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(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

Many partners

We tend to think that there are only two people involved when it comes to relationships. But that's not always the case.


While many people think of marriage as a union between two people, there are parts of the world where more than two partners can be involved. Having more than one spouse is called 'polygamy'. In Kenya, this usually means a man has more than one wife, which is called 'polygyny'. There are a few communities in the world where 'polyandry' – a woman having more than one husband – is common.

In Kenya, polygyny is legal and accepted among some tribes and/or religious groups. If you're considering a polygamous relationship, make sure you understand the regional laws and customs around the practice first. For instance, legally speaking, men do not have to inform their current wife/wives if they decide to marry another woman.

In many cultures, having more than one wife is a status symbol, and shows wealth and power. Men who have many wives can get more work done – there are more hands to work on the fields, bring up the children and do the housework, giving them an economic advantage. And men can have more children if they're married to more than one woman. Large families are considered a blessing in many African cultures.

But living in a polygamous marriage can also mean jealousy, envy, hatred, and rivalry between the partners – sharing a husband isn't easy! Marriage is always difficult sometimes, and things become even more complicated when more than two people are involved. And it's not just difficult for the wives: the husband will have to deal with the problems of more than one family and make sure that everyone involved is content with the situation. In addition to emotional and practical difficulties, polygamous relationships can sometimes cause economic hardship if not well managed. Providing for a large family can be a challenge.

This type of relationship is not for everyone and there are no sure-fire ways to make it work. It all depends on the people involved and what their expectations and arrangements are.

Whether or not you agree with polygamous relationships, it should be up to those involved to decide. What's important is that everyone knows what they're agreeing to, and that they do so out of their free will.

For men

You may be a man who likes  the idea of being with multiple women. However, you'll also need to take care of multiple families and divide your time fairly between all your wives and children.

It's important to make sure your attention is equally divided and that you don’t favour one wife over another. This will help reduce jealousy and rivalry. Patience, understanding, and fairness are crucial – and of course good communication between you and all your wives.

Some men choose to keep their families in separate locations, whether that means opposite ends of the village or even different towns. This may help avoid confrontations, but you need to make sure you're being honest with each wife. It's very important that they know about the other(s). If you keep one family a secret and live a life of lies and dishonesty, things are bound to get complicated sooner rather than later.

You also need to appreciate that each family will have its own dynamics, so things will differ between the two families. You can’t expect things to always be a certain way. Flexibility is a must. You also need to understand that a second marriage won't solve any problems if you're not happy with your first wife.

When a man marries a new wife he often neglects the first, which can lead to a lot of bad feelings. On the other hand, the first wife might have a stronger bond with the husband, as they've spent time together without another wife around.

A second marriage can only be successful if the first is stable.

For women

Whether or not you agree with polygamous relationships, it should be up to the people involved to decide.

If your husband wants to marry another wife, you need to talk about it. Find out why he want to take this step, and spend some time thinking about what you want. Sit down and go through the pros and the cons of adding more people to your marriage. Try to find something that works for both of you.

No one can be forced to accept a co-wife, but there's often a lot of pressure from the husband. Having open and honest conversations will help you and your partner understand the situation and, ideally, make a decision that addresses everyone’s needs.

The most important thing is that you both agree on the 'rules' of the relationship, and that you make the decision of your own free will.

If you choose to let other wives join the marriage, then make an effort to work together and get along. This might be very difficult at first, but in the long run having an amicable relationship will make it easier to share a husband. Things tend to be a bit easier if the women don't have to share a house – it's easier to have your own space.

There can be advantages to being part of such an arrangement. It means the women get some uninterrupted time with their children while the husband is with another family. And it can be reassuring to know that there's another family to take care of the children in case anything happens to you or your husband.

Did you learn something new?

Hi Njeri, Have you been trying to get pregnant? Having intercourse when you are fertile will enhance your chances of getting pregnant. Check out the following article for more tips:-
Hey Alisaba, You are question is not very clear but it is normal to have sex during the day. Different people have different preferences and can choose to have sex at any time of the day. Sometimes it is just about what is convenient for the couple.
Hi Kyle, Perhaps you need to make a decision as to whether this is the kind of relationship you want to have and whether this is the kind of a partner you want to have. You seem to be in a cycle which only you can stop. Take abit of time and think k about your relationship and what you want now and in the future and then make a decision. This article may help;-
Hey Tyla, You may need to think about whether you want to be with a person who is not loyal to you. While breaking up maybe tough since you still love him but is this what you want? Do you want to be with a person who consistently cheats on you? Think about it and make a decision. Check out this article;-

