Advice: On internet flirting & kissing at a wedding

Dear Love, InshAllah:

There’s this Muslim guy I met a few times through work.  He messages me and we chat for a few days, then he vanishes. He says we should meet up but never makes a plan. Is he just stringing me along? Should I block and delete him and move on? I’m not interested in pursuing something that will not culminate in marriage. I should mention that I am no longer in my 20s.

Sincerely,
Is he stringing me along?

Miss Sunshine replies:
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Advice: I didn’t say yes

Dear Love, InshAllah:

I am 29 years old and am under a lot of pressure from my parents to get married. My parents are very conservative. We never spoke about girls, so there was never an opportunity for me to find out what girl they would like for me nor I was able to tell them my thoughts on what I was looking for.

Through a few social contacts of my parents, we met a few families who were looking for a match for their daughters. On a couple of occasions, I liked the girl but my parents did not.

About 3 months ago, my parents and I went to meet another family. The girl was not what I was looking for and I planned to tell my parents immediately after the meeting. I was surprised that my mom insisted on the girl, even using emotional pressure (my mom would say stuff like she feels very lonely, is not feeling well these days, etc.) The pressure was so intense that I was not able to say no – but I did not say yes either.

After a few days, my mom said yes to the family and our engagement was fixed. I was shocked and upset. About 2 months have passed since our engagement, and now the marriage ceremony (nikah) date is planned too. I’ve discussed this with a couple of friends, but they say nothing can be done now.

I do not want to go through with this marriage but I feel I cannot be straightforward as I don’t want to hurt the girl’s feelings or those of her parents or my mom. What should I do?

Sincerely,
I didn’t say yes

Shy Desi Boy responds:

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Advice: In Love With a Polytheist

Dear Love Inshallah,

I have been dating a man for a few years now and we’ve been discussing marriage. However, he is of a polytheistic faith. Although he is liberal in his practice, he has a strong belief in God. We have not had any problems with faith interrupting our relationship, since we have the same morals and values and we have been blessed to be very compatible and loving towards one another. He is also very active in taking part in my religious activities, since he is quite aware that I am a practicing (semi-liberal) Muslim.

We have agreed on a nikkah (in addition to other South Asian cultural events). He has also agreed to “convert”. This is where the problem starts to occur. He wants to be able to practice both religions, but will always have his way of worship in his heart, even when “practicing” Islam with me. We have also decided that the children will be taught to practice the Islamic faith in our home. Therefore, is there really a point in him taking the shahada? Isn’t it still zina after marriage, since the marriage is not seen as “valid”? And will he be seen as a shirk, which is said to be completely “unforgivable” in Islam?

I have been lucky enough to have had exposure to different religious events (i.e. church services, pujas, etc.) growing up, so I have no problem attending and respecting his family’s customs and beliefs. I know God is the most gracious and merciful, but are we going down the wrong path?

Sincerely,
In Love with a Polytheist

Shy Desi Boy replies:

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Advice: Starting Over

Dear Love InshAllah,

I was in a relationship for ten years, engaged for three and married for seven. My husband was older than me and had a very checkered past, which I found attractive when I was younger. But slowly I grew up and he stayed a child.

When we got married he was physically abusive and it took me years to get him to accept it. He then thought that because he accepted that it was abuse, that he wasn’t doing it any more and when I was offer him detailed evidence, he started to tell me I was paranoid and crazy, just a bitchy feminist. He started to realize I am smarter than him as well, and while the physical abuse declined, the psychological abuse escalated.

Just before Ramadan, I finally had the courage to end it. I fell out of love with him a long time ago and even started to fantasize about killing him. I hated sex, and was in a constant state of misery that I started taking out on everyone around me. When it finally ended I felt like I had been given a second chance at life.

I am 28 and starting over, but discouraged because I did love being married, and even though my marriage was bad, I am so lonely. I was with him for my entire adult life so far, and I come from a background of abuse and illness, my marriage took a heavy toll on my finances, and as a Muslim (since I was 13) I am progressive, an LGBTQ ally, and a critical theologian. I am very smart and have a lot of life experience, and I don’t feel like I have a problem with confidence, but I am afraid I won’t be able to find a man that would want someone like me.

I know that I need time to recover, it has been two months, thankfully I have no children, but what I feel and what I know can’t agree. I find myself fixating on sex most of all, but in general just feel so alone. I was so unhappy for so long, and I just want to move on and restart my life, but I am also afraid that I won’t be able to find anyone who wants a woman with a past and scars, which are ugly on the surface, but can create something beautiful. I am afraid there aren’t any good men. That I will have to somehow stay unhappy, unfulfilled, because that’s just the way life is. I don’t feel it is in my nature to be alone. I know I need time, and that I will change – I have changed so much in the past two months – and can get my life in order.

