasize to you that you should depend on Allah.
    Obviously you need to make a choice, praying istikhaara will help (though don't give up if you don't receive an answer after praying it once, you need to do it consistently, the answer will then come, which can be in any form [i.e. a feeling etc.] but you will know, and you need to accept it even if it is not the answer you want to hear). Also just be consistent in you regular prayers and make a lot of dua. Allah always hears, He just gives you the solution when it is in your khair.
    Don't despair, you have a gazillion things going on for you, again alhamdulillah you are Muslim! So relax. However, you need to prepare yourself mentally that you might be the one to have to leave it all behind. I keep saying this to people, but life is short, make the best of it, become the best person you can be and make those around you better people. Please Des123, there is more to life than having a husband. Yes, it is tough, and you're probably worried that you might lose parts of the religion and some sort of security blanket in that sense or that you will be alone for the rest of your life, but don't worry, you're never alone, Allah is with you. He will bring those people in your life that will benefit you positively.
    Also, don't be ashamed, stuff like this happens because we are human. But we can strive to be better.

    I hope I understood correctly what you meant and that I could help you a little bit. I'll leave the rest to Allah, inshAllah you'll be fine.

  3. Leave.It.Now.
    "Forgot to tell you he was married?"

    Wants to be religious person but marries you just for sexual contact?

    Won't leave his other wife but expects you to stay?

    He just wants to have as many women as possible but uses marriage as a curtain to mask his sins.

    Leave him
    He's just going to find another chic to sport with and you and the other lady will be in the crossfire

    Leave him
    Or deal with drama for the rest of your days

    Good luck

    • Wants to be religious person but marries you just for sexual contact?........It could be sex and immigration to UK. His first wife may be part of the plan. I feel sorry for OP who is still hoping to spend her life with him.

    • Salam sister Des,
      I agree with this commenter. Saddly, leaving him is probably the best option if you do not want to stay in a polygamous relationship forever. Obviously your husband is attracted to you as his object of escapist fun, and attracted to his first wife as an object of family recreation. The best of both worlds, but now that those worlds have collided he is too weak to make up his mind, which means he will opt for the status quo.

      You have 2 choices to make now:
      1. Leave him in order to save yourself from a life of compromise.
      2. Accept the polygamy. Wait for however many years or decades it may take for the other wife to divorce him first. Have serious Sabr. Keep in mind that your husband is required to offer equal support to both of you the entire time that you are both married to him.

      In any case, your tough decision should be guided by Allah's infinite wisdom; therefore you should perform an istikhara for a few days and see what signs and happenings occur in your normal daily life.

      All the best from one sister to another,

  4. I think your husband may already be irrevocably divorced from his wife. I say this because he told you he pronounced 2 divorces in the past. When he met you he said he was already divorced. This may count as a 3rd divorce. He must ask a scholar regarding this matter otherwise there is grave doubt whether his first marriage is valid

    As for you... alhamdulillah you're a Muslim. Allah swt blessed you with His guidance. I feel so sad you have been lied to and deceived. May Allah swt reward you abundantly for dealing with this situation so patiently and with such wisdom.

    Your husband has brought about an unbearable set of circumstances upon all concerned in this sorry tale. He is also suffering now and cannot see a way out of this mess.

    Sister you need to take some control back in this situation. I understand you love him but he needs time away from you to resolve this one way or another. I suggest you give him a month where you have no contact with him and he does not come to visit you. After this period either he will have made a decision, or you will be, we hope, in a more emotionally stronger position to make your own decision.

    Pls do keep us updated. May Allah swt have mercy on all of you.

  5. In my opinion your "husband" - as I understand by legal standards of the UK he is not (for good reason, he could end up in prison for bigamy) - is double-crossing both you and his (first) wife. He lied to both of you. And he will continue, until you to get tired of resisting and bend to his will. I recommend you check out the following hadith too(source: Sahih Al-Bukhari book 3 vol. 47. hadith 717, Sahih Muslim book 8 hadith nr. 3371, Sahih Al-Bukhari book 1 vol.2 hadith nr.24, Sahih Al-Bukhari book 4 vol.52. Hadith 270, Sahih Al-Bukhari book 4 vol.52. Hadith 310, Sahih Al-Bukhari book 5 vol.59. Hadith 443, Sahih Al-Bukhari book 5 vol.59. Hadith 447 and remember Mt7:15-23

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