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Friday, December 8, 2023

A man ain’t worth it, dear Marie (Part 4)

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It is often said that a woman’s worst enemy can sometimes be her own kind. The tale of your heartbreak, my dear friend, is a testament to the heartbreaking truth of this statement. You find yourself in the throes of heartbreak because another younger woman observed the life you and Bocar had built together and coveted it for herself. This is a story as old as time itself – a narrative of envy, ambition, and the corrosive effects of unchecked desire.

Dear Marie,

Human relationships are a tapestry woven with countless threads, and within it, the intricacies of polygamy form a striking pattern. Your story, intertwined with Bocar’s and the other woman’s, serves as a poignant example of how tradition, love, and societal expectations intersect in unexpected ways.

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Polygamy, a practice both sanctioned by our religion and steeped in cultural traditions, has been a part of human society for centuries. It’s a concept that has fascinated scholars, puzzled psychologists, and engaged sociologists. The idea of one man having multiple wives can be perplexing, especially in societies where monogamy is the accepted norm. But to truly grasp the allure and implications of polygamy, we must delve into the intricacies of the human psyche and the societal structures that uphold it.

The decision of the other younger woman to become a second wife to Bocar serves as a poignant illustration of the multifaceted allure of polygamy. Youth, as they say, visits just once, and it’s a precious prize that we often wish we could keep forever. It has the power to conquer all under the sun and fills the young with a sense of invincibility. A beautiful woman in the prime of her youth is a fearless woman, unburdened by the weight of years. It’s no wonder that many men, well past their prime, yearn for the warmth and vitality of a younger woman. While such a connection may not rejuvenate them, it can certainly offer a taste of the vitality and spirit of youth.

Yet, the choice of polygamy, as in the case of Bocar and the other woman, can stem from various motivations, not all of which are immediately evident on the surface. This complex decision often involves a delicate interplay of cultural norms, personal desires, and societal expectations, all woven together into the fabric of human relationships.

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In this intricate web of human relationships, the choice to embrace polygamy is often colored by a complex interplay of factors. One such facet, profoundly etched into the human experience, is the quest for financial security. In a world where economic stability forms the bedrock of a secure and comfortable life, the prospect of sharing a husband can, for some women, especially the young ones, emerge as a pragmatic solution to their economic problems.

These women willingly step into polygamous unions, not solely driven by romantic ideals, but as a means to access the financial resources, support, and stability that a marriage might provide. It’s a choice borne out of necessity, a decision influenced by the harsh realities of an unequal world.

But the lens through which we view polygamy extends beyond the realm of financial pragmatism. It delves into the heart of survival strategies, unveiling a complex web of power dynamics within these relationships. Here, in unions where one husband is shared among multiple wives, we witness a shifting balance of power that often casts women into roles they may not have chosen for themselves.

When a woman enters a relationship that already includes another, the dynamics at play can be profound. The inherent inequalities within polygamous marriages sometimes lead to a disconcerting facade—a mask of pretense. For example, if the other woman in the household is naturally assertive, she may choose to mask her true nature and pretend to be subdued. This pretense is a delicate dance, an artful masquerade where women become masters at concealing their genuine emotions and feelings.

This pretense can be motivated by various factors. It might arise from a desire to establish a secure foothold within the marriage, to reduce conflicts and maintain a semblance of harmony within the family unit, or even to assert dominance over the other, perhaps more emotive woman in the relationship, with the aim of replacing her. In this context, polygamy transcends the realm of mere tradition; it evolves into a survival strategy for women navigating a world filled with societal expectations, cultural norms, and economic disparities. And who ultimately benefits from this intricate dance of roles and expectations? It often leans in favor of the men.

Thus a survival instinct, the hallmark of our species, finds unique expression within polygamous unions. Here, women play roles that are cloaked in layers of societal and cultural norms, all in the pursuit of preserving the family unit and, by extension, ensuring the survival of the species. The female gender, renowned for its resilience and adaptability, navigates these multifaceted dynamics with a remarkable ability to conceal their true selves behind the veneer of conformity.

However, the allure of polygamy is not solely rooted in financial considerations or innuendos to survive. Envy, a powerful and often unspoken emotion, can be another driving force behind this choice. As has been astutely pointed out earlier, envy can rear its head when one woman observes the life, love, and companionship enjoyed by another and yearns to claim that existence for herself. The desire to replace another, to step into her shoes and partake in the life she leads, can be a compelling force. This envy, an all-too-human emotion, can sometimes blind individuals to the potential consequences of their actions, leading them down unexpected paths.

Cultural and religious beliefs also play a significant role in shaping the allure of polygamy. In many societies, cultural norms and religious teachings can intertwine to create an environment where the practice of polygamy is not only accepted but, in some cases, encouraged. These beliefs can cast polygamy in a different light, framing it as a virtuous and righteous path. Women who adhere to these cultural and religious traditions may perceive polygamy as not only an acceptable but even a desirable way of life.

However, as your story poignantly illustrates my dear Marie, polygamy often comes at a significant emotional cost. It can lead to a profound sense of heartbreak, not only for the primary wife but also for the additional wives who enter into the arrangement. The emotional toll it takes on all parties involved is undeniable.

For you, Marie, the shock and pain of Bocar taking another wife were palpable. The emotional investment you had made in your marriage, the sacrifices you had endured, and the dreams you had shared were suddenly threatened. It’s a scenario that no one can truly prepare for, and the emotional upheaval it brings is immeasurable.

Marie, the other woman, also likely experienced her own share of emotional turmoil. While she may have believed that entering into a polygamous marriage was the right decision for her, it undoubtedly came with its own set of challenges. The inherent complexities of sharing a husband, managing jealousy, and navigating the intricacies of coexisting with another wife can be emotionally draining.

The consequences of polygamy, both for those directly involved and for society as a whole, are a subject of ongoing debate. Certain advocates, including staunch Muslim feminists, argue that it can offer financial security and companionship to women who might not otherwise have these opportunities. However, there are those, including myself, who firmly contend that it can perpetuate inequality, jealousy, and emotional turmoil.

Your heartbreak, Marie, is a stark reminder of the emotional toll that polygamy can exact on those involved. It highlights the need for open communication, mutual respect, and empathy in such complex relationships. It also underscores the importance of reevaluating societal norms and expectations regarding marriage and relationships. As the accomplished economist and professor, known for her work on gender economics, labor economics, and income inequality, Claudia Goldin rightly stated, “We’re never going to have gender equality until we have couple equity.”

Finally, as we all know, time is a relentless force that spares no one. Youth, with its impulsive decisions and seemingly boundless energy, may lead some to make choices that they later come to regret. The allure of polygamy, driven by the passions of youth, can fade as one ages and gains a deeper understanding of the complexities of human emotions and relationships.

Everyone and everything will grow old one day. My hope for the young women who pursue other women’s husbands, driven by the recklessness of youth, is that, one day when they are older, they may find themselves in a similar situation. Perhaps then, they will understand the pain they have caused and the harm they have brought to those who came before them.

In this intricate dance of life, lessons are often learned through experience, and the passage of time has a way of revealing the true cost of our choices. It is my fervent hope that, as these young women mature, they gain the wisdom to make choices that prioritize empathy, respect, and the well-being of all involved.

With warm regards,


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