I have been following a blogger named Shehzeen who runs Desi Wonder Woman. Recently, she urged her readers to share their experience and be a source of hope for those who are suffering or are trapped in bad marriages. A lot of my blog fans have also been messaging me to share my story. I try to avoid talking about my past as it brings back terrible memories but I know we can only help others by sharing our experience. As divorce is becoming more and more common these days, I think it is more important than ever to be able to discuss these taboo topics and to be well informed before getting married. In case you’re stuck in an abusive marriage, know what is the right thing for you to do. Since I have suffered it first hand, I feel I have a social responsibility in this society to create awareness against abusive relationships. Today, I will be very briefly sharing my past without badmouthing the ex by skipping what kind of a person he was.
My First Marriage
I got (arranged) married at the age of 22 and moved to London as husband was studying there. I lived and slaved there for five long years. I worked day and night; weekdays and weekends to make our ends meet. I cooked, cleaned, washed, mopped and everything that was possible. I left my friends, hobbies, family and did everything trying to make him happy. Unfortunately, nothing was good enough for him.
I was never even allowed to talk to my family. Even when my father was on his death bed, I was not allowed to fly to him. I had to fight wars on a daily basis only for my basic rights as he controlled every little part of my life with his horrifying anger. My life was a constant struggle. We lived in shared houses where housemates didn’t even know how to pull flush after using toilets. I coped in such unhygienic condition for years hoping this was only the start and that life will get better. There were dead rats found in the house and seller had sewage issues causing disgusting stink. Apart from emotional and physical abuse, the financial abuse was beyond words. I earned over £50,000 and he took it all along with other money which he took from my father and grandfather. I was made to pay for all our expenses single-handedly most of the years including all groceries, bills, eat-outs, furniture, all our holiday trips and even his branded shopping. He even took my savings from Pakistan. I had honestly never considered Divorce as I never thought of it as an option. I was from a culture which instilled that a wife has to compromise even if its 80:20. I had never even told my family whats been going on. Thinking of a family was out of question as he always had other plans.
After my dad passed away, he left me by stealing my visa while we were on our first holiday to Pakistan. I was suddenly thrown out of my own home and even the country I called home. He played this dirty trick as he knew he could easily get away with it as Pakistan doesn’t have strong laws. When someone doesn’t fear Allah or doesn’t believe in Him to start with, sky is the limit. That’s when I realized what had been going on. It was all a plan where I had been his ATM Machine. Now that I had got him everything, he didn’t want me to return.
How it ended
Anyway, he kept me hanging and finally divorced me after 12 long months. Even our closest friends and well-wishers were of the opinion that a girl’s life is finished once she gets divorced. They told me no matter what happens, you must remain married to him. They said I should beg him to take me back.
On the contrary, my divorce was actually the happiest time for me. That piece of paper changed my life completely. I was finally granted the freedom to breathe, live, laugh, joke, dress and finally be myself. I fail to understand why people express sadness after hearing about someone’s divorce. I tell you it’s the happiest thing that can ever happen to you if you have been in an abusive marriage. I don’t understand why in our culture, people associate happiness with marriage and unhappiness with single-hood. This assumption is completely wrong. I am totally against such concepts. Yes there is nothing more blissful than a happy and fair marriage but it’s better to be happy and single than to be unhappily married. It’s the worst thing to be stuck in an ugly marriage where partners are sadistic towards each other and bent on making each other’s lives hell. How can you possibly be cruel to someone you sleep with every night?
How I coped
This happened only 10 months after my dad passed away. The pain of his passing was still fresh when I was suddenly left here with nothing. I had been robbed, used and abused. He didn’t even return all my personal belongings from my house in England. I had a million things in my home, my dads only handwritten letter to me, my work contracts, my career files, my ID cards, my fancy shoes etc. I missed my friends and colleagues. There was no way back. My mom and younger sister lived alone in Islamabad and were facing property cases as my mom’s in-laws had claimed on all my dad’s property including our home papa made for us. Yet my mother gave me full support and said she will help me in whatever I decide. She did not enforce any decision on me and left the decision in my hands. Yet she always had full faith in Allah and never worried about how she will accommodate me within all the constraints she had. Even in the worst of times, our home has always been a source of happiness and fun. During this time, we had a dog named Tessa who loved biting people in our neighbourhood. Mama said she is putting a board outside our house that says ‘Beware of the dog, widow and divorcee’. We had a good laugh.
Around the time of divorce, my life was an utter mess, my health was deteriorating as I had constant palpitations, stomach issues, lost 7 kgs, sleep disorder and sleep walking issues. I just couldn’t stop my brain from thinking. I traveled between denial, shock and hatred. So I applied for jobs and started working for the first job that I was offered only to keep my mind off all this. If you are going through a divorce, the most important thing is to keep yourself busy around this time. You have to stop your mind from overthinking. It took me a while to find my identity as I had become a different person altogether. That man had made me change everything about myself. He never accepted me for who I was.
