I am a forty years old Lebanese man living in Dubai, UAE for the past twenty five years. I am married with two children. I got married at the age of thirty to my wife MA who was twenty five at the time. MA is a good woman and the decade that we have spent together has been one of happiness and contentment. She is a good wife to me and a good mother to our children. She is a housewife and takes really good care of our home and family. She has never given me any cause for complain. Although at times I felt our marriage had become a bit boring and monotonous over the years, I never gave it much thought believing that this happened as years go by, that the magic couldn’t last forever. That is until JL came in my life.
It all started a year ago. JL, who is twenty seven, joined our company as a PR executive where I have been working for the past five years and am now a director there. She was vivacious, outgoing, lively, good looking and very confident. Many men in our office tried hitting on her but she ignored everyone. Because of my senior position in the company and having a wife and children, I didn’t try to befriend her in the manner the other men tried to. I think this appealed to her and she started showing interest in me. At first I thought it was just out of professional duties as she knew I was married with kids but as time passed she made it quite clear how much she liked me and enjoyed my company. It was a big boost for my ego, to be approached by the most good looking young woman in our company. I didn’t decline her advances and we started going out together. One thing led to another and we soon started having an affair. This affair has been going on for more than six months now. I have fallen in love with her and want to spend the rest of my life with her. She too wants the same.
The problem is that she is unwilling to accept my wife. Being a Muslim, I can have two wives at the same time. Although JL is also a Muslim, she is against my having two wives at the same time. She has made it quite clear that she would only marry me if I were to divorce my wife, MA. She is willing to accept my children if I share their custody with their mother, MA.
I have thought a lot about it and though I don’t feel very good about divorcing MA, not least because she has been such a good wife but also because of not having my children with me all the time under the same roof, I have decided that I will still go ahead with it as I love JL too much to lose her.
I spoke to my wife MA about divorce and naturally she was devastated. It was very painful to see how much of a shock she got when I told her that I loved somebody else. She was completely shattered and kept on crying for days at end. Eventually she accepted the idea of another woman in my life and begged me not to divorce her and let her stay married to me. I am a rich man and can quite easily afford to keep two wives in two separate homes. But JL is adamant. She has threatened to walk out of my life if I don’t divorce MA within three months. I am in a quandary now. I love JL and don’t want to lose her. At the same time, I don’t feel happy divorcing MA because of no fault of her own. What should I do?
Let me start by saying that you are being quite selfish and self-centered in this whole episode. All you are thinking of is yourself, your love and your happiness. You are not giving much consideration to the other people involved who would be dramatically and negatively affected by this action of yours, meaning your wife and children.
MA has given you ten of the best years of her life. She has given you two children. She has been a good wife to you and a good mother to your children. Do you honestly believe she deserves what you are planning to do to her? What would be her future after that? What would she go through emotionally? How many suitors would she find being divorced and a mother of two? She is already shattered and heart-broken.
And what about your children? Right now they have a happy and complete family. They come home to loving and caring parents – parents that are in the same house. Imagine what would their reaction be when their parents split up and start living in separate homes? How would they feel alternating their days living with their mother and father separately? How would they take it? They are quite young and the divorce of their parents is no doubt going to have a devastating effect on them. Instantly they would go from a complete home to a broken home. It most probably would affect them for years to come, if not their entire life. Are you ready to make your children go through all that?
Has JL met your children? Have you seen how she is with them? What guarantee do you have that she would prove to be a good mother to them and a good influence on them when the kids are over at your place? What I have gathered from your letter is that JL seems to be a selfish person who is only interested in her happiness and well being without giving two hoots about anyone else. If she truly loves you, as she claims, then why is she not willing to be the other wife? Why does she want you to divorce your first wife when yours and her religion allow it? She seems like a manipulative woman who knows she’s got you wrapped around her little finger and based on that is making demands that are cruel, unjust and would negatively affect your entire family. And how do you know that she truly loves you and is not with you because of your position, status, money, etc? If she truly loves you as she claims then how can she find it in herself to leave you after three months if you don’t divorce your wife? That’s not true love. That’s manipulation and cold calculation.
It’s perfectly normal to have feelings for two people at the same time. It happens. But what you need to ask yourself is that do you really love JL or is it just infatuation or lust? Do you really want to spend your whole life with her at the expense of breaking up your marriage and your children’s home? And what guarantee do you have that you won’t find being married to JL monotonous and boring after a few years?
