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To think my ex-wife doesn't need to tell my male partner I was previously married to a woman

(234 Posts)
Qedwai Tue 02-Aug-16 09:40:25

I've created a new account for this. Despite being British born I come from a very conservative family. I was always worried that revealing my sexuality would result in me being killed. This is no exaggeration. My family despise homosexuals. So I hid my sexuality from everyone. When I went to university at 18 I met my now partner. I am now 33 and we have been together for almost 16 years. We have two children through surrogacy (hence why I'm a member of mumsnet).

What he doesn't know is that I was previously married. At 19 I was bullied into an arranged marriage that I never wanted. I was scared and felt I had to go through with it. She was from a different country and I got married islamically (never legally) aged 19. My University course took a total of 7 years. 5 to qualify and three to be fully specialised. This allowed me an excuse to stay away from my wife as much as possible as I was not sexually attracted to her and was never able to have sex.

I was extremely torn as my Partner was putting pressure on me to come out and my wife was putting pressure on me to finalise the immigration process so that she could move to the UK to start a life with me. So at 25 I just came out to my family. They never spoke to me again.

I also explained the situation to my wife. She hated me too which I understand. The only thing I never did was tell my Partner any of this. I came out publicly after coming out to my family and wife and did wrestle with telling my partner but we were in the process of moving in together and I was absolutely terrified of losing him. He was, and is my absolute world.

My ex-wife has remained out of my life for years but recently started saying she was going to tell my Partner that I was married.This is because I am due to marry my Partner in a few weeks time.

I was never able to have sex with my wife and the marriage was annulled when this came to light. So in a way we were never even married.

AIBU to think this is very spiteful for her to want to tell my Partner? Do you think he will be very hurt by this? Enough to call off the wedding? He is a man with great integrity and morals. He will be horrified to think he had slept with a man while that man was married to someone else.

In my circle of friends this scenario has happened to many of them so is not uncommon. If I didn't love him so much I would have told him years ago. But a future without him would be unbearable so there's too much to lose.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 02-Aug-16 09:44:15

Ah what a vengeful bitch she is

For what it's worth I think you should come clean - as its going to fester forever if you don't

I can't see your husband to be bailing on you - you have 2 DC and you were very young , forced into it and it was annulled !

Good luck flowers

wowbutter Tue 02-Aug-16 09:44:27

You said that you were married islamically, never legally. So were you married or not?
If it was annulled, and you were bullied into it, it was hardly a proper marriage.
I do think you need to be honest with your partner. When he marries you,he needs to know who he is marrying. And your spiteful ex could really hurt him by 'revealing' this, when you could explain it in a calm way that won't.

littleprincesssara Tue 02-Aug-16 09:45:58

I'm so sorry you've been through such a horrific experience, and congratulations and well done on building a new life for yourself.

Possibly counselling would help sort out some of these issues?

Obviously this is a very difficult situation. I don't think your ex has any right to tell your partner anything. But that is quite a big secret to keep and the longer you keep it, the worse it will get. If it was a forced, non-consummated marriage (and being annulled means technically the marriage never existed) then perhaps it's better to rely on your partner being understanding? It was not a real marriage.

Qedwai Tue 02-Aug-16 09:47:47

Married islamically means within the tradition of Islam. But never legally, as in Muslim countries it is quite common to get married within the Mosque and never do any legal registration.

You have to have sex within 2 years or the marriage in annulled.

davos Tue 02-Aug-16 09:48:56

Personally I think she needs to keep her nose out.

However that doesn't negate the fact that you didn't tell your dp something rather important.

I would be so upset if dh didn't feel he could share something so major with me. Especially since we were together when it was all going off.

I am sorry for what you have been through. But you need to tell your partner before you marry and before she does.

Do you really want to live with this hanging over you?

TimeforaNNChange Tue 02-Aug-16 09:49:53

Does your partner practice Islam? If not , then the ceremony that you and your 'wife' had means nothing - it was not legally binding, and could be considered nothing more than a rite of passage that you went through as part of growing up.
What matters is your emotions - you did not choose to "marry" this woman and did not have a physical relationship with her.

If she continues to threaten you, I suggest you look into whether you can take legal action for harassment.

I applaud you for the brave decisions you have made in your life in order to remain true to yourself. I wish you and your partner every happiness smile

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Tue 02-Aug-16 09:51:05

I agree you should tell your partner.

Far better coming from you rather than someone who will tell him out of spite.

It will be difficult but in the long run I think you will be glad it's out in the open on your terms.

Birdsgottafly Tue 02-Aug-16 09:52:26

Well you e seen what damage having secrets can do, so finally be honest.

Is your DP of the same religion/Culture? Surely he will understand the pressure put upon you and the reasons why the 'marriage' went ahead?

As for your 'wife', she must have felt a great deal of shame and we don't know the treatment that she went through, from her family.

You need to open up, to your DP about your past and how you felt about it all.

It won't be good, if he hears it from someone else. This way, you have a chance to get past this and live happily.

HooseRice Tue 02-Aug-16 09:53:28

I've no advice other than tell him what you've told us.

All the best flowers

LynetteScavo Tue 02-Aug-16 09:54:51

You definitely need to tell your partner. At the moment this woman has some hold I've you. You need to take back that power.

Also it will be so much better coming from you when you tell your partner, rather than some woman who feels (I can see her point) she has been wronged.

WhatamessIgotinto Tue 02-Aug-16 09:56:10

I also think you should tell your partner. You need to explain it juat as you have here, but if there was no need for a divorce then surely there was never a marriage? What a nasty cow your ex is.

Qedwai Tue 02-Aug-16 09:59:41

My partner is from a liberal, White British family who are all completely supportive of both of us. So he wouldn't understand what I've been through.

