“What do you call a man with two wives?” “A glutton for punishment.”
That’s how the joke goes. In fact, the answer is a bigotry – the crime of marrying someone while being married to someone else.
It can land you 7 years in prison and an average of 70 people – mostly men – are charged with bigamy in the UK each year.
While researching the plot for my latest bestseller Both Of You, about an obstinate female singer, I had to delve deep inside the minds of real people with secret wives and families.
Believe me, it’s a confusing, complicated and calculating place. I have spoken and corresponded with majorists and their victims.
I’ve been looking for examples of what makes a person have secret partners. I see it has all kinds.
Statistics show that men are three times more likely to be prosecuted than women.
I came across a bus driver, police officer, scuba instructor and a biochemist – all of whom were found to have secret wives.
I suppose what they have in common is a lot of holes. All bigotryists seem to believe in their invincibility. They think they are such good liars that they will fool people all the time.
Some of them depend on traveling with work to give them the opportunity to run two (or more) lives side-by-side. For example, in one case I studied, a former security guard had two wives who lived just 16 miles apart.
In early 2015, it was revealed that Adrian Linham, then 43 years old, had been married to Liz Linham, then 37 years old, for seven years, when she discovered that, four years after their marriage, he started sharing a house with Hayley Totterdell, a kindergarten teacher.
During those three years, he told Liz he was going away from their home in Bristol, to work in South Wales.
In 2014, Adrian took Hayley to a paradise beach to get married in front of her family and friends. They all didn’t know he was married. He even convinced Liz to decorate Hayley’s vacation home, saying it was his boss’s apartment.
Liz didn’t know anything about the romantic beach ceremony until she received a letter from her mother-in-law saying she was sorry they divorced and Adrian had remarried.
In February 2015, Adrian was jailed for four months and two weeks, after admitting bigotry. Of course, these bigotry keep dark secrets from their partners.
A husband or wife finding out another family or spouse exists is a huge, devastating shock. This type of deception leads to incredible hurt and humiliation for those being cheated on.
There are also financial, legal, and emotional complications that can cause families to fall apart. Often, shame seems to fall on the victim, which is cruel and unfair. They are of course left with trust issues.
Lisa Curran, a support worker with learning disabilities, is married to a former police officer Martin Curran in 25 years. But for more than six years, he lived a double life with another woman, culminating in marriage.
About ten years ago, Lisa, from Yorkshire, discovered the betrayal and Martin, then 52 years old, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service after admitting bigamy.
At the time, 45-year-old Lisa said: “He was barely punished, but I had to live my whole life like a gullible idiot. I will never be able to trust any man again. This ruined my life.”
One of the most shocking cases I encountered was the case of William Allen Jordan, 55 years old, a rogue, with 3 wives, 13 children and a sex offender.
Mary Turner Thomson, an author, 55, from Edinburgh, met US-born William on an online dating site when they were both 35. After a three-week romance, he proposed to her. .
Mary became pregnant with their daughter Eilidh within six months of their meeting, and they had a son, Zach, three years later.
But Mary’s world fell apart when, after six years of marriage, she has been in contact with “the other Mrs. Jordan” – William’s wife for more than a decade. During their marriage, Mary was manipulated by William.
He convinces her that he is a CIA agent seconded to MI5. I write novels but you can’t create these. Oh, come on, he did it!
“The first time he told me he worked for the CIA, it was really thrilling,” Mary said. . . it feels a bit like dating Superman. “Super mouse prefers! ”
Their marriage wasn’t just a sham, but William convinced Mary to sell her apartment and property, claiming that their children’s lives were in danger from the kidnappers and they had to pay. ransom. William tricked Mary out of £200,000.
Possibly, that money was used to provide for his other wives and children. His spy story is just a cover to allow him to spend time with his other families.
William was unmasked as a con artist and jailed for grand felony, fraud, and unauthorized possession of a stun gun. He served two and a half years out of five-year prison sentence, then freed, deported back to the US.
“Psychologically, I was manipulated,” Mary said. “He didn’t let me get involved with family, friends, people. In just over a year, he took everything from me.”
Apparently, she was left with mental trauma. Short sentences leave victims feeling helpless, vulnerable, and frustrated.
In one example, a bigamist on trial committed bigamy a second time before his case went to court. Unbelievable.
It is worth noting that in 2021, the rate of bigamy drops sharply. Lockdown could have proved a problem for anyone with a couple and potentially two families.
Bigamists are rejecting the institution of marriage and creating chaos in its place.
- Both Of You by Adele Parks, published by HQ HarperCollins, is out now in paperback, e-book, and audiobook form.
https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/8190411/men-secret-wives-eight-red-flags-to-look-for/ I spent months trying to figure out why men have secret wives and how they get rid of it