Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A sugercoated alternate reality

I stumbled upon this blog - it's more of a research type of blog - on the merits and disadvantages of a polygynous lifestyle. The last post dealt with the relationship between sisterwives and what the advantages are according to a certain research:

“The significance of kinship among sisterwives is that women who live near female relations reinforce each other and protect each other’s interests, whether emotional, economic, or religious” (Bennion, 1998, pg. 91).

The writer goes on saying:
“I have always thought of the negative, demeaning, aspects of polygyny, but I truly believe that sisterwife relationships are an important positive part of polygyny. This relationship is something that these women do in order to make polygyny work.”

I can’t really say that I feel this strongly about my sisterswives. I like them and admire them in many ways, but to say that having sisterwives around is an advantage of polygyny.. ? In my particular situation I can’t share my issues with my girlfriends since they don’t know about my lifestyle. – Yes, you are all surrogate girlfriends, even the male readers… LOL! – But, if all was in the open, why would one depend on co-wives for friendship?

I’ve noticed that I find it very hard to really open up and form a tight bond with my sisterwives. Somehow I feel like having this tight friendship would be na├»ve, like we would not be real. I’ve read about sisterwives relationships being really tight, best friend type of thing. It sounds often a bit like the elementary school type of best friend thing, where you think your friend will be your friend forever and ever, and you walk around the school yard hand in hand. Every time I read that, I just get huge question marks… Am I a skeptic or do these women live in some alternate sugarcoated reality of which I am not aware?

I like my sisterwives. Somewhere deep down inside I also love them as good women, even good friends. Each of them, even Baby Boss, have admirable qualities. However each of them also have less admirable qualities, including yours truly. The truth of the matter is that all of us can be selfish and that all of us can be forgetful of each other, which causes us to hurt one another. Can we then be close and trusting if one’s happiness often results in another one’s pain? Can you trust a person when you know that they will hurt you? Can I really look at Baby Boss and say, I know she will start squeaking again and acting all childish and bossy – on my day, thus hurting me since she is depriving me of my needed quality time - and then still consider her my best friend and confide in her, just because I know it is one of her flaws..?


Anonymous said...

That's too bad, that you're not closer.
I would have bought into the sugar coating
myself. There's strength in numbers.


Donald said...

3rd said: Yes, you are all surrogate girlfriends, even the male readers… LOL!

LOL indeed! Do we get a say in this? :)

Now how am I supposed to erase the involuntary mental image of a group of guys wearing polka-dot dresses?

Mum-me said...

My mother was raised amongst the polygamous tribespeople of PNG. She has often told me that, from her observation of the practise, the advantage of being one of many wives (I think they were allowed up to 4 wives, except the chief who could have as many as he liked) was the companionship, help and support they gave each other. The first wife, though, was always the 'boss' and as such also had more responsibility to make sure the household, gardens and children were managed correctly. And honestly, I cannot imagine being part of such an arrangement without having those compensations. But then, being one of 4 wives in a 'primitive' tribal setting (where women were, and still sometimes are, treated as possesions) is obviously very much different to being one of 4 wives in our 'western' society where women are more or less treated as equals. I can see how it would be more difficult to have that type of cosy relationship with your sisterwives, especially when the polygynous relationship is a secret.

new#3 said...

I tend to agree with you about the sugar coating. I think of my sister wives as "family" and you don't really get to choose your family members.
I love them because they are important pieces of my family, but I don't know that I would choose to love them. Maybe I would.
There is the underlying competitive thing that one or all of us will have going on that sort of ruins true "tightness." Personal habits that annoy. Etc.

UmmAbdur-Rahmaan said...

See I tend to think the same thing about CW. I know she cares about me but part of me wonders if she is sincere and the same goes for me, am I truely sincere or is it some underlying keep your friends close and your enemies closer thing, you know?

Anonymous said...

I wanted to be a 2nd, but the 1st
was only paying lip service to the


UCBerkeleyResearch said...

To Whom It May Concern:

I am an undergraduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of California Berkeley. I would like to invite you to participate in my research study on polygamist families living in urban areas in the United States. You may participate only if you are currently in a polygynist (one man with more than one wife) marriage and living in an urban area of the United States. All religious beliefs are welcome.

As a participant, you will be asked to commit at the most five hours of time in interviews. The study involves answering questions about the choices that lead to polygamous marriage and how the family functions. Since this topic is sensitive and private I will be making sure that every element of security will be implemented to make sure that every participant and every piece of data will be protected. I am applying for a certificate of confidentiality, which is given out by the National Institute of Health that protects identifiable research information from “forced disclosure”. I am also making sure that all identifiable information will be coded and password protected on a private computer. There are no foreseen risks in participating in this study. The benefits of participating in this study would be helping the discussion on American polygamy become updated and more comprehensive.

If you would like to participate in this research study please email or if you have any questions please contact me at or you may also contact my advisor Dr. Kelsy at

Thank you for your consideration,
Nicole Iturriaga