In this counseling answer:
• The risk of women being injured or even killed by an intimate partner is too high for me to say “yes, go move in with him and insha’Allah things will get better.”
• Consider that he isn’t a changed man unless he is firmly committed to counseling, support, or outside accountability.
• Trust your gut instincts.
Thank you for sending in your question.
The most important element of your story is the fact that your husband beat you while you were pregnant. Not only was this violence against you, but it was also violence against his unborn child who he could have severely harmed or killed due to the violence and trauma you experienced.
CONCERN FOR YOUR SAFETY
I will be straightforward and tell you that I am extremely concerned for your safety in this marriage as well as your child’s safety. Whether you both will be physically harmed and emotionally abused or just you and your son witnesses this kind of environment, all are extremely concerning.
Not to mention that he was having an affair with another woman and only started being nice to you once she had moved on.
Based on your side of the story, there isn’t a lot to work with in terms of recommendations for coming back together except extreme caution.
Even in the few months he is finally showing up and taking interest in his son he is threatening you with divorce if you don’t immediately move back to his home. He has a very little maturity or understanding of the harm he has caused and has the audacity to threaten to abandon you a second time if you don’t comply.
Instead, he should be incredibly grateful that you are even willing to offer him any compassion at all or access to both you and his son.
BUT HAS HE CHANGED?
What you need to know is that he has not changed. He is still the same man he was before. If he had changed you would not have qualified the reasons you don’t trust him now. He is disrespectful to your parents and is emotionally threatening you with divorce. None of those are the signs of a changed man.
It may be that he recognizes, after all his affair drama subsided, that he has a son and wants a chance at being his father. He has a right to that, of course, but there are important conditions that must be met for the child’s safety too.
A changed man would understand that and do whatever it takes including counseling, speaking with family, an imam, etc. to get help for the past and make sure it never ever happens again.
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So, consider that he isn’t a changed man unless he is firmly committed to counseling, support, or outside accountability.
If you know that, what would your decision be?
IS ABUSE PREDICTABLE?
You may wonder why I am so strong in my advice regarding this matter. It’s because of the countless number of women I’ve counseled over the years as well as awareness of patterns of abuse. Even if your husband showed immense remorse and sadness for having beaten you while pregnant, he will have to do more than show up to earn your trust.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A believer is not stung twice (by something) out of one and the same hole.”
We are often hesitant as Muslims, in general, to be straight when speaking with women about abuse because of the fear of breaking up a family. But as a counselor, I believe that if I am not direct with you about the potential challenges you are signing up for by going back to him and moving in with him, I would be destroying the lives of two human beings.
If your entire self is lost in abuse and your child grows up with it entirely, what does it matter that the family is still together on paper?
IS THERE ANY HOPE?
There is always hope because we never know what Allah has in store for us. Your husband may decide to completely change and get help to do that. Allah could send him a test that forces him to recognize the severity of the choices he has made and this inspires him to work extremely hard on never mistreating you ever again.
Yes, it could happen. However, I am not a fan of letting you be his training ground for change. The risk of women being injured or even killed by an intimate partner is too high for me to say “yes, go move in with him and insha’Allah things will get better.”
I recommend that you and your father lay out some stipulations for moving forward for the next six months to see if he is willing to take seriously his role as a man and as a husband and as a father. In other words, let him prove that he is serious about change.
First thing off the table is the threat of divorce. If he wants you with him he should invite you and be patient for when you feel comfortable coming.
Second, he apologized to you and your parents for the harm he has caused all of you due to his lack of anger and emotion management. One of my own teachers has this as a requirement for healing for anyone that has caused any form of abuse. The abuser has to apologize until the victim feels they are actually sorry and really believes them.
Third, he commits to professional counseling with you so that you can heal collectively as individuals and couples from what has transpired. I know this one is harder as most people, in general, believe they don’t need outside help. But the severity of your past, “beaten like an animal” requires it. If he isn’t willing, I ask you to please do counseling for yourself.
HIS CAREER IS HIS CHOICE
He has made a choice to be a model and an actor and his spiritual journey is one he will have to decide for himself. While a wife can positively influence her husband just as a husband can positively influence his wife, neither can expect the other person to change dramatically on their timeline.
You married a man with this career path and you will have to accept this is where he is at and this is who he is right now.
Make your decisions moving forward based on what is vs. what you’d like things to be. Of course, make du’aa’ for him to come closer to the Deen for the sake of his soul and that he is the father of your son. Ask Allah to open his heart, soften his heart, and grant his heart the desire to becoming a more practicing man of taqwa.
TRUST YOUR GUT
At the end of the day, trust your gut instincts. Not your fears of being alone, fears of “what will the people say”, fears of never finding someone else, etc. But your solid intuitive gut. It almost always knows what is really going on, especially when there is a child involved. You’ve got a “mama bear” in you now which will do anything to protect her child.
Don’t let anyone take that part of you away.
May Allah ease your affairs, protect you and your son, guide your husband, and support you in doing what is best for your life, your faith, your well-being, and your future in this life and the next.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.