In this counseling answer:
• You are absolutely correct that the best thing to do right now is to make istikhara.
• Make sure to seek repentance on your part also if it is that you were in contact with this woman in a haram way, without her mahram present.
• During this time, there are also some things that you can consider. Take some time to weigh up the pros and cons of marrying her, or marrying someone else.
Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh brother,
Selecting a spouse is certainly an important decision. It is perfectly normal to feel so anxious about whether to go ahead with this or not. You have been in touch for some time now on and off and feel you are now in a position to marry her. Unfortunately, however, it seems that in this waiting time she has been chatting with someone else, but she has apologized and still wishes to go ahead with the proposal, but you are confused due to her behavior.
You are absolutely correct that the best thing to do right now is to make istikhara. This will ensure that Allah will guide you to make the best decision – a decision that He will be pleased with and you will be content with too.
During this period of making istikhara, it is recommended that you maintain your acts of worship and keep close to Allah. Also, make sure to seek refuge from Shaytan so that you don’t become misguided by any signs that you feel might come your way as a result of the istikhara.
Keep in mind that the contact you have had with this woman up until now will have inevitably caused you to develop some kind of emotions for her. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of how these feelings may affect the way you interpret the outcome. It is, therefore, also recommended that during this time you cease contact with her so that you are not influenced by such feelings.
Also, make sure to seek repentance on your part also if it is that you were in contact with this woman in a haram way, without her mahram present.
During this time, there are also some things that you can consider. Take some time to weigh up the pros and cons of marrying her, or marrying someone else. Think about the potential consequences of all these different options.
On the one hand, this woman has shown a clear commitment to you and been honest and is prepared to change for the better. However, at the same time, she has betrayed you to some extent. But, given that you were not married, she has never committed to you anyway so had every right to look elsewhere for a spouse. It looks like she sought a relationship in a haram way again, which could be a reflection of bad character.
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The other options involve stepping away from this and finding someone else. This way, you can start afresh with someone new and make sure to find someone with good character. But this also involves almost going back to the start and getting to know someone else which takes time. If you are keen to get married quickly, then this might now be an option.
Most importantly, which of these options will be most pleasing to Allah?
These are all important things to take into consideration before making a decision. It is important to take time with this. You could even write these things down and continue to come back to them time and time again. It might be that you think of other things to add over time.
You are not yet committed to this woman, so there is also no harm in arranging a meeting with other ladies also to see who else is available to you. It might be that you find someone who is more suited to you.
All this while, continue with istikhara and Allah will guide your decisions along the way. Eventually, you will be in a strong position to make a good decision.
May Allah guide you and grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next.
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.