(Closed) Help please!!! Should I invite my uncle's live in mistress?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 77
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@ekee:  It seems to me the decision is made. Maybe you should ask your Aunt what she wants. Since in the end how she lives her life with her husband is her problem and only hers. So ask her! Maybe she will surprise you.

Post # 78
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I’ve gone back to this thread because I’ve had a think about it. I also think I know which country or group of countries this is.

OP, correct me if I am wrong, but I read the situation like this:

Uncle marries Aunt. They cannot have children. This is a source of social shame. Uncle chooses not to divorce Aunt because he loves her. With adoption out of the question for various reasons, they choose to take on a concubine to have children. However, the Uncle then has a change of heart. He thinks that the child will benefit from having the biological mother around, he wants to have more children in the future, and would like them to have the same biological mother, plus he likes having someone young and fun around. However… and here’s the key… he doesn’t marry her. He doesn’t marry her because he doesn’t intend to keep her long term. Once the kids are older and she is less attractive and has outlived her usefulness, he wants to get rid of her.

The concubine is in a difficult situation. She knows that Aunt wants rid of her, and tries to get the upper hand by playing her only trump card… the fact that she can have biological children. Also, this is not a woman in a powerful position. Concubinage is a position of dishonour, and I also imagine that, in order to secure her position, a cash sum was paid by your Uncle. That sum might not have been paid to the concubine, depending on the exact terms of the agreement, but have actually been paid to her male relatives instead. If that is the case, she has effectively been sold to your Uncle. The fact he chooses not to marry her tells her that he has no plans to keep her long term… once she has outlived her usefulness, he will either replace her, or simply go back to living with only your Aunt. In order to prepare herself for that time, this woman spends your Uncle’s money on things like jewellery, which is portable wealth which she intends to sell once he has tired of her, and beauty treatments in order to keep herself young and attractive for as long as possible, so your Uncle will keep her around for longer. Effectively, this is her insurance policy/pension money. She knows that she is disposable. She also knows that she may or may not lose access to her child/future children in the long term… that is, unless she takes them and runs before she is eventually evicted from the home.

Your Aunt stays because she loves her husband, loves the child, and possibly hopes for more children. She also stays out of a duty to the Grandmother. She may seem weak now, but her position is stronger than the concubine’s position in the long term. If your Uncle has not cast her aside yet, he is unlikely to do so in the future. She is actually surprisingly secure.

There is very little you can do about this… they are all using each other in different ways, although they may not realise it. Sometimes you really can’t solve people’s problems for them.

Now… OP… please tell me… how much have I got right or wrong in my assessment of the situation?

EDIT: If I am right, then think about the messages you are sending by choosing to invite or not invite this woman. By choosing to invite her, you are formally recognising her as part of your Uncle’s family unit. By choosing not to invite her, you are sending her the message that she is just a worthless “rent a womb” who will be discarded once the family are done with her. Your Uncle is trying to reject this idea and support her… your comeback to him should be this: “if you wanted this woman to be a permanent member of your family, you should have married her with the full consent of your existing wife, rather than just using her for her looks and her womb”.

Post # 79
5538 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

K,  just because the husband lives in a culture where multiple wives is acceptable doesn’t mean that when his.legitimate wife is totally against his live in mistress it should just suddenly be okay and they are a social unit. Actually I would imagine the opposite is true. From my little understanding of societies that still practice this (most of which still seriously subjugate women to the point of property) there are multiple distinct social couples and the wives would still have some say in social events and who comes. The fact that the second woman,  whatever they call her is abusive to the aunt to me means it isn’t a real situation where they want to be one social group. And it sounds like the uncle is a pig who thinks more with the head in his pants than the one with his brain. The aunt did not willingly comit to a relationship with extended second woman in it,  she is unhappy with it and that should tell us enough “social norms” aside. 

Also to those who say the aunt must be okay with it because she isn’t leaving,  really? Because no abused women ever just stay in an abusive relationship… Especially in a society that tells her she should just be okay with it because that is the way things are. While I have my own ideas about what marriage is I can support fully consenting adults to whatever kind of relationship they mutually agree upon. But that doesn’t sound like what is happening. 

Post # 80
2597 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@ekee:  No, I wouldn’t invite her.  I probably wouldn’t invite the Uncle either but if you have to invite him then invite him and his legitimate wife.  Mistresses don’t get public acknowledgement and certainly not respect. 

Your poor Aunt.  She should remove herself from this abusive situation.  Why she ever agreed to a surragate in the first place is beyond me.

Post # 81
508 posts
Busy bee

This may have already been stated, but 1) it’s your wedding in your country; 2) your wedding is being conducted according to your/your families culture and/or religion; 3) your beliefs/religion doesn’t jive with Uncle’s. As such I would think that it would be more embarrassing/humiliating for his mistress to attend and them having to explain to people why he has two ladies on his arms, or worse, you or your family having to explain as a result of the likely whispers/gossip. IF he is a polygamist, then wife #1 has “seniority” and attends the functions on his arm accordingly. “wife” 2 (mistress) has to take a back seat and stay home or at hotel. 


Whatever your Uncle’s beliefs, it is YOUR wedding. Not his. He needs to accommodate your wishes here, or not come. Then again, it doesnt sound like he is very respectful of women (sorry if that offends anyone; just my opinion) so he probably doesn’t care what you think/want, sadly. Have your parents help run interference/go to bat for you on this.


Good luck!

Post # 82
1355 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

This thread has nothing to do with polygamy and I have no clue why people are choosing to use it as a place to discuss whether polygamy is ethical, which has nothing to do with the OP’s question.

We are talking about a husband and wife and the husband’s mistress. Not his second wife, not a concubine. Both the OP, the husband, and the aunt refer to her as a mistress or as a surrogate. Using words like polygamy and concubine are attempts to exoticize the culture of these people and therefore justify or condemn the uncle’s actions. Both are not okay.

Bottom line: OP, it’s your wedding, and I am all for excluding people who bring you discomfort or even pain from a time that is supposed to be very happy for you. It sounds like being around this woman would be horrible for you in light of how you feel about the situation. Unfortunately, the uncle seems unlikely to bring only his wife, and I would likely choose not to send any invite to any of them, but I would reach out to your aunt and offer any form of support she may need, be it monetary, emotional, or whatever.

Post # 83
462 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I apologize if this has already been answered but I stopped reading once poeple started debating Mormon practices.


I do not agree with polygamy but I understand it is accepted in other cultures or religions. However, nothing of what I read indicated that OP’s uncle is someone who is a part of those cultures or religions. IMO when Aunt and Uncle got married, if it was not understood between them that Uncle wanted to practice polygamy, then it is entirely unfair and inapropreaiate for him to do this. The mistress was invited into their marriage to provide them with a child, not to be a second “wife” or mistress or whatever you want to call her. It doesn’t matter if that is what people do where they live. If it wasn’t understood and agreed upon that he would take a mistress at some point in their marriage, it is wrong.

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