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Arranged marriage - divorce?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I apologise in advance for this long essay.

I am a 22 year old muslim woman married to a 29 year old muslim man.

I have been in a arranged marriage for over 15 months. The only reason the marriage went ahead is because my grandad had a heart attack before and was not sure if he would see his grandchildren get married. Me and my twin brother both got married for his sake, although my brother could not wait to get married. He is happy in his marriage. I wasn't ready to get married, commit to a relationship, settle down and possibly have children but it still went ahead. I told my family I was not ready but it still happened.

Me and and my husband are in different countries. I live in England and he lives in Pakistan. The reason we are not together is because he can't apply for a spouse visa until I meet the minimum requirement of £18,000 per year from a job. After working in that £18k job for six months, he can apply for the visa. However, I am currently unemployed so he can't apply for a visa.

I have decided I want to divorce him. We don't get on, even in different parts of the world. We talk every two weeks via Skype and the conversation only lasts 30 minutes. We don't have anything in common apart from sports. He said I should talk about my feelings like a couple does, but I have no feelings for him whatsoever, I don't love him.

My main problem is that he does not care about me. When I accidentally hurt my foot on a piece of glass, I told him about it. He did not even once call or text me to ask how I am. I told him I had my GCSE English coming up. I took the exam a month ago. All he did was ask have I sat the exam, not how was it, did I find it tough, etc. When he was ill, had a gallstone in his kidneys, I texted or called him every other day to see how he was.

But, the worse moment was when my mental health got worse. About a month ago, just after my exam, I was not feeling well, chest pains. I saw my GP and it turns out I was suffering from high blood pressure and heart palpitations. The doctor prescribed me beta blockers. I told him about the palpitations and the medication as I thought, as my husband, he has the right to know about my health. I explained to him it was because of stress and worrying about family, I am taking the medication. He said to me why do you worry, I don't worry, just ignore it.

Two weeks ago, I had my first panic attack and within in two days, I had another one. Again, I told him. He basically insulted me by saying that if fat people lose weight, they would be able to breathe better. Not everyone that has a panic attack is fat and to be honest, I was surprised by his attitude.

I just think, if he can't care about me, how is this marriage supposed to work? I can't ask him why he acts like he does because I am scared of how he will respond, most likely anger.

Everyone tells me I should obey him, listen to him, etc as he is my husband, he has rights over me. It was even harder when he wanted sex with me but I wasn't ready to consume our marriage. I managed to get away the first night, crying in the toilets. My sister in law found out the second night and told me I had to let him come close to me, have sex with me and I had to obey him as he was my husband. I had to put up with it for 2 weeks until I left Pakistan to come back to England.

My family or my husband don't know I want the divorce. It is harder because my family don't know about the anxiety, depression or the self harm. I have kept it hidden from them all these years because I know they would worry, especially my mother.

I don't know who to talk to about this, get advice. I don't want to go to my local mosque or somewhere similar for help.

Again, I apologise for the long essay and thank you for taking the time to read it.


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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There are many different charities who help people who have been made to marry someone they don't want to marry.

    Try these:


    It sounds to me that you weren't ready to get marry and being in a marriage without love and anything in common isn't fair on you but it's not really fair on him either. I know you don't want to hurt your family but this is about your life and what you need. You haven't done anything wrong. I also think that if you haven't consummated your marriage then it's a lot easier to get a divorce, especially as it was arranged. You just need to be aware that it may upset people but hopefully in the long run they will see that you acted in your best interests and did what you had to do.

    I hope some of those charities can help you out!!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru

    I have looked at the websites you listed in your post. To be honest, the charities look like they are aimed at women who have suffered domestic violence in their forced marriage, which I have thankfully not gone through. He treated me ok when I was with him apart from the need to have sex with me every night. We consumated the marriage on the second night but we do not have any children.

    One of the websites does offer help to women who have left their home forcefully or voluntarily. I just think I have two options left, either to leave home or take an overdose of my medication, not to kill myself but to make my family see I am not happy. I feel like a broken person with nothing left to give anymore, to fight this battle. There is no other way I can tell them how I feel because I can't stand up to them. They have controlled my life for as long as I can remember. I don't think I can contact any charity or organisation for help. I don't want to be seen as weak and I don't have the courage to contact them either.

    Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Arranged marriage - divorce?

    All of those charities help people forced into marriage regardless if there is physical abuse or not. And from the sounds of it he is psychologically abusing you instead.

    Taking an overdose is a very risky thing to do - you may want them to see what's going on but instead you could end up with kidney or liver failure. Talk to one of those charities and see what they suggest. Could you not talk to your family? If they are still angry towards your for your choice to proceed with a divorce then you may feel you have to leave and you could get lots of support from these charities. The last thing they will see you as is weak - anyone who decides to strike out on their own and get out of an unhappy arranged marriage is brave!
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    JamesJames Deactivated Posts: 1,706 Extreme Poster
    Hey superwoman22,

    It sounds like a really difficult situation, and one that's not made easier by the fact you're facing it on your own at the moment. It's positive that you want to communicate with your family, but I would echo what Miss_Riot said about taking an overdose being pretty high-risk.

