Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Failing marriage, we live seperate lives


I am 28 years old and live and work in London.

I went back to my country for a holiday with my mum when I was 18.  We went for a month and we had two weeks left to come back to London when I had a marriage proposal, which my parents wanted me to go ahead with.  I felt alot of pressure to do it and felt I would be letting people down if I didn’t,  so they asked and immediately before I had said anything they were celebrating, so I couldn’t let them down.  He took me into a room to speak to me and said he understands that because I’m from London alot of men there will ask to marry me to get British citizenship, he admitted that he also wanted to go to London but also said that he also wanted to try and make a life with me.  I was young and cared more about not hurting others feelings rather than putting myself first, and I looked at my mother from across the room filled with his family and she said,  "it’s your choice",  I needed her to say "no she is too young", or "give us time to think"... nothing , she left me to answer them right there and then in that room.

As they celebrated I went in to the bathroom and cried harder then I had ever done,  scared of the situation I had put myself in.

before I knew it we were planning a wedding anda  few days before I returned to London I was engaged to be married.  He is my cousin, so I knew his family but I didn’t know him.  I had lived in London since I was 4 years old and he lived there, so I may have seen him a few times before. But I prayed and thought inshallah it would be fine,  he had a good family- my father was his uncle-  so he wouldn’t treat me badly.

A year passed and even then we were worlds apart. I tried hard to change from being a young student to being a respectable wife.  I was very unhappy, he came to London and life here was new for him.  I felt very uncomfortable going out with him as he would stare at women alot and pay them more attention then he would pay me, it would upset me and chipped away at my confidence and made me think I was ugly to my husband.

We argued alot and I cried allot, we found communicating very difficult because of many reasons- a few being cultural barriers which caused differences in opinion.  He would tell me things like there are lots of girl back in our country who are alot prettier than me, that when he spent time in Damascus the women were so beautiful.  Things about my physical appearance that would really put me down,  said by anyone else I wouldn’t have cared but said by my husband the only man that actually got to see me in that light that I wouldn’t show to anyone else.  It really hurt and it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him and that really affected our relationship in the bedroom.. .Please excuse that I am talking about this. When someone tells you you are a bit fat its highly unlikely that you will have the confidence to show yourself to him in the bedroom, but he would demand that I do so, and I would have to but felt so horrible and uncomfortable and he would complain.

Basically this is the type of relationship we had on the whole for a long time,  within a year of being married I was pregnant.  During this time I must admit he was caring and did alot for me to make sure I was ok, but he would constantly watch pornography.  I would be asleep next to him and wake up in the middle of the night to him watching pornography whilst I was laying with him It really upset me because I had put on weight and was pregnant and he was looking at white women which I am not and can never look like.

After I had my baby, the porn watching continued, he had brought a DVD and hid it in a cupboard and my laptop history was full of porn sights.  We wouldn’t go out together, we had no shared friends.  Every time I would ask him why he watched it and told him how upset it made me, he would shrug and say he doesn’t know why and promise to not do it again but then he would do it again.

We have now been married for 9 years, and things have gotten worse... I graduated from university and have a good as an IT consultant Alhamdulillah.  I pay for everything in the house,  so all the bills, everything for my daughter.  And in April last year I purchased a cafe with my sister, we didn’t want to take out a loan so my father gave us the money to pay him back instead.  I felt like if I didn’t provide for my family who would.  He worked in a cafe for 5 years and now manages ours, I asked him 100 times to go back to school or try and get a more satisfying job, as I felt sorry for him and didn’t want him to feel like he hadn’t achieved as much as me, as I know sometimes it’s hard for a man if he wife makes more money or has a better job.

He never listens, he doesn’t even want to try.  I helped him get his British passport and his driver’s license by filling out forms for him etc, as he never wanted to learn English or take learning seriously. When I would try and get him to give it a go himself it would create and argument so I wanted my life to be easier so i just did it for him.

