Real men beg!

Some years ago I was told by a friend, who was going through a difficult time ending a relationship, that I was good at giving advice. It was not the first time someone had told me this. I decided, with the help of Jahanshah Javid, that it would be a good idea to start an advice column that gave guidance freely, openly and from the heart. When choosing a name for my ‘Iranian Dear Abbey’ I remembered my nanneh (nanny), Kobra Khanoom, in Iran who though illiterate was full of wisdom and goodwill and used to give everyone advice that was simple and confident.

There is a tradition in most cultures, certainly in our Iranian one, of wise women giving advice. It is the kind of counseling that is free of psychological and clinical training, unafraid of being sued and boldly free of any disclaimers. It is the kind of advice-giving that is as old as when people first started telling each other their problems. I have decided to revive Kobra Khanoom’s advice column because the older I get the more ups and downs I experience, the more like her I become.

So if you need a naneh to help you with a problem ask Kobra Khanoom and she will try her best to answer your question. It is, after all, up to you to listen. Email me at


Question: A friend of mine called on the phone. He said he missed his wife, even though he initiated divorce, hated being married and believes he can’t be a good husband or father. “Should I beg her to come back?” he asked.

Kobra Khanoom’s Answer: Of course you should beg her to come back. You are hesitating because you are afraid that you may fail at being what she wants you to be. But you should know that if you strived be a little more like what she wants you to be then you will be a better person. One should never be afraid of trying to improve and what better reason than the love for a true beloved.

Too often these days people advise against begging–we have become numbed by too much clinical reasoning. I think begging someone to come back is healthy. Far from being a sign of neediness and dependence it in fact shows inner confidence and strength. It means you admit that you were wrong– it shows both self-knowledge and mental clarity. The best place to start improving one’s self is the realization of one’s mistakes.

Humility is the first criteria for being a good student. Ask her to forgive. Ask her to give you another chance. Ask her to be patient and a bit more understanding of your faults. If she accepts then she loves you and you can take that love and use it as fuel for a new start. If she rejects you then you have nothing to lose. I am sure it is not the first time.

But remember whatever the reasons behind your initial break up it could not just have been you who was at fault. Talk to her, work with her and if she is willing then by all means give it one more try falling in love is too valuable an emotion to just let it die. Too many people are too chicken to beg now-a-days. Go for it: real men beg!

Kobra Khanoom

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