We ended our relationship because it became toxic, but we stayed friends. He had asked me to marry him and that he would change but I refused to believe it. I continued strong with my faith, practicing and studying privately.
Years later I married a non-Muslim. A week later my ex decided to marry a girl who then reverted to Islam. While they were married he tried to approach me but I set a boundary. Even though I felt like he was my soulmate.
Fast track 8 years later, my current relationship has been hurt by an episode of infidelity. In addition to that my mother in law has also moved in with us. From the outside we are a picture perfect family.
Only I have suffered in silence. We barely have intimacy. I can't get over the fact that he once cheated on me and left me whilst I was pregnant with our second child for a eight month separation.
I forgave him but our relationship is strained. I came in contact with my ex, who is now divorced, and realized I really miss him. However I cutoff communication with my ex because I don't know his motives. Now I'm having stress and anxiety, what should I do?
In this counseling answer:
Sister, I kindly suggest that you familiarize yourself with stress reduction techniques.
Start doing a lot of self-care practicessuch as eating healthy foods, drinking a lot of water andexercising
Try and fix your relationship with your husband.
Do not maintain any contact with your ex.
Strengthen your relationship with Allah.
As salamu alaykum dear sister,
Thank you for writing to us with your concerns. As I understand your situation, you are a Muslim who reverted 13 years ago while studying abroad.
You met a man who was very nice but he was also a bit rebellious. You did fall in love with him but ended your relationship because it became toxic.
Many years later, you are married, your husband has cheated on you. You feel disconnected from him, hurt, betrayed, and unloved.
Your husband refuses to heal the marriage and feels everything is alright. It has affected your mental, physical and spiritual health.
Thinking About an X
Despite breaking up with your x you are still friends with him.
At the time, he did ask you to marry him but you refused. Thinking that he had changed and had started to practice Islam.
As time went by you continued to strengthen your faith and practiced studying Islam. Years later you married a non-Muslim man.
Your x married a girl who reverted to Islam but they later divorced. While both of you were married to different people, he did try to reach out to you as friends.
However you set boundaries and focused on your relationship. Even though you thought that you were both soulmates.
It is now eight years later and your current relationship with your husband has been destroyed. Due to an episode of infidelity on his part.
Additionally, your mother-in-law moved in with you and that is also causing friction even though you love her.
You have a very busy lifestyle. Running a full-time business together with your husband and homeschooling your children.
While you have tried to maintain a relationship with your husband, you are suffering from stress and anxiety. Since a previous strain remains between the two of you.
You state that you live your life feeling as if you’re living in a dream.
You have questions regarding your relationship with your husband.
You state that you have forgiven him for cheating, but it has devastated you because he cheated on you when you were pregnant. You tried to get over it but you cannot.
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In addition to your husband’s infidelity, he is not affectionate towards you.
He doesn’t seem to understand the things that you are passionate about. He doesn’t care about the things that interests you.
Intimacy is rare, and you feel as if possibly- he just does not care.
These are important considerations sister. Actually what is more important is that it has affected your ability to practice Islam.
Marriage, Stress & Spirituality
You stated that you stopped praying at one point and you have slowly drifted away from Islam.
You did start practicing again after you had a scary health event related to stress.
Sister, I wish to point out, that letting your stress levels get to the point where it affects your health is not good.
It sounds like you are under an immense amount of pressure and it needs to be dealt with.
I kindly suggest that you familiarize yourself with stress reduction techniques.
Such as mindful breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualizations.
I also encourage you at this point to start doing a lot of self-care. Such as eating healthy foods, drinking a lot of water, exercising, and trying to have a balance in life.
This would include setting a time for socializing with friends. Studying things that interest you. Also studying Islam to gain further knowledge and draw closer to Allah.
Please do make duaa to Allah to guide you and bless you in this endeavor.
Trying to Make it Work with Husband
Sister, it appears that you are really trying to make it work with your husband. For some reason it is not syncing.
The fact that he cheated on you, is emotionally distant from you, and refuses to try bond closer to you is hurtful. It is not conducive for repairing a marriage.
Possibly it is the fact that you are Muslim and he is not. Thus he is not there for you spiritually. He cannot provide you with Islamic guidance, nor encourage you with your prayers and learning.
This is basically a choice of his not to support you. Because there are some men who are not Muslim but who do encourage wives and friends to follow the path that they are on wholeheartedly.
They learn about their spouse/friend’s faith and are supportive. Your husband has a different perspective.
Even in marriages where both spouses are Muslim, one may stray from Islam. Thus, it will have the same outcome as yours.
To complicate matters more, your ex has reappeared on the scene. In the form of one who is a savior, so to speak.
Through conversations, your ex has provided you with the comfort you have longed for. This is a dangerous situation.
First of all, you are married, unhappy, and in a vulnerable position. You are vulnerable because you feel disconnected. You’re longing to feel validated.
Longing to improve your Islamic lifestyle. Now here is someone who is willing and happily able to help you.
In fact, he has been assisting you on many levels. He has given you hope, inspired you Islamically, as well as confirmed your value as a woman and a human being.
Inspiration from Outside the Marriage
The problem is that you are married. You are not sure if he is genuine. Or taking advantage of the situation you are in.
