As-Salam `Alaikum dear sister,
What an excellent question! I feel that many women struggle with similar issues. I am impressed with your empathy, compassion, and wisdom about matters of the heart and your efforts to express only the right action with everyone’s well-being in your heart.
Let’s break things down and simplify them. Emotions are just that: emotions. They do not mean love, they do not mean that a bond is going to occur. Putting our emotions where they belong so that we can regulate them is how we keep our emotions from getting us in trouble.
In the situation where there is a very nice man and a woman is attracted to him, married or not, she is wise to keep this attraction a secret between her and Allah (swt). The attraction itself is not enough to warrant action.
It is wise not to spend time with any man that is not your official suitor for the purpose of marriage, and with an escort, and with public acknowledgement. If you follow this guideline, you will not find yourself with this nice gentleman alone ever. This will decrease the danger of improper involvement.
If you should meet him by coincidence, simply put your right hand over your heart and tell yourself to calm down. A woman’s emotions can be powerful. As you do this, silently ask Allah (swt) to guide and protect you.
If this man is a colleague, then there will be time when you must be with him and actually work with him. If this is an unavoidable situation and you are working together as professionals, remember to put on your “professional hat”. You can do this.
Indeed, I have worked with a couple who were both colleagues of mine, and they were also colleagues with each other. When you are working in a professional capacity, you only have one function, and that function is your professional function, and your duty is to focus on the work at hand. The married couple often had to work together in a professional capacity. Most people did not even know they were married. This is because when they were working in their professional capacity, they were focused only on the work.
I believe that if a married couple can learn to behave well in such a situation, then you and I can do the same, especially with a man who is not even our husband and we have not had relations with.
The point is: there is no romance, unless and until a man is officially pursuing you and has made his intentions known that he is a suitor for you. If that isn’t happening, then pat yourself on the back for having the ability to be open enough to feelings and emotions, then let them go. It is called a “crush”.
Crushes are not just for 14-year old girls. A woman without a husband will have crushes; we are human, and we desire a man. A nice man comes along, and it is likely to happen. But it is manageable.
For one thing, the crush is all in our own head, and there is not “real” relationship. So when our thoughts, emotions, and desires finally catch up to reality, and we accept that the man is not ours, we are ok. Nothing is lost. You are still pure and eligible to meet a “real” suitor.
If this man has been pursuing you for marriage, then I suggest you talk to him about the reality of taking a second wife. Is he able to provide equally for both of you? Most of the scholars I speak to advise against marrying a second wife, unless she gives her consent. But I am not an Islamic scholar; therefore, it would be wise to go to our “Ask the Scholar” section and get clarification on this.
With that said, if you feel that marrying this man would make him feel guilty and hurt another woman, then I advise you to not give this another thought. There is another suitor for you. Marriage is supposed to bring happiness not sorrow. You would not be happy if this happened. Step back; emotions are powerful, but they will simmer down.
Give yourself a few months and your focus will shift. Be very professional with this man. I personally would not marry as a second wife, unless the first wife befriended me first. There is a lot to work out, even in cultures where this is the norm.
I pray my response has been helpful. Let’s continue the dialogue. I believe this is a very relevant issue for our times.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides.