‘Marriage’ can ruin your mental health

Or dysfunction made in hell…?

Have you seen, or experienced, a ‘marriage’ that has droven its honoured and honourable members to the grave? Or to madness?

I have.

Imagine my friend from high school *Lucy. She has been with *Boss for 15 years. They have 2 children together but he wants one more child and she is considering it.

5 years ago, when they had been together for ten years, he met and ‘married’ another woman. He moved out from his come-we-stay-home with Lucy. After almost a year with the ‘new wife’, the honeymoon ended, which is totally understandable after a whole year, I suppose. He started coming back to Lucy’s – who had started to move on. Apparently, he wanted to see his children. And because he still loved Lucy, he wanted to continue being her ‘husband’ and wanted her to act as his ‘first wife’.

Win your man back

After a couple of weeks of convincing dialog and apologies, Lucy accepted him back and started project ‘WIN-HIM-BACK‘.

“So what is wrong now?” I ask her innocently because I cannot see any problems.

“Well, now he has 2 children with the other “woman” and he refuses to leave her.” Lucy explains the problem to me.

I still don’t see the problem because the guy was upfront with his wishes: Therefore, I ask: “he never said he would leave her, did he though? what you just told me is that he said that he wanted you to act as his ‘first wife’. Because the other woman will be acting as ‘second wife’, I assume?”

Lucy and I almost get into a fight. She is adamant: “can’t you see? I cannot share him with her! She has even been rude to me telling me that he is hers! Which is not true because he spends most of his time at my place!”

Am not sure my advice is required, but I give it anyways. If a man is not offering what you he promised, or what you want/need; and he is not respecting the boundaries you set:

There are only 3 alternatives

Courage to Change things or wisdom to acceppt them
  • Leave him – Pack your things and move to a new place. Let him live with his second wife. Speak to him first so he agrees to continue paying school fees for his children.


  • Kick him out – Pack his things and ask him kindly to move to his second wife. Speak to him first so he agrees to continue paying school fees for his children.


  • Love him as he is. Let him stay and love his accompaniments – love him as your first and last husband and love your co-wife. Co-exist for the future of the children you have.

I tried to be kind and calm with my friend although I didn’t feel calm or kind. Why do we put ourselves through these situations? Understandably, Lucy did not like my advice.

“Well, you do not understand Kenyan problems anymore!” And she was right.

Relationship traps

Lucy’s stand is as ancient as bad relationships:

I can’t leave him and I won’t accept her in our lives! She is a witch and she comes from a family of notorious witches! When I met him I had no children. If I leave him, I leave him with HIS children. And I cannot leave MY children because ‘THAT WOMAN’ would not love them. Step mothers you know!

Maybe I should have another child with him. Then he will know I am not going anywhere!

I know Kenyan women who have left their ‘husbands’ ad taken their children wih them. The ex-‘husbands’ pay the children’s school fees and they have better lives without the toxic you are putting your children through.

But Lucy remained adamant that she was not the one who was putting her children through the toxic. It is him.

“What would happen if he died today?” I asked as a last attempt at making sense of it all.

“Which children would be called his, when he was no longer there to call them his?”

“Well, NOT my children.” Lucy replies. “His parents hate me and prefer THAT Witch! She has bewitched them!”

Both of these women are healthy women – physically atleast – who can hustle, struggle and earn a living. I have seen other women succeed at it. None of these two women have a marriage certificate. Neither of them has any peace of mind, not even Boss. They do not feel secure, respected, loved or happy – which has ruined the mental health of each of them, and the communal well-being of the whole family. Including in-laws on both sides.

What would you advice Lucy if she was your friend?

Note regarding *

Lucy and Boss are made-up names. If you recognize your story…oops! There are so many going through this in Kenya! It is a total coincidence.

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