Monday, March 11, 2013

umm, did I miss the memo


Hey ESB

Soo, let me preface with the - I love your blog and never thought I'd be writing to you, but here am I.

My man and I have been together for 2.5 years and have begun (he has begun, not me) the discussions of marriage etc. In between trying to keep me from leaving the room, while he makes these noises, I have managed to establish the following :

 - he wants to get married sooner, rather than later
 - he'd like a couple of kids
 - he is not religious, but wants me to convert to his religion
 - I am not religious, but I don't want to convert for many varied reasons, I don't want kids, I am open to marriage

I have sinking feeling I know the answer to my issue. I possibly just want to hear from someone completely and utterly independent, because its going to suck big time doing this to someone I love, but if our ideas of the future are so different there doesn't seem to be a point in prolonging the agony.

Also, I'm Australian, white as a ghost, with very liberal parents and he is a Pakistani Muslim, with the world's most traditional family background. Although he is the black sheep of the fam, he is the oldest and I have watched him, since his father's death last year, slowly returning to traditional ways and values. We did have a super big argument a couple of months ago about the future, which ending with him saying "but my fucking family expect us to get married, you have to convert and do this."

Any thoughts, or should I keep hitting myself in the head while I try and keep studying for my law degree and working full time.

*****

Rip off the band-aid. (And soon.)

You and I both know this ain't gonna work.


Sojourner Morrell by Arnaud Pyvka for Marie Claire Italia March 2013 via Visual Optimism

30 comments:

  1. Could I add some un-asked for advice too? Because it seems like 2.5 years is a long time to have never talked about the future direction of the relationship. Maybe its because I'm old and this is not something young folks worry about, but this would have been one of the first things I talked about when dating - if only to avoid being put in this sort of situation.

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    1. I don't know about the first, but probably within the first year it is nice to do some sort of status check to avoid dragging out mis-aligned goals for that long.

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    2. I think it's important to be upfront with dealbreakers within the first few dates, because it saves everyone's time in the long run. EX: for me I make it clear that my deal breakers are -no god, no meat, and must be willing to watch Waterworld with me. Since being clear about these things it has significantly improved my dating life. Don't compromise on the big things that are important to you.

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    3. Did you guys read her letter? She said he's become more traditional since his father died. That's kind of how adult relationships work--humans have a tendency to grow and change, and then partnerships have to be adjusted accordingly.
      Also, "you should have thought of this before" is probably the most useless advice you can give to someone who is dealing with a pretty normal human problem.

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    4. Jeezy Chreezy, Pseudo Frances! Sounds like you need some candy and sunshine! :)

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    5. "You need candy and sunshine" may have just stolen the useless advice title.

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    6. So I guess suggesting you christinarosetti also, could use some sweetness would be pointless then. Too bad. :(

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    7. and this is now the funnest part about this whole post! Sweetness and sunshine all around! Including some for you Kristen.

      OP if he's changed that much since his dad's death, you really need to think about weighing the options. If changing your beliefs and making that kind of sacrifice for him is your dealbreaker, then things need to end...soon.

      I've dated a Muslim guy and if your man is becoming a stricter Muslim this will be one of many things you're going to have to either agree to or not. There really isn't a compromise on a lot of religious beliefs, actions and rituals.

      Do what's right for yourself.

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    8. Seriously, @Kristen, advice has to be actionable to be useful. Jeezy Chreezy, candy or sunshine or whatever the hell else aside, I'm with Pseudo Frances.

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  2. Oh, lady, I'm sorry, yeah, you have to. Just think: it would much worse to plan a wedding, convert to Islam, have children, and know the whole time that you didn't want to do most of it and just did it for him. It'll hurt, but it's the right thing to do.

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  3. And rip off the band-aid now, waiting for the 'right time' is only going to make things worse.

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    1. Yes. Waiting while knowing it's coming is the worst.

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  4. If the wanting/not wanting kids thing is the only real hitch in your step with this man and there aren't other secret reasons you want to end things, then I don't think you should end this relationship just yet.

    When my husband and I got married, we both went into the deal feeling secure that both of us wanted a family someday. Two years of marriage later and we're neck deep into owning our own business and managing a farm and we're having a hell of a time with a great group of new friends here in the town we moved to, and kids are the furthest thing from both our minds. We actually had a few talks wherein we decided NOT to have kids at all!!

    And then half a year later, a bunch of our close friends were starting families, and low-and-behold, my husband gets the baby itch out of no-where, while I'm still firmly planted in no-babies land. And then another half a year goes by and I've been playing with all my friends' cute babies and now I've come full circle and want to have kids again and we're on the same page.

    You need to ask yourself if you're actually dead-set-against-babies-forever (or you might actually waver on this idea someday when the timing is right) or if maybe you're against babies with HIM (in which case he's not the one for you.) What is true love if it doesn't challenge everything we think we know about ourselves because for the first time in our lives we love someone more than ourselves.

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    1. it's not just babies, he wants her to convert religion which she also isn't on board with.

