My husband and I are in our forties. Last year we decided to make a very big change in our lives. We decided to look for a second wife (sister wife) for my husband. I totally agreed at first. He reached out to a woman he knew years ago and asked if she would consider joining our family. However, I got the feeling that she was not the right woman to have in our family. She ignored many of my profound questions about why she wanted to live this kind of life.
I have told my husband that I no longer want her in my life and it has reached the point where I no longer want to live a multiple lifestyle. I felt bad that I was the one to change my mind, so I agreed to allow them to continue a relationship — as long as they keep me out of it, and he keeps her out of my house and my life.
I don’t understand how he can continue to live this way, live two separate lives and be okay with it. We’ve been together for over 20 years and I don’t want to leave, but how can I continue to love a man with all my heart and soul when he only loves me with part of his?
— Sister Wife
Relationships like you describe can work if all three parties involved feel that they are valued equally. Some wives tolerate their husbands having someone “on the side” because they take advantage of it beyond the emotional bond associated with marriage. That said, ultimately you are the only person who can answer the question you ask me.
I am an 11 year old girl. My 16-year-old sister has severe depression and an eating disorder. She has been hospitalized twice as a result and now she has to go to the hospital every day to get her to eat more. Although people help her, I don’t think she’s getting better. It makes me worried and sad.
My mom makes me see a therapist and she helps me feel better, but it’s still hard to know that my sister is having such a hard time. I have never experienced anything so difficult in my life. I wish I didn’t always have to think about how sad I am. I really want everything to be normal. Can you tell me ways not to get so mad about everything that’s going on?
— Having a hard time in Iowa
I’m glad you’re seeing a therapist with whom you can talk about your grief and concerns. It can be a blessing to be able to discuss them with someone you trust and who is not emotionally involved.
I do have a suggestion that can help you in addition to your therapy. Engage in sports activities and hobbies that occupy your mind. Keeping yourself busy will give you less time to dwell on your sorrows and worries. And please, write to me again in a few months and let me know how you are doing, because I hope you feel better than you are now.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: First wife has doubts about polygamy