Wa ‘Alaykum As-Salam,
Dear sister, I do understand your broken heart. Now, you have learned, as the majority of young people, the prohibitions on certain behaviors are not for the purpose of restricting people or to limit pleasures of human beings. Rather, the Prophets all through the years of humanity have only wanted to educate us about the natural laws of the universe, as the more we know and understand, the better we can avoid painful events in our lives – such as a breakup.
With that said, know that all is not lost. Your heart can and will be restored to you. You will also recover from the feelings of being wrong over time. You have a lot of love inside you, and we will take some time to explore exactly what that love is. As you discover what love really is, you will find that you have an abundance to give to a very good man who is ready, willing, and able to love you. It may feel as if you “spent” your emotions and feelings on someone, but in reality, you have exhausted yourself by getting caught in a cycle of obsession that triggers intense emotions and feelings. We do not give our emotions or feelings away – love itself is of endless supply.
So, we must take things step by step to end the cycle of obsessive thinking that causes your emotions and feelings to be triggered so intensely. This sounds simple, but in reality, it will take a lot of self-reflection.
Step 1: Letting go of resentment.
This is easier said than done. We, humans, are put together in such a way that simply analyzing and rationalizing doesn’t bring us to a place where we can let go of our anger and resentment. We may be angry with a person, knowing full well that s/he does not deserve our anger, but the anger is still there! Why? Because we feel what we feel; therefore, the first step is to acknowledge your feelings, put words to them, and process them.
In reality, this boy made a mistake, and you made a mistake. You were likely both very confused. You both likely suffered the fact that you did not realize how your behaviors might cause heartache. Remember, even if your ex-boyfriend was not hurt over the separation as you were, he was likely feeling hurt that he hurt you. Thus, no matter how you look at things, you were both hurt as a result of both of your decisions and actions.
Still, this understanding does not always clear away all of the feelings. You may have been frustrated with him, he may not have always been honest; you may feel you were betrayed, used, or deceived, etc. Write these out. Write in a journal, “letters to Him”, but don’t ever send them. This is a healthy way to process your emotions and feelings and get them out of you so that they can become less intense, and over time they will dissipate.
After you process your feelings of anger, you will likely realize that you are really feeling grief. You are actually feeling a loss of both the relationship you had and the hopes and dreams of your future that are not going to pass. Journal this grief. Write “Letters to Allah”. Allah knows that you love Him. He is the source of all being. Allah already knows your heart, so a little why this and not that, for a moment, is ok.
For example, “I wanted this situation (marriage to this man), and I ended up being 23 years old and feeling lonely. That hurts!” By journaling or talking this out with a friend who understands you are just processing, and who won’t try to fix anything, you can allow your grief process to move forward. Try to discipline yourself so that you are only doing this a couple hours per week. By doing this consciously, you will move through it quicker, and it won’t be long before you will be surprised to see how your feelings have changed.
Step 2: Take responsibility for your situation.
This is not the same thing as blaming yourself or making you feel bad. This means that you take note of the thoughts and feelings you had and your behaviors and learn from your mistakes. You can have an open heart and be ready to give your love to a husband easily once you understand how to protect yourself properly so that you do not become entangled in a situation that will not work. Guilt for a mistake is a wake-up call. Once it served its purpose and you are awake, it is time to let it go and move toward new behaviors that will ensure you do not make that mistake again. In the old days, we called that repentance. We have slang in the west now, and we sometimes call it “changing it up”. So, bottom line, change your behaviors with a positive attitude and position yourself so that you can meet an available man who has the same values as you do and is also compatible for marriage.
Step 3: Shift your focus.
Get involved in positive activities. Spend this next year reflecting on your goals and values. Clarify your life goals: what do you want to be doing in 20 years from now? What are the steps you need to take to get there? Clarify your values: What you feel strongly about? World peace? Saving the planet earth and its resources? Preserving family values? Surely there is something that is dear to your heart. What do you feel is most important about marriage and family? Do you put Allah first in your life? How do you do that? The idea is to spend the next year focusing on personal development and growth, clarifying your life goals and values, and discovering who you are as a woman while getting involved in activities that support who you are and what you believe in.
