One thing I never thought I would ever be comfortable with was being a second wife. I grew up in a polygamous family and I saw how it affected my mother. She was the third wife and though my father was wealthy, the other wives took the biggest share of his wealth and we were left with almost nothing when my father died. We also never got along with the other families which made me develop a hatred for polygamy.
However, it seems fate had other plans for me because I met and fell in love with a married man. When I finished campus, I started working for a big corporation. This is where I met Francis. At first, I thought he was just like the other men who used young girls and dumped them as soon as a new girl came along but he proved me wrong. From the first day, he made his intentions clear.
“I’m going to marry you one day.” He said as we chatted at his desk.
I used to laugh whenever he said it but the more I heard it, the more I believed it. After a few months of dating, he asked if he could meet my family.
“I want to visit your family and make things official.”
“Are you going to tell them that you want to marry me?” I asked.
“What about your wife?”
“What about her?”
“She still doesn’t know about me.”
“I’ll let her know after I tell your family.”
I wasn’t comfortable with telling my family that I was going to be a second wife but knowing that his wife didn’t know made things more complicated. However, I knew what I was getting myself into when I accepted his proposal.
When I told my family that I was going to my second wife, things went exactly how I thought they would. My mother couldn’t agree and Francis had to intervene and assure her that he would take care of me.
“Be careful, my daughter.” She said almost like a warning.
We left home and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief since we had finished with one issue. The only thing that remained to make things truly official was letting his wife know. However, Francis was still hesitant.
“You said you will do it after I introduced you to my family.” I protested.
“Yes, but things are difficult at the moment. Her father is in hospital and I don’t know how she’ll react to the news that I wanted another wife.”
Every time I brought it up, he had a different excuse. It made me start doubting whether he was really serious about marrying me. The worst part was when she called and I had to be completely silent. Nonetheless, I continued giving him the benefit of the doubt not knowing I was setting myself up for embarrassment.
Even though his wife didn’t know about me, he made efforts to show me that he wanted to marry me which kept my hopes up. All my bills were always taken care of and we spent most weekends together. Everyone in the office also knew about our relationship and used to refer to me as his “wife” which made me feel like I was already married to him.
The company used to host annual dinners for all its employees and we were allowed to bring our spouses. Every year, Francis came with his wife and I watched them from a distance as they acted like a happy couple. When any of my colleagues asked me why I wasn’t sitting with them, I would lie that this was the only time they spent together. Little did they know that his wife had no idea about me and that my so-called husband slept in his matrimonial home every night.
It got to a point where I stopped asking and waited for him to tell his family on his own time. I chose to live in this fantasy world until I couldn’t anymore. The secrets were becoming too much and I feared that my life would be messed up if I continued to live like that.
I attempted one last time to make him introduce me to his family and he promised to do it “soon”. That day never came. He never told his wife and family about his plans to marry me and it finally hit me that he never would.
“Leave that man. You’re wasting your time and beauty on him.” My mother said sternly.
That night, I let him know that I couldn’t be his girlfriend anymore. I thought that he would at least put up a fight but he didn’t and we ended the relationship.
After, I was struggling to accept that we had broken up and I had wasted three years of my life. I wanted to hear from him whether he really planned on telling his wife. So, I went to his house. He had explicitly told me never to go to that house for obvious reasons.
I knocked on the door and the woman who always accompanied Francis to the company’s dinners opened.
“Who are you?” She asked.
“I’m your husband’s other wife.”
She wasn’t shocked. Instead, she laughed at me and then sized me up. I felt so foolish for lowering myself to that level but the damage had been done. Besides, Francis had humiliated me so many times before.
“Wife? What do you know about being a wife? I have four kids with this man. He’s not going anywhere or marrying anyone else. Go and look for a man your own age.” She said with a coastal accent then slammed the door in my face.
His wife made me realize that Francis had no plans of marrying me. Even if he wanted another wife, it wouldn’t be me. I was too young and inexperienced for him. The whole experience made me put more focus on building a career instead of focusing on getting married.
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