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5 months ago · · Need Advice,
So a few months ago I met this guy as part of an arranged marriage meeting. We had two meetings, one was an introduction over coffee to get to know one another and see if we liked each other. The other was a lunch date. We also exchanged numbers, texted one another every day and even watched an episode of The Umbrella Academy together virtually of course. All of this happened over a period of 3 weeks. To me, it felt a lot longer than that.
The guy really liked me, he DM'd me on Instagram with his number later the day we met and we exchanged numbers and started talking a day later. He even told me how he felt. During our conversations where we asked deeper questions like what we wanted from married lifr, it seemed like we had a lot in common. Before I met him, my family members met him to see what he was like. My family all really liked him, had been praying for someone like him and felt he was perfect for me. He could provide for me financially, help mw around the house and with kids. Plus his family lived abroad so, I could live with him near my parents and not worry about or have to adjust to living with in laws. My life would be easy. I was the problem in this ideal life, the guy really liked me and was ready to get married. He even mentioned wanting kids in a year or two. Whereas I felt our conversations were dry, forced smalo talk and I was getting to know him because I had to. I felt numb about him or nothing at all. Everyone else in my life were happy about me potentially marrying him whereas I didn't look pr feel happy about it, even though I should have been.
I'm 23 and have a disability, I'm visually impaired. He was 9 years older than me. We had similar personalities and wanted similar things in life. His sister even gave me a call to tell me about her brother and during that conversation I realized how like me he didn't like telling people when he was upset, choosing to keep it to himself, not wanting to burden other people. In my head I thought two people together like that could not be a good combination. Also I could tell they were a close family that cared for one another. It wasn't something I was keen to be a part of.
Why you ask?
Well that took me a while to figure out. I told a few friends about him, as girl talk usually goes they asked me if I liked him, if I was attracted to him. I gave them the answers other people had said about him, like I could see why we were a good match. It didn't really answer the question so my friend told me to write down everything I felt about him. I did and came to the conclusion I wasn't attracted to him, I didn't feel anything for him. This was something my friends could tell was the case when I told them about him. They said it was fine, not having feelings for him didn't make me a bad person.
When I told my family this there reaction was far from positive. They believed that feelings were an "English" thing and that I was making a huge mistake. Saying no to someone that everyone they asked about always had good things to say about, and an imam back home they paid to do istikhara prayer said would be a good match for me, made no sense at all. I asked my sibling why everyone was acting like this is the best guy I'd ever get? To me he was the first guy I'd met and it made sense to say no if I felt we didn't click. Surely that was fine?
My sibling explained that he was most likely the best I'd get because I only got proposal offers from people who had crap jobs, or wanted a Visa to come to this country legally. To put it simply I was in a situation where people here would say no and judge me based on the fact that I had a disability, I was visually impaired. My parents even had a guy's mum outright say no because I was visually impaired. This guy and his family were the only people that didn't. I was unlikely to find someone else that would see me and not my disability. To them I was being naive to think someone from here (England) would choose me, when they could go for someone sighted. Plus I didn't have the "luxery' of valuing whether the next person had a joh, or was just marrying me for a Visa.
At the time I was also job hunting because my contract was due to come to an end, and because of the state of the economy thanks to covid I was unlikely to find a job. So it would be better to have someone who could provide for me.
I shared this situation with some visually impaired friends. They assured me my sibling was wrong, feelings were important. Marriage was hard and it wasn't fair to put the guy in a situation like that. I knew that already, I knew I would be marrying him for the wrong reasons. But it was nice to hear other people say those words too.
Eventually after my sibling said I was unlikely to change my mind and was too stubborn to do so. It would be better to regret saying no than saying yes. My family told the guy's family I said no. I wrote to him, explaining how I felt and he understood. For a while, they were upset by this. Saying I didn't understand how hard it was to find someone. They would have been happy if I married him. The guy's aunt even said to show me other biodatas, so I understood how tough the market was. Now, this topic hasn't come up. It's done and dusted but I still remember how upset I felt thinking about being in a situation where I said yes, hating how it felt so wrong. Through this experience I learnt there are times when I need to put myself first. Something that does seem hard to do.
Deep down I knew my sibling was wrong and the right person was out there for me, but there's a part of me that thinks maybe it's somewhat true. I know it isn't but I can't help but wonder what if people reject me because of my disability? I know there are people out there who will, but knowing and experiencing it first hand are two different things. Also I think about the ideal married life my family told me I'd have with him. I know that when I think the guy's name I'm imagining someone else completely different to him. I just associate imaging a married life with it. I like the idea of a life I would have, not the person I'd have it with.
I also know the timing for a proposal to come was awful, I had a lot going on. I know you're never ready to get married but I definitely didn't feel ready. I wanted to develop my career, be in a position where I didn't have to solely rely on someone else financially.
I planned to eventually look myself online like through WhatsApp groups, or via apps and friends. But my family feel that will ruin my status because we're known in society and people would comment her family couldn't find her anyone so she has to look herself. So I'm not sure what to do.
I know I want a life where I live near my family with my future husband and kids. I just don't see myself as someone who could do things like live with in laws or do all the things new brides in my culture are expected to do. That's not me. I know finding someone outside my culture will cause more problems than solutions. So what do I do? What are my next steps? I pray I find the person right for me, but how do I act on it?