RubbleBubble00 Tue 02-Aug-16 10:00:06

not surprised she's bitter tbh, being kept waiting for 7 years. You treated her appealingly. I'd come clean to your partner

JacketPoTayTo Tue 02-Aug-16 10:00:19

"A vengeful bitch"??! Wow.

OP, I think you need to put yourself in her shoes. She believed that she was married to you and given that she was waiting for you to sort the immigration process so she could move to be with you, she was obviously invested in your future plans together. You strung her along for 7 years. 7 years!!! I think she has every right to be hurt and angry.

Obviously there's nothing to be gained particularly by her telling your partner and it's not a very nice thing for her to do but I think you need to show her some empathy. I also think you should tell your partner because it's not ideal to start a marriage with this secret hanging over you.You've told a lot of lies and although you had your reasons and were under pressure I think you need to acknowledge that your dishonesty affected other people too.

99GBPChargeToUseMyPostsJournos Tue 02-Aug-16 10:00:35

Technically an annullment means legally the marriage doesn't exist, and it was never a legal marriage anyway.

You do need to tell him though, before you marry him.

I think he will understand. You need to tell him you were bullied into a marriage that wasn't at the time legal, and was never consummated and was later annulled. Tell him you feel he needs to know before you marry because he needs the whole truth. That at the time you were young and felt that you couldn't go against your family's wishes but that you wish it had never happened. (these are my words and interpretation of what you have said, you need to find your own way of saying it).

It is much much better that you tell him now before you marry so that you can feel secure in your marriage - if you married without him knowing then you will always feel like you have this dirty secret and thats no basis for marriage.

It is also hugely important that it comes from you and not anyone else.

WannaBe Tue 02-Aug-16 10:01:33

I think it's one thing having a past which happened before an existing relationship which someone might not feel they can or want to talk about because it was so painful.

It is quite another to have got married to someone else during the course of an existing relationship, and to have never told your existing partner, someone you are supposed to love and trust implicitly, what was going on at the time. Even if that marriage only happened in the course of cultural tradition.

If I found out that my partner had married someone else on the quiet a year after we got together and had never felt he could tell me the relationship would be over. I would wonder what else he hadn't told me, and how many other relationships he might have had on the quiet.

If a poster posted here that she'd found out her partner of sixteen years married someone else a year into their relationship but that he'd been forced into it, honest, the overwhelming response would be that he was lying and that he wasn't the man she thought he was and she should ltb.

I understand that people are forced into marriage in certain cultures but I do not understand and find it difficult to have sympathy with the fact that someone would withhold that kind of thing from their true partner.

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 02-Aug-16 10:01:43

I agree you should tell your partner.

I strongly disagree that your ex-wife is being spiteful, and I am frankly shocked by some of the comments on this thread.

It sounds to me as if she was the innocent party in this marriage, just as much as you. She was married to you, without (it seems?) knowing you were in a partnership with someone else. I absolutely respect that it must have been appallingly hard for you to realise you were gay, but to know there was such strong familial pressure on you to get married to a woman. But it must be hard for her too, surely?

I also wonder if she feels a stigma from the same people who stigmatise you for being gay? It might be that, even if people know her marriage was annulled, the reasons have been hushed up, and people are making her feel it was somehow her fault. Indeed, she might feel it is somehow her fault, that she should have realised that you were unable to be attracted to her.

It would be nice if she were able to step meekly out of your life, of course. But I can't help feeling a fair amount of compassion for her being caught up in this, and I can see why she might feel quite upset and conflicted about it.

I say this as a woman who was married to a man and who has come out as a lesbian, for what it is worth.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 02-Aug-16 10:02:11

Honestly. If it was me I would be more bothered about you not disclosing the info than anything else.

Also people can only control you with info if you collude with them by keeping important things from people who may have an interest in knowing

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 02-Aug-16 10:03:42

And I agree with robins she sounds like a victim in this acting through hurt

JacketPoTayTo Tue 02-Aug-16 10:03:53

*You've told a lot of lies

WallToWallBastards Tue 02-Aug-16 10:05:25

I am so sorry, that is horrible for you shock it's amazing that you were brave enough to leave and do the best thing for you. You have two beautiful children and a lovely relationship that you're both happy in now. Are you religious enough that you personally consider it a "real" marriage? Fwiw, if it was forced I don't believe any God would consider it valid either. It seems like it's going to come out and I imagine it'll be much better if the truth comes from you. You may well feel better to get a big weight off your shoulders. And it may be a good idea to seek help with processing what happened, it's not your fault, no moral failing on your part to have been coerced like this.
Good luck flowers

raisedbyguineapigs Tue 02-Aug-16 10:08:02

I would explain it just as you have explained it in your first post. Except you might have to explain why you didnt tell him earlier. I think he would completely understand. There is a lot of information about forced marriage out there. He wasnt in a relationship with someone who was married. As a non muslim, the religious ceremony wouldnt mean anything. But if your partner found out through someone else, or an anonymous letter it would be much worse.

WallToWallBastards Tue 02-Aug-16 10:09:23

Although it was a horrible thing for her to go through as well, given the circumstances I don't think the op was deliberately stringing her along hmm

WannaBe Tue 02-Aug-16 10:09:55

I agree with PP that the ex wife is just as much if not more of a victim than you were. You deceived her, avoided her for seven years while you were in a sexual relationship with someone else, and then annulled the marriage. Meanwhile she has most likely passed her considered childbearing years, iirc women are considered marriage-worthy while still young in Islam, by stringing her along in this way you have likely made it impossible for her to ever actually find a partner of her own or have children. Think I might be bitter in those circumstances.

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