My Second Marriage
After divorce, I never ever wanted to get married. I imagined myself as a single career woman forever and I was happy to think that. Initially after the move back, I suffered in my career as changing countries always takes you many steps backward. I was now being paid nothing compared to my job in England. Two days after I was finally sent the divorce paper, my mother received a phone call for my informal proposal from our family friends. We actually could not believe it for the longest time. They knew I was a divorcee; they were even there on my first marriage 6 years ago. How could they actually propose to me? He was so well qualified and Mashallah such a handsome young man with good values, degrees and career. As soon as my Iddat was over, I said yes and we got married after our engagement period.
It was a very grueling decision to marry again. Much more difficult than first time as I had so much more at stake and I just couldn’t get myself to trust someone all over again. But thank God, my family introduced me to other girls who had gone through similar circumstances, and I prayed to Allah to make it easy for me. Allah made me fall in love with my husband just like a fairy tale Mashallah. I can never thank those girls enough who actually changed my life by sharing their story with me, giving me hope and strength to move on happily and give it my all to this relationship. Special thanks to Nabila Chaudhry and Ayesha who helped me at the time when I was the weakest I have ever been. They shared their stories of struggle and how their 2nd marriages are so blissful. Thanks to my family who were my biggest strength at the most challenging time of my life. I would never have been where I am today if it wasn’t for all the support around me. My best friends Aiza and Danish who were with me through my hardest times and helped me out with the unlimited arbitration council trips. This is the only reason I agreed to share my story on the blog today. I want to be a source of happiness and strength for those who are suffering today.
We have been happily married for over a year now Mashallah. He is the love of my life, the apple of my eye and most importantly a real man. He has never questioned me about my past. We do talk about it lightly and jokingly but we never stay in the past. He knows about his responsibilities and mine. He is everything I could ever ask for. He is really my angel. He says he is so happy he married me and that he wants to write an article on how divorced women make better wives. He thinks I am mature and manage our home and relationship better than an innocent young girl could ever do. He is also surprised by my multitasking: how I manage it all at once. He has taught me what love actually means. The selfless meaning of love. Most of all, by being good to me, he has removed my belief that all men are materialistic, selfish and mean. I never believed in soulmates but now I do. Of course, we have tiny arguments on why the hoodie was not in its proper place but since our beliefs are the same, we are on the same page on most important things in life that really matter. I love my in-laws like anything and I know they love me too. It shows. I pray to Allah to always keep us this way. Inshallah.
My take on Divorce
No one has the right to make our lives miserable. I found contentment and my life has changed drastically. I am Mashallah happier than I have ever been in my life. In my last few years here, I have been painting, blogging, stamp collecting, traveling, making journals, enjoying time with my family, grandparents and family friends while keeping my full time job. I work as and when I like, I am still a career woman. I have a really good job now Mashallah. My husband does not make decisions on how I spend my income and savings. My husband encourages my hobbies. We both go out for sports together every night after office. He goes for running and I play Tennis in the same club. We both respect each other, give each other space and love each other in the true sense of the word. He doesn’t have any complexes nor has any hangups. He is down to earth and understanding. He is not controlling at all and gives me the freedom to do whatever I like. I’m back in touch with my family and friends. Everything has Mashallah turned out so well. It really is magical.
If you have faith in Allah, don’t think that your life has ended at divorce. Your knight in shining armor may only be a step away. There are still good men in the world who do not worry about marrying a divorcee nor a mature girl. They don’t care about the baggage and without a question are willing to propose to women like me. Even if you don’t find a good man, your life has definitely not ended. You can easily work and live as a single woman. In case society doesn’t accept, just rent an apartment and hell with all that others say. It’s your own life and you have every right to live it the way you want happily.
My only regret in life is that I should have gotten out of abusive marriage sooner. I wish I hadn’t given him 5 precious youthful years of my life. I should never have left my family, friends and hobbies for so long. I knew within one year of living with him and trying my level best that he was a hopeless complex case and that he will never change. If you are in an abusive marriage, know that its wrong for you to stay in that marriage. Don’t waste precious years of your life being abused. Allah has made pure women for pure men and impure women for impure men. You don’t deserve to be abused. Seek help. Just have faith in Allah and move on. Never look back and find your own happiness.
Let’s all try to broaden our minds and free our selves from the social stigmas that are associated with divorce. Never judge another person just because of his/her past. Allah is the judge. Only He knows what is in our hearts and how each of us has suffered. Divorce is the worst time of a persons life. It really is terrible. If you know someone who has been through it, please be kind to that person. We have no idea what they have been through. Also, when a person is going through divorce, he/she doesn’t have answers and is extremely depressed. So asking them personal questions is really the worst thing one can do to them. Let’s all be open minded; live and let live. Thanks for stopping by.
I know how important it is to be a part of a community who has been through the same experience. In case you are in an abusive marriage or going through divorce, please feel free to message me. I will be more than happy to offer hope and emotional support. For those of my friends who are still single and are now getting desperate to get married, I believe in ‘der aye, durust aye’ (even if it’s delayed, wait for the right one) and keep praying to Allah to bless you with a good and pious life partner. Ameen!