#mobile phone
5 October 2008

I have a boyfriend but I am Muslim and cannot see him

My question is simple, but hard. As you can see I am from an Islamic country and so I can’t have a boyfriend. But I still do and I love him. Me and my BF met online and have been together for a year. But because I am muslim I am not allowed to go out without my family, and on top of that, I don’t have a mobile phone. So I’ve never seen my BF for the past year, and I only talked to him maybe 10 times from my friend’s mobile. I can’t go out with my friends either so there’s no chance of seeing him. I feel like he’s sick of me. What should I do?

annabelle dupras

Hello, Gazala!

First of all, I must say that I think it’s a great idea to write and ask for a bit of guidance in this situation that seems to be very difficult for you right now. Sometimes as human beings we go through situations that we feel are overwhelming, so talking about these situations allows us to have a better perspective on what we are feeling and helps us take decisions for ourselves.

To begin with, the situation you are describing is quite complex. I can understand why you are not sure what would be the best thing to do. From what I understood, you are cornered between respecting your family’s traditional values and that taking part in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with a person that you love. And, not being able to fully take part in this relationship because of your family’s beliefs, you are worried that your boyfriend will become annoyed and put and end to the relationship, which could be very disappointing for you. This is a tough call, and so maybe it has brought you to think a lot about what is the right thing to do. I get the impression that your family is important to you and you don’t want to deceive or disappoint them. But on the other side, you have feelings for someone special, and you would like to be allowed to pursue them because you feel that they could make you happy.

Gazala, I can’t tell you what you are supposed to do in this situation, for the simple reason that I am not you and that you are the only person who can find out about what is best for yourself. But I can help you look at both sides of this situation, and from then on you can re-evaluate your experience of this situation.

To start with, I invite you to explore the feelings you have regarding your family’s beliefs. How important are these values for you? Do you agree with them? Do they correspond to your personal beliefs? What are the positive and negative sides you see to applying your family’s beliefs in your own life? How important are they to you? And lastly, what are the consequences you can expect from acting accordingly or not accordingly with what your family demands of you?

Have you ever tried to talk to your family, in particular to your parents, about your feelings about dating, love, marriage, etc.? What could happen if you did? It may be an option, especially as you grow older and more mature, to engage in communication with them, because it could bring you to agree on some compromises and determine what your limits are as a member of this family. Don’t forget that your parents probably want what’s best for you, and sometimes, it is hard for them to accept that you want to make your own choices, without their consent, especially if they don’t agree with these choices. Mutual respect, in this situation, is much called for. Also, some parents find it reassuring to know exactly what is going in their children’s lives –even though they may disagree with them- rather than worrying about what is going on. However, because of your religion, an honest disclosure could put your personal safety at risk and therefore I recommend you first make sure how open-minded your parents are- as mentioned above- before disclosing this information to them.

Now, let’s look at the relationship you have with this special boy you are talking about. The feeling I get from what you are describing is that you possibly haven’t had the chance to get to know him fully, since you haven’t had many occasions to spend time getting to know each other. Maybe you could try to evaluate how serious you consider your relationship with him to be. If you do come to the conclusion that he’s a great person for you, that you feel respected and appreciated by him , then how about communicating some of your feelings to him the next time you do get the chance to talk to him, like for instance, expressing what this difficult situation has forced you to go through? Something tells me that his reaction to this expression of your feelings will help you figure out where you both stand. We cannot shut out the possibility that he could decide that dating a girl who does not feel free to be in a relationship is too difficult for him to deal with. But on the other side we can also imagine that he may understand and be willing to put things on hold for a while, without completely excluding you from his life, while you figure out things on your own.

I know it’s not easy…or else, you would not be asking for advice in the first place. But one thing I am sure of is that all this confusion will clear up eventually and the situation will make more sense to you…so it will be a bit easier to deal with it. In a few days, weeks or months, you will look back on it and maybe perceive the situation differently. And whatever the outcome is, you will have evolved as a person: the person you are becoming, and the one you truly want to be. Trust yourself, your feelings and your thoughts, and try to understand how they fit in with the world around you: it’s a great way, in my opinion, to react to life’s challenges.

Hoping that this may have been of some help to you, I wish you the best. Please don’t hesitate to write back if you feel the need to,

Have a great day,

Annabelle, for AlterHeros