I've been struggling to get married for the past 9 years. In my 20’s, I met a few potential husbands, but it never worked out with any of them for different reasons.
When I hit my 30’s, I met someone and got engaged. He didn't have much to offer, but I was just glad that we got along so I was happy to move forward.
However, I then didn't hear from him for a month and that was it, without arguments or disagreements. He just ended it and I don’t know why because I never heard from him.
I then stopped trying to get to know anyone as I had had enough and wanted to concentrate on myself. Alhamdulillah, I was happy during this time as there was no heartache. When I turned 33, however, I decided to try again because I really wanted to have children and build a family.
I got to know someone that was everything I wanted, but I couldn't connect with him because of the walls I had built around me. We got on well, but because of my inability to connect he ended things. It devastated me because I had tried so hard.
I don't want to get too attached to anyone and this is what put him off. It’s become so hard for me to connect with men now.
I don't know how to. I know there is something wrong with me due to all of my experiences with men in the past. How do I overcome this? I know men are generally attracted to me, so I know it’s not an issue with my looks, alhamdulillah.
Please advise me on what to do. Thank you.
In this counseling answer:
• My first step would be to advise you to be a bit more vulnerable. If you truly are struggling with opening up and you believe that it’s because of previous experiences, it wouldn’t hurt for you to let him know that.
• If you feel the door is truly closed with this man, then take note of what you can learn from this experience for the future.
• The right person will make you feel at ease in their presence, so that even if you must admit you fear opening up a bit, your desire to do so will be strong.
• Maintain the Islamic boundaries as you get to know your suitors, and make sure your family is involved in the process.
Assalamu alaikum dear sister,
May Allah reward you for all the good deeds and acts of worship you strive to do for His sake. You are in a very blessed state right now, ma shaa’ Allah. Despite the hurt, disappointment, and frustration you’ve felt over the years, you’ve turned to Allah SWT and stayed strong in your faith.
It can be a very disappointing, confusing, and painful experience to have a man suddenly ghost you. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of this happening far too many times.
Especially living in a digital age, people find it easier to disappear, stop texting or replying to messages, and move on without any common decency.
A true gentleman would have the heart to let you know he had changed his mind so that you would know you were free to move on. It sounds like you’ve met many Muslim males, but few solid men.
I pray you can find strength and support in the following hadith:
“The reality of faith is knowing that what has passed you by was not going to befall you; and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by.” (Tabarani)
When Vulnerability Counts
I’m wondering about the last person you spoke to. It sounds like you got along well, but he noticed you weren’t showing emotional availability and broke things off. While I could understand his reaction if you come across as a cold and stiff person, it sounds like this wasn’t the case based on your description of how you two interacted.
Was he looking for you to open up emotionally at a level that may have come naturally after marriage? Did you literally reject compliments and act like he never even spoke? My hunch is that there were some unrealistic expectations on his end as well as some reservations on yours.
A person cannot push someone else to be emotionally connected and open. It takes some time for anyone to soften and open up beyond the more modest or professional meetings singles often experience. Naturally, people do tend to remain a bit reserved when they’re not yet being married nor even engaged.
If he had noted that you seemed a bit clammed up, it sounds like he was trying to make sure you actually liked him. He was looking for signs that you really were into him and that he had a solid future with you where he would be both liked and loved.
I can understand that if you gave him no hint there was a genuine connection or that you truly liked him, he would likely end the courtship and move on.
What could you have done differently? Or, if it’s not too late, what can you do now to gain a second chance? My first step would be to advise you to be a bit more vulnerable.
If you truly are struggling with opening up and you believe that it’s because of previous experiences, it wouldn’t hurt for you to let him know that. You could let him know that you’ve really enjoyed getting to know him and feel you both get along well. Open up about what has caused you to be more guarded.
It takes trust for anyone to open up and let their guard down. By opening up a bit, you’re inviting someone to get to know who you truly are and explain why you may not seem receptive. This sends the message that you are an emotionally available person, but that you need some time, trust, and marital ritual to feel at ease.
Speaking Down the Road
If you feel the door is truly closed with this man, then take note of what you can learn from this experience for the future.
Check out this counseling video:
If you look back on the time period you spoke and got to know each other, perhaps you can pinpoint that moment where you wanted to open up but didn’t. Where you had something kind to share but didn’t. Where he offered a compliment, but you didn’t receive it.
Ultimately, it’s learning about how to carry yourself in a way that you can connect with people, without giving all your self-esteem to that person to control. If things work out, alhamdulliah. If they don’t work out, it may be disappointing but don’t let it knock you off your feet. You still know your value and worth as a woman.
In matters of the heart and when building any relationship, there is always a risk of getting hurt. This is true while getting to know someone for marriage, making a new friend, or while being married. Perhaps accepting this, in general, will help you stop living in fear and instead prepare how you want to connect with people.
Don’t Compromise Yourself
The final thing I’d like to offer you is a reminder not to compromise yourself. In the past, you stood strong and stuck to your Islamic values, ma shaa’ Allah. As time is ticking by, you may begin to feel even more pressure to accept someone who proposes to you and ignore red flags or things that you don’t really like, simply because you want to avoid another heartache.
I’ve seen many women go down this road out of desperation, and the result has led them to a truly miserable and mismatched marriage. They are married, but they are depressed on a daily basis. Looking back, they realize they ignored specific red flags or things they didn’t like in order to get married.
Stay strong. Be patient, and trust in Allah SWT.
The right person will make you feel at ease in their presence, so that even if you must admit you fear opening up a bit, your desire to do so will be strong.
In other words, past or no past, things will work out if you are focused on not letting fear control how you present yourself in front of others. Vulnerability, even just with yourself and Allah, will help you let your guard down a bit.
Just maintain the Islamic boundaries as you get to know them, and make sure your family is involved in the process so that when you do finally trust someone, it’s with the blessings of Allah.
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