Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh
I am from the United States, my husband is originally Egyptian and we have been married for 10 years and have not been blessed with children. For about 4 months this year we have been working with a doctor for help on the issue of having children. In the fourth month my husband informed me that he married a second wife in Egypt by power of attorney to his parents. He had been keeping it a secret for a while and that she was coming to the US in 2 months on a visitor visa that her parents arranged for her. Needless to say I was shocked and have been dealing with all different kinds of emotions and even questioning my faith.
My husband initially told me he did this marriage out of anger and wanting to hurt me due to a huge unrelated disagreement/fight that we had. Now he says that he is doing it because of the children issue and does not regret it and will not back out but that he still wants me to stay married with him.
He first told me that because I was upset he would keep the other wife in Egypt and he would split his time between the US and Egypt to make things fair. After 2 weeks I finally agreed to this arrangement only.
Once I finally agreed to the above, he immediately changed everything and told me that he wanted me to legally divorce him so that he could sponsor her to the US! So needless to say I was shocked all over again. He then said that he would still keep her in Egypt, and she could only come over with his permission, but it would just be for emergencies only that she would be able to come to the US. And he wants me to hurry up and go along with him so he can get the process started!
We never had an Islamic marriage contract because he said it would give me too much leverage over him since we were also legally married. Even when I became a Muslim 5 years ago he would not agree to it, so I have never had my Islamic rights from him and he has never done all of his financial duties for me as a wife and now all he talks about is that he is a man and he is getting his rights to another wife!
Is it fair and just that someone does not fulfill his duties to his wife and her rights, but wants to take all of his rights? This is what really makes me question myself as a Muslim and say what am I doing in a system that is so unfair and allows a husband to take advantage of his wife with no recourse?
Now after 10 years he wants to give me a marriage contract, and is promising me a dowry and all my rights and all kinds of things just to get me to go along with him. Is this really justice? Who looks out for the rights of wives, I don’t think anyone does.
He keeps telling me that he needs to divorce me and sponsor her to make things equal between the two wives; I asked who told him that and he has not consulted anyone on this; he is going by his own ideas. Is this really truth that this will bring some form of equality? Taking from me and making me suffer through all of this emotional burden and psychological stress, when the other wife is not being forced to go through this? He says he maybe asking too much but he will make up for it. I do not see how.
My core question: Is this divorce really a necessary step to make things equal? If I stay with him I do not want a legal divorce and I need to know if this is really necessary in this situation. Is he right in demanding this from me?
He has just thrown this burden on my shoulders with no mercy, he tells me it is not a big deal and the legal marriage is just a piece of paper. Our marriage was a love match not arranged, and he did this to me without any kindness or consideration especially after being married 10 years.
Also, I do not see how he can be fair in treatment or financially. I am working full time and he has always made me share in all of the bills plus take care of my own personal expenses, this woman is not even going to be able to work even if she does come to the US. So am I going to be helping in supporting her financially too?
Also, whenever he gets angry all he does is make comparisons that she is going to do everything he says, and she is going to cook and clean better than me, and she is going to give him all of the respect. If he is already going into it with this mindset that she is better how can he treat fairly between the two?
There are no Imams around anywhere in our area to consult because they are all gone on hajj. So I do appreciate any feedback that can be provided.
Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh