Losing my boyfriend to an arranged marriage.

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    Dear bella ciao:

    I want to put all that you shared together so to see your story as clearly as I can: you are a Christian woman who had a 2.5 years relationship with a younger, Muslim man. From the very beginning of the relationship, he told you that he could not marry you (at any time in the future) because of his culture. Sometime along the relationship, his family arranged a marriage for him, and the two of you decided to part ways so that it will not be so hurtful for you to be with in a relationship with a man who is about to get married.

    The two of you parted ways and he got married. After he got married, he contacted you and told you that he married the other woman (now his wife) so to make his family happy, and now, that he “has given that happiness” to them, it is time for him to “follow his heart” and be with “the one for him” (you). He wants to marry you via an Islamic religious ceremony, and live in one household with two wives: with the one for him and with.. the one who is not for him.

    Your current state of mind: “My mind has been messed up because he is confusing me a lot… I am trying to understand too what is going on… I am not used to it, sharing with other people. I love him so much and he loves me too. I know this is sound crazy and stupid. I’m losing my mind. Please help me (figure out) what I need to do“-

    My current understanding based only on what you shared: he is not a bad person, he told you right from the start what he believed was true: that he couldn’t marry you because of the arranged marriage culture he was born into, (and you not fitting what his parents would choose for him, I figure, being that you are not Muslim, and perhaps that you are older than him). He was honest with you, straightforward.

    I don’t fault him for agreeing to marry a woman of his parents’ choosing because there is a huge pressure in this culture to obey the parents and marry whom they choose. Many parents in this culture go to great lengths to pressure an disobedient/ rebellious son, including threatening to commit suicide if the son refuses the arranged marriage.

    Seems to me that he sincerely loves you and he came up with a solution: be the obedient son (remain married to the woman they chose for him) and marry the woman he chooses for himself. He plans to live with the two women in the same household, and I assume, have children with her, and maybe with you as well (?). I figure that he asked and got his parents’ permission to put his solution into practice.

    First question is: is his solution a solution for you as well, or is it a problem? For his solution to be yours as well, you’d have to be okay with sharing your man with another woman, with seeing him enter her bedroom some of the nights while you remain alone in your bedroom, knowing what is happening in the other bedroom. You’d have to be okay with not asking him questions about how he feels about her.. and does he still love you and not her, if there are changes in how he feels for you, and for her.

    You’d have to be okay with seeing his other wife the mornings after she spends the night with him (and she’d have to be okay with seeing you the morning after you spend the night with him), and be nice to her. The two women you will need to cooperate well and be an effective team in one household in regard to house chores, child caretaking.. as well as taking care of his parents at one point on (if he is their oldest/ only son, or only capable son), because this too is part of the culture.

    Your place in the household would be based on him following his heart while her place in the household is (already) based on following the centuries old practice of arranged marriages. Whose basis- and power- in the household is stronger: yours or hers?  Depending on her nature, she might abuse her power in the household and demand obedience from you. If his parents join the household, they are likely to ignore such power-difference (after all, she is their choice), or join her in taking on the position of power and dominance over you.

    What do you think about my understanding at this point?



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