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arranged marriage


Endlessnight
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Hello everyone. I haven't been here in a while because i've been feeling really down. I can't get my meds sorted out in a way that is satisfactory. People have been giving me good advice about how to cope but I feel unable to do any of it. I just don't have the will. I drift from day to day seeing nothing but what is right in front of me. I am worried about what will happen to me when I am too old to work. I know a lot of people feel the same way. I was so afraid that I did what I had sworn never to do....I started thinking about getting married as a way to ensure my future. A friend at work told me about a man that was in the process of getting a divorce and was looking for a wife as he had two children. My friend arranged for us to meet in her home. I didn't tell anyone in my family because of circumstances...usually a woman should meet a prospective groom in the presence of her relatives but i didn't want to do that for many reasons I won't go into here. I took with me a friend because I was nervous about the whole thing. I had more or less decided that I would say yes if he wasn't totally repulsive....I was so desperate for a way out of what I saw as a bleak future. We met, talked for a few minutes and that was it. It was over. You have no idea how nerve wracking it was for me. To feel you are being inspected, looked over as a prospective spouse. I know it went both ways, he was nervous too, but my pride suffered badly that day. I had refused every offer of marriage I had received because I did not want to marry someone I didn't care for. But marriage seemed my only way out. Anyway, to cut it short....things didn't work out...he said no. I felt ashamed and rejected. I had given up my principles and all for nothing.

I am not really sure why i'm writing this now. No, I do. I need help. Please please help me. Help me to be able to move on with my life. Help me to be able to let go of my past, my regrets, my hate. Someone please help me.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Endlessnight,

I am sorry that you suffered rejection. Well, think of it this way: It's his loss. Too bad for him.

Please do not be so ready to give yourself away. You are a valuable and important person. You just do not believe that.

Let me assure you that marriage is not solution to depression. Yes, eveyone wants to feel loved and wants companionship but there are not guarantees. Lost of married people are depressed and feel even worse than before they were married.

In my opinion, it is important for you to begin to love yourself.

What do others think?

Allan:)

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Hi Endlessnight, nice to hear from you again. I get a sense that you are exploring other options, that's a good thing. Here people date, there people have arranged meetings with a view to partnering, it's all very nerve wracking either way.... I'd like to hear about how you felt about him, about the process? You were just there to explore the possibility anyway, nothing was already decided, it was like a date and it did not work out.... it happens, I urge you not to get down on yourself for that. That's the way many first dates work out...Who knows, the next prospect may actually be someone you like :-)

I know this was not an easy thing for you to do, but you did it, and to me it offers a sign of hope in that you are still looking to better your life. So what are you thinking of doing now?

Edited by Symora
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I was exploring new options, but more out of desperation than of hope I think. Aschwartz is right, I do need to learn to like myself but i don't know how to. After I post something on this site I feel relief for a while, but then I start to feel ashamed. I find it very painful to go back and read what I have posted. I want to let things out but at the same time i'm a very private person, one used to keeping things inside me, to myself. How do I resolve my need to be heard with my need for privacy?

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Hi again Symora. I was exploring new options, as you said, and I was hoping that I could make something of my life. Unfortunately for a woman here, that usually entails being married. I was very nervous about the whole thing, and yes, you are right, it was like a first date except that I had no clue as to what he looked like and vise versa. Although I had sworn never to marry someone I didn't love, and I felt like I was betraying myself, I had resigned myself to the fact that my only way out was through marriage. I can never have my own children and so I thought marrying a widower or a divorcee with kids would be a way for me to connect with life again. Being 50 means that my marrying options are limited to men that either want a 4th wife or are over 70. I had a previous offer of marriage from a man 75 years old which I refused. Most men my age are already married with kids, and if they were to consider marrying again it would be with someone much younger. I actually felt good about the whole thing when I met him, I was not as uncomfortable as I had thought I would be. But, as I said, it didn't work out.

Now i'm trying to figure out a way for me to be content the way I am and not rely on marriage or escaping this life as my options. I want to be able to say and feel that I lived my life, if only my older years the best I could. I hope maybe one day I will be content, and not keep running after a dream life that won't happen for me. I need to learn to like myself and wish I could figure out how to do that.

Thank you for your kindness and support. Take care.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Endlessnight,

You know, your life does not have to be "endless night." Try to pay attention to the little things wherever you live: birds, trees, snow, children being noisy, the smell of coffee, the sky, the clouds, etc. I am not joking. Relating has to do not only with other people but with relating to nature, to music, to paintings and other forms of art. Breath the life around you in. I urge you to learn Yoga and to do it as often each week as possible. Join a Yoga class near where you live.

