Together But Still Lonely

28 March, 2017
Q AsSalaamu'Alaikum sister, my husband and I have been married for almost 30years. We've been having problems for the past 15years or so. Back in Ramadhan 2014, he divorced me and took me back after before my 'iddah period was over. I thought maybe he'd like to work things out but nothing has changed. We fight all the time. We hardly communicate without getting into a fight and we haven't had intercourse for more than 2 years. When I brought it up, he said he can't make love with me because he doesn't have feelings for me anymore. Any time we fight he says we need to end this marriage. He abuses me mentally and emotionally with hurtful words and he belittles me. I feel lonely, and I feel there is no marriage only on paper. I'm confused and don't know what to do. I'm still staying in this marriage for the sake of my 2 younger children ages 12 & 14. But, I feel bad because they're not seeing a good example of a loving marriage. Please advise what would be the best thing for me to do and what is the ruling in Islam when my husband neglects my sexual needs for more than 2 years. Are we still consider married? Jazzakallaah Khair.



Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

My dear sister in Islam, may Allah (swt) reward you for staying in this marriage for the sake of your children! May Allah (swt) reward you for all you have suffered for their sake and the sake of Allah (swt).

I am of the opinion that it would be better for your children if you got a divorce – of course, after you have tried everything, such as marriage counseling, and you still feel this marriage cannot be repaired. But do not stay in an unhealthy and abusive marriage.

I had a client once who did not divorce for the sake of the children and the children told me: “What good did it do for us to see them fighting all the time and our mother crying and screaming at him all the time; how was that good for us?”

The other reason I think you should get a divorce is because he abuses you verbally and emotionally. Metaphysical harm often does greater harm than physical harm does, and when they are combined, that is the greatest harm.

You also have the right to a sexual life; it is part of what marriage is for. You can have a friendship with your female and male family members and your female friends; you don’t need a husband for that. What you need a husband for is real intimacy—the deep and personal part of your being. We don’t even share that with our own mothers!

Yes, you are still married! But please double check this issue with the scholars of our website. From my understanding, you are still married even if you are not having sexual relations.

My dear sister in Islam, you have to right to be respected, loved, and cherished. This is why Allah (swt) created the institution of marriage. But from what you have told us, it seems your husband does none of that.

Your children need their mother to be there for them. If you are suffering, you cannot devote to them the kind of attention they need.

It is also important for you to consider that many times children from unhappy marriages have unhappy marriages themselves. This is a strange phenomenon but it comes from your role modeling. When children are surrounded by fighting all the time, that is what they learn—as much as they may hate it, it still “imprints” on them. As they don’t have another example to learn from, they repeat it. They may have heard of another way or seen it on TV or in their friends’ homes, but they learn from their experience of life, not from a book or TV or from seeing someone else doing it.

If you were out from under his abuse, you could flourish and grow. People don’t grow from hatred; they grow from love. So, get away from his poisonous words and attitude towards you and begin to see the light of life and enjoy the exploration and discovery that life has to offer, In Sha’ Allah.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you, In Sha’ Allah!


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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley
and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology
(Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research.
For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.

For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in
interpersonal relations.
Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.