So, my ex came to visit today. It’s the second time I’ve seen him this year. We broke up 4 years ago, sadly, and we dated for 4 years. We were crazy about each other. We were perfect for each other. We complemented each other. And we were going to get married.
Sadly, that didn’t happen 🙂 . Why? He’s Muslim and I’m Catholic and the families wouldn’t stand for it one bit!
Interestingly enough, I was ready to convert to Islam (love struck as I was) and he was very encouraging. I had started to cover my hair, read Islamic books, spend time around some of my Muslim colleagues trying to learn Muslim ways. I had even told my parents that I would convert if necessary. That didn’t go down very well with my mum. And our relationship hasn’t quite fully recovered from the resulting rift.
When we both decided to inform our families of our relationship and our intentions to get married, we knew it was going to be tough. But we weren’t prepared for how bad it would get. At least, I wasn’t. Not really. My father was very calm and level-headed about the situation – he asked to meet him, spoke with him and told him to go ask his own father what his opinion was. The man definitely saw what my boyfriend and I were trying to ignore. Because it turned out that the biggest resistance to our union was his father.
His father had said in an email to him (which we read together because I happened to be there when he received and opened it) that he didn’t want a Christian as a daughter-in-law and especially not Catholic in-laws. He didn’t want a convert, as there were many young, beautiful, smart Muslim women out there who he believed also had the ability to make his son happy. He appealed to his son to remember how he had been raised and the Faith he had grown up with. In summary, I wasn’t good enough for his son.
To make matters worse, 4 months after this hurtful email was sent by the father, his elder brother called me on my way to work one morning and pretty much warned me off his brother. His brother told me to go and find a nice Christian man to marry because they (the family) would never approve of me marrying their son. He told me even if they’d let us get married, they wouldn’t support the marriage and that we wouldn’t be happy. He told me that love burned bright in the beginning but that after the first 5 years, we’d be done and there’d be nothing left. He told me to move on and leave his brother alone. Who does that???
Like you can imagine, I couldn’t believe my ears. I had never met this guy before. I had never spoken to him before. So this was awkward and extremely uncomfortable to deal with. And of course, I cried. I cried my eyes and heart and soul out. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t cry for the brother. I put up a false front until the call ended and I think I was even in shock for a while before the water works started and then they didn’t stop for days. I had never felt so unwanted in my life. I had never been so embarrassed. I had never felt so inadequate…
Well, I hung on with my first true love for another 4 months after that horrible phone call, and then I broke it off. I’m sure the question on your mind is ‘where was your boyfriend in all of this?’ and ‘what was he doing to make sure that he married the girl he loved?’ Both great questions. But I don’t know the answers. I knew he had conversations with members of his family regarding me, and us. He told me about a few of them but never in a lot of detail. I think he was trying to protect me from the heartache of knowing how much I wasn’t wanted by his family. But I wish that just once, I could have seen him stand up for me, fight for me, stand by me.
I liked to think then that he just wasn’t a confrontational person and so it would be out of the question for him to openly and/or verbally confront his father or elder brothers. But that was just silly of me. In hindsight, I realised that if he had really wanted to be with me, Christian or not, he would have fought to be with me. He would have made it clear to his family that I was what he wanted no matter what/who I was, instead of trying to encourage my efforts to convert so that I would be more acceptable to his family. Turns out that wasn’t enough. And it never would have been enough.
So I finally summoned up the courage to break up with him, and started to put my life back together again. I’m not quite there yet as my life is still a bit tattered, especially where love is concerned. But I’ve managed to find a semblance of normalcy, even though there’s still a lot left to be desired. We’ve kept in touch over the 4 years since we split, and we’ve seen each other on a few occasions. And sometimes, in my weak moments, I have wished things had turned out differently. But if I had a chance to change it, I would. I wouldn’t throw 4 precious years of my life away to a relationship that was headed nowhere. No, I would have respected myself and waited for a more suitable person to come along.
If I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit that I still resent him a little. Or maybe a lot. I resent him for not wanting me enough to fight for me. I resent him for accepting his family’s assertion of my inadequacy. I resent him for giving up on us so easily. When I broke up with him, he put up some resistance, to his credit. But it wasn’t strong enough, considering how much he said he “loved” me and wanted to be with me. I feel that he should have at least tried to make them see how good we were for each other. And I don’t think I’ve ever forgiven him. Or that I ever will…
Anyway, he came to my house today, to tell me he’s getting married. And he says he’d like me to come. I asked him why he wants me there and he said he can’t explain but it would make him really happy if I came. So now I’m suddenly supposed to do something that makes him happy? What about what makes me happy? What about how I feel? Does he actually believe that I won’t be bothered? What does he expect me to do when I get to the wedding and all our mutual friends who know why we didn’t get married start whispering about me to those wedding guests who didn’t know about us? What am I supposed to do when they start asking me when I’m getting married and who’s the lucky guy? How am I supposed to tell them that I still don’t have a significant other after all this time? How am I supposed to go there and plaster a smile on my face and watch him marry another (younger) girl, who, by the way, I actually know (it just gets better, doesn’t it?)?
So, I’m torn. I can’t decide if I’m going to attend or not. I told him already that he shouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t show up, because I strongly suspect that I won’t go. But at the same time, I also don’t want to be conspicuously absent otherwise people might think I didn’t show because I’m still holding a grudge. Granted, I am still resentful of him, but I don’t want that to be the reason I don’t go to his wedding.
To show up or not to show up? That is the question. What should I do?