Growing up around polygamy

A monogamous family with one husband, one wife, and kids, enjoying their moments, is the kind of family I had always craved for.

But you know? You never always get what you want.

Now, I can only write from a child’s, one child’s perspective because I am not the only child, there is a possibility we have different opinions about this, and I don’t know exactly how the spouses feel.

Polygamy is the kind of marriage whereby the husband has more than one wife and that’s what I grew up around, having stepmothers, brothers, and sisters. It’s more popular and common than polyandry in Nigeria or any part of the world.

A typical Nigerian Igbo polygamous home: consist of the husband, first wife, second and so on and the children; where the man is the head of the family, the male child is what solidifies your stay in your husband’s house because a son is seen like an heir, the one to inherit the father’s property—so every wife wants a male child for the husband. Some people see polygamy as a prestigious thing; having more than one wife and often the husband is regarded as a strong man. But no one brings up the responsibilities: financial, physical and emotional responsibilities, the effect it has on the children and every member of the family—husband included.

I remember always being compared to my step-siblings by outsiders and by family, but not really to my brother because we have the same mum. And this kind of comparison brings enmity and jealousy—comparison to know who is better than who or even more beautiful or intelligent. So, it’s like living in an already competitive universe. And whatever choices you make good or bad reflects on your mother’s upbringing.

Are there advantages of being in a polygamous family?

Honestly, I don’t know, but I can tell you for sure there are disadvantages, bad, frustrating and unbearable moments. It can be emotionally exhausting, especially when you all live in the same house because even when you try to distance yourself from all the family drama, one way or the other you’ll get dragged in.

You know the saying, “there can be only one captain to a ship” (Thomas John Barnardo). So take the marriage as the ship and the wife as the captain. It’s every wife to her own children and the husband is left in the middle— the direct and indirect competition to be your father’s favorite, and the hate that comes with being liked by the father.

The love that exists in a normal monogamous family setting, truly exist, but between the monogamy divisions in the polygamous family.

Do people from polygamous homes want a polygamous family of their own?

Hmm, well I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for sure I don’t want that. And that’s not a marriage I would want to be a part of (let me make this clear, I will leave your ass).

For me, it’s tiring and I try to avoid all the family drama, I don’t like going to the family house because I don’t find peace there, they say home is where the heart is but truly, that’s not where mine is and it has never been. It’s one of the reasons why my teenage years were horrible and draining—people tried to paint a picture of who I wasn’t, so I was being accused of so many things which caused a lot of trouble for me at that point in my life.

I know some people talk about how polygamy is great and how they are okay with it, that’s good for them but not for me. Growing up around polygamy affected my decision about marriage, but it also helped me realize what I don’t want and how to deal or live with people that do not like me.

So if you are considering joining or having a polygamous family of your own, think hard.


Featured Image:
Unsplash Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy

The gif(s) are from if you were wondering. check them out you’ll find something you like.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top