‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’
I can’t help but to relate this proverb to a few women, who baffle me when they stay in their problematic marriages.
I’ve known them for a while. One’s a housewife and the other is a high-ranking police officer.
I’ve always admired their independence and strong will, but I can’t figure out one thing – why do they stay in their problematic marriages, even when their husbands cheat on them and marry other women?
Kak Lina (not her real name) is the epitome of a supermom.
With five kids in tow, she takes great care of everyone and everything under her household.
“I didn’t go to university, and I’m not that smart,” she says. Because of it, she makes sure her girls got the best of what the education system had to offer.
This includes sending her daughters to top international schools, with money she got from selling homemade cookies.
Imagine that, money from homemade cookies!
Kak Lina has been married for almost 25 years.
“And of course, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs,” she says.
Her husband holds a top director post and often goes out entertaining clients and playing golf overseas. She claims he rarely gives her any money for household expenses, and the children seldom go out for meals or treats.
“He wants to teach them to be careful with money, and that they won’t get it easily from him – they have to earn it,” said Kak Lina.
But apparently, he’s generous with other people, like his friends and colleagues. And he spends a whole lot of money on women too.
His mistresses and girlfriends that is.
The husband has cheated on Kak Lina numerous times, and he was even caught by her doing the naughty with other women.
But he doesn’t care. He never stops.
What makes it worse is that Kak Lina always forgives him. Oddly, she always blames those “bitches” who make their move on her husband.
She often tells me that her husband is a good-hearted person and only wants to help others, and that he’s always taken advantage of by them.
She’s in denial. Big time.
Let’s take a look at Hezi (not her real name).
All her subordinates look up to her, not only because she’s a no-nonsense police officer, but she seems to have everything under control.
Most people think that she’s got it all – a loving husband at the peak of his career, and great, well-behaved girls.
However, not many know that he had taken on a second wife much younger than her. Not only that, he also has a son with the second wife, their shining prince.
The son that Hezi and her husband have always been trying to get, but never did.
“Well, he claimed that I was too engrossed with work and had no time for him,” said Hezi. “It’s nonsense – I even took two years of sabbatical leave just to support him building his company!”
As it turned out, he took his secretary to be his second wife, who pretended as though nothing was going on between them.
“But perhaps they were trying to spare me the heartbreak,” she says.
See? There’s that denial bit again.
“He’s a great father though, and that’s all that matters to me,” said Hezi.
I’m dumbfounded to say the least. Given the fact that it was the husbands who went astray, why are more and more women okay with their husbands’ philandering ways?
Some claim that they stay in their marriages because of the children.
But wouldn’t the kids want their mom to be happy? Wouldn’t they think she was stupid not to leave their dad?
Others choose to stay due to financial reasons, that they have no income of their own.
But some of these women are really well-off and highly successful.
Could it be that they’re ashamed of what others might think?
A few of them stay because they feel it’s the husband’s right to polygamy. Their husbands are suddenly pious, quoting the Prophets’ ways, although they themselves have been far from religious!
But then again, wouldn’t these women feel unjustly and unfairly treated, even if they are sharing their husband?
All is not really fair in love and war, it seems.
Personally, I’d never tolerate being in a one-sided marriage or stay in an unhappy one.
What’s the point of trying to smooth things out or give a second or third chance? If they did it once, they’d do it again. And again. And again.
Even if one is willing to ‘share’ their husbands with others, wouldn’t they be wondering if their husbands have been cheating on them?
I get headaches just thinking about it. God-willing, I’d never be in these women’s shoes.
For similar articles, read 6 Behaviours of a Jealous Partner and Why It Happened, and Here’s What Happened When One Malaysian Couple Experimented with Polyamory.