But what if my fears are right, and what if that isn’t enough, and how do I even make it that far?

Sincerely,
Starting Over

Shy Desi Boy replies:
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Advice: Dating a woman with a past

Dear Love, InshAllah:

I’ve met a girl I really like. We have been good friends for a while. She and I are both Muslims, both born in a Muslim country, but raised in America. I really like her however, she had (relatively) many sexual relations prior to meeting me. She has never been married. In fact, she never even dated the guys she had sex with – they were just flings and so forth. I know that this is common in many cultures, but when you are from a background that doesn’t approve of this it doesn’t make much sense to me as to why she would have done this.

Obviously, she says she regrets it all. But I don’t know what to do. I really like her and would like a future with her, but her decisions make me conflicted. Most the time I feel at peace with her, but there are times I feel angry, upset, and hateful. The root of the feelings are obvious. I just don’t know what to do.

Sincerely,
Dating a woman with a past

Miss Sunshine replies:
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Advice: Unrequited Love

Dear Love Inshallah,

At 20 years old, I have decided that I am ready to get engaged. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the matter and since I do not want to pursue a pre-marital relationship, I thought I would open myself up to the possibility of getting engaged soon, since I have been getting suitors in the last few years.

I do have a bit of a problem though. Over the last four years, I have fallen in love with an amazing man, who was the definition of “ideal” for me. We became really good friends and would spend a lot of time talking to each other, often, staying up all night in order to finish off our conversation. We talked on a daily basis and met quite often too. About a year ago, I confessed to him that I had feelings for him, and since then he’s been acting very strange, avoiding me, etc. Upon confrontation, he told me that he had no feelings for me.

I can understand that he has his own preferences and I obviously cannot force him to love me so I dropped the matter. However, I have had a really hard time moving on, so much that it has been getting in the way of my studies and work. It’s been a year and I still think of him all the time. I look for him in every other guy I meet. I feel like my heart is stuck on him and even though I want to move on, I cannot.

At the same time, I do not want to have a relationship with another man while my heart is still set on someone else. I think it would be unfair.

I got to know him inside out, his personality was amazing. His mind was intriguing. Nobody else seems to compare. The love I felt for him wasn’t superficial in the least bit. Once I started to get to know him, I started developing feelings for him because I was attracted to his character and personality. I enjoyed our deep conversations on everything and anything. Other guys just don’t seem to match up to that standard. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to move on.

Last of all, I do not know how to talk to my parents about wanting to get engaged. I have never been close to them and we never talk about anything, much less marriage. They do not know about my feelings for that guy either. I’m sure they would like me to get engaged but how do I do that when I’m so hung up on another man? Help. Please.

Sincerely,

Unrequited Love

Shy Desi Boy replies:
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Advice: In love with a Muslim man

Dear Love, InshAllah,

I find myself in a hard situation with a Muslim man I love. I write because I don’t have resources within the Muslim community and would love that perspective. I am not a Muslim woman though I have much respect for the faith.

For the past 9 months or so I have been dating a dear man from Libya who is here for school on a scholarship. From the beginning it has been clear that there are obstacles to our being together and we kept it very casual and light, but in the past few months we have become much, much closer and he expressed his love for me, and now I have allowed myself to love him very dearly also. However, what just happened a couple hours ago brought our true situation very present to me.

I am a secret to almost everyone he knows, and when he took me out to lunch at his favorite café he asked me not to hug him when I arrived, just shake hands. I understand why, I really do, but personally as a woman of 41 years old that still wants to have children, am I kidding myself to think that he might eventually come around or that it could even work at all?

He is so liberal in so many ways but I’m very uncomfortable being a secret when we have professed such deep love for each other…and he’s not just saying it, it’s true for him. But he doesn’t know what will happen with his country and situation, so I understand that too.

I would love a Muslim’s take on my situation. I am beginning to realize that this love may be an impossible hope for me…and maybe there are aspects of his faith that limit him too much to even consider a longer term, more serious relationship, no matter how liberal he seems. I know the religious and cultural tenants can be very serious and I want to see this situation clearly. Our caring for each other is very unconditional, but maybe I’m kidding myself to think this could eventually work.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I invite your candor and honesty with sincerity.

Sincerely,

In Love with a Muslim Man

Miss Sunshine replies:
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