I would advise you to seriously and impartially take stock of the whole situation. Weigh all the pros and cons. Consider the lives and happiness of all people involved. Do all this before taking any drastic measures.
I am a 23 years woman living in Dubai with my parents. We have been settled here for the past twenty years and I did all my schooling here. I recently graduated from a local university and just started a job in a reputable company. It’s a good company with a great workplace atmosphere and I really enjoy my work.
I met a boy in the third year of my university and we both liked each other a lot. We used to hang out together and in due time fell in love with each other. My parents know about him and as he comes from a similar background and a decent family, they have no qualms about us getting married. I have also met his parents who like me very much and are looking forward to make me a part of their family.
This all sounds perfect but there is a major issue between us that is making our relationship sour. He is an extremely jealous and possessive person. He cannot tolerate seeing me interact with any other person. He gets jealous of each and everyone that I talk with or come across to.
At first, I took this as a sign of his love for me. I thought that because he loves me so much he can’t bear to see me spend time with anyone else. But over the years I have realised that his behavior is not normal. He asks me to account for all the time that we don’t spend together. He wants to know each and every minute detail of my day; how I spent it, who did I spent it with, where did I go out, what did I wear, who did I talk to on the phone and for how long, what am I doing on the Internet, etc.
Initially I used to answer all his queries believing that it would get better with time, that this was just a phase which would soon be over when he would realise that I am faithful to him and have feelings only for him. But sadly, this wasn’t the case. It just got worse. He started checking my mobile phone for messages and calls when we used to meet every morning in the university. He used to question me about it and I would have to give explanations. He would get angry if he saw any messages or calls from numbers that he didn’t recognise or approve of.
He even coerced me into sharing my Facebook and email passwords with him so he could daily trawl through them. This led to many fights between us as he didn’t always approve of all the people on my friends list. And he got extremely angry when I changed my passwords and didn’t give him the new ones. He shouted at me and accused me of all sorts of things. I broke down crying but he went on and on till he got tired and finished saying what he wanted. He then tried to make up to me by professing how much he loved and cared for me and that’s why he got so jealous and possessive. I believed him and forgave him for his behavior. But this has become a regular occurrence now. He gets jealous of everything and everybody in my life and then makes life miserable for me.
It was bad enough while we were together in university but has gotten even worse since I started my job. In university we were together and he could keep tabs on me but he can’t do this now because we both are working in different companies.
He calls me repeatedly throughout my office timings to ask me what I am doing. I can’t always take his calls because of office meetings or work. This makes him go mad with jealousy and he starts ringing me non-stop and sending me hurtful and angry messages. He calls or messages me so many times at work that I now have to keep my cell phone on silent so as not to be disturbed during meetings. I call him back during my breaks or at the end of the day. He then gives me hell and I have to tell him in detail how I spent my day. He rarely believes me and accuses me of all sorts of things. Usually we end up fighting and I end up crying and feeling extremely miserable. After he hears me cry, he calms down and professes how much he loves me. But now I am confused. What sort of love is his that he makes me so miserable and depressed? That I end up crying? That I feel I have lost all my self-respect? Will it be always like this? Will he always be like this? He promises that he would change. He’s been promising for years now but so far nothing has changed. What should I do?
In Love with a Jealous Guy
Dear In Love with a Jealous Guy,
There are all sorts of people in this world and you happen to be in love with someone, who like you mentioned, is an extremely jealous and possessive guy. This does not mean that he’s a monster and can’t be a good human being. No! What it means is that he would most probably always let his emotions get the better of him. It’s quite rare that someone is able to change so drastically that they completely overcome or suppress those negative emotions of theirs that rule over them and cloud their judgements. For some its anger, for some aggression and for this guy, its jealousy.
Some women might be able to put up with it. Some of them might even like it. You need to decide if you are one of them. Do you believe you would be able to put up with his jealous and possessive nature for all your life?
You are wrong if you believe things are going to get better between you two, that he would change with time, that his behaviour would improve, that he would start trusting you and that he would stop being so jealous and possessive. He won’t. Neither does it seem that he’s planning or trying to. In fact he can’t. It’s part of his nature, part of his personality.
Jealousy is such a powerful and fully encompassing emotion that rarely does anyone who possesses it is able to overcome it or come out of its spell. You have already seen that and experienced it. And that too many times on many occasions and over many years.
There are chances that he might find counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist helpful, a psychologist who is trained to help people overcome their negative emotions and tendencies. But this usually takes time. It does not happen overnight. And more importantly, do you believe he would be willing to try it?
