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Will he really choose love over religion?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 May 2015) 7 Answers - (Newest, 30 May 2015)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I really need some advice. Its tearing me apart. I am a 20 year old non religious female student living in the UK, my current partner is a 19 year old male Muslim student living in the same city as myself. We are head over heals in love with each other and have been together around a year, we spend every day together, we are 100% comfortable with each other and feel that we are genuinely one another's best friend. We share everything together and we also have a passionate intimate relationship.

Of course, the trouble here is religion. My partner is a muslim, has been brought up within a relatively strict muslim family and is the youngest of his three brothers. Following Islam, individuals are expected not to drink alcohol, smoke, have sex (before marriage) or eat pork and other strict guidelines.. my partner does all of these things. He had sex with one non-muslim girl before me and drinks alcohol (on the odd occasion) and smokes around me too.

However, he does not do ANY of these things when he is back home with his family, infact they are completely unaware that he does any of these things, I am a complete secret to his family and I have had to block any muslim family members of his on social network sights such as facebook/twitter etc in fear that they will find out.

My partner says that he can not stand his religion , he feels that the 'rules' are 'stupid' and that he wants to live his own life in a way where he can be happy and not live under constant expectations / rules.

My partner is lovely, he is sweet and kind and treats me very nicely, keeping me a secret has not really been a problem for me but now I'm having doubts about the future.

My partner says that his whole life he has always known he has not been fully committed to his religion unlike his older brothers (who are both with muslim girls) and that he has always known that one day he is going to break his parents hearts and bring embarrassment amongst the family, he has been planning to tell them that he simply can not live as a muslim, no matter what the consequences may be as he says he only gets 'one life' and that he wants to be truly happy.

He has lived in the uk his entire life and has friendships with non religious people, and attended mixed non religios schools. He said that in 4 years time, when he graduates, he will finally tell his family that he wants to leave his religion and he will confess his relationship with me.

The reason he is waiting until he graduates is simply as they are aiding him with his funding at the moment ( im aware that this is a little selfish). He said that when he does this his family may disown him, they may never speak to him again, and that it will bring shame upon his family. Yet, he is willing to do this, not just for love but for his own happiness.

The situation is tearing me apart. I have doubts that in the future he will back out and that he will be too scared to go through with it, It worries me that if he feels that it is too difficult to let his family down he will end his relationship with me and leave me heart broken having wasted many years with him, He explained that for muslim men their parents can find muslim girls for him to marry is he asked them to..what about me?

what if he breaks up with me and It is too late for me to meet someone, hold down a decent relationship..get married and have children? Where as he will get his handed to him on a plate.

I feel like I am taking a huge risk. As much as I love him , if he can lie to his family for so long...what could he do to me? Should I stay with him? Will there truly be a fairytale ending or is it just a 'fantasy' I have told all of these expressed feelings to him directly and explained how it makes me feel and the doubts that I get.

He always comforts me, tells me he loves me and that we will 'get through this'.

Should I believe him ? There are times when I hear him on the telephone to his brothers having typical 'sibling' conversations, having nice chats and giggling I really want to be a part of the reason to break down his bonds and relationships with his family?

Will he really choose love over religion ? Please help, thanks.

View related questions: best friend, facebook, muslim, smokes

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 May 2015):

I am 20 years old I dated a 23 year old Muslim boy last year. He is the ideal Muslim boy, we hard working and such a good person. He is very religious and his family was and will always be his priority. He loved me, we still talk from time to time but I had to let him go. He was so open to teaching me about his religion and believe me I tried. I even supported him through Ramadam. And I stayed by his side after that month things began to change. He was someone with me and a whole different person around his family. Take my advice and be strong enough to let him go

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 May 2015):

Irrespective of religion, I've found that as people get older, they become more and more like their parents...

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (30 May 2015):

I noticed how young you are, so I know that you may be quite naive of these types of issues. If he comes from a very strict and traditional Muslim family, he has no intention of leaving his faith for you. While he's away from his family and there's no one around to catch him; like any other student far from home, he will do everything he wasn't allowed to do.