As for your age, I have had this discussion with many women: A woman of fifty does not have only 70 year old men open to them. There are lots of men who are 50 "ish" who are widowers or are divorced and who want to be with a good woman. It is also a huge myth that 50 yo men want younger women or young women. The average 50 year old man has raised his children and craves to be with people who are mature.

By the way, many people your age and older do not want marriage because of its legal complications but do want a committed relationship.

Allan

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Hi Endless, Nice to hear from you again. When you start feeling bad about posting, come back and post again. I have found that therapeutic in that it forces me away from getting down on myself... does'nt always work, but often it does... If you ever find out how to be content with your life the way it is, then let me know, cuz I don't know how to do it either :confused: Some days I'm OK, and other (like many days this week), I feel like I've wasted my life. And I've been married, had kids, all the stuff. It does not guarantee serenity, believe me :)

My experience with African or Middle eastern Muslim men is that they indeed want young women as the next wife, very young women. To marry someone as a companion is not in their frame of mind, and they will find the youngest they can get away with - my theory is that it is to prove their virility to other men since they don't care much what women think. There may be exceptions I'm sure, but this is the cultural paradigm from what I have observed and lived.

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Hello Symora. You are right in your evaluation of Middle Eastern men on the whole. You seem such a strong person that I forget that you have problems too. Thank you for your support and your advice. I know deep down that marriage and kids don't guarantee happiness. I think I wanted to know what it was like to have someone that I could turn to when I was feeling down or sick. I wanted to know what it feels like to care about someone and have them care for me. Yet I do know that I would still be the same person I am now, with all my problems and everything.

Take care.

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Strong!!:eek: Don't kid yourself Endless, I'm so emotionally weak I'm almost a puddle.... I've been having such a hard time this week, maybe I can share it with you here. I know about Muslim men because I have been with one for 15 years, Senegalese. It has been the most difficult relationship I have ever been in, for so many reasons. Our differences are cultural, racial, gender based, core values, religious, you name it, it has always been challenging. So 18 months ago I find out he married a 20 year old (he is 50) and had a baby the year before, in Senegal (all of this chosen and arranged by his mother). This situation sent me into a spin that has lasted ever since - the hurt and the feelings of betrayal are intense and have not subsided. I told him I no longer trusted him because of the lying, that I would not be part of a polygamous situation and I left him. He kept on trying to contact me, insisting that I was his first wife, blah, blah. I managed to stay away until last summer. While in grief following my beloved grand-mother's death, I accepted to see him and he spent a week in Ottawa. I should not have done that...

O and I love each other, truly. He is pushing me so hard to continue to have a relationship - he calls, writes e-mails, he is wearing me out. He insists that this girl is for his mother, and it has allowed him to have a child, a glorious son to boot, which is all important as a Muslim man (I could no longer have children when I met him). He insists that I am his life companion, the one he wants at his side. But he also wants for us to make room for her in our life, he needs to show responsibility and his mother needs her (it's about not losing face back home), etc. Even told me all I had to do was send her a gift and we would be friends, stupid old fool!!! He is pushing to come spend next summer here, so we can renew our relationship. (He lives across the country because that is the only place he could find a job as a teacher) He still thinks we can just go back to the way it used to be...

I want him out of my life, most of the time... I am a feminist to the tip of my toes, and polygamy is repulsive to me, so I keep telling him this is not the life I want and to leave me alone. But then I get lonely and depressed, and he works so hard to get close to me, and then I cave and treat him like the close friend he has been to me, and then I get all insecure and angry again and I push him away in a mean way. Then I get depressed. Then he calls again and I cave, and the cycle goes around and around. I am so emotionally exhausted I've been feeling suicidal this week... I am so mad at myself for not putting my foot down and sticking to it. This was to be the year I was going to work on my self-esteem - yeah, right, I've been hating myself lately and I wish I were dead... I can't stop the negative inner language...

Sometimes the veneer makes things look all good on the outside, but inside it's not so good... My grand-mother would always say that if you look into anyone's home you will find suffering, it's part of being human, so not to be deceived by appearances.

I've also been making the link between the abuse I lived at the hands of my father (in other threads) and my incapacity to deal with setting effective boundaries with O. I don't know what to do, I feel paralysed and so sad....

Edited by Symora
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Hello Symora. I am so sorry to hear of the pain you are going through. Though I have never had a relationship with a man I do understand what you are feeling though. I know how hard it must be for you to even think that you have to share your man with someone else. It's why I will never be a second (or third or fourth) wife to any man. I couldn't do that to his other wife(wives). I can see how hard it is for you because you love him. A muslim man is allowed to have up to four wives providing that he treat them the same. People being people that is almost impossible to do in life. Knowing muslim men I would say that his marrying the 20 year old, though probably instigated by his mother, is something he very much wanted too. Being a feminist, as you said you are, it must be killing you to know that you are putting up with this state of affairs. Self esteem is hard to get and easy to lose if we allow it to be lost. I dont believe you have lost all yours, Symora. You are just torn between your love for him and your own beliefs and hating the fact that he has put you in this position in the first place. I wish I could help you, I really do. But all I can say is you need to decide how much you want to keep him. Are you willing to put aside all you believe in for him? Because that is what you will have to do to keep him. His marriage is a fact, and you either accept it or you don't. If you don't then you need to try and not cave in to his demands. If you are willing to accept that this is how he is then be at peace with that decision and give yourself a break. Take care Symora. I hope things get better for you.