You need to take a decision before it’s too late; before you actually end up marrying him. Decide now what is important for you; what brings you happiness and peace of mind.
And remember one thing. Right now, you just love him. You too don’t have a formal or legal relationship. Once you marry him and he continues making you miserable because of his jealous and suspicious nature, it won’t be so easy to leave him, especially if there are kids involved. So think about it deeply, weigh all the pros and cons and then decide accordingly.
It might be a good idea to share this with your parents and take their opinion too on this matter.
I am a 37 years old man living in Canada for the past three years with my wife and four years old son. I have three sisters; all married and settled abroad and busy with their own marital lives. My parents are old and live in Jordan alone. We normally spend our vacations with them. As I am the only son, the responsibility of their care lies with me. I support them financially and ensure that I fulfill all their needs and they lead a comfortable life.
Recently they have shown a desire in coming to live with us in Canada. They love my son, their grandchild, a lot and he is very fond of them too. My wife is also keen on having them live with us. I like the idea of my parents coming to live with us as I know it would be good for them as well as for my son as they share a close and loving bond.
The only problem is that I don’t get along well with my father. In my opinion, he was never a good father to my siblings and I or a good husband to my mother. He was always much more interested in his business. He used to leave early in the morning and come late at night. He was never there for any of us siblings. He never came to our PTMs, graduations, convocations or other important events of our lives. Whenever my mother used to counsel him to spend more time with his us, he would get upset and berate her. Also, despite earning well, he was stingy with his money. He didn’t give enough at home. My mother had a very tough time in managing a house full of children. She literally had to plead or fight with him to get money out of him.
Then came a time when he lost all his money due to a few ill-advised risky business ventures. Life became much tougher for us. I had to get a part-time job while in college to support my education and family. Throughout this tough time in our lives, my father was not supportive at all. After losing his business, he spent more time at home and made life a living hell for us all. This went on for many years till I graduated and got a well-paying job. Many years have passed since then and he has become quite mellow, due to old age and ill-health. Part of me wants him to come and live with me so we could both form a special father-son bond, which was non-existent when I was growing up. But at the same time, there is a part of me which strongly resents the way he treated us and blames him for all the hardships that we as a family had to go through. I am in two minds. I don’t know what to do.
Dear Hurt Son,
There is no denying the fact that the way your father treated you and the rest of his family was completely wrong. It seems he was a selfish man whose passion in life was to earn and save money. What you are feeling towards him is completely natural and justified. Having spent a lifetime with him and gotten no love and support from him definitely must hurt. Anyone in your position would feel the same resentment that you do towards him.
I must commend you for working so hard from such a young age to make a better life for yourself and your family. That shows character and determination.
You have mentioned that there is a part of you that wants to form a special bond with your father, and a part of you which strongly resents him. I would urge you to go for the former. You seem like a nice person, a good son, brother, husband and father. What your father did was wrong but that doesn’t mean that you should reciprocate in kind. He is old and weak now. He needs you. He wants to be with you. And you too want him to be with you. Your reservations are justified but don’t let them keep you separate from your parents. It’s not easy but try to forgive him, if possible. Try to let go of the negative emotions and bitter memories that surround you when you think of him. It will be difficult but for your own happiness you must learn to let go of them and move on with your life.
You mentioned that your father has become quite mellow in his old age. You also mentioned that he’s quite fond of his grandson and he of him. This is quite natural. Some men are quite strict with their own children but when they have grand children, they become quite kind and accommodating. Your father is the same. He is reaching out to his grandchild and through him to you. You should reach out to him too. This way, hopefully, you will have a chance to get the love and understanding from him now which you didn’t get before. Don’t let this opportunity pass by. Bury your hurt feelings and reach out to him. The outcome will hopefully be one of happiness and contentment.
I am a twenty six years old married woman with two kids, living in Delhi. I got married when I was 21. It was an arranged marriage. My in-laws have a joint family system and my husband’s parents, his elder brother and wife, we all live together. My brother-in-law, my husband’s elder brother, had been married for five years but doesn’t have any children as his wife can’t conceive.
Everyone in the house wanted to hear the patter of tiny feet in the house. Thus despite my not wanting to have children so soon after marriage, I was left with no choice. Within the first year of my marriage, I had a son and then a year later a daughter followed. Everyone at home was ecstatic except me. Not because I was not happy to have children but because the day my first child was born, he was handed over to my sister-in-law to look after as she didn’t have any child and everyone felt sympathetic towards her. Other than feeding him, which obviously I had to do, she took over all the responsibilities of my baby. From day one, she took him to sleep with her in her bedroom and cared for her as if she was her mother.
