Message from the Saudi Daughter of a First Wife


Note from American Bedu: Not all women who marry a Saudi necessarily know if the man has another wife or wives. Yet in some cases, there are some individuals within Saudi Arabia who suggest the idea as early as a young woman may be in high school and college that the way to go is with a married man. The girls are impatient to help their husbands build a life for them they want to jump to the front of the line rather than marry a man who is not yet as established even though he may be closer to her in age and maturity. There are many men who are willing to let a first family suffer in order to titillate and flatter a girl who is young enough to be their own daughter. Many times these consecutive marriages don’t last long but the girl usually gets an apartment or villa if she bags the right fogie and a car and not too shabby jewelry to go with it. In the case that she gets pregnant she has more longevity but not exclusiveness. The very wealthy marry and divorce frequently so they might have two and a spare with little difficulty.

Some Saudi men will argue that at least a woman in Saudi comes out of these relationships with some jewelry and possibly a house whereas in the States a woman might sleep with anyone she meets in the bar with nothing to show for it when the sun comes up. No one seems to be marrying for something as quaint as love anymore it’s all about dollars and riyals. Even the poorest brokedy broke ass pitiful example of a husband will marry first and worry how to support his family later if given the chance. Just a note for some would-be second, third or fourth wives, sometimes they just look rich many times they aren’t. Not everyone in a ghutra has his own oil well.

Without further ado, the following are the candid words of a Saudi daughter of a First Wife…

a-saudi-daughter

Stay Away from Married Saudi Men

If you are single and thinking you are in love with a married Saudi man, let me assure you, you are not with a great man.

Don’t fool yourself.
And, let’s be clear… he is not with you because his wife is a horrible, uncaring person who doesn’t understand him.
He is with you because he is not a great man!

If he were, he would invest the time he is spending with you on his family, get some counseling, do what he could to save the relationship, and after every possible hope disappeared, and remember that the hurt he causes the mother of his children is felt by his children.
And one more thing, you are not more interesting, attractive, or fabulous than his wife. While it may give you a little thrill to think you are so much better than his wife, and he is so much more in love with you than the women to whom he is married, he is not with you because you are so great. He is with you because he doesn’t want to invest in his marriage. He likes the sexual variety, or just wants some diversion.

You are just a distraction, something different, and someone to boost his ego and placate his wandering lust.

I know, I know… he tells you he loves you, that his wife is frumpy, dowdy, or not what she once was. Well, she probably has been taking care of children and trying to create a home while he is out romancing you on the side.

I know he says that he wants to be with you but he can’t hurt the children, or it is not the right time, or he is just waiting to divorce, it’s so allowed in his religion, or whatever.

The excuses are many and are routine, rote, and common. Nothing new, nothing original, and nothing of his true reasons.

How many women had gotten involved with married Saudi men and ended up happily married to them? Hard to say. I’ve never met one. Maybe it has happened a few times over the expanse of human history but chances are virtually nil that it will happen to you.

Why not step back, be honest with yourself, reflect on what you are doing to a family, to children, and to another woman who has invested years in her marriage. And, why not take an honest look at yourself and see why it is you are letting yourself be used by a man who would risk his marriage and his children’s happiness. Does his happiness not count? Yes, it does, but not more so than that of his children’s.

Are you so desperate that you don’t think you could find a good single man? Or a single Saudi man if that is what you want? Do you really think this guy is going to all of a sudden become great once he marries you and breaks her heart? You didn’t know he was married until you were hopelessly in love? Well then, what does that say for his character? Not only did he lie to her, but he lied to you! So, what is it you love about this liar? Do you feel good about yourself when you think about the hurt you are going to cause to his innocent children? Can you release selfishness and find it in your heart to live in the highest good? Even if it is his right by Allah, it is also your right to decline. Especially, if the first wife does not welcome sharing her husband with you. Can you stop fooling yourself enough to realize that this is not the way to find a great man or start a healthy and happy relationship?

