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With Asperger’s Syndrome, I’m Scared to Get Married

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jul 12, 2018

Question

Salam wa alaykom wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

I'm a struggling revert who has a lot going on in life. I'm struggling to go back to school and/or get a job, as well as get a sense of direction and purpose as to what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. I have Asperger's Syndrome, which I was diagnosed with at age 8, yet I also recently found out that I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I have tried to get a job (albeit probably not giving enough effort), but it seems like no one wants to hire me due to no previous work experience.

Also, as mentioned, I have trouble socializing, and 99% of these entry-level jobs require that among co-workers just to get by in the day. So, my best bet is to go back to school, yet I have a terrible GPA (about 1.2 I think) due to some mistakes I made as well as my previous institution made in handling me. So, no other institution seems to really want to take me in.

Additionally, I'm an only child with a single mother, and I have anger issues, especially directed towards her (I also feel like she tries to control me/protect me too much as well). So, needless to say, family dynamics aren't that good (and I'm more or less isolated from my extended family, as well as my mother; she's the black sheep in her family). Additionally, I most likely have a porn addiction, which I'm subscribed to Purify Your Gaze for but haven't been using the site that actively.

Btw, I'm in therapy sessions for all this and am taking my medications. At this moment, I've been communicating with a woman who's 26 (I'm 22) and black (I'm white) in Canada, who commutes to Detroit for work and is a nurse. Alhamdhoulillah, she just finished her Master's Degree.

Alhamdhoulillah, I've met her and her father and her father appears to be OK with us having extended one-on-one conversation (he's apparently not that practicing, according to her, her entire family isn't really). We both know there are several reasons for this marriage not to work out (mostly because of me), yet whenever we try to end this relationship, both of us feel pain, and especially when I feel that she's hurting, it draws me back in. Like, the other day I called her and gave her a litany of reasons why this really wouldn't work out, she started feeling pain and that immediately made me feel guilty and drew me back in.

As it stands right now, we've decided that after Ramadan we will insha'Allah get pre-marital counseling and then decide whether or not we want to go through with this. I know of at least two organizations where this counseling could insha'Allah take place. I should note that she understands my financial situation and believes she is OK with temporarily helping with the finances. She doesn't consider them to be a big issue (and her father, surprisingly, doesn't either).

Her two main issues are the fact that I don't pray on time always and that I watch pornography. These are red lines for her. The latter issue is the key to achieving the former, and, again, it's still something that I'm struggling with but I am indeed in therapy for it.

I say all this just to say: I'm scared. I'm scared and depressed. I'm scared I'll let her down, that I won't be a good husband, that I'll close her off from love (she has problems opening up and being vulnerable, and I'm scared that if I let her down she's just going to feel justified with that and become more closed off). Yet, I don't want to act out of fear. I want to be brave and make the right decision, but I'm finding it very difficult to do.

The bottom line is that I know I really need to work on myself quite a bit more...but I don't want to hurt her. That's what's holding me back: that I don't want to hurt her by leaving, yet at the same time I don't want to hurt her if we were in a marriage together, what with all that's going on.

She believes in me; she believes that I'm capable and all, yet I have a hard time believing in myself because of what a lot of other people have told me, and because of the traumatic experiences that I've had in the past which would be beyond the scope of this question. I just hope that insha'Allah, I can get some good advice and find some answers. Please help, jazakumullahu khairan.

Counselor

Answer


With Asperger’s Syndrome, I’m Scared to Get Married

In this counseling answer:

• Evaluate your career interests and direction. Seek out a career specialist if needed. Design a timeline to share with your fiancée. Talk to your therapist if you feel you need a different approach to therapy.  Invite your fiancée to a therapy session to educate her about borderline personality disorder as well as Asperger’s Syndrome.

• Address your relationship with Allah by keeping your prayers and reading Qur’an.


As Salamu Alaikum brother,

Thank you for writing to us with your most important concerns regarding marriage. As I understand it, you have met somebody that you would like to marry but you’re not sure if you’re ready.

Career, Jobs and Self Esteem

As a struggling revert, you stated that you have a lot going on in your life. A few of your main points are that you need a sense of direction and purpose as to what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.

You indicated that you have Asperger’s Syndrome as well as Borderline Personality Disorder. You discussed your efforts trying to get a job, but you have no previous work experience. You have trouble socializing, as well as have issues with going back to school because of a poor GPA. These are problems that a lot of young people face brother, you are not alone.

Finding a job with no previous experience is hard as most new graduates soon find out. Socializing is also listed as a stress for many people.

Regarding your direction in life and your purpose, I will kindly suggest that insha’Allah you make a list of the things you are interested in. Then make another list of the things that you would like to do for a career, things that are enjoyable. I would ask that insha’Allah you map out the steps that are needed to attain these goals. You may need to narrow down some of your choices by picking those that are most relevant for a career that is fruitful in terms of availability and pay.

Additionally, you may want to look at your ability to actually function in a chosen job setting given that you have Asperger’s syndrome and borderline personality disorder. For instance, as you stated that you have trouble socializing, I would not choose a career in public speaking. While you may be interested in public speaking, it may be hard steps for you given that you may have a social anxiety and or low self-esteem at this point. Insha’Allah this will change in the future, but we are concerned with now.

The point is, to choose a career or narrow down your interest by your interests and abilities.

With that said, brother, please do make your list and narrow down your choices for a career. Map out the steps taken and set up a timeline for achieving these steps.

