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Just discovered my husband of five years is married

By Barnabas Achoki
Monday, February 8th, 2021
Stress.
In summary

Hi  Achokis, I recently discovered that the man I have been living with as my husband is married to someone else.

Apparently he was married before our relationship begun, but I had no idea about it. I discovered this last year and the information has thrown me off. I confronted him and he denied at first then accepted after realizing that I had the facts.

He has tried to convince me that things are over between him and his first wife, but I’m not convinced.

Now five years into our marriage with two babies, I’m hurt and confused, what should I do?

Our Take

Thanks for your question. This must be very devastating. You feel betrayed and taken for a ride and that hurts. 

The first thing you need to do is to allow yourself time to process your anger and pain. Don’t rush into any decisions.

You are still in shock and denial and need to go through this trauma well with the help of a professional.

Take some time to cool off, and look for a safe place you can vent your anger otherwise you may take an action towards your husband or even yourself that will be regrettable. 

Once you have done that, you can then confront your husband, not by attacking him, but by trying to find out and understand why he made such a decision and what he plans to do now.

Perhaps he was afraid that you would leave him once you knew the truth. He may also have been trying to buy time to sort out his mess.

This is not to excuse for his behaviour, but an attempt to understand what informed such a move.

He, however needs to come clean and tell you the whole truth. He needs to demonstrate that he is remorseful for what he did.  

Words are cheap, he must demonstrate by his actions for you to be convinced and to trust what he says.

It is also important to know the nature and status of the other marriage whether legal or customary. Find out whether his parents or the elders recognise the other woman as a wife.

If so, he needs to make it clear to his parents in your presence that you are his one and only wife.

If the marriage is legal then he must have initiated the divorce proceedings, and if it is customary then he should follow the process of annulling the previous marriage. 

On your part, you need to be crystal clear on what it is you want him to do that will convince you that he is for you.

You need to be prepared on your next step should he decide to hold onto both of you.

Are you ready to be in a polygamous arrangement? If not, what then will you do?

Should he let go this other woman, are you ready for him to continue supporting her children if any and how will that be done?  - The writers are marriage and relationship coaches, [email protected] 

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