I was 21 years old when I got married. The union was arranged by my parents. He was settled in the UAE and was already married. After five days of our marriage, he went back and blocked me (from his life), so I peacefully filed for Khulah and got separated.
After a year, I began talking to a guy, who I felt was compatible with me, on Instagram. I don’t like meeting in person, so it stayed mostly textual. He was a lawyer but was not earning well nor was he motivated to do much in life, while I make reasonably good money. On the other hand, I live in Islamabad and he was from Faisalabad. If things ever worked out with him, I would have to quit my job and leave my city and family. Anyway, my parents didn’t like him and his family upon meeting them. My father works at an important post and therefore, he had reservations about our union.
But ever since the guy and his family left that day, I started noticing a change in his behaviour. My parents wanted his family to give three tola gold and Rs500,000 in Haq Meher, which he straight away refused to write in the Nikahnama. He even said that if I had to choose between me and his family, he would choose family. One day, he made a phone call to my mother and called off the relationship.
As of now, I’m emotionally drained and already experiencing self-doubt. I know he is by all means a very bad choice as he won’t take responsibility for me or my kids, yet I am striving for peace. But now I want to know if there is anything I can do to cope with this situation.
Dejected with life
It sounds like you’ve been through a great deal, and it’s clear that you’re facing multiple challenges in your relationships and family dynamics. It’s important to recognise that what you’re experiencing is emotionally taxing, and your desire for peace is completely understandable.
Relationships are mirrors of our own selves. They bring out the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. They show us our needs, our wounds and where our healing lies.
I hear that you have already experienced a marriage that was not aligned with your values and needs. After a relationship ends, it is critical to give ourselves time to self-reflect, heal and introspect on our own needs and priorities.
Here are a few prompts that may aid you in this process:
- What values are important to you?
- What needs are important to you?
- What are your priorities?
- What are the qualities you look for in a partner?
- What are ‘your’ core values that matter to ‘you’? This will help you identify what matters to you and aid with the decision-making process.
Set and know your boundaries that align with your values and needs. What are you okay and not okay with when tolerating something in your life? What are your long-term goals and aspirations? Think about your current choices and how they may align or hinder the achievement of your goals. Do your needs and priorities match with the person you are investing your time in?
What will aid you in this process is inner work and reflection. At the same time, it is crucial for you to take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Here are a few coping and grounding strategies to ensure that:
- Deep breathing: Slow deep breaths in and out, focusing on the present moment and releasing emotional distress.
- Journaling: Journaling can be a helpful outlet for expressing your emotions and thoughts. Writing down your feelings, fears and hopes can provide a sense of release and clarity.
- Therapy: Working with a therapist who will aid you in exploring your inner self, and emotions and aid you in building clarity.
- Exercise: Even a minimum of 20 minutes a day of exercise releases negative emotions and builds mental strength and clarity.
- Meditation: It allows you to separate yourself from your thoughts, focus on the sensations in your body and pay attention to the present moment without judgment. Let your thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them.
Explore and see what works best for you.
By actively engaging in these steps, you can gain a better understanding of your own needs and priorities, enabling you to make decisions that align with your values and lead to a more fulfilling and authentic life. Remember that self-discovery is a continuous journey, and it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself throughout this process.
And remember, we must first choose ourselves, and then choose people who choose us.
If you do not choose yourself, no one else will.
Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.
Send her your questions to [email protected]
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