Does it feel good to be deceptive if the wife doesn’t know, or to take part in it? To lie? To damage a family? Do you think this man who would betray his wife, or risk destroying his family, and crush his children is really even remotely decent or has any sense of integrity or morality? Do you not care that he is not trustworthy, honest, respectful, or caring of anyone more than himself?

If you are single and with a married man, open your eyes, move on, and find a truly great man.

Sincerely,
Daughter of the First Wife

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43 Responses

  1. Very impressive! And also dismayingly familiar even in the West where this same discourse would apply to the married man having an affair, or a longterm relationship on the side. The second woman should always remember he could do it to you too, and that whatever marital difficulties there are with the first wife may be partly (at least) his responsibility!

  2. l totally agree with “Daughter of the First Wife”. l have experienced it myself. My father did not marry another woman but he sure had extramarital affairs going which hurt our family a lot. :-(

  3. Clearly could write this about any man that goes a wandering from hearth and home.

    I agree with Chiara…if he did it to first wife…whats to stop him from doing it to you? Its not quite so romantic and halal feeling when your the injured party.

  4. Since were on the topic of marriage and having a 2nd or more wives. My question is, is polygamy still necessary in today’s world? I have read arguments that polygamy exists due to its historical nature : biblical//quranic accounts. Another argument is because there are more women than men (i think Ive read this in wikipedia regarding islamic polygamy.)

    I know my father had affairs while he was working in the GCC, and yes It hurts the immediate family.

    from the letter of the daughter, she really knows what she’s talking about.
    reality, wandering heart and wandering eyes hurts the relationship because trust me, people wants monogamy in a relationship.

    P.s. Im talking about marital polygamy here people :)

  5. We met an American woman in KSA who agreed to be a second wife. She married about 15 years ago, and she is about the age of her husband’s eldest daughter.

    In his defence, this Saudi man was forced to marry his cousin when he was very young, even though he says that he really didn’t really want to. It was a way to keep all the money within the family at the time and it was, and still is, quite common. Divorce was not an option in his family….his father wouldn’t permit it.

    While his brother was studying in the states, he took the opportunity to meet and marry a woman of HIS choice. He kept her hidden until his father passed away.

    From what this woman has told us, he offered her money and wealth beyond belief, in exchange for her marrying him as a second wife. At first she refused, but he pursued her and somehow changed her mind.

    The fights and trauma in this family since she has moved here are beyond belief.

    When we speak about flowers, she tells us that her husband has never bought her flowers. When we talk about romantic times, she has nothing to share on that either.

    We asked her if she knew the rules of the Kingdom…that she can’t take her daughter out of the Kingdom unless he lets her…and if he dies, since she doesn’t have a son, the decisions will be left to his brother. She knew none of that.

    All his family are relatives, as they all married their cousins. All I can say is God help her if anything happens to him.

  6. My Cous used to say:”Al-homar homar.” In English:”The donkey is a donkey,” meaning,”once a donkey, always a donkey.”

  7. Well having experienced this with my own father- who divorced my mom after coming to America and having all his sons and me- to go back home to marry a young thing- deny me as his daughter- I can and do agree with this woman. It broke my mother- took her years- decades really to get up and be the woman she once was; and I have never forgiven my father for his treachery.

    Why people get into these relationships whether religiously sanctioned or not- is beyond me; can’t wrap my head around women not realizing that she is going to bed not only with that man, but with all the women he has. To me disgusting pales in description.

    And when the first wife suffers; then the pattern is repeated with second and successive ones- I seriously wonder if the good old idea of marrying forever; of continuity ever enters anyone’s mind- oh, yes of course the continuity of rounds upon women who know better (virginal or otherwise) so I guess soap and water will do for those who step onto these spinning plates.

    When it breaks then they see the light; and too late…

    And like a popular spanish old love song “solo quedan cenizas” -only the ashes are left. Let me tell you being served ashes is not at all palatable.

  8. “his father wouldnt permit it”…divorce that is…I continually find myself unable to understand how children over here allow their parents such control over their lives. Everything from who they marry to when they marry…and then to deny them divorce because it would shame the family or just isnt done.

