Q: Dear Dr. G.,
I am 28 years old and got officially engaged to my boyfriend after 8 years of friendship about a year and half ago. We had our wedding last September. We started a long distance relationship 10 years ago when we were both teenagers. I was then living in US and he was living in Iran. Being teenagers, we fell in love after a while and even decided to meet up for the first time in China (due to visa issues he wasn’t able to travel anywhere else).
After our first date, he tried applying for an immigration visa to US, and when his application was rejected for the third time we decided to pick a country in Europe and both move there. Once in Europe we continued our relationship by living together. It was a very tough time, both emotionally and financially, for both of us, especially for me as I had to build an entirely independent life in a new country at the age of 25. After a year of living together, we decided to get married, and once persuading my family that he is the only right guy for me, we went to Iran to become officially engaged. It was then that I met his family for the first time, and I realised that they come from a very different background and we share different values in life. Unfortunately that was not the only issue.
It was then that I realised that he was very much under the influence of his family, and once was with them he had no control over his life. Already ashamed in front of my family I didn’t want to cause any more embarrassments and I convinced myself once we are out of Iran life would go back to normal and he will become the old, independent person I knew. So I got engaged to him. However, our lives never got back to normal. He became different from the person I knew. I noticed that he gets long calls every day from his sister and mother when he is out of home and when I shared my thoughts with him he called me an illusionist. His parents didn’t want us to have a wedding, saying there is no point as were already living together. But we decided to go for a loan and have one.
After a year and half of hard work and patience, we finally had our wedding in Iran last September. His family never contributed to our wedding, and they literally ruined the best day of my life by ignoring me and taking my husband away from me. It was at the end of our wedding ceremony when I found myself alone standing in front of my sofreye aghd. He was gone with his family, and I never got a goodbye. I was very heartd broken, never thought I would be treated by anyone like this, and even more was embarrassed in front of my parents. He didn’t want us to have a honeymoon trip as he wanted to spend the remaining time with his family, so the next time I saw him was at the airport to leave Iran. I was supposed be a bride but instead had been insulted by his family in every way, and I left Iran heart broken.
I was badly taken by this as I never expected such behaviour from anyone in life let alone someone who I dedicated 10 years of my life and sacrificed a lot just to be with him. I never got an apology from him and instead he blamed my parents for everything. Since we are back, I have been very angry at him and especially his family. I don’t think I can ever forgive them for ruining my life. I told him that I want to get divorced and he agreed. Now we are waiting for the divorce process to complete, I still love him very much but I don’t see anything back from him. We still share a house but have our own rooms. No one knows my story. My family, friends and colleagues think that we are living together happily, and I don’t know how to break the news. I cry every night and pray to god for help. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing or not. All I know is that I would never be able to forgive his family for what they did to me and have a relationship with them again. And I know that he has chosen them over our relationship, but I am very scared of future, it seems very dark and unclear. I don’t know how to overcome my fears, and be able to start a new life.
Please advise me.
The lonely girl.
-Submitted by “Lonely Girl”, 28, Germany
A: Dear Lonely Girl,
I truly believe that you are suffering so much that I don’t need to add to your despair and scold you for your decision. The truth is, things are crystal clear from the outside and after the fact. I know YOU know that now. I can ask you questions (as would many) like: Why on Earth would you marry him even after meeting his family, seeing how they treat you, and more importantly, recognizing how HE treats you in their presence. But…there is no point in going there. Your situation is simple, and please DO NOT DESPAIR….all hope is not lost and your life is not over at the age of 28!
My mother used to say to me: God helps those who help themselves. So, I will tell you this now. You should not have married this man to begin with, and you are not in a healthy marriage. You need to get divorced. PERIOD. You will never forgive his family because he will never apologize for their bad behavior. His actions speak for themselves. He has chosen, and he chooses his previous family over his new one. You must ABSOLUTELY not get pregnant because it will not solve any problems and bring you together. You will only add to the misery in the house.
It is understandable that you have invested over a decade of your life with this man. Consider yourself lucky for not donating more of yourself and GET OUT OF THIS MARRIAGE. The future is scary. The unknown is scary. You may trade in this model for another one with bugs, but at least you will trade up…because you would have learned something about love, life, and relationships. There is no “how” to any of this. IT IS SCARY! And it is time for you to face your fear, be bold, take action, and allow yourself to mourn this relationship and heal from the toll it has taken on you emotionally.
The bottom line: LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH. Love is a requirement of any good relationship (and even then it’s infinite definitions are debatable) but it is not the basis of a healthy long-lasting relationship. You must have mutual respect (and that of family), compatibility, and shared philosophies. If you choose to remain in the marriage you will feel alone and lonely. And you will remain depressed and angry. You have an opportunity to start over again and make better decisions with the widsom you have gained over the past decade. People are allowed to grow and change, and people are allowed to make new healthier choices. I hope you do this. Life is way to short for this type of self-inflicted suffering. There are far more sources of pain that will be well out of your reach, like family health problems, the economy, etc…at least take control over the few things over which you have control.
– Dr. G.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO MY READERS: Responses or feedback provided to your posts are NOT a substitute for therapy or in any way meant to be therapeutic. While I hope my feedback will be beneficial, please understand that responses should be interpreted with caution and in the appropriate context, as often very limited information is provided. This website is for entertainment purposes, and for the betterment of and contribution to our ever-growing community of American-Iranians (and their friends). If you feel that you are at imminent risk of harm to yourself or someone else, please go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 IMMEDIATELY. If you have been experiencing chronic or severe depression or any other highly distressing mood symptoms, or if you have had frequent thoughts of harming yourself, please seek professional help in your local area promptly.