He will tell you anything to have sex with you. His parents and his Muslim community have a very strong influence over his life; whether he admits it or not. He is not going to risk being ostracized by his family and community to change over for one girl. This question gets asked over and over, and the answer is going to be the same. It isn't easy for him to just walk away from being a Muslim.

My brother-in-law is Iranian. He was only around eight when he and his older brothers and sisters moved to Canada. Their father died shortly after sending them to Canada to get them away from persecution and political turmoil of a very bad regime at the time. Long before he met my sister, he had given-up being Muslim. He knows I write this column, and has told me that if his father were alive when he and my sister met; it would have been very hard for him to give up Islam. His parents would have made life very difficult for them. That would include his extended-family, who would have nothing more to do with him.

His mother remained in Iran to look after his dying father; but she never left the country after he died. She never approved of him dating my sister, but there was nothing she could do about it. She was a very mean and manipulating woman. Religion didn't seem to change that fact. She eventually passed away, but she never acknowledged his marriage, or those of his siblings. They all married westerners and stopped practicing their religion almost as soon a they got away from their parents. As many do. Most will return to Islam, and seldom marry outside of their faith. Mainly due to pressure from their peers and family.

As long as his parents are alive, don't count on him changing for you. They would consider you whorish, and a bad influence on their son. Never mind the fact he is drinking and having sex. Males seem to get excused for what they wrongfully do in their youth, and it is just considered part of his passage towards manhood. He will later be cleansed and forgiven, to return to his faith.

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A male reader, Garbo United States + , writes (30 May 2015):

Garbo agony auntThe fact that you are even questioning whether you should plunge further with a Muslim answers your own question. If what you facing is pristine and you had no anticipatory negatives, you would not be asking whether what you are about to do is any good.

So let me honestly and clearly answer your first question "Should I stay with him?" by using your own emotions that are already speaking to you: No, do not stay with him.

The moment I read your post I did not believe not one thing that the guy is telling you. I've seen that sort of talk ever since my professional involvement with the Islamic society since the 1990s and if you research some books, you will find several written by western women who married into Islam. None of those books testify to happiness but to luck that they were able to escape after they got into it because of "love".

Your love will not conquer anything in this case because love is subordinated to Islam. In other words, once you sign marriage papers to a Muslim, your love for him means nothing and it will be treated as such. So, before marriage where such contract is not agreed to you yet, your guy is free to call it "stupid" but once you sign that paper it will no longer be stupid but something you will be forced to live by.

This may sound far fetched now to you, but case after case of others like you had to do many things like this: immediately wear cloak dress, endure secret second wife, be beaten as part of religious tradition, endure abuse by mother in law as part of tradition, segregated away from your husband and as far being forced to be circumcised.

There is also a huge discrepancy between promises and words on one side and reality on the other. All you have to do is just compare how Muslim women live against the words your man is saying to understand that it's all a lie.

Here are some views from Daniel Pipes, an expert on Islam and theology that you should read and take seriously

Since I can't delve in my professional encounters, let me at the end describe a personal one of my aunt's daughter who, like you, fell in love with a young Muslim guy from Iran. They were both at the medical school at the University of Michigan and like your guy, he was promising all sorts of things including "stupid" customs. They decided to get married, had a huge reception of 600 people, expensive gown etc. but at midnight of that ceremony him and his family abruptly left, and that was the last time my aunt saw her daughter. Although a doctor, she was segregated only with women, forbidden to communicate with anyone. Eventually, she contacted her mother from Iran seeking ways to return but she never followed up because, I surmise, they discovered her communication. Nobody knows anything about her anymore. Her marriage was in 1996.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 May 2015):

NO one knows what future will bring. At 20 there is no guarantee you guys will stay together . Feelings change, you might meet someone , he might meet someone. But going back to to the Muslim family of your boyfriend..

I personally know few families with a Muslim husband and totally non Muslim wife.,they have kids and married many years.

Unfortunately none of the women are happy with their husbands, but that's a different story.

All these men met their wives while studying, and none of them hid their non Muslim girfriend's from their families.

As much as I know, none of the parents objected very much the marriages.,

One of my friends is actually in better relationships with her mother in law than with her husband.

So, I don't now why your boy friend is hiding you so much.

This fact really would make me cautious about his intentions.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (30 May 2015):

He is NOT strong enough yet,love.