Another alternative is that you could visit your local employment office and ask to see a career employment specialist. They are like case managers who help you narrow down your interests and evaluate your skill-set.  They help you to prepare- whether it’s vocational or university, to attain the skills for the job you desire.


Check out this counseling video:


Mercy, Forgiveness, and Family

Another issue that you brought up was that as an only child, you have anger issues towards your mom. You stated you feel like she tries to control you and protect you too much. You indicated that you are currently more or less isolated from your extended family as well as your mother.

Brother, as you know in Islam we are not to cut off family members. While I am not sure why you’re angry at your mother other than the fact that she was overprotective, you do need to try to resolve your relationship with her. Being a single mom is not easy and I’m sure she did the best that she could.

Given that you have Asperger’s Syndrome; it is natural that possibly she was more protective over you than usual. This is an indication that she really loves you and wants the best for you. Please, do take that into consideration while reflecting back upon times that make you upset or angry while you were growing up. As we know that Allah is most merciful and loves to forgive, so too should we be merciful and forgiving of others, especially our mothers.

Preparing for Possible Marriage

I’m happy to hear that you do go to therapy sessions and that you do take your medication. This is very important for stabilization as you know. I will kindly suggest insha’Allah, that you also discuss these issues with your therapist. Perhaps you may need an adjustment in your medication or a different approach to therapy.

If you feel that you are at across roads and therapy is not helping, your therapist does need to know. By telling your therapist (if you have not already), you may be able to resolve your issues more readily as your therapist can help guide your directions and perhaps adjust your treatment. Your therapist may also be able to design a plan of action with you regarding your career path as well as help sort out your feelings regarding getting married.

Your fiancé sounds like a wonderful young lady. She just graduated with her master’s. She is very supportive of you and she believes in you. Her family is also accepting of you in the marriage and that is a blessing.

Brother, it is understandable that you are scared at this point and not really sure what to do regarding the marriage. I would encourage you to set up a timeline and propose it to your fiancé. Please, assure her that you do want to marry her and that you do love her but you need a little time to set yourself in a direction that would be beneficial for your marriage.

I will kindly suggest insha’Allah, that you share with her your future plans and steps to attain and secure your career and insha’Allah both of your futures. By putting things down on paper and writing steps down as well as time frames, it gives us more structure in our lives. Is very helpful when we have a lot on our minds and we’re not sure which direction to go.

Personally, I have found a “to-do list” very helpful in my weekly planning. Organization of our thoughts and actions, as well as the steps we take to attain goals, is very important.

So in preparation, I will kindly suggest insha’Allah, that you work on defining your goals, define steps needed to obtain your goals, as well as setting up time frames. This applies not only your career choices but your marriage as well. If you can take the steps in a timely manner insha’Allah,

You and your fiancé will see the progress as you proceed. By doing this, you will build up confidence in yourself, your abilities, as well as your future.

I understand that you are scared that you may let her down and that you won’t be a good husband. However, I think as you grow, and develop self-esteem as well as confidence in yourself, these thoughts will lessen. These thoughts are often natural for young men who are contemplating marriage.

It’s natural to be scared. It’s natural to worry about being a good husband. These things and feelings are of the human condition. I do ask insha’Allah, that you take these fears to Allah. Make duaa to Allah to remove these fears from you and grant ease in this process.

Getting Closer to Allah

Brother, we all have things we need to work on with ourselves. Some more than others. However, you are a very bright young man, and you see things from an in-depth perspective. You recognize your limitations (we all have limitations) and insha’Allah you will see all of your good attributes and abilities very soon.

Premarital counseling will be great. Insha’Allah, it will give you more confidence and make you more aware of the skills that you need or already have to make a successful marriage. Insha’Allah, by partaking in premarital counseling it will bring you closer to Allah as well.

Premarital counseling will also help your fiancée insha’Allah learn more of what it will actually take to sacrifice in a marriage. I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah in addition to premarital counseling you fiancée attends a counseling session with you (please do ask your therapist about this). In this way, she can learn more about Bipolar Disorder as well as Asperger’s Syndrome. This is very important so she can gain the education she needs.

Getting Rid of Pornography

Brother, I can understand your fiancée’s concerns regarding your prayers and the pornography issue. You will find many blessings in keeping your five daily prayers. You will find that by reading Quran, it brings you knowledge and peace, and it will insha’Allah bring you closer to Allah. By getting closer to Allah, we tend to want to lose our bad habits and actions such as pornography.

Your addiction to pornography is one that is haram (as you know) as well as destructive to a future sexual relationship. It can be overcome, however, if you really want to stop. It will take great willpower and determination, but I am confident you can do it once you put your heart and mind to the decision. AboutIslam has a great videos concerning tips to stop watching porn.

As a Muslim, I highly recommend that you incorporate your prayers and reading Qur’an into your daily life. You will see many positives changes in the way you feel and the way you think.  From a therapeutic standpoint, there is nothing greater than the love, mercy, and blessings from Allah swt.

Conclusion

Please, evaluate your career interests and direction. Seek out a career specialist if needed. Design a timeline to share with your fiancée. Talk to your therapist if you feel you need a different approach to therapy.  Invite your fiancée to a therapy session to educate her about borderline personality disorder as well as Asperger’s Syndrome.

Address your relationship with Allah by keeping your prayers and reading Qur’an.

Insha’Allah you will find that this is the best prescription for how to live our lives, as it provides perfect direction.

We wish you the best.

***

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.

Read more:

I’m Scared to Get Married!

Ready for Marriage, but Scared to Have Sex

Fear of Marriage: I Am Not Good Enough for Anyone




About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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