Wife who endured husband getting remarried talks of her struggle

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ABU DHABI // After spending the early years of her life in a broken home, it was important for Umm Abdullah that she promised to provide her husband with a happy and peaceful environment for their children.
But after seven years of marriage, while she was pregnant with her third child, their relationship was thrown into turmoil when her husband took a second wife.
"I did not feel betrayed, I just felt shocked and I used to always cry, just cry," the Emirati woman said. "I was patient, but I still thought 'why did he do it?'
"My life turned into hell. I could see and tell he was more concerned about [his second wife] and that made me nervous and worthless. I became more angry, frustrated, aggressive and I resorted to therapy.
"I became the kind of woman that creates a problem when I used to be calm. His marriage had changed me."
Umm Abdullah said that because her husband's parents had also divorced, they had pledged not to put their children through the pain of divorce.
"After his marriage I felt the negativity reflected on our children, which saddened me," she said.
She was also surprised that her husband could afford another wife, since he often complained to her about their finances. He even insisted she work to earn extra income.
"I was forced to look for a job because we couldn't survive on his salary. I didn't think he could afford another marriage and household," she said.
Her husband became distant and evasive after the second wedding, she said, and he stopped caring for her children, making up excuses not to see them. She said her husband did not see their autistic seven-year-old child for months at a time.
"After a while we stopped talking about anything - he didn't even tell me about his issues or concerns. I used to feel we were one, but then we grew apart," she said.
"Slowly, he began moving out of my house and into the second wife's. He took all our documents, extra cash, even his clothes and shoes to the other house."
Eventually, she decided to move back to her mother's house.
"I then asked him to be fair, to provide for my needs, as that is the Sharia law. But I found him to be even more careless and that is when I asked for a divorce," she said.
The couple were divorced last year, seven years after the husband married his second wife.
aalkhoori@thenational.ae