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Feeling Trapped in a Miserable Marriage



Reply Date

Feb 12, 2018


I have been living together with my husband for 7 months in a loveless, unhappy and insecure relationship. I am struggling to develop an attraction to him due to his awkward personality and physical defects (his skin disease, baldness, and halitosis were unknown prior to marriage), although I have tried to overlook them. This has been affecting our intimacy and physical interactions to a great deal, hindering a long-term healthy relationship as we have not yet consummated the marriage. The incompatibility in personality and understanding and the lack of emotional connection are becoming more evident with time, manifesting in constant disputes that are resulting in further separation and instability in the marriage. Pressures have been added by family expectations and exploitation of premarital agreements, with attempts to resolve through communication and spending time together failing. The option to involve family has been rejected to prevent interference. I now feel trapped, helpless and miserable in a destructive relationship lacking love, trust, dependency, and the emotional distance is now creating negative feelings towards one another. What are the measures that can be taken, particularly when the physical repulsion is preventing one of the main purposes of an Islamic marriage? I am losing the motivation to keep the marriage going.



Feeling Trapped in a Miserable Marriage


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum Sister,

Thank you for sending us your question. I am sorry to hear about the current situation of your marriage. It appears that you and your husband are going through some major difficulties in such a short time. I ask Allah to help the both of you through this and to help you both make the right decisions regarding your marriage and your future.

Sister, what I understood from your written question, it seems that you have been married for less than a year and right away have been suffering from true hardships within the marriage. You write that you have trouble getting physically (and emotionally) attracted to your husband due to his skin disease and his awkward personality which lead to your marriage still not being consummated. In addition to that, there are family issues that have also been a factor to your feelings of being trapped, helpless, and miserable within your marriage as you mentioned above. I can read between the lines that you are so upset and hopeless.

It is certainly normal to feel that way. From what I have read, it doesn’t seem like you were able to get to know your husband very well prior to marriage. If I am wrong, how much were you able to get to know him before marriage? You mentioned that you did not know about his skin disease; because you didn’t notice it when you saw him or that he did not tell you? You also mentioned that he has an awkward personality. Did you discover that only after marriage?

Either way, you are still a married woman, and you and your husband are in need of professional help. Sister, I greatly encourage and recommend that the both of you go to marriage counseling. I can read that you are from the UK. Thankfully, the country you live in does have marriage counselors and other professionals who can help you and your husband come up with a possible solution for your issues. Please, do not hesitate to seek help with a professional. I say professional and not an imam, because a professional (counselor, therapist, etc.) is trained to help couples deal with problems within a relationship, but an imam does not, because he deals mostly with religious issues. This step is crucial.

Another point I want to make is that even if a Muslim counselor is not available, seek help from a non-Muslim counselor. Since they are trained, they can certainly still help you. We seek medical treatment from non-Muslim physicians, why can’t we seek help from non-Muslim counselors if we have major marital issues?

As a counselor myself, there are so many questions I would like to ask the both of you about the history of your relationship and the nature of things in the present. Your written question by itself does not suffice for anyone to give you any good advice other than for you to seek professional help. I ask Allah to help you both through this very difficult time and to help the both of you seek the right kind of help and truly benefit.



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.

About Aliah F. Azmeh

Aliah F. Azmeh is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Detroit, Michigan. Aliah graduated with a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2007 and has experience working in the United States and overseas. Aliah currently works as a clinical social worker and provides individual, family, and marital counseling at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, MI.

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