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Thank you so much for that post. It is the first time someone responds to me with regards to this subject, too unreal for most I would suspects. I so admire your not accepting to be a second, or third, or fourth wife and the fact that you would not do that to another woman. I truly commend you for that since I'm sure you've lived a lot of family pressure to do otherwise. It is also a big part of my pulling away from him - he wanted to marry that girl and be a father, then so be it, he can do just that, let him take his responsibilities. The girl can have him, I'm not going to stand in between there. I do pray for the day when women will be more considerate of other women in that respect though, not betray each other for the sake of men... I don't think our status will ever truly evolve until we have more solidarity in that respect. To the girl I am not even a person, I am the 'toubab', the white person. It's sad really...

I decided last year that I was not going to put all of what I believe aside for him. He has never been kind enough or considerate enough of me to make it worth my while anyway. My problem is that he just won't let go, and when I'm vunerable and depressed I get sucked back into the comfort of our relationship. I know he did not marry just for his Mom, what middle aged man does not want a beautiful 20 year old in his bed at night... a woman who was raised to be at his beck and call as an added bonus.

I have again resolved to stay away from him and have told him so. I actually 'repudiated' him three times last week. I thought is was a fitting and ironic gesture, although I know that only men have that right in Islam ;) Help me pray that he does not try to return this time Endlessnight, although I suspect he will try, just so he can have the last word...

Edited by Symora
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  • 2 weeks later...

Lately i've been feeling so down and I dont know why. Well I do know one of the reasons but sometimes I feel like i'm so high i'm almost flying and other times I get so low I feel like i'm inside a deep dark hole and no one and nothing can get me out of it. I've started walking around, slouching really, looking at the ground. I dont wan't to see anyone and I dont want anyone to see me. I want to be invisible. I dont want to feel. I want so much to just close my eyes and never open them again. To know what it's like to be at peace with yourself finally.

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I'm sorry to her you are not feeling well lately EndlessNight... it's hard when we are at the bottom of the wave.

I've been reading a book lately called 'Feeling Good' by Dr. David Burns, it's about cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy has been proven to be just as helpful as drugs in treating depression (I’ve been off the meds for 3 weeks now so I'm looking for other options). The basis of the therapy lies in the fact that thoughts are precursors to feelings, which means that our thinking is what actually drives our emotional life, so we have to be careful about the thoughts we entertain and give credence to.

People with a predisposition to depression usually have negative inner language that affects their emotions, even drives how they feel – I am in agreement with that since I can see it in myself….. I am in the process of learning about ‘cognitive distortions’, and have found that it is indeed true that many of these negative thinking patterns influence the direction my emotions take (I’ve been testing this out for a few days and replacing my negative thoughts with more hopeful and probably realistic ones is already making a difference in how I am feeling …. I like it).

Perhaps you could give this a try since there are so few options open to you in Saudi Arabia. Has anything happened to trigger your feeling down? This too shall pass my dear...

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Lately i've been feeling really down. I walk around never raising my eyes to anyone. I don't want to see anyone and I dont want to be seen. I want to be invisible. I feel i'm a nonentity. I just want to lie down and never get up. I want to stay curled up in bed with my eyes closed. Not bothering anyone and no one bothering me. I want to not have to feel.

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I hope that you will keep trying, endlessnight. I was just thinking last night about painful feelings. As much as they do hurt, they can be a reminder that somewhere inside of us we care deeply. And this is something to value... that we are breathing and alive. For as much as we hurt at times, there is also the potential for joy and happiness. So pain may eventually move us toward joyous feelings if we choose to see our way through and not give up.

Maybe try and take little steps with this. Get up, get moving and look one person in the eyes. Let someone see you and you may find you better see yourself. I have decided that I like being seen. Maybe you can try too?

Edited by IrmaJean
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Apology: I posted my last entry twice because I thought it hadn't posted. I didn't notice that there was a second page to my thread - you can tell how out of things I am by that statement alone!

Symora: ( Again, sorry for not seeing your post before )Please stay strong and know that my thoughts and best wishes are with you. We women are apt to let our feelings rule us more than we should I guess, and for strong women with minds of their own that can be especially hard. It's like you are at war with yourself. All I can say to you is, please be strong. Try and do what is best for you in the long time and not in the short term. Whatever you decide, take care.