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    2. People do change over time (me, almost everyone I know), so I don't think that one should give up on a relationship at the OUTSET because of differences - but I think it's important to talk about different goals and needs once a relationship starts to get serious (but before 2.5 yrs) and then revisit them periodically.

      In this case it sounds like OP is very secure in what she wants and doesn't want. The religion part is worrisome. You can't live with the hope that one or the other person will change once someone starts pressing for a big change NOW.

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    3. Yeah, it's not just about babies. The point is that people grow and change and relationships have to be able to account for that. If it's true love, it's worth some compromise on both people's parts.

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    4. What will happen when your husband or yourself want to stop having babies 2 years later?

      You don't change your mind from one extreme to the other just because of what friends do...

      You can delay things, but not rush from one side to the other.

      I am worried about your children when they stop being cute and start being a pain in the ass...which btw...it does happen when they are yours 24h.

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    5. That's what boarding schools are for. Duh.

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    6. that's why social services have plenty of work too

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  5. The "convert to my religion" would be the deal-breaker for me.

    Totally sucks, but ESB is right on with this.

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  6. I agree with ESB, but how is "white as a ghost" relevant?

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    1. i think she meant it that there is no way she could blend in or "fly under the radar" with his family...

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  7. Okay, so hopefully I can help. From an Islamic perspective, Christians and Jewish women don't have to convert to Islam to marry and Muslim man, they can keep their religion and marry him anyway. The demand to convert may most likely be coming from his family and their values.

    That being said, he sounds like most Pakistani men, which is that they have a blend of their Pakistani values and North American values and marriage tends to pit one against the other. I'm saying this as an Indian Muslim woman married to a Pakistani Muslim man. Even my husband put up with A LOT of objections from his very cultural family, in spite of our shared religions and relatively similar cultures.

    No one can force you to convert or tell you that you have to do it, please don't listen to this guy if that's what he's saying. Honestly, if he was very concerned with his religion, he would have either introduced it early on in your relationship, and given you a chance to learn about it and accept him for it. To throw it at you this late in the game because his family says you have to do it is the world's biggest cop out.

    I don't know what you should do, but hopefully this gives you some info to work with.

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  8. I was a little concerned when I read the line "but my fucking family expect us to get married, you have to convert and do this."

    It sounds like there isn't going to be much compromise on the religion part from his side. I'm not sure what your relationship is like with his family but I think they're going to make life pretty tough for you if you don't convert.

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  9. I agree with Tonia re the baby issue - maybe you are committed to being 'child-free' maybe you're just not that into having kids right this minute - there is a pretty big difference there.

    Also, if you are like most Australians (and this is quite a different scenario for most of our North American friends) religion is likely to be a matter of extreme indifference to you. If that is the case you need to think about whether being nominally Muslim really makes any difference to your rather than being nominally (I'm assuming) Christian. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but it's something to think about.

    He also needs to think about what he is happy to change/make sure stay the same about him and his values in order for you to be happy.

    Having said all that your email gave me the distinct impression that you want out for a whole bunch of reasons and need someone to reassure you that that is ok: it's really really ok. Getting married, promising to spend your life with the guy and then turning around and divorcing him for the same reasons that you already know are an issue: probably not as ok.

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  10. ok, so as the lady who wrote in with http://www.eastsidebride.com/2011/09/he-doesnt-want-babies-after-all.html ... i think i can see where you're at and *hopefully* give some advice from a similar situation... although he was the one who didn't want babies... there were other differences; i wanted to travel and grow and he wanted to stagnate and bring me down...

    at the time it was hard... like hole in the pit of your core hard... but it got easier... i occasionally fell in to a moment [or two...] of self doubt, but kept reminding myself of my deal breakers and the things i didn't want to compromise in for myself... and when he did idiot breaking up stuff, like stealing money and putting every single block in my way he could, i felt validated in my decision to walk away.

    the sinking feeling that you know the answer to your question... that's more than often your answer... it's just the strength to get through the next phase of your path...

    my advice: concentrate your energy into your uni work... work... hang out with friends, plan some exciting things to look forward to... and allow yourself time to grieve the passing of a relationship...

    sending you lots of virtual hugs :)

    (also as a P.S. if anyone is interested? after being treated terribly by my ex for deciding that i shouldn't have to compromise on who i am to be with him and recognising the controlling, emotionally abusive man that he was... i have never been so happy, i'm traveling bunches, have landed a good job, moved towns again, enjoying my life and enjoying the early stages of a new relationship with a boy who adores me [and whom i adore]... just in case you thought there weren't happy endings, i think that you just need to be proactive in helping them along :) )

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    1. I love this!
      Thank you for sharing!

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  11. I think when you are thinking of leaving it is often time to leave.

    I know my cousin went down this path. She married a man from a traditional pakistani family. She made some sacrifices and compromises on her beliefs leading up to the wedding. It served as a precedent for their marriage. The amount of sacrifice she has made since then and the level of obligation she has to her in-laws is what I believe to be unreasonable.

    Obviously everyone has a different idea of what is negotiable in their life. You only live once. Decide what it is YOU want out of your life and then go get it. Just because you may have to go through some shit to get their doesn't mean it isn't possible. (See Anna Stack's comment above!)

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