As salamu alaykum dear sister,
Shokran for writing to our Live Session. As I understand your situation you are considering whether or not you should return to your husband who lives in a Middle Eastern country, without your children.
Children or New Husband?
Sister you are not in an easy position. I can imagine you feel very torn. On one hand, these are your children. On the other, I am sure you are happy to have met someone whom you feel compatible with after nine years. I can imagine that the joy and comfort he brings you is a wonderful feeling.
Children Do Not Like New Husband
As your children are 14 and 12, they are preteen and teen. You are contemplating leaving them with their father’s side of the family as they refused to return to the Middle East. You stated that they are having a hard time sharing you with your husband, as well as they do not like the Middle East. Additionally, they do not like him.
Adjustments and Kindness
Sister, at this age is very difficult for children to just simply get up and leave and start a whole new life in another area. It is hard enough when one has to do this simply moving from city to city or state to state however, you are taking them to a different country where they know no one, have no friends, and they must readjust to a whole new lifestyle and culture. While this is not impossible and many children do succeed at doing this, it is challenging. It may be especially difficult as they do not like your new husband. I can imagine that this hurts you and is disappointing. Sister, I am wondering did the children get a chance to get to know your new husband, to spend quality time with him and you? Did your husband make efforts to be kind to them? Did he try to get to know them-their interests, feelings and so forth? Often times when children do not like a parents’ new spouse it can be out of jealousy or perhaps, they did not get a chance to know him very well. I can imagine sister that the children are upset and also feel torn. They have been with you all of their lives and now suddenly there is a new husband, a new way of family life, and a new country to adapt to as well. Sister they may feel scared about a lot of these changes and it is coming out as seemingly rebellious. The time period leading up to your marriage and after is one in which special consideration and kindness must be shown to your children by both you and your new husband. It is not an easy transition for children at this age.
Talking with your Children
Perhaps inshallah you could sit with your children and talk to them about how they feel. Don’t try to convince them to like your new husband or to want to move but find out what they are feeling-separate from your wishes and needs. Perhaps they have some valid points which you may wish to address. By talking with them based on your love, care, and concern for how they truly feel, you may gain insight and a new perspective regarding their feelings. Conversations such as these should be had insha’Allah, so there is no misunderstandings or confusion. I would kindly suggest insha’Allah that you discuss with your children how much you do love them, and that you do want them to be happy. Indicate that your happiness is important too, and that as a family you need to count on their maturity as young teens. Assure them that your love for your new husband in no way diminishes your love for them. You may wish to explain how it is a different kind of love, based on Islamic principles of finding a mate and getting married.
Refusal to Move
It appears that your children are dead set against moving. It would be best not to force them, but to assure them of your love and work out an arrangement which will be beneficial to your children and you.
You may want to consider a joint custody situation wherein your children stay with their father’s family for part of the time, and then with you and your husband during vacations, school breaks, summer and so forth. If a plan is in place before you go back, your children may iunsha’Allah feel more secure about the situation. If a plan is in place for your reunification times with them, your children are less likely to feel that you have just left them.
While it is their choice not to go for various reasons and emotions, they are still children and need extra considerations at this age. With an arrangement such as this, they may feel more secure in the fact that you will have shared custody and that they will see you on a regular basis. This may insha’Allah be a temporary solution until they get used to you being remarried, develop a relationship and trust with your new husband and his family, as well as have a chance to get used to a new culture and environment when visiting.
Speaking with Husband
Sister you may wish to propose the joint custody situation after you’ve discussed it with your ex-husband. In order for this to work, your husband must be agreeable to the terms as well. It will involve money for travel when the children come. If you go to see them, you will be leaving him to visit your children. It is important that you and your husband agree to the terms and conditions that this will require, or at least be open to a compromise. However, in compromises involving children and their expectations, I implore you to make decisions in the best interest of all involved.
Husband Threatening Divorce
Sister the one point that you brought out in your question was that your husband has become increasingly angry with you and states he will divorce you if you are not back in his home soon. That is a bothersome proposal because as your husband, he is supposed to be kind, merciful, and patient. Especially given the situation that your children are hurt and upset, he should exercise some restraint in his words.
Threats of divorce and anger are not good. I would kindly suggest sister that insha’Allah you look at this situation with him concerning his anger and threats carefully. Determine if this would be a lifestyle that you would have to live daily. Is your husband easy to anger? Will he threatened you with divorce if you do not comply with all of his wishes? It is often in times of tests and trials (such as this situation) that one’s true character comes out. As you are recently married, these are some very serious things to think about. Honestly, your statement concerning his increasing anger and threatens of divorce are very troublesome to me.
I kindly suggest insha’Allah dear sister that you do explore further what is going on with him in regard to this temperament. Try to determine if this is a pattern that you may have to deal with. In light of this, it may influence your decision to move back to the Middle East. We wish you the best.
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