CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF POLYGAMY: AN UNDERSTANDING OF COPING STRATEGIES BY CO-WIVES IN POLYGAMOUS MARRIAGE
Author(s): Sabila Naseer
*, Sehrish Farooq
and Farah Malik
Polygamy has become common practice in many communities including Pakistan. Objectives: The study investigated the causes of polygamy, outcomes, and women's coping strategies to deal with co-wives’ relationships. Method: Exploratory qualitative method was used. Data was collected from 11 polygamous women who consented to an in-depth interview. The study was conducted in 2017 with approval from the institution and polygamous women. Results: Three themes emerged from the study based on findings. First theme: reasons of polygamy as findings indicated that majority of females allowed their husbands for co-wives due to infertility or having only female children, husband’s love marriage, and in-laws family pressure because they wanted to secure their marriage instead of divorce. Second theme: outcomes of polygamy as jealousy, unhappiness, and loneliness due to injustice, by the spouse were explored as potential pitfalls of polygamy. The advantages of polygamy were included sharing in-house responsibilities and child-rearing. Third theme: The coping strategies used by polygamous women have included faith in religion, fate role, and compromise with the co-wives. Conclusion: Polygamous women though claimed that polygamy has disadvantages but to them, divorce is not an option. The policymakers and law enforcement agencies should pass laws for the welfare of polygamous women. They must be educated through different seminars and programs to cope with the stress and manage other consequences of polygamy. The study is not against polygamy but the need to improve the family structure of polygamous families is a major concern.