Not wife material/overdrinking

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    Hey. This is my first time asking for advice online but I really do need some perspective.

    I am 28, and I have been in one serious relationship which has ended due to him not wanting to get married. I should clarify that I am Saudi and although it is much more modern now, the culture is still rooted in tradition, most of which is “you have to get married before you’re 30” … but I do want a life partner, regardless of if this was embedded in me.

    I have a loving family and a lot of friends who always describe me as nurturing and loyal. The level of dependency they have on me makes me feel like a mom most of the time. This all plays into my shock at always feeling like I am NOT wife material.

    So I drink alcohol, it’s illegal but I do it, and I disclose the fact to a select few. I drink almost every weekend. Is it too much? I cant ask you guys that but here I am sort of doing it. My family and friends don’t think it is too much. Or they wont tell me. Mom says I should hide it more, just for societal reasons. Men do tell me, one way or another, that it is too much.

    After my breakup I met someone, developed a strong connection, and then it fizzled. That’s natural occurrence everywhere but especially here, where most of our interactions are online and it’s easy to stop replying. After reconnecting a while later, he mentioned that he is glad I am not drinking as much as before. That shocked me but also made me recalculate and be more aware that this is an issue.

    I met someone else, I didn’t connect with him romantically but we became good friends. He makes jokes about my drinking. I sensed a judgment multiple times.

    Then I met a man. I fell hard for him, he made me nervous. I used to drink before I saw him to calm my nerves. We had an 11 month ambiguous, undefined relationship and then tonight I told him I won’t do it anymore and we had a lovely talk where he told me he loved my spontaneity, my good heart and my nurturing soul…but a piece of advice for me was, be careful what you say when you drink. It felt like it was his way of saying i do it too much but he wanted to be nice. This one hurt me the most because through this whole time I thought he genuinely saw me for me, not as a liberal Saudi girl with a crazy westernized family who all drink.

    So here it is. My 3rd drinking comment. Drinking isnt a socially acceptable act here, but all these men do it. Less than me, I come from a liberal family and I can do it whenever I want. But they drink. Do I think I drink too much? I don’t know, I’m like most people in my social circle. I think I’m okay. I work an 8 to 5 job, I take care of my family and my dog, I am a homebody most of the week. Just the weekends, maybe I do overdo it. What part of this is from my consciousness and what is societal pressure?

    I guess my question is, should I try to change my lifestyle to fit my society and be marriage material? But would I be happy? I’m sorry I’m not looking for a guidebook, just insight and perspective.


    Dear Binyana:

    A website, www. islamreligion. com/ alcohol in islam, reads: “Islam’s holistic approach to health and well-being means that anything that is harmful or mostly harmful, is forbidden. Therefore, Islam takes an uncompromising stand towards alcohol and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities. Alcohol is undoubtedly harmful and adversely affects the mind and the body. It clouds the mind, causes disease, wastes money, and destroys individuals, families, and communities… God tells us in the Quran that intoxicants and gambling are abomination.. God links alcohol and gambling to idolatry and declares it filthy and evil”-

    I am not religious, not a Muslim, I am not living in a Muslim country, and I am already married, so our circumstances are very different. I personally believe that drinking responsibly, in moderation is fine. I think that if there was a god who forbade all drinking, he should have made life to be less problematic than it is. But having created life to be so problematic and complex, might as well let us have a glass of wine once in a while.

    But if you are living in Saudi Arabia, you have to somehow conform to life there. What I would do, if I was you, would be to take your mother’s advice: “Mom says I should hide it more, just for societal reasons”. Good advice, I say! Hide it not because drinking responsibly is shameful, but because you live in a society where many either believe that alcohol is evil or they hide their own drinking, fearing others’ disapproval, so naturally they don’t want to be seen with anyone who openly drinks.

    If you find a man to marry, discuss it with the man. Maybe he is fine with the two of you having a few glasses of wine or the like, on weekends and special occasions, and no need to make it public.



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