CHILDREN OUT OF WEDLOCK

To tell or not to tell your wife

There’s been much discussion and opinion on radio shows, TV shows and print

In Summary

• The most unhelpful opinion I’ve come across is married men should not cheat in the first place.

Nominated MCA Ann Thumbi and Kibra MP Ken Okoth
Nominated MCA Ann Thumbi and Kibra MP Ken Okoth
Image: COURTESY

A big question has been doing the rounds recently in Kenya. And that question is: if you’re a happily married man and you have a liaison with another woman, the result of which is a child who you financially support and look in on from time to time, do you or do you not tell your loving wife about this other family?

Before I proceed, a quick aside. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely my own (gathered from decades of experience as a married man).

Now back to the question. To tell or not to tell the wife, leaving her to find out after your demise, that you have another kid out there?

Following the passing of Kibra MP, the late Ken Okoth, and the subsequent claims about there being another lover in his life and a child in the picture, there’s been much discussion and opinion on radio shows, TV shows and in an article or two about whether a man should tell or not tell about his secret family.

It’s worth pointing out that the late Mheshimiwa Okoth is not the only deceased Kenyan man for whom a lady and child or even grown children have shown up at the funeral, claiming that the departed was their lover or their father. So this article is not really about the late MP and what transpired but rather about this secret-family-thing many of us men engage in, and if it’s better to come clean or not.

Opinions vary on this issue. Some Kenyans think a man should just say if they have another family. Others think a man should say nothing and instead brush up on his covert skills, especially those of a double agent.

The most unhelpful opinion I’ve come across is married men should not cheat in the first place. My suspicion is this last opinion is coming from people who are either single or recently married. They are, understandably, in the what-should-happen stage of life and not in the what-can-and-does-happen in real life.

This is not to say singles and newlyweds can’t have an opinion on this, I’m just saying they shouldn’t. In any case, with this matter, we’re past what should happen. It’s happened. Deed done. What now? Tell or not tell?

I don’t have the answer to that now, tell or not tell. As a person who’s been married for more than a minute, I cannot imagine how such a conversation with the wife would even start. And that’s saying a lot, seeing as imagination is what I do for a living.

I can tell you, though, why most modern men who want to stay married don’t tell their educated, very modern wives that they have kids with someone else. They know that if they do, it will go one of three ways: bad, very bad or unimaginable bad.

At the same time, not telling and people finding out at your funeral is not cool. Grief and unpleasant surprise do not go well together.

But, there is one way you can tell the wife and also avoid the fallout. You do it posthumously by way of a legal document called a will.