I am being forced into an arranged marriage
Ever since I was 16, my family suggested I get married to a family friend’s son, and we’ve been together ever since. But I don’t feel like I’ve ever loved him, I feel forced to be with him and that makes me very upset. I also have very strong feelings for this other guy but he said he didn’t want to be with me, and this just makes me very sad. I feel I have very limited options as to what to do next. How can I get out of this mess? I feel so confused.
Thank you for your question.
I have a question for you: how binding is this potential marriage, i.e. is your family insisting that you marry him or do you have the right to choose who you want as a partner?
I ask this because your approach to the situation will likely vary based on the response. If it is the case that you have the right to choose your partner, then perhaps you should start by speaking to the guy that you are seeing. Explain to him that you do not feel that you can marry him and be honest about the reasons why. I think that honesty is the best approach. Being that you’ve been together for 4 years, I suspect there are some qualities about him that you like. I would emphasize that you like certain qualities but that you have never felt that you love him and that you want to have love in your marriage.
It is only fair to him that he learn about this as soon as possible. Then speak to your parents. Again, I think that honesty is the best policy. They may be quite upset if they have been expecting this marriage for a long time. However, they will hopefully be accepting if you explain that it is something you have given a lot of thought to and that you wish to spend some time as a single woman thinking about what it is that you want for your future.
On the other hand, if this marriage is considered to be written in stone, then it will obviously be more difficult to end the relationship. I would still speak first with the guy you are seeing, as it is fair to him to be made aware of what is going on. He may feel as forced into this as you do, in which case both of you could work together to end it. I would approach your parents in a similar manner as written in the proceeding paragraph, but also asking if they would consider allowing you to look for another partner who would meet their approval, or if they would look for another partner with you. They may be more open if you ask that they be part of the process.
Either way, I would leave the other guy out of the discussion for now. You need to take some time to work out the current situation before adding a fourth party into the picture.
If you attempt to end this relationship and remain unable to do so and feel that you are being forced into this, then you may find some aide from one of the organizations on the following web site:
Best of luck.
Please email with any further questions.
Lorin for Alterheros