INTIMATE AFFAIRS: A second wife’s reality checklist

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INTIMATE AFFAIRS: The juicy power of the other room
Funke Egbemode

By FUNKE EGBEMODE

Polygamy is not another type of marriage. Polygamy is another level in the marriage pantheon. It is a special kind of marriage that involves more than one woman loving and laying claims to one man. Of course, no wife wants to hear of or have to contend with it, because no woman really wants to share the heart or any part of her man. But polygamy is real and I bet, at least one marriage is threatened by this harsh reality even as you read this.

Do I support it? No, but what has my support or lack of it got to do with what is happening somewhere even this very minute? Women, we are tough. Wives are a big deal. I have sons. I have brothers. And I most certainly don’t want ‘my boys’ to have to deal with more than one wife per lifetime. We are more than a handful, we women. I most certainly do not envy or wish to be in the shoes of men who have to live with more than one wife, day in day out.

However, today is not about polygamy, men and their self- inflicted headaches. This is about women who think polygamy is just another form or type of marriage, because it is not. This piece is about women who are considering becoming second, third or fourth wives.

You need to ask questions about the finances of the man who’s taking you as his second wife. Do not assume anything at all when it comes to the pockets of a married man who thinks he’s big enough to take on a second or a third wife.

Polygamy is the domestic form of boardroom politics. And that does not mean that polygamy is softer than boardroom politics. Being a second wife requires nail-hard coping skills, clear-eyed, deft manipulative knowledge of human nature.

It is not about ‘roses are red’ and ‘he loves me more than his first wife’. It is not about being his favourite or current champion. It’s not about who has the hottest skills in bed or who cooks better. All of that are part of the mix but there are harder and harsher reality checks any woman must take before taking the polygamy plunge.

Talking about plunge, if you are a woman who is considering diving into the polygamy pool, don’t you dare do it without a life jacket. Why? Because a one-man-one-wife marriage is stormy. Turbulence and violent storms, treacherous, life-threatening waves are some of the less colourful images that come to mind when polygamy is mentioned.

Let’s look at some of the reality checks and answer some questions.

READ ALSO: INTIMATE AFFAIRS: For marriages that are still standing

1.Is he marrying you to pepper the first wife?

If the answer is ‘Yes’, you are going to have a hard time from the get-go. If all you are to this new husband is a can of pepper-spray to punish the first wife, you are just a fool likely to be discarded once you have served your purpose. What that means is that you are most likely a passing fancy, a weapon in the hands of a husband who wants to just get a reaction from his wife. Whichever way you look at it, this venture is not likely to end well, and worst still, it will most likely end sooner than you planned.

  1. Is his wife the breadwinner?

You need to ask questions about the finances of the man who’s taking you as his second wife. Do not assume anything at all when it comes to the pockets of a married man who thinks he’s big enough to take on a second or a third wife. His word is not good enough, trust me, trust your instincts. You must be sure of who’s picking the bills, who’s buying the cars he cruises to your place. For all you care, the big house you think is his may actually belong to his wife or it could even be a wedding gift from his first Father-in-law. Now, what do you think is going to happen when you find yourself in the middle of that kind of financial mess? His first wife refuses to let you move into her home. She pulls the plug on Oga’s fine-boy lifestyle. She seizes the car keys and stops fuelling the generator. Is that not the definition of walking into a storm? So don’t downplay the answers to this breadwinner question. Some men are poor and unrepentantly proud. They spend their wives’ money and still want to be treated like a king. King of where? Not in this setting.

  1. Are you the ATM he had been looking for all these years?

Sometimes, a second wife can be crowned a breadwinner. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of it. Poor philandering man goes hunting for a rich, beautiful and desperate-for-marriage woman. Sometimes, the first wife is even in cahoots with her opportunist gigolo husband. They lure the new wife into a web. She becomes the new ATM. It’s the modern day version of money ritual. So, have you done your due diligence? Are you about to become a live-in-Sugar Mummy of the family? Is that what you wanted by becoming a second wife? You are just going to be treated like a fast selling product. Caveat emptor: you are liable to die young there. I will not give you details today.

  1. Is ‘Madam of the house’ a hard ‘mama’ who has her husband by the balls?

Yes? Don’t go there. When Madam is done squeezing her husband’s balls, your neck will be the next port of call. Some wives can’t and won’t share and they will go to any length to defend their territories. In simple words, if you have heard strange stories about women who had dared to cross a certain first wife and ended up in a certain strange way, have a conversation with your leg and quietly ‘japa’

If you have heard of Oga’s former girlfriend or mistress who suddenly lost their senses, came down with intractable illness or even disappeared without a trace, do not wait. Just cross to the other side of the road and save yourself the agony and pain of weird things like monthly period that won’t stop flowing, like the ‘issue of blood’. Half a word is sufficient for the wise, right?

  1. How many children should you have if he’s already 60?

Do the math. If he’s 60 when your first child is born, he will be 80 when that child is 20. May he live long, right? You see why you have to have your head screwed on tight and tight. If your children are not trust fund babies. How much work can a 80-year-old man do to put your son through medical school? You cannot become a second wife based on what your heart is telling you. The heart is not smart, consult your head. If a man does not have the means to project finances into the future of his children, what he needs is a girlfriend, a ‘waka pass’ side chick, not a new wife. Don’t walk with a man into a trap that will leave you stranded. Unless you have the means, polygamy is not a form of a marriage a struggling man should propose to you. Two children will be your best bet. Don’t do any illiterate competition with the senior wife. She’s the wife of his youth and had a head start. If you want four or five children, you should have started early with a man that will be primarily yours.

So be guided. When you ask for gifts, ask for sensible ones. Invest in landed properties and jewellery in which you can store value like gold, like diamond.

In a polygamy setting, there are factors that affect production and reproduction and they must be fully considered.

  1. Should you wait for the will or take your inheritance upfront?

We are assuming that because your husband is older than you, he will die at a ripe old age, before you. Let us also assume that the older wife and the older children may influence Daddy’s last will and testament in a way that the sharing of the estate may not favour you. You may, however, get lucky and the will may favour you or at least, generously accommodate you. But as they say on the street: ‘whether there is fight or not, always guiding.’ So be guided. When you ask for gifts, ask for sensible ones. Invest in landed properties and jewellery in which you can store value like gold, like diamond. Watch out for your future. Don’t ask him for frivolous things like annual exotic holidays. Never forget that he does not belong solely to you, no matter the assurances he gives you.

*Egbemode ([email protected])

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