Answer from counselor Sakeena AbdulRaheem:
As-Salamu `Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
First, I would like to say that I am sorry to hear that you have had this experience. Matters of the heart and heartbreak can be a rather complicated one with so many factors to consider. There is never a one-size-fits-all when it comes to love, relationships, falling in love, or marriage. You’ve highlighted some key issues that are of concern to you. I will try to address each concern you have mentioned as thoroughly as possible.
You have stated that over the span of four years you have experienced somewhat of an emotional roller coaster of getting engaged and the men or their families for various reasons have broken off the engagement and, thus, leaving you heartbroken.
It seems that your first relationship was the most lengthy, and has made the biggest impact on your view of love and marriage. You mentioned that all of your future hopes and dreams were based on him and everything got destroyed. You were not able to eat or sleep as a result of feeling depressed about the end of this relationship.
My question to you would be: what are your future hopes and dreams? Should your hopes and dreams be based solely on a man, fiancé, or husband? I would encourage you to reflect on what your hopes and dreams are outside of a marriage and a union with the opposite gender.
You stated that everything was destroyed. My second question would be: what was destroyed? Heartbreak after such a long relationship can often leave us as human beings feeling negative because we feel we have invested so much emotionally and the experience can often leave an individual feeling abandoned, rejected, not trusting others, and pessimistic about the hopes of a future relationship.
Hope and faith play an important role in overcoming a broken heart. As in every negative experience or situation Allah tests our faith and devotion to him. The moments that you reflect on this experience and you feel alone, this is a time to turn to Allah in supplication. The language of the Quran is a beautiful one. Its message can teach us many lessons to help us in healing emotionally after surviving adversity or when experiencing grief.
Allah says in the Quran,
“Verily, along with every hardship is relief. Verily, along with every hardship is relief. So when you have finished, devote yourself for Allah’s worship. And to your Lord turn intentions and hopes.” (94:5-8)
The second and third relationships were arranged by your parents. This is very different from your first serious relationship. In your first engagement the relationship ended because the parents of your former fiancé ended the engagement due to some reasons. Allah knows best what those reasons were for the relationship ending.
In your second engagement your former fiancé stated that he felt that the two of you were not compatible, and he had not developed an attachment to you because you could not speak to each other before marriage.
Although being alone with your potential spouse before marriage is discouraged, it is important for the potential husband and wife to be provided with sufficient opportunities to meet, communicate, and make their decisions. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ‘go and look at her because this will help your time together to be strengthened.’ (Ahmad). It is so important for an individual to have sufficient time to get to know the person they are considering for marriage.
In your most recent relationship you mentioned that the man approached you and you fell in love. However, he never proposed and you discovered later that he got engaged to someone else and once again you felt heart broken.
As human beings we often develop habits and patterns of behavior which produces an anticipated result. Take this time you have to reflect on all of these relationships especially your most recent one. Examine what was said by the men in each relationship and compare what they said to what they did and reflect on whether their statements and promises if any that they have made to you have matched their action.
After examining and reflecting on your experiences, I would encourage you to develop a list of qualities you would like in a husband, and reflect on the qualities such as loyalty, humility, faith, spirituality, belief, etc, which make up the qualities of a committed partner and husband.
Compare this list to list of qualities of men you have been engaged to. If the lists do not match, consider discussing these qualities you seek with your parents so after sometime when your heart has healed you will know what qualities you are looking for that will in sha’Allah guide you to someone who will help you in completing your faith and someone that will be compatible to you and who you are in terms of values and personality.
Until you find your match I would strongly encourage you to explore who you are as a person in terms of values, culture, personality, and belief.Continue to enjoy things in life that you feel passionate about outside the guise of marriage. Seek interests and healthy outlets that are therapeutic and are an outlet to expressing your loss such as art, exercise, friends and family, spirituality, worship, reading the Quran, etc. If you do not know what that is take the time to explore what that is and in sha’Allah this passion will only augment your experience of finding your life long partner and Allah knows best.
Answer from Dr. `Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah:
As-Salamu `Alaikum Sarah,
Well, that’s quite a roller coaster you’ve been on I’d say. I can easily understand why your heart must be, well, tired to say the least.
However things may appear to be to you, I actually see many positives from what you told me. Clearly, you are a woman that is in-high-demand-for one, as men seem to fall in love with you quite easily.
Number two is that you have not married, and then had to deal with the pain and difficulty of a sour marriage and divorce, alhamdulillah for that!
Thirdly, you are going about things – it appears – in a proper manner and it just so happens that the right one hasn’t materialized yet. Now, of course, it’s easy for me to sit here and say that as I’m not the one whose heart is being broken, but I think it’s true.
Just because you have been ‘close’ on several occasions doesn’t mean that things haven’t worked out ‘the way they were supposed to’. Allah has chosen your spouse, and in time, in sha` Allah, he will manifest. Now is a time for you to really try and understand trust in Allah. Everything happens for a very good reason. It just hasn’t been your time yet.
Also, it is important to be clear with your family what kinds of things you hope to find in a spouse, namely, good character and religion first and foremost. Make sure that those who are responsible for matching you with other spouses are on the same page with you so that you are meeting men that are truly compatible with you.
There is no limit to love, so don’t dwell on what you feel you have ‘lost’ but focus on what is still to come, in sha` Allah!
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