He might be one day,but not now. I'd say "let him go" to be on the safe side.

Not because he might not go through with it (he might, there's always that chance too), but because you feel you would "have wasted so many years with him".

I'm with you on this- you'd have. Your early 20s is about finding out what you like/dislike before (most people) settle in their mid-20s (some in their early 30s).

Also, I was feeling like you-that I'm potentially "wasting time with him". I was. It was wasted time and ended very badly.

I say to you, what a very good friend said to me: "when you feel you're wasting time, or you've wasted time, it's actually time to go."

"Niggles", "wasted time"-ALL of this is telling you: it's time to go. Trust your gut.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (30 May 2015):

CindyCares agony aunt That's a difficult question to answer, because what you are really asking us is... to read into your future :). To know if in 4 years he still will be so in love with you as he is now ( I don't mean to jinx you but, you know, at 19... people may change ideas and feelings overnight ), and if he will brave enough to choose his partner over family ties , and to face social ostracism forever .( You don'r just " leave " Islam, as a lazy Catholic would stop going to Sunday Mass : leaving Islam means committing aposthasy which is a very big deal, and becoming an official enemy of Islam. Potentially dangerous too in these days and times ! )

Anyway, FWIW, my opinion is that yes, you ARE taking a big risk, maybe bigger then you have realized.

Let's begin with saying that living as a non Muslim and dating ( or marrying ) a non Muslim girl are two separate issues, and if he is mixing the two, there's something fishy . Maybe deep down he knows it WILL end in nothing, so why even slightly rocking the family boat over you.

What I mean is that Muslim men CAN marry Christian or Jewish women ( .. while Muslim women can only marry Muslim men . ) . And the woman does not even need to convert !. All she is requested to do is , being a person of good character and reputation, and dressing sort of demurely . And of course accepting that her children will be raised as Muslims.

So, interfaith marriages aren't forbidden or "haram "- just not the ideal , not particularly advisable. It's a

" handle with caution " ,which many Muslim families can come to terms with ,because it is NOT agaist their religion ( as instead drinking is, for instance ).. If he has to keep you SO secret and he is terrified that his parents and brothers may know- I guess it means that he knows his particularly rigid family instead would never accept you in a million years , and will choose / has chosen a wife for him.

Another thing is, most Muslim families take a pragmatical, , actually cynical approach to " Western " Gfs. They know that boys will be boys... and we are ALL sinners and temptable.. so if a young men has to saw some wild oats before settling down as a respectable family man, is much better he does it with impure, disposable, accomodating non-Muslim girls rather than go tempting and soiling the reputation of a good Muslim girl. Therefore, non-Muslim Gfs are tolerated ( or even welcome ) as a temporary lesser evil.

Ergo ,for you Bf to be SO secretive about you - it must mean something . Maybe even that his future bride has already been selected and arrangements already been concluded ....

Another thing that would make ME uncomfortable is what you call " a little selfish " and is , in fact, a callously exploitative and hypocritical attitude . Well, Ok,the poor kid is just 19 , and not everybody is born a hero, and traditional Muslim fathers can be quite formidable, and it's a BIG decision blah blah.... but even with all these allowances you can't deny that he is perfectly capable of living a double life ,with the skills of a consumed actor, and of doing , and saying, what others want to hear ,in order to get what he wants.

He would not get sex ( ok, and also love and affection etc.. , it's not all about sex, but at 19 sex is a big factor ) from a "suitable " girl, so what could be easier and more convenient that pushing the pedal of

" love conquers everything .... some day " and " we'll get through this ... somehow " , in short with telling you what you want to hear, to keep you sexually available in exclusive.

And yes, as he has no qualms being fake with his family, he could also be fake with you.

What to do ? I do not really have an answer for you. This is all speculation, everybody is different , and you may never know what challenges a man is up to, until the challenge is actually there , right under his nose.

But if you wanted confirmation that your doubts are reasonable, they are MORE than reasonable, the risk you are taking is really big. Only you can decide if you 'd rather play it safer, or if you love him too much NOT to risk, or if, anyway , even in the ( quite possible ) case things should go pear shaped eventually , 4 years of love and bliss are anyway a precious experience that nobody can ever take away from you.

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