Hi Presh, moving on after a  break up can be challenging especially if you are still in love with the person. It is however important to come to terms with the fact that a relationship has come to an end and allow yourself to move on. Have a look at the following article for some tips on coping with a break up;-

My man has his first wife we've dated for one and half years.he's proposed marriage, I love him intensely. Now he tells me he wants to have third wife.he's 55,his wife is 40,am 38,the gal he's brought on board is 26?I feel I want out I've told him the same he's bitter.if I walk out he's vowed to look for a third wife.
Hi Jewel, You have to think and make a decision about the kind of relationship you want to be in. If this is not want you want then walking out like you have said may be the option. Check out this article;-

Hello Tina, this is a decision only you can make together with your partner. Sometimes partners can choose not to have sex before marriage for various reasons including, religious beliefs or personal principles. Others will choose to have sex before marriage with reasons as well. This being your personal decision, only have sex if you feel ready, feel it is the right time and that you are with the right person. If you don't feel ready let your partner know. 

Hi Shantel, have you talked to your husband about this? A good place to start is to share with him what you have observed and what this means to you. Let him know your concerns and fears so that together you agree on how to proceed with your relationship. Check out this article;-

Hey Shiqo, there is no way to know for sure if someone is cheating on you. The best thing you can do is try to communicate with your partner. Be honest with them about your suspicions and your feelings along with your fears. I know this can be scary to bring it up but try to just tell them why you suspect something is wrong and not just accuse them a cheater. Generally if we hold on to our thoughts you might take things the wrong way believe something without knowing if it is real or not. Check out this article;-

Hi Newleen, you could begin by asking him how he feels toward you. You can also look at how he treats you when you spend time together, does he show genuine concern toward you, does he always want to spend lots of alone time with you, does he make sacrifices for you, does he talk about the future and include you in that future? All these can be signs of how he feels toward you, if you are not certain of how he feels toward you ask him to clarify his actions so you are certain. 

Hey Chess, I am not able to tell you whether he still loves you. You however, need to find out why it is important for him to keep communicating with his ex. Let him know that this is concerning to you and let him know what you would like to see. Many times of a person chooses to keep a relationship with an ex, it is possible to slip back into a romantic relationship and if this were to happen in your case it will affect your relationship.

Hello, there is no way to know for sure if your partner is cheating on you. The best thing you can do is try to communicate with your partner. Be honest with them about your suspicions and your feelings along with your fears. I know this can be scary to bring it up but try to just tell them why you suspect something is wrong and not just accuse them a cheater. Generally if we hold on to our thoughts you might take things the wrong way believe something without knowing if it is real or not. Check out the following article;-

This is a tough Betty. Cheating causes a lot of distress in a relationship. If you’re the one who’s been cheated on, it’s only natural that you feel angry, hurt, disappointed and depressed after hearing the news. When it’s done regularly it damages the relationship even deeper. Perhaps you can consider expressing your feelings to your partner. You can also talk to a trusted friend or a therapist. But at the end of the day you are the one to make a decision on what you really want. Check out this article

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 08:57 pm
hey, am in love with my boyfriend but not yet married with him, but he only reacts once so he doesn't satisfy my feelings and i love you so much. so what should I do

Hi Jackie, have you talked with your boyfriend about this? Sex is better when partners talk about what they like and enjoy during sex. Find a good time to talk with your boyfriend about what you want and also let him tell you what he enjoys and likes, this way the experience will be better for you and your boyfriend. Check out this article for more tips;-

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 04:17 pm
I still love my ex... He confessed that he too is still so madly in love with me.. But thing is I have a new guy and he too moved on... I feel so confused .. Don't know what to do with all these feelings.. Any word of advice??

Hi Princess, it is normal to have such feelings especially soon after you break and also depending on the reason and how you broke up. You have both moved on and perhaps you should keep things as they are. Try focus on your current relationship, with time the feelings will fade away as your current relationship grows. We wish you well. Check out this article;-

Hey Tom, so sorry about this. Did she say why she needed time? This is a good place to start, sometimes partners can take sometime away from each and then get back together and go on to have a great relationship. The break should however be agreed upon with certain ground rules during this period including how long it should take. Sometimes however a break can lead to a break up and it is important that you are prepared for this outcome as well.

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