Step 4: Decide Who To Marry.
That sounds a little premature, but do take some time exploring the qualities that you want to see in a man before you accept any kind of marriage proposal. One quality would be his ability to marry you. Rather than judging a man who honors the wishes of his family, position yourself to marry someone who is eligible for marriage with you. In this changing world, you will find some families are more traditional than others. Only consider men who are willing and able to marry you. In addition, have a look at this Pre-Marriage Checklist. In sha’ Allah, you will find it helpful.
With that said, willingness and ability are certainly not enough. You will want to know his character, life goals, and values, and whether they match yours. Naturally, in a marriage, a couple will often negotiate life goals since in most cases marriage means that both lives are coming together. But you get the idea. You need to know if you will be compatible.
Maybe, a way to sum up why we are told to follow the laws of purity and to remain chaste is so that we can position ourselves to be very picky about whom we chose as a mate. When we don’t do this, we either end up with a broken heart, or we are at risk of a very scary marriage to a man who does not love us and who might abuse us. You owe it to yourself to know what you are getting into in order to not give yourself away to anyone who is not completely committed to you on all levels, and who is willing, able, and wants to care about your well-being.
Step 5: Love again.
Yes, you can love again. But this time, learn what love really is. That feeling you have completely merged with another person – that is hormones. Love comes from Allah. Love is a connection. Most human beings do not understand this, but a person cannot love unless they are connected to Allah. Why? Because Allah is the Source and Creator of all being; thus, the Source of our own being. That is in and of itself love. This may be hard to comprehend, but over the years, you will come to understand this intuitively.
When you focus on your relationship with Allah, you become more connected to your own authentic self – the soul that Allah created before it became contaminated with the interference of this world. This pure soul is full of the love of Allah because, in purity, we are connected to our Source of Being, to Allah, our Creator. This is why I suggested getting to know who you are in this world in the previous steps.
Here, I am suggesting that you get to know who you are beyond this world – in spirit. This is a life-long process. The more you do it, the more love you find inside you. As you fill up with love, you will find it must pour out. It will pour out in the proper form depending on the relationship. For example, you may find yourself in a position to help your parents. Your love of family will compel you to take action. That is love. But when your connection to Allah and yourself is clear and deep, you will feel this love for your parents on a deep level also, and you will understand how you are connected. The actions that you take from this “space” within yourself will be a more genuine act of love. This is true for love of humanity, love of a principle, etc.
We often don’t fall in love; we fall into sex because of hormones, and that gets us in trouble because it confuses our emotions and spirit. Love is something that is within us which must be cultivated and developed inside us. When we do this, by connecting to Allah, we then have love to give in all of its proper forms.
When we come from a place of insecurity and feel good because someone comes along and makes us feel better about ourselves, we don’t really love the person who is making us feel good. In reality, we are using that person, and we will eventually be disappointed because one day that person won’t have enough to make you feel good about yourself. But when you feel good about yourself because you know yourself and you are filled with the Love of Allah by being connected with Him, you will be able to receive genuine love from a husband whose natural desire is to fulfill you, and because of your fulfillment, you will naturally have love to give.
This kind of love is a natural connection of man and woman to the point where both know the other as him or herself. This is made possible because in such a connection both are also connected to Allah who is the source of all Love. This love grows over time, but couples who have found it will tell you that it has a different feel from pure hormonal, physical “love” or dependency. This emotionally/psychologically needy love is intense and deep because of the authentic connection. It is impossible to experience this kind of love outside of marriage.
This is why it is best to save yourself for marriage while focusing on your personal and spiritual growth for awhile. Rest assured, if you give yourself the time to grow and mature, and you do your spiritual homework, you will have a new heart, and you will be a strong soul with much love to give to a good husband.
I pray that this has been helpful to you. Take things one day at a time.
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