    My friend is married to a man that is her complete opposite. They have absolutely nothing in common except to young kids. She was forced in a “really its your choice” kind of way into marrying him. They havent really been happy a single day in their 6 year marriage…yet she cant divorce him because her mother wont let her. Her mother is in her late 70’s early 80’s…her mother was forced to marry when she was 11…to a 35 year old man. She spent a miserable life in that marriage…and learned nothing from it. I always thought parents were supposed to want better for their children…we learn from our mistakes and try to prevent our kids from making them…yet over here they drive their children like sheep into the very mistakes they were forced to make and suffered from…I dont get it. Somebody please explain this mindset to me…our parents made us suffer through culture so we will make our children suffer too…God I just dont get it.

  9. No parent wants marital unhappiness for their grown children, but by the time a parent reaches late middle age, she/he knows that the state of marriage is nothing if not a pendulum. It swings back and forth, sometimes to the extreme degrees.

    While I do not defend a parent “forbidding” her/his chronically unhappy son or daughter from getting a divorce, I now understand that the parent wants nothing more than that the unhappy state of marital union will swing into its opposite position.

  10. American Bedu, this is great topic.

    As mentioned in this article, a man who complains about his current wife is not worth it!!! Who would fall for this is just desperate and nieve. If a man leaves his wife for another will more than likely do the same again. “Once a cheater, always a cheater”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Salam :)

    ………………….

    اعوذب لله من الشيطان الرجيم

    “And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course. ” [Quran 4:3]

    ………………….

    Personally, I accept polygamy on the condition the man is just to his wives. There’s the ring story – “The one I love most is the one I give the ring to” & he gave it to all his wives, telling each to keep it secret. Wise wise man. :)

    If someone can enlighten me, did Ali marry only Fatima in her lifetime? So does Rasulullah with Khadija? His children is with Khadija, right. I’m unsure. He will always remember Khadija, so much Aisha became jealous.

    Only Allah SWT Knows Best.

  12. ahh poor men..
    (j/k)

  13. Yes, poor men, indeed, for they are always searching, and never get satisfied.

  14. Aaaah, yes poor men, so poor in heart and mind, in mercy and loyalty, in truthfulness and love…
    Do you think men will make it to heaven at all? they have nothing to offer, no richess in mind or heart…. It wouldn’t surprise me if this houri nonsense has come about because men are actually really scarce in Jannah, and it’s populated mostly by women…. :mrgreen:

    It’s really saying something that whenever a victim of polygamy speaks out one hears the most heartrending sad stories, and whenever we hear of some people who are happy and fulfilled sharing, it’s mostly by hearsay.

  15. lol@Sarah: Well it is not possible that a man can be “just to his wives”. A man is only a human being just like you & me…The fairy tale that polygamy might be “just” was told by men who can’t keep it in their pants. ;-) Nope, I did not make that one up :-P

  16. Sarah–yes, both Mohamed and Ali were monogamous with their first wives Khadija and Fatima Zahra, respectively until the time of the wives’ deaths. Mohamed had children only with Khadija, but Ali had many children with multiple wives in addition to those he had with Fatima Zahra.
    I think the operative phrase is “if he can be just” , and the later remark that it is impossible to be/do so.

    Aamer– :mrgreen:

    Mimi Ameer– :D

  17. PS Sarah–sorry just remembered Maria the Copt and Mohamed’s son Ibrahim by her (his wife or slave, there is dispute about her status).

    Gloria–“men who can’t keep it in their pants”, like John Edwards LOL :D :mrgreen:

    Miriam Mac and Inal–sad all around isn’t it!

    I have a colleague, Christian, who is on wife no. 4. He marries women in their mid-twenties, makes babies (average 4 per woman), and then has an affair with the next candidate, gets a divorce (or is forced into one by the current wife), and starts all over. Somehow, no.3 (my med school classmate) thought it wouldn’t happen to her. At least she is a specialist in a high earning, good lifestyle specialty!

