Advice: Sleeping with my best friendPosted: June 27, 2013
Dear Love, InshAllah:
I’ve had a best friend for 4-5 years. I started developing feelings for him. He, like me, is a Muslim. I realized I loved him after he started dating my friend. They dated for about six months. I wanted to be with him and convinced myself that I was going to make him fall in love with me. There were many girls after he broke up with my friend, but during this time we got closer. Eventually, he became physically attracted to me and we spent a night together.
Since then, our friendship has been on a downhill spiral. He would say he loves me but didn’t want us to date because he didn’t want to ruin our friendship and that it would be weird. He said I deserved better. But then we started sleeping together. I finally thought that he had developed feelings for me.
I found out recently that he was “talking” to another girl while we were sleeping together. He sent a proposal for that girl’s hand in marriage two weeks after the last time we slept together. He was supposed to be my best friend. I don’t understand why he did this to me. I feel so used and broken. I slept with him because I thought it meant he knew we were going to get married, that he wanted to get married.
Now he is engaged. I feel disgusting. I am a decent Muslim. I betrayed my faith for those nights I spent with him. My heart is so broken, I feel like I will never heal. I feel like I will fear loving someone for the rest of my life. I’m also very angry. So so so angry and jealous. Why does he get to be happy? He doesn’t deserve it after stepping on me like that. I even sent a message to his fiancée telling her we slept together. She doesn’t know about the two other girls he’s been with. I know it isn’t my place to punish him but I’m so hurt. I’ve even thought about how much easier it would be if I ended my life. But then I think about my parents and how much pain that would cause them.
Will I ever heal? How? I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried praying and focusing on Islam but I do not feel worthy. I feel guilty for turning to God when I am in pain. Why did I not turn to him when I was happy and felt good? I’m being selfish, turning to God only because I want Him to take away the pain.
Sleeping with my Best Friend
Shy Desi Boy replies:
Lately I have been thinking some generalizations are acceptable. Here are two: Miami Heat fans are insufferable and men are lousy. Men do not push themselves to do more, to be more, to understand the immense and lopsided privilege they enjoy, to acknowledge the power they have to hurt (and conversely to heal).
According to a recent New York Times article, forty percent of women killed worldwide were slain by their partner. Forty percent. Again I will re-iterate my earlier point: men are cruel.
This is something you learned the hard way and I am sorry you had to experience this. I am sorry we live in a world where a man thinks it is ok to sleep with a woman while also talking about marriage with another.
You have every right to be angry, disappointed, confused, sad, and jealous. These are important emotions: embrace them. Use them to be more productive at work, to run farther when you are on the treadmill, to stay up longer at night reading, to build a stronger relationship with God, to be empathetic in a way this person was not to you.
Because right now the most important thing to do is to love yourself. You are probably pulling your hair and thinking why did I ever allow myself to sleep with this guy.
Do not let anyone tell you this.
You did not make a mistake. You loved this person and you believed that by becoming intimate with this person, your love would grow and cement a relationship. This person did something rotten but there was something about him that made you want to be intimate with him. That emotion and love, like your pain now, is also real. And you will heal. I promise. You will find someone who will make you happier. Who will please you more. Who will value you. Who will respect you.
In an earlier column, I wrote about my desire to end my life and how I overcame these emotions. I also wrote about how the first woman I loved—and shared a bed with—cheated on me. I am grateful for each of these experiences because they make me a more present partner in my current relationships.
I understand you want to alert his family, his fiancée, his friends but I believe there is immense dignity in withholding this. This is a lesson his fiancée has to learn. If he was physically or emotionally abusive (and he indeed may have been), then I think it is your responsibility to tell as many people as possible to avoid him. Otherwise they are embarking on their own course and I believe the more we wish bad on others, the more our ill feelings turn back and rot on ourselves.
And I am more concerned for you. I know how hard this is. There have been so many times when I stood on a balcony and wondered why I don’t just jump. After all, how do I recover from all this hurt that I have accrued?
But then something beautiful always happens. Last week I was very down about something and then someone who I barely know sent me a hand drawn comic of me. It was odd but also immensely flattering. And it re-affirmed the idea that life is full of surprises, tiny beautiful surprises, that make life worth living.
You will bounce back from this. You will share your love with someone who only wants to be with you. And that moment will be especially beautiful not despite this present hurt but because of it.
Miss Sunshine replies:
You will heal. Time really does heal wounds. There is a hadith qudsi where Allah (swt) says “I was a hidden treasure, then I wished to be known. I created creation so that I could be known.” We are, by our natures, self-centered creatures. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because another hadith tells us that s/he who knows themselves knows her/his Lord. Your life’s work is to gain this wisdom. We were created to be works in progress, so don’t waste your life energy beating yourself up over fulfilling the divine plan. Mistakes, my dear, are inevitable. If pain is what brings you to Allah (swt) then accept God’s grace in drawing you to him, and count it as a lesson learned. There are other lessons to be learned, too, ones that salve the wound and save you future pain.
First: You cannot make someone love you. You can arouse them. You can act lovingly toward them. You can have lovely sex with them. But you cannot make someone love you. You must love yourself.
Second: As Maya Angelou wisely said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” He made it pretty clear what he was about, but you convinced yourself that sex would turn him around. Despite what the romantic comedies and other fairy tales try to tell us, sex is not magical. Penises and vaginas do not have the power to create romantic love. He may love you, and he may want to have sex with you, but those two things together are not enough to equal commitment and fidelity. But I don’t believe he behaved lovingly. He behaved like someone who valued sex above your friendship and then acted according to his values. A good step toward treating yourself more lovingly would be cutting communication with this man.
Third: Your selfishness is not in turning to God, but rather turning on his fiancée. Talking to her about your relationship is spiteful. You don’t do her any good by telling her that the two of you slept together. Despite what you’ve written here, there is no way for you to know how much she knows. She may very well be aware of his past; she could have one of her own. What is between the two of them is their business. Interfering in his new relationship does nothing but needlessly create drama, and it makes you look petty. Stay away from him, from her, and if possible from social circles that involve the two of them.
Fourth: You’re investing too much emotional energy in someone else, and you need that energy to make some changes in your life. It’s time to sit down and review your beliefs about love. Take an honest look at what you want and need, as well as what you have to offer. Focus on treating yourself and others with love and respect. Only invest your energy in those who will reciprocate.
I wish you the best.