As-Salamu `Alaikum Sister,
Thank you for sending us your question. It seems you are stuck in a difficult situation. May Allah choose the best for you and your fiancé.
From your description of yourself, it seems you are a strong, educated, and independent woman. Those are wonderful qualities that most women aspire to become.
You also mention that you have had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for the last ten years. I applaud you for first accepting that you may have OCD and striving to make the best out of your situation. Many individuals in the Arab world are not exposed to issues related to mental illness and are not familiar that anything is wrong if they exhibit any symptoms. Alhamdulillah, I hope that you were able to seek help when you needed it and encourage others to do so as well.
All of us have certain expectations for our future spouses. In our perception, we have a list of qualities and attributes that we wish our spouses to have such as being honest, religious, educated, has a good paying-job, has a sense of humor, and the list goes on.
However, when we have an honest conversation with ourselves and assess our situations, we start to see that some things on that list aren’t so important. We start to prioritize what characteristics/qualities we can compromise with and what we absolutely cannot.
While examining your relationship with your fiancé, ask yourself if you both have discussed the following together: 1.) Roles in marriage 2.) Expectations 3.) Religious views 4.) Views on parenting 5.) In-laws/family relations 6.) Views on education/work 7.) Finances 8.) Personality Traits, and 9.) How he communicates. These nine points are general issues that any two people in a serious relationship need to discuss and agree on.
From your written question, it seems this man has a lot of qualities that you admire regarding his character and religion, but you have no mental or physical attraction towards him. This is certainly an important part of marriage that will promote a strong foundation, and I would advise you to try to find this attraction first.
The Prophet Muhammad (sws) said.
“When one of you asks a woman for marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so.” (Abu Dawud)
This hadeeth indicates that one must see a potential spouse in order to find something about them that is pleasing. This should take place in order to start marriage in a positive way in which both spouses are attracted to each other and look forward to be together.
This, however, should not be confused with lust. Since your fiancé is currently abroad, I would suggest that you do not make a decision until you see him and spend time with him in person. The fact that he’s personally in your presence will give you a better idea of what you like about him (physically) and what you do not.
You mentioned that you don’t feel like a woman with your fiancé, but you had that feeling before with other men. What is it about those other men does your fiancé lack? From an emotional point-of-view, why were those other men more attractive to you physically and mentally than your fiancé? Are the good qualities in your fiancé sufficient for you to be happy with him? Explore those questions with yourself and think about them when you see him and spend time with him in person.
Attempt to find an emotional connection with him, which would be much easier in person than online. Also, remember that you agreed to get engaged to this man even though you did not want to. What did you expect to happen during the engagement period? What did you want to find that would make you feel better about marrying him? After you see him and give yourself an honest chance, then you can make a decision.
If you honestly attempt to connect with this man, but you are still unable to accept him emotionally and physically, I would not encourage you to marry him. You would only be doing yourself and your fiancé a great injustice.
Do not base your decisions on pleasing other people. In regards to marriage, you should take your decision thoughtfully and seriously. Of course, continue to pray istikhara and ask for Allah’s guidance.
May Allah give you the strength and insight to help you to make the right decision for yourself.
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