Brenda Thalia got the shock of her life when the man she considered the most faithful spouse succumbed to cancer.
As she was still mourning, two women, one with two children and another one showed up during a memorial service.
What shocked her more was the fact that everyone else knew about it except her. One of her brothers-in- came forth and told the crowd that he knew about his late brother’s lovers and the children.
“This is the worst betrayal I have ever had to experience. We were very open to one another. We shared everything. Why didn’t he tell me he had other children?”
“Months later, a family meeting was convened and clan members attended. The meeting resolved that property would be shared among all children and the women. I am still trying to cope.”
But why don’t men reveal their children to their wives? Lifestyle spoke with several men on secret lovers, why they are kept hidden and if they should be there in the first place.
Kenya Assemblies of God Bishop Philip Kitoto admits that having an affair out of wedlock is not an easy thing to tell your spouse.
A baby complicates the issue further. He attributes the secrecy to men’s fear of the unknown once they tell the truth. “We are never quite sure of the reaction of our spouse and children. What will happen after they know,” says Kitoto.
Men like protecting their image. “No one wants to be seen as the bad guy. Each person has an image they have projected to their family, friends and workmates. Few people live out their true selves.” Fear of being vulnerable drives men underground.
“Exposure and disclosure, which are true elements of integrity are also hard to express. The pain of being vulnerable is tough to bear,” he advises.
Men also have a sense of pride that can be wounded by such confessions. “At times, we keep things hidden because we are too proud to stoop low and confess wrong.”
Bishop Kitoto, however, still roots for complete disclosure. “Dealing with undisclosed sin or failure could strengthen a relationship if handled well.”
George Bush, 28, a bachelor in Nairobi, says culture and fear of ridicule is the reason he cannot tell his wife. “Culturally, a child and a woman belong to society. A man’s work is to procreate. After procreation, whatever happens after you are gone, is the work of society,” he argues.
He adds: “Right now, we should not even be discussing about polygamy because, from time immemorial, men have been polygamous.”
Backing up Bush’s argument is 44-year-old Lawrence Oyugi, a father of five from Migori County. “It is unnecessary to give a woman such kind of information because, at the end, we Luo don’t reject children. We believe children are the continuation of the bloodline. I don’t know why a man would reveal to his wife about the other children. It causes chaos in the family,” he adds.
Vincent Mboya Mulwa, a 54-year-old pastor at Christ Pilgrims Restoration Centre, who has written two books about polygamy, has a different view. “The Bible is a polygamous book. No Christian man should fear having relations outside his marriage and siring a child out of it. No one should hide it either.”
Mulwa blames the Church and formal education for “brainwashing” men into believing it is wrong to have relations with more than one woman. One man who is certain he will tell his wife about children he has with another woman is Vincent Kidaha, a 37-year-old father of three from Vihiga County.
“I will tell my wife because men are polygamous by nature. We get attracted to what we see and sometimes, our emotions overlap conscience, and a child is born. If she walks out on me, that will be testament that she never loved me.”
For David Oyola, a 29-year-old politician from Homa Bay County, the best time to let the cat out of the bag is when the man is about to die. “I already revealed to my wife the children I had before we met. But, if I sire a child with another woman in the course of this marriage, it will be difficult to disclose. However, when you are almost dying, you can bring everything to light.It is more understandable. After all, you are going to die,” he opines.
While some women say they would like to know if their partners have children with other women, many would rather ride on the adage, “What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you”.
Some advise men to ensure they have enough property before they take on other women to avoid conflicts. Others, however, vowed to “do something” to avenge their partners’ infidelity.
Confess your sins
Avoid postponing problems. If the child has been born out of wedlock, you should have your name cleared by revelaing the details to your wife as wife as early as possible.
If you fathered children before you got married, inform your wife about it.
Living in denial seemingly does not solve any problem.
As children grow, they somehow find out details about and it is not easy to hide the truth.
Although revelation may expose your wife to psychological trauma, you are better off revealing early enough. As you plan on siring children out of wedlock, make financial arrangements to support children’s growth.