    Maybe it would help breaking it all down into smaller steps? You've taken a great first step by talking to us here. It's not easy opening up, but do keep posting :)

    I realise you said you don't think you could contact any charity or organisation as you don't want to be seen as weak. But as you implied, it does takes courage to make contact - courage that you've shown you have by posting here. Anything that takes courage is surely a sign of strength? A next step could be talking to the people over at the Muslim Youth Helpline:
    MYH wrote:
    Our helpline is a free and confidential service offering support to vulnerable youth in need. Common issues range from relationships, mental health concerns, sexual abuse and religious issues. MYH prides itself on its non-judgemental ethos. However in line with our non-judgemental ethos we treat all enquiries seriously and do not turn away any person in need.

    The helpline is available nationally via:
    - Telephone - Call us free on 0808 808 2008
    - Live web chat
    - Email - Email us on help@myh.org.uk
    - Post - Send a letter to us at: MYH FREEPOST RLZS-XJGE-JLBH

    *Helpline opening hours are from 6pm to Midnight (weekdays) and 12pm-Midnight (weekends).

    They offer a non-judgmental service, and might be able to help you talk through your options.
    Of course we're here too, so feel free to keep this thread going :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Miss_Riot, I can't talk to my family. They would blame me for the marriage not working, saying I don't try hard enough to communicate. They would say what with us living apart, the marriage is bound to be going through rough patches. But how can my brother and his wife make their marriage work even when they are living apart just like us. The fact that they don't know I am depressed makes it harder for them to understand I am not happy. They think I am 100% happy when really I am falling apart on the inside. If they found out I am depressed, I can see them using it as an excuse for the marriage not working. Afterall, if a person is sad and lonely, how can the marriage work.

    I feel like leaving home is the best thing for me but I am confused. The last thing I want to do is leave my family, I want to stay with them. I hate being alone. But then again, if my family will argue against the divorce, there is no point staying. I plan on seeing Ramadan through before I take any drastic steps.

    The last thing I want to do is take an overdose. I nearly went ahead with it but after talking to my best friend, she pointed out the flaws in my plan. However, the idea is still there, in the back of my mind.

    James, I found the MYH website about a week ago but I never really got around to contacting them. I will drop them an email today to wait for their response.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Seeing out Ramadan sounds like a good idea - how are doing looking for a job? Maybe you need to wait until you have found a job, that way you can make friends and be busy during the day so less possibility for you to feel alone.

    MYH sounds like the perfect people to contact, make sure you are as open and honest with them as you can be. And remember we're always here if you need to have a chat about what's going on!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have been unemployed since December 2013. I have been searching for jobs but no luck so far. I had 2 interviews which is quite rare for me, about 2/3 months ago. I thought I wanted to work in a office after doing a business and administration course a couple of years ago but I don't think it is for me. My heart was set on finding office work and I still do but I don't think I could cope with the repetitive tasks everyday.

    The other option I am considering is a career as a teaching assistant. I don't have any previous experience of working in a classroom so it is difficult to find a job. I can't do a course at college because I would have to pay to study and my parents are not willing to let me study further. My father doesn't want me to study anymore. The other problem holding me back from working in teaching is the anxiety. I am not very good at speaking up in front of people, the amount of times I struggle to put a sentence together, trying to get my point across. I have never been good at approaching people so I don't know how I would be able to help students.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can get level 3 study as long as it's under 16 hours a week paid for if you are claiming JSA.

    Have you looked into other areas of work?? Something that you could do now without further study?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    A level 3 course is not for me and it would be a 2 year course, which my parents would not agree to. I don't bother with the Job Centre anymore. I found it a waste of time.

    There are no other areas of work I would like to work in. Retail is definitely a no because I would not be able to serve customers, etc. Although my family tell me to find a job in retail but I ignore them. I don't have much work experience and qualifications(GCSE English and Maths) so it is hard to find a job. Hopefully if I pass GCSE English, it will improve my chances a little bit.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can do level 2 courses as well - there are other areas, what about child care/catering/something physical. I think you are restricting yourself and most employers won't look at your CV without 5 GCSEs and you could do them part time.

    I hate to be so sharp but it sounds like you need to take control of your life - your parents can shout as much as they like but it's your life. If there's the threat of violence from them then those charities I suggested can help and can help you land on your feet again.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have never been interested in child care, catering, etc. Sport has always been my passion. My tutor from the level 1 business and admin course emailed me yesterday asking if I would like to do the level 2 course. At first, I thought I no, but with the job interview today, maybe I can go back to college.

    It took me a long time to realise I need to take control of my life and hopefully I will. My parents say they care but at the end of the day, like you said, it is my life. They think I would be better of getting a job so the husband can come to the UK but I am not happy with my marriage as I mentioned.

    These days some employers, well in my area, they look at work experience more than qualifications. Although, I do know that GCSE English and Maths are the key ones to get you the job. That is what has been restricting me from getting a good job and the lack of work experience. Hopefully, I will pass GCSE English when I get my result in August. Next step is to complete a level 2 maths course before taking GCSE Maths at college part time.
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