Sabrina over at Slice of Lemon was chosen to ask the $100 question today over at blogHer.com be sure to surf over if you want to be in with a chance of winning: every little helps right now!
Her question is an interesting one, hence I thought I’d write about it here: she asks, what you’d do if your best friends didn’t like your partner? Now, there’s a thought!
I’ve got plenty of experience at this one, at both ends of the equation: (that is, the seeking approval/disapproving of another) (I don’t know if I’ve ever been the one disliked: but if readers know different, enlighten me!).
When I was married first time around, I was married to a jerk: every one knew it (even me!), but as I’d taken the decision in my own wisdom (or lack of it), I thought that would be enough for people: it wasn’t! those I thought were friends went out of their way to jeopardise the marriage through creating unnecessary disagreements, upsetting my parents and constantly trying to brain wash me in to their way of thinking! They didn’t let up after marriage either, constantly bringing me down by telling me of the bleak outcome I was sure to face in this marriage: how dull my life would be, how useless my husband was and how useless he would make me!
In the fullness of time, the inevitable happened: the marriage fell apart! But to my amazement, they weren’t lining up to say “I told you so”, rather, they all disappeared in to their own incredulous Burroughs, avoiding embarrassing recriminations with me for fear of seeing me break down or tell them precisely where they could stick their guidance!
Since then, I’ve had plenty of time to mull over the ins and outs: and I often wonder if things would have been different had they kept out? I mean, was it the pressure and the pressure alone that broke us apart? Had they kept quiet, would we have been able to build strength and resolve within the marriage, or would things just have fizzled out on their own? Or, above all, would I still have my friends if we’d all just kept our mouths shut? Many people in the Muslim community, (well, women as apposed to all people!), generally try to keep their private lives private these days: and who can blame them, when there is always some one yelling unhelpful advice from the side lines, telling you how you should live your life according to them, whether you wish to listen or not!
Years have past since then, and now I find myself in a totally different situation: my very best friend is the one dating the jerk this time around! The man she is head-over-heels for is stupid, uninspiring, a drug addict and with a horrific criminal past behind him! When I look at him, he makes my former waste of a husband seem like a heaven sent Angel! It upsets me greatly, my friend is charming, pretty, loving and oh so innocent!! She clearly doesn’t see the flaws I see in this guy: and to her, he is her dream man: the answer to her prayers! There is little that I or any one else close to her can do or say to change her mind it seems. At times, when the topic comes up, she occasionally lets something slip: a hint of insecurity: or realism, subtly trying to let us know perhaps that she is not as naive as we may think she is. She is adamant on marrying this guy: and from what I can see, neither her family nor social networks will accept him: her parents are already searching for a suitable guy for her, and things have almost reached crunch time. I worry for her, but contrary to what my so-called friends did with me, I want to support her: I may not endorse her decision, but ultimately, I want her to be happy. I want her to be safe, and I want her to know that when times get rough, she has friends: real ones, that she can turn to and gain support from, whether with this guy or not!
If she marries him, I’d tolerate him: as Sabrina wrote: providing he is not forced in to my life: I certainly wouldn’t be forcing my spouse in to any one else’s!
Then there is my own husband-to-be, and how friends might react to him this time around!
Very few (if any one), who was in my life at that time is in it now, so I don’t expect the same treatment: Insha Allah! And I’m thankful to say, that most friends have been very supportive of my engagement, and the description I gave of the man I had found, but then, its easy for them to do so: he is not living here yet: and they have not met him! Neither Reza or I would be especially bothered about whether or not friends approved of our marriage: most of Reza’s do, but they were still hesitant about his decision to marry a blind, divorced woman and did spend allot of time trying to advise him against the same: thus building our commitment and resolve even further!
When all this was going on, I fully expected him to give up, throw in the towel and let go of what we had: either because of my past insecurities, or because I’m not that good at trusting men: in either case, I don’t know: but I was certainly shocked that he didn’t seem bothered!
Strangely enough, we haven’t talked about how he’d react to my friend’s not liking him! I too had a few acquaintances who advised me against this relationship, but they knew little about it, and when I talked to him about it, he seemed to view their interventions as concern for a sister rather than interfering annoyances!
I do know myself however, that no matter how much I pretend I don’t give a dam, in almost all cases, I do: I’m hopelessly over sensitive, and can find myself analysing Emails and subtexts of conversations for days, terrified I’ve said something wrong or misinterpreted like for disapproval, etc. And then there is the massive issue of family disapproval: something I’ve encountered almost all the way through my life: from my marriage, to my friends, dress code, lifestyle choices and of course, being Muslim! And though I’m fully prepared to face it all again, with a vengeance, it still hurts, and only puts further distance between me and them!
It is impossible to judge from this distance how things will play out after my marriage, for now, all I can do is stay strong, pray for the best, but most importantly, try to be the friend, daughter and sister I’d want others to be to me. Even if they treat me badly, I can walk away, knowing that I have no dirt on my face and I did every thing in my power to keep the peace!
So! What are your views? Would you care if family/friends didn’t like your partner? Would you stay or go? And how far would you really be prepared to fight in love? Do tell me, and be sure to tell Sabrina if you want to be in with a chance of winning!