In this counseling answer:
• You might begin by letting him know how you feel.
• If there is no chance that the two of you can make amends, for the sake of your daughter, you will need to seek a separation so amicably that is in her best interests.
• Be kind to yourself.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,
It is understandable why you feel so frustrated and depressed in this situation. You must have loved this man very much if you fought so hard to get married to him. It must be very saddening that once you finally got your way and were able to marry, things have taken a turn for the worst with his family treating you badly. Even he himself seems to have turned against you to the extent that he has even suggested that you leave, but you must leave your daughter behind with him, which naturally, as her mother, you don’t feel you can do.
What makes the situation even more difficult is that you now reside in a different country and, therefore, probably don’t have as much local support available to you. Facing the mental challenges of this too much will only exacerbate your feelings of depression.
Why Does He Change His Behavior?
You say that when you are alone together he is very sweet and that he only seems to change under the influence of parents. There are a number of reasons why this might be.
It might be that he seeks to please his parents because he knows they don’t like your relationship and have never approved of it. Therefore, behaving in this way towards you will maintain a good relationship between himself and his parents. Maybe, he feels that if he does not get along with them, he disrespects them.
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Furthermore, it might even be that his parents’ attitude towards you is simply rubbing off on him unconsciously, and he is adopting this same attitude without even realizing. They were the ones to raise him, and as children, naturally, we tend to copy and adopt the attitudes of our parents. Therefore, when he is with his parents, he might be slipping back into that mode of copying their behavior.
As children, our parents are the ones we rely on for everything, so we will always carry this love and respect for them which is why we adopt such attitudes. If he is not aware that he is doing this, it might be worth talking to him about it. If they continue to see him being mean to you in front of them, then, unfortunately, this will only continue to feed into their negative perceptions of your marriage as they might feel that he is not happy with you if he is able to be mean to you in front of them. They certainly won’t see a happy marriage, and this will only reinforce their beliefs that you two should not have gotten married as you are seemingly incompatible. Naturally, they want to see their son in a happy marriage, and if they get a feeling that he is not happy, they are obviously going to have ill feelings towards you and will continue to be mean.
Let Him Know How You Feel
You might begin by letting him know how you feel. Like I said, he might behave like this without even realizing. Find a quiet time to talk to him about it. A time when the two of you can sit down quietly without distractions and out of the earshot of your daughter or his parents (or anyone else). If you are not able to talk nicely together, you could get the local imam involved to mediate.
If you are able to talk about and resolve the matter, it is important to put on a show of strength between yourselves in front of his parents. This might help them to realize the love between you and, eventually, earn their support and improve their attitude towards you.
You also need to let him know that it makes you upset that you can’t see your own parents. You have the right to see them, just like he gets to see his parents, and likewise, they also have the right to see you and their granddaughter. Perhaps, you could come to some sort of compromise in terms of how often you visit them. Whilst you are coming to a compromise with this, given they live in a different country, you can still maintain contact with them via alternative methods such as video calling. I know it is not the same as seeing each other face-to-face, but it will maintain healthy relations and regular contact as well as allowing your daughter to regularly interact with her other set of grandparents.
A Separation is an Option
In Islam, we are encouraged to do all we can to make marriage work, especially when children are involved. Certainly, all marriages face some problems, and we have to strive to try and make it work. However, it doesn’t always work, and sometimes separation is the only way forward.
If separation is the only way forward for you, then it is understandable why this is particularly difficult for you after having fought so hard for the marriage to have happened in the first place. It will be a lot more difficult to let go of. However, if there is no chance that the two of you can make amends, for the sake of your daughter, you will need to seek a separation so amicably that is in her best interests. If this is the case, you might also want to involve the local imam as a mediator in terms of issues regarding your daughter and your desire to leave her with him, if you do separately.
Be Kind to Yourself
If you proceed with this separation, be sure to be kind yourself. Inevitably, it will be difficult, but we all face our own tests, and it is for us to remain strong in faith and accept our tests from Allah (swt). You can do this by ensuring that you remain steadfast in your faith throughout and never neglect your obligatory duties. As difficult as it may feel at times, Allah (swt) will bring you comfort and ease in your affairs.
Know that it will take time to adjust after having faced such prolonged difficulty, but you need to be patient with this, and you can only come out stronger for it. Make things easier for yourself by keeping busy with useful activities and spending time with good people. It is particularly important that your daughter does not suffer from ill effects of a separation as many children often do.
May Allah (swt) guide you and your husband to make the decision that will be best for you both and your daughter – a decision that will make you content and that keep your strength in faith. May He (swt) improve relationships with your extended family and bring you to ease in your affairs.
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.