    If he didn’t claim superior family values (in regards to treatment of the elderly) it would be mildly less appalling a pattern. His conscious motivation seems, based on his comments and pattern, to be to continue to have progeny. But I think that in itself has more to do with fear of death, desire for lost youth, and a need to prove his virility (based mainly on the psychological teachings of “Moonstruck” by Norman Jewison starring Cher and Nicholas Cage :P :D :mrgreen: )

  18. lol @ Gloria – he can’t keep it under his thobe!!
    I am the daughter of a second wife, and I am here to tell you it is not a bed of roses for either family, although usually the first wife is a cousin and therefore has status and economic security that subsequent wives do not have.

  19. @Chiara: You are right. ;-) He couldn’t keep it in his pants either. Now I forgot was that before or after his wife’s cancer issue?
    I have seen many men not “wanting” to keep it in their pants. We always have choices..& we have the opportunity to pick the better choice. My Psych prof says that men are not salivating dogs. I tend to agree with him- even though at times I do have my doubts;-)

    lol@mariam: Oops…your right about the thobe. ;-)

  20. Gloria–the affair was started after the initial diagnosis and treatment and befor the discovery of metastases (Stage IV). To say he made poor choices would be an understatement, and he seems to have been caught in that web of male mid-life crisis, flattering second woman, and social isolation (because of work ie campaigning) from a wife who is aged by having his children (including 2 very late pregnancies). Run that one by your Psych prof! LOL :D No better not!

  21. It is lamentable what we Saudi men at times do.

    I am perpelxed by your question in the blog “Or a single Saudi man if that is what you want?”

    What does this mean?

    Why would a foreign woman specifically seek out a man with Saudi citizenship?

    Is it the the perception of potentail wealth, the lure of our conservative cultural practices, or some other factor?

    We are, in truth, not so different from others in this region.

    Do you ladies have views on this point?

  22. Andrew–my best guess is that different foreign women might be interested in a generic single Saudi man (as opposed to a specific man they are in love with independent of nationality), for different reasons, both personal, and in part based on their own nationality and social circumstances.

    Certainly there is the (mis-) perception that all Saudis are wealthy (you mean you don’t have an oil well in your back yard? you are not a royal? you are not commenting from your palace? LOL :D). Indeed for women in some cultures and countries a Saudi man on vacation in her home country does represent a better financial prospect than many men around her (or her father believes so).

    Based on their comments here and elsewhere, some reverts or converts seem very drawn to Saudi (? and Saudi men) because it is the cradle of Islam and the country of the “Two Holy Mosques”, with more conservative mores (though not all seem as enamoured of this aspect).

    Some marriages in general are based on the attraction of the exotic (in both directions), but that tends to wear thin.

    Simon–the historical argument for polygyny is made current by some who invoke the present day need for men to marry polygynously in order to protect the orphans and widows produced by today’s wars in the Middle East. The strongest counterarguement is the impossibility of being fair and equitable to multiple wives, and the next strongest argument is that charity would provide materially for those without husbands or family.

  23. @Chiara: My Prof is two times divorcé. His first wife had several affairs & he only found out about it after they got divorced & died in a car accident. He is on the sofa a few times week.
    Besides he is looking for a gf. He checked out my **** a few times but I told him I am into men in thobes ;-) :-P

  24. Gloria–a Psych Prof (in my humble experience), even a Jew, a Scot, ro a born-again Christian, would have no shame, and be able to find a rationalization or intellectualization or justification (ie a psychological defense mechanism) for adopting the thobe as his new professional attire if that were “necessary”, so to speak! :mrgreen:

  25. Chiara: I agree with you. I am not sure what he is..probably an Atheist. That is fine with me but I tried to imagine him in a thobe & somehow that did not produce positive results! lol….Rationalization is his favorite…he comes from a strict Catholic family & always complains about his parents’ lack of understanding for masturbation. The class was called “Guilt & Shame” so they all let it out..it was almost like a group therapy session;-)
    Anyway I did consider him for a short while..he is very smart & has 2 PhDs….but the “Thobe” thangy got in the way! ;-) Besides Psych people can always read you through & through…which scares me a bit. lol..they are usually smart- just like you :-P