I was shocked to see all this, especially as no one, including my husband, bothered to ask me for my opinion or my wishes. I spoke to my husband about it but he felt I was making a big thing out of nothing. To him it didn’t matter who looked after our baby as long as he is being cared for in the same house. I was shocked by his casual attitude towards this arrangement. I then approached my parents to ask them to intervene but they were not willing to interfere in this matter. Their advice was to be patient as they felt things would get better with time, especially when I had more kids.
I was left with no choice other than to be patient and let things go on as they were. A year later I had my daughter. I thought that finally I would be allowed to enjoy motherhood completely and was quite excited and happy when my daughter was born. My happiness was short lived though as she was also handed over to my sister-in-law as soon as I came back home from the hospital with my baby. Again the same reason was given by my in-laws, that poor she can’t have a baby and as she’s the eldest daughter-in-law of the family, she has the right to adopt my children and besides they are in the same house. You simply can’t imagine how shocked and useless I felt. I felt that I was just good enough for giving birth but not good enough for raising my own children. I again tried discussing this issue with my husband but he casually brushed it off by saying that I was over-reacting. I again reached out to my parents for help but they again dismissed my pleas by saying that things like this happen in joint-family set-ups and I should by now learn to accept them; that things would get better with time. In fact, they haven’t.
My sister-in-law has taken charge of all matters related to my kids. She is the one who decides what they eat, what they wear, where they go, etc. She has also taken on the responsibility of their education and is busy these days scouting schools to see which ones would be appropriate to enroll them into. I haven’t been asked for my opinion or wishes in this matter at all.
I feel like a complete outsider. No one asks me about what I want for my own kids. I feel incomplete as a woman and as a mother. I feel I am just good for giving birth and nothing else. I have lost nearly all self-esteem. I suffer from depression now and have started taking pills for that. Whenever I approach my husband about this, he accuses me of over-reacting and being a nag. My own parents don’t understand and support me. They feel I should learn to live with it. They feel that just because I have a comfortable life, a decent husband and financial security, I shouldn’t rock the boat by going against the wishes of my husband and his family. They give me examples of how much more difficult life is for many married women in our society.
They might be right about it but I simply can’t go on like this. I am going mad. This issue is eating me from inside. I have started taking sleeping pills to numb myself as I fell very stressed and tense when I am awake. I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I feel it would be best for all if I were to die. I am seriously contemplating suicide. I don’t see any other way. I am writing to you with the hope that you would able to guide me and help me. Please help me….I need it.
Dear Wannabe Mum,
It’s quite sad what you are going through. I completely sympathise with you. To be a mother and not be able to look after your own kids and bring them up according to your wishes must be very painful for you, and rightly so.
What your in-laws are doing is not justified. True, they may love your kids very much and want the best for them but that does not give them the right to take away your kids and give them to your sister-in-law for raising them. The excuse that your sister-in-law can’t have kids so she must get priority over you to raise your kids is wrong.
The most disturbing part is that your husband doesn’t support you in your rights over your own kids. Equally disturbing is the fact that your parents are also unwilling to interfere in this matter. This leaves you totally alone in resolving this issue.
As far as I have understood your situation, you have two ways to deal with it. One, you could try to confront your family and let them know that the current situation is totally unacceptable to you and you want the complete responsibility of your kids and wish to raise them as you please. You could tell them that you would be open to their suggestions and wishes but the final word regarding your kids would be yours. This is not going to be easy as you very well know otherwise you would have tried it long ago. Your own husband and parents are unwilling to support you. It would become very difficult for you to take on your in-laws and go against their wishes. In fact, you would end up being considered the villain of the family.
The other alternative could be to try a subtler approach. Don’t just give up hope and leave everything on your in-laws as you have been doing so far. Become as much involved with your in-laws as you can in raising your kids. Be there for each and every decision, no matter how big or small. For example, if these days your sister-in-law is scouting schools for your kids, go with her. Visit every place with her. Express your opinion and wishes in every matter. Also try suggesting that your kids take turns in sleeping with you and your sister-in-law. Set a day each week when you take your kids to your parents house for the whole day or to stay overnight. Your sister-in-law won’t follow you there. This way you could have time alone with your kids.
You will have to be creative and resourceful in figuring how you can spend more and more time with your kids and slowly and steadily take steps to ensure that ultimately you be the one who has control over them.
All the best in this!