M.

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I am trying, IrmaJean but it's so hard to convince myself that it's worth the effort when it's so much easier to just give up and give in. I'm having problems with my meds lately too and i've been back to my doc to tell him that I couldn't get the alternative meds he prescribed for me to replace the ones I am currently taking and am not happy with for various reasons. I spent two weeks trying to get my nephew to go to the one pharmacy in the city that suppposedly had these meds, and in the end I had to ask an aquaintance if she could have her driver go get them for me. He went, but they didn't have them. I know it sounds like a little thing, but it's these little hurdles that get you down. There are so many of them and I get tired of fighting. I'm despising myself for my inability to stop eating. Even while i'm eating another biscuit i'm thinking in my mind, you fat pig, and I just want to bang my head against the wall I am so tired. I want to let go. You said feelings are good but to me feeling means I will want. And I dont want to want anything. It's so much easier to just let myself drift the way I have for so many years. I'm tired, IrmaJean.

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The next time you feel the urge to degrade yourself, think of something positive about yourself instead. Beating yourself up with words reinforces bad feelings. It doesn't show you that you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect and gentle care.

You said feelings are good but to me feeling means I will want. And I dont want to want anything.

Wanting serves a purpose as well. Feelings are meaningful and informative. They can be a symptom of a need. This desire may push us to move toward that which we want. And this can help us to take care of our own needs. Why is it that you don't want to want? Does the longing feel painful to you? Have you tried tuning into your desires? This can be a real lesson in self-awareness. Identify what you want and then take the steps you need to make it happen.

Is there anything which gives you pleasure, endlessnight? Exercise, music, reading? I like writing poetry myself. I imagine something beautiful and then try to express that beauty through words. And while I'm writing, I allow all of those feelings to fill me up...kind of give in to it. It's invigorating to me and a way to get in touch with myself. Sometimes little things can be the most beautiful if you open your eyes to the possibilities. I think I once wrote a poem about the scent of soggy wet ground in the spring. Try getting in touch with your senses. I'm an emotional type, though. What do you like doing?

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I don't want to want because wanting only gives me pain. I want to be numb to feeling because that way at least i'm not hurting. I hate myself so much. I am so mad at myself and have been for the past couple of months that I don't know what to do except give up. I've stopped caring how I look, in fact i'm afraid to look in the mirror because I dont like what I see there. I'm feeling so depressed because I had thought my meds were helping me, but I dont feel they have been lately. I've been thinking of just giving up. I want to. These lines are from a favourite poem of mine and express what I cannot put into words:

'I long for scenes where man has never trod,

For places woman never smiled or wept

There to abide with my creator, God,

And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept;

Untroubled and Untroubling where I lie,

The grass below - above the vaulted sky'

I want to cry out for help but I dont know who to cry out to. So I scream inside. And i'm so so tired of everything. Of being myself. Of what I am and what I am not. I don't want to BE.

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Why is it that you have such negative feelings about yourself, do you think?

As for the poem you shared, I have moments of feeling this way too. It's a need I have to regroup from the stressors of day to day living. It is okay to find this peaceful place, endlessnight. But then why not take the beauty of this serene moment and allow it to give you the strength to face a new day?

Let the pain of wanting motivate you to strive for joy. Try and take what you feel and be proactive with it rather than allowing it to consume you.

You say you want to cry out for help. What is it that you might cry out for? What is missing? What is empty?

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I feel like i'm falling apart, IrmaJean and I dont know how to prevent it. When I first posted to this site, I was depressed but lately I feel i'm getting worse and not better. I can't even look at myself in the mirror because I hate myself so much. I dont want to see what I have become. I'm not sure if I can explain my self hatred much, but I think a lot of it comes from my feeling that i've wasted my life: the missed opportunities that I let go by; my cowardice, emotionally and physically; my apathy; feeling that I let this happen to me, that I could have done something about my situation but was too apathetic, too cowardly, too lost in self pity to do anything. I know a lot of it was not of my own doing, but there were things I could have done that would have made my life, such as it is, at least bearable, but I chose to opt out of living completely. I dont want to live with this regret, this self hatred, this bitterness anymore. I want things to be over with. I want to let go.

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Maybe then, rather than remaining frozen in the past and dwelling on what hasn't been, look toward tomorrow and what could be. In many ways, life begins today and the lessons of yesterday teach us so that our future may lead us down a happier path.

Can you take any steps to improve your situation, endless night?

Edited by IrmaJean
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Guest ASchwartz

IrmaJean,

You expressed that in a way that is very beautiful and I agree. How about focusing on enjoying the moment?

Afterall, EndlessNight, how would you feel if you were not suffering and just enjoying the simplicity of each moment?

Allan:)

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