In this counseling answer:
If you choose to divorce, that is your decision to make, but such a decision must be for yourself, not for another man.
Improve your communication skills. Use I statements. Practice active listening. Be concise and to the point. When he is fire, be water.
Consider professional counseling.
If you two decide to work on your marriage, make a commitment to do a date night once a week.
Do things that make you happy.
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatu,
Thank you for writing in and sharing your concerns with us. It is my understanding you married a man you did not know and have found him to be incompatible with you. You two fight a lot and you report he has anger problems, controlling tendencies and demonstrates these in public. Additionally, you have feelings for another man that you knew previously.
To begin, whether or not you stay in this marriage is your decision, but one thing needs to be made clear. You should not be communicating with this other man you speak of while you are married. As you have feelings for him and he expressed the same for you, it is a betrayal of your marriage to be communicating with him while you are still with your husband. This will only make things harder on you and cloud your decision making.
Any choices you make with your husband should be made due to your marriage. If you choose to divorce, that is your decision to make, but such a decision must be for yourself, not for another man.
There’s a common expression in America: the grass is always greener on the other side. It means that for some people, the other side of the fence always looks better, but when they get over there, they realize the side they came from was better.
If You Stay
Sister, if you are open to the idea of reconciling your marriage or at least trying, you two can work on some marriage skills. As your family/friend brought you together, they may have seen the potential for chemistry that you haven’t found yet. Working on communication and intimacy can improve your bond and help him with his temper.
Utilize the following communication skills:
- I-statements: Instead of pointing the blame with statements like “you embarrass me in public when you get angry” use “I feel embarrassed when we discuss private topics in public and it upsets both of us”. This avoids pointing the blame but still expresses the same sentiment. It is easier for someone to hear and respond to.
- Practice active listening: Don’t listen with the intent to respond and get your point across, listen with the intent to understand his feelings and respond in a way that shows him you understand. Occasionally repeat back what he says to validate his emotions
- Be concise and to the point: You obviously need something more to be happier, let him know what you want. Don’t try to hint at it, tell him.
- When he is fire, be water: This does not mean allow him to be mean to you or vent his anger on you. It means when he is angry, don’t argue with him or add more fuel to his emotional fire. Rather, lower your voice, be calm and do your best to soothe him. This will work better to de-escalate the tension and he will see that good example to use with you.
You can also consider professional counseling to help him with his temper and help both of you communicate in a healthy way. This can be done in person or online, whichever feels the most comfortable for both of you.
Check out this counseling video:
In addition to healthy communication, a happy marriage needs intimacy. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical intimacy; it can mean going for dates together or having sweet moments. Think about places both of you enjoy or went to when you first married and make a day out of it.
Give him a real chance. As you stated you believe he does love you and you do care about him, it is possible this bond could grow in shaa’ Allah.
If you two decide to work on your marriage, make a commitment to do a date night once a week. As you don’t have children, you have the time to do this.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy…” [Quran 30:21]
If You Leave
If you decide to divorce, then you need time to heal. Don’t leave him then run to the older man without giving yourself space to heal and grow. Identify 3 positive coping skills to help you work through the emotional difficulties of a divorce. Examples of coping skills include running, painting, journaling, praying, or reading.
The idea is to find something which helps you vent, focus on something positive that makes you feel good. Another man should not be your coping skill, or else you are setting yourself up to be hurt because your emotional stability will be dependent on someone else instead of yourself.
My dear sister, you have not been married for a full year yet. Please understand that the first couple of years can be the hardest as both people have to adjust to the other and compromise. No matter how much two people love each other, when they first begin living together it will require compromise and they will not always agree. Even the happiest marriages have hardships, but they endure them together.
If you are open to giving the marriage a chance, work on communication and building your bond while cutting all contact with this other man. If you are not open to working on your marriage and want to divorce, give yourself enough time to heal before jumping into another marriage.
May Allah (most honored, most revered) guide your heart to the best decision and grant you happiness,
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.