It does appear to you that he has changed and is very much on the path of Islam. As he is giving you tips, encouragement, and what seems to be right advice concerning your marriage and your deen.
However, you are still married. It may be that your ex is sincere. It may be that he has changed and he has matured and is truly following Islam.
Everybody goes through changes and in Islam we are always striving to better ourselves.
He should know it is Haram for him to be talking to you as you are a married woman.
On the other hand, he is a human being. Since he was in love with you perhaps he is hoping that it will materialize into a halal situation. Such as you divorcing your husband and marrying him.
If so, he is going about it in a haram way. Possibly this is why he offered to talk to your husband. Who knows what he wishes to talk to your husband about.
Is he going to talk to your husband about how to be more supportive of you? How to be supportive in your Islamic faith? Is he going to talk to your husband about divorcing you?
Since you knew all of this was haram you did withdraw from him.
Cutting Off X
You were the one that has cut him off from further communication. Since you know it is Haram to talk to another man because you were married.
On the other hand, you still feel conflicted. You don’t know if he’s truly sincere or if he’s just taking advantage of a situation.
As you stated he has the power to make you feel like a queen, to increase your Iman, as well as make you feel good about yourself.
I realize with all these positive feelings it was hard to cut him off sister, but you did the best thing, may Allah reward you.
One Thing at a Time
Sister I would highly suggest that you sort one thing out at a time. The first thing you should do is try and repair the relationship with your husband.
Many scholars say that a Muslim woman must divorce her husband if he is a non Muslim. However, divorce often leaves many Muslim women single, alone, and destitute financially.
Being destitute and alone how will you support yourself? Also your children may have an affect on your spirituality due to it.
In the time of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it is for this reason (one of them) that men were allowed to marry more than one women. That way women would not be left alone, destitute, and vulnerable.
I am not implying this will happen to you. It is simply a concern especially if you do not have a separate career, family, or other supports in place.
You should resolve the issues with your husband. Perhaps through marriage counseling, you may find a happy marital life once again.
Benefits and Risks
Insha’Allah, you will weigh the benefits and risks of the situation. Choose an option which is best for you. Helps your children, and your Islamic practice.
As your husband is not abusive and is not harming you, I do not recommend striving for a divorce right away.
Insha’Allah, talk to your husband and discuss with him how you feel. what your needs are, and how you hope to continue to progress in Islam.
Also discuss with him how he can be a supportive husband.
At this point if your husband still refuses to be supportive, then you may need to make a decision regarding divorce.
Refusal to Heal Marriage and be Supportive
If your husband does not want to be supportive of you in an Islamic way even though he’s not Muslim, you must then think of your Islamic goals and your relationship with Allah.
As you seek to grow in Islam and if your Husband isn’t supportive it will make things more difficult as you may become more depressed.
You will be stressed out as well and be tempted to seek one who fulfills your needs.
In this case, possibly a divorce may be the best option.
Allah hates divorce but Allah knows best. Please do make duaa to Allah for guidance in this matter.
Should you decide to divorce your husband I would kindly suggest that you look at the options you have. For instance where you will live. What work will you do? And how will you support yourself?
I am not sure where your family lives, but perhaps you can reach out to them and they could be of assistance.
Another option would be to reach out to the sisters at the Masjid. Ask those that you trust and are closest to, for suggestions they may have in the community.
As an ummah we are to support and help one another in situations such as this. You may wish to speak with the Imam at the Masjid about your situation as well.
There is no need to tell him about your ex. Talk to him about your marriage with your husband and what is going on. As this is the first issue to be resolved.
Sister, should you divorce I would kindly suggest that you take some time to heal from the relationship.
Get settled in your new life, strengthen your relationship with Allah, and ensure that your Islam is on point and strong.
You may wish to get counseling to deal with this, and the stress you have been under.
Do Not Contact x
I would not advise you to contact your ex. Nor even attempt to rekindle any relationship with him at this point.
You have to focus on yourself, your new life, and your children first.
If in the future you do feel the need to find out if your ex is genuine, you may wish to have a wali speak to him on your behalf.
This would be most advisable rather than you contacting him yourself.
A wali can usually find out if a person is sincere in their intentions. And if they are serious about Islam and are applying Islamic values in their life.
In this way, it would be an added protection for you, when you want to make a decision in regards to marriage.
Sister please do seek out counseling on a regular basis at this point. Counselors can be a wonderful support when you’re going through tough times.
You can also discuss with a counselor ways to reduce stress, increase your health, lower risks for depression, anxiety and other problems that may arise.
A counselor can also help you through the process of trying to work things out with your husband.
If needed you will be seeking a divorce. You will need a lot of emotional support during these times.
Please do talk to your husband about saving your marriage. Which would entail him being more affectionate, supportive, and generally concerned about things that are important to you, including Islam.
If he refuses, you’ll have to make the decision to stay or to proceed with a divorce.
Whichever you decide sister please do hang on to the Rope of Allah. Please do not insha’Allah lose your faith again nor stop your prayers. Our prayers are our lifeline to Allah and they are our blessings.
Whatever decision you make, know that it may not be easy. But with Allah all things are possible.
Remember that Allah loves you sister, and will bless your steps taken in a righteous manner for His sake. 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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.