  26. Wow, that’s some rage. But I give her a standing ovation for her insights.

  27. Gloria–well that explains it all–an RC so lapsed he is an Atheist, teaches a course on “Guilt and Shame”, and discusses his psyche and psychoanalysis with his students–no wonder even a thobe won’t help! Just reading my crystal ball here–psychics have more fun than psychiatrists (and get paid more–but this one’s a freebie :P ) LOL :D :D

  28. LOL@Chiara: Exactly! You understood. I had the choice…on one hand I had the thobe & on the other I had him. I decided to go for the thobe. I mean the Prof was funny & all ..he told us he used to feed cute Sqaurels while naked every moring as they showed up knocking at his window ;-) I think that just about did it for me. Once again It was me & the Thobe. :-P

  29. To answer the question above: “What do western women see in a man with Saudi citizenship?”

    Well, 30 years ago…who knew anything about Saudi Arabia….especially if you were from a small town in the states? It’s not like they had it stamped on their foreheads…I AM SAUDI, I AM RICH, MARRY ME! ha ha

    I was introduced to my husband the night he arrived in the states. (We were obviously meant to be together!) A group of us were invited to an ‘Arabian Nights’ dinner party with other college kids from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

    Other than being tall, dark, and handsome, : ) he was very polite, and he seemed so grown-up compared to the other college people I had met in my classes. He studied, got good grades, was well groomed, well spoken, and even cooked and cleaned in his own apartment. He even opened the doors for me!!!

    I wouldn’t say that he was wealthy, but he could pay his own way easily. As a matter of fact, on our wedding day, one of his friends said, “I know that you’re only marrying him for his money!” To which I replied, “HE HAS MONEY???!!!” He didn’t have a penney. His parents had some, but we, in the west, don’t consider that money to be ours. What he did have was a degree and lots of common sense.

    It has been one heck of a crazy, wonderful, ride…….and I’m still enjoying it! : ) 30 years with a Saudi!!! Who would have thought it possible? Only 1 person. She was the same one who was totally against the marriage in the first place! My Grandmother, God rest her soul. She was against me marrying a non-American, but she really loved the guy other than that.

  30. Miriam Mac.

    Thank you for your response, but it appears that in your case his Saudi citizenship was incidental or irrelevant to you. You did not specifically seek out a Saudi citizen.

    I perceive from the response by Chiara that women who seek out a man with Saudi citizenship because of either his perceived greater wealth, or his perceived greater religious piety.

    Would this be the view of ladies with expertise in this topic?

  31. Andrew–I am glad that Miriam Mac gave her perspective, and I understand your question to be why would someone go primarily after Saudi citizenship and do so via marriage. You are right that my expertise on this topic is limited.

    Specifically, it is based in part on time spent in Morocco and the behaviour of Saudis and Moroccans there, as remarked upon by Moroccan family members. Also, I am familiar through my professional and personal lives with why women (and men) seek a specific citizenship and decide to do so through marriage. It usually has to do with wanting to leave an undesirable situation in the home country, or wanting to remain in the host country beyond the initial visa. Often the partner is very hurt in the process, either because they have a poor “marriage of convenience” or they are “dumped” ie divorced once the citizenship is received and cannot be revoked. This can be a phenomenon among all social strata (I know professionals who have done this).

    My comment about the desirability of making a life in Saudi for religious reasons comes from the comments of women converts.

    I do hope other women who are based in Saudi (unlike myself) will respond to your interesting question, not necessarily based on their own personal reasons for marriage to a Saudi, but based on their knowledge of others’ in Saudi.

  32. @Miriam Mac: I so enjoyed hearing your experience! Love LIVES! (smile)

  33. Well, it seems someone has had a traumatic childhood experience.

  34. Mohamed S–agreed. Do you have an example of someone who lived this experience with less trauma, or at least less anger? I think it would be interesting to learn more about. Thanks.

  35. Who hasnt!!???

  36. “men in thobes”

    Starring WIll Smith ;-)

  37. @Chiara: Relatives and friends mostly.

    If you don’t want Anecdotal evidence, I remember CNN doing a feature on Polygamy a while back and featured both the negative and positive sides. They also went with a South African man married to 4 women and his children seemed like great fun when they were interviewed (though his daughters would like to be only wives when they grow up lol).

    I think also shows like 20/20 did something aout polygamy as well.

  38. Mohamed S–thanks, and discretion is the better part of valour (or at least family relationships and friendships LOL).

    It is interesting to see the choices that the children of polygynous relationships make, although the choices may reflect primarity the opportunity for choice or change within the culture.

    There is a polygynous community of FLDS (move up from the US) in Canada, who were featured in a CBC documentary. They are currently less happy because the Canadian law is now involved. I will look in to the other examples you gave.

    If you feel comfortable giving an anonymous anecdotal example, I would be interested. If not, no matter. Thanks.

  39. Well, I did know two guys from high school in my class who were half brothers. I didn’t realize that they were related because they LOOKED NOTHING ALIKE, I just thought they were best friends or something lol.

    Family is quite a private thing in Saudi so I don’t probe too deep as my own direct relatives don’t have any polygamous marriages.

    My Aunt’s brother (so would that technically make him my uncle?) is one of my best friends and he has nearly 20 siblings!

  40. Mohamed S–thanks for the examples, and your discretion within them. These types of examples show the more normal side of life, eg. whatever else is going on people have friends, family, school work, etc. Thanks again.

  41. l agree with daugther of wife number one saudia women dont care if the man is married as long as he has plently of money when l lived in saudia with my husband who isnt even saudia hes from jordon l had a problem with a young 30yr old saudia women who was trying to get her claws into him cos he has money she wasnt bothered that he was married with 6kids and with this young tart was saying sweet nothings to him on the fone he got a big head from it but in the end he lost out cos l took his kids away from him we went to england because of my clever thinking and holding my touge now he can have who ever he wants l dont care lm back in england with my family and l have all of my children with me so he can go and have a life with some one else and see if that makes him happy cos l got my kids out of that country and you know us westen women usally dont get out with our kids so hurray to me

  42. Oops! On my way to planning my future life in Martinique ( :P ) I discovered this not so happy statistic from research conducted in Riyadh on the higher than usual incidence of suicide attempts by women in polygamous rather than monogamous marriages:

    “Family conflicts seemed to play a role in suicide attempts—60% of patients experienced familial discord, and reports from neighbouring Gulf states support the higher prevalence of family conflict in persons who attempt suicide (4–6). Of the 31 married women, 26% were partners of polygamous marriages (this is probably an overrepresentation of polygamy in the general population) [Saudi average is 2-12% with 90% of those being 2 wives].”

    Full study on suicide attempts by overdose:

    http://ww1.cpa-apc.org:8080/publications/archives/CJP/2004/may/aljahdali.asp

  43. [...] Polygamy in Saudi Arabia however is really just the tip of the iceberg.  In my view polygamy is practiced more widely than realized in Saudi Arabia for several key reasons.  One of those reasons which I believe has much significance is that marriages continue to be arranged in Saudi Arabia.  In most cases the marriage will be to a first cousin from within the family.  The Saudi man will do his duty and wanting to please the family, particularly his parents, will marry whom they have chosen.  Yet the Saudi man typically has more freedoms and less restrictions on his movements.  He will have additional exposures and opportunities to interact with other women.  Through such interactions he may find himself whether in or outside of the Kingdom feeling emotions and desires he had not experienced with his wife.  The man wanting to be honorable will wish to marry the other woman as a second wife so he may have a halal relationship with her.  It is debatable through on whether his honor would extend to informing either woman of his actions and both wives may not have any idea that the other exists.  This is how polygamy is more and more often being abused. [...]

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