9 years on and we still live separate lives, he has never taken me on holiday or come on holiday with me even when I have begged him to.  We don’t go out, we don’t really speak that much. I am crying now as I am typing as it hurts so much,  I feel like it is my fault and I have done this to him or made him the way he is.

He has disappointed me, let me down and hurt me so much, that I truly feel like I have no more energy left.  He doesn’t really come near me that much in the bedroom maybe once a month once every two months, and complains because I don’t dress up for him or make the first move.  I am a female and although I have tried to do those things to make him happy, he is the man he should make he first move,  he thinks reality is like his pornography movies.

I have cried and tried to speak to him and sat and said "look we need to try and make this work",  for 9 years now and still nothing has changed.  I have to teach him to give me affection before he leaves the house and when he returns and yet he says he is only like that (lacks affection) because he doesn’t know how to show it, which is untrue. He is unbelievably sweet and loving with our daughter.  I left home in May last year and moved in with my mother, my mother said try to show him how life will be without you scare him a little and come back home, I stayed at my mothers and sisters for about 2 months, he begged me to come home saying he will change, my father was very upset with him.

I explained that I don’t feel that he loves me, and we don’t even live like a married couple, that we never do anything together and he looks at me like a stranger like he is waiting for something to change or happen to break him loose of his situation with me. He promised he would change and try to be happy and make an effort for us to have a happy life at home.. he changed for about a week, and then turned worse then before.  Now I think he holds me to blame for involving my parents. He doesn’t really come near me and sleeps very far from me, he accused me of having an affair with my mother’s next door neighbour, which is absolutely absurd as I have never even said hello to him before.  He said he feels this because the guy always gets off the same bus as me, I feel like he is trying to pin something on me to have an excuse to leave.

He isn’t happy with me, he hasn’t been in a very long time- a few years. I am not sure what he wants in a woman as he doesn’t tell me, I ask him what it is I need to change and he doesn’t say anything.  Something inside me tells me he is sleeping with someone else, I don’t think it is a relationship as he leaves his phone lying around, so he isn’t scared of someone calling him. I don’t mean to make accusations and feel so bad to say this, but what else can it be?  Why does he treat me like this?  It's like he only wanted to come to London and now he is trapped and can’t leave me because my father is his uncle and he will hurt the whole family.

I recently went on holiday and asked him to come with me,, he made many excuses not to come so I took my daughter and went alone. He let me go to another country with a 7 year old alone, not caring that something could happen to us.  He works in our cafe from 4pm till 1am so we barely see him, we have Sundays together but he sleeps and cleans a bit never things to try and make family time, is this because he doesn’t know how to?  I don’t understand how can you not have any ideas for family time.. then if we do spend time together we argue because we have so much anger and frustration in us. I don’t love him now, and I don’t want to be with him, I don’t think I can make this work as I am working alone on this.

He won’t leave me because he can’t, but he doesn’t want to be with me or try to make our relationship work, so he just eats and sleeps and works. I just want to feel loved and get on with becoming a better practicing Muslim, I want to go and work with charities worldwide and travel to allow my daughter to see real life and thank Allah every day for what we have.  I strive to become better and Inshallah with grace of Allah I will become a good Muslim, but he doesn’t even pray. He was a bit of an atheist when we married,  I begged and talked and tried to teach him.  I think he believes now but he doesnt practice, I would ask him to fast with me and he would say he was but then eat when he got to work.  I think he did actually do a two weeks this year, but then he doesn’t try  to pray. We are really moving in different directions an dislikes me too much to come with me, I don’t think he ever really like me. His family wanted him to come to London and they tried to ask for my sisters hand in marriage before they asked me, but my sister was too young at the time so my mother said no.

Divorce in Islam is not encouraged, but please advise me as to what I should do in a loveless, pointless marriage.  I feel like I can't move on until I break free,  I am actually fed up of trying.  It's a one way street and it's only me working alone at something that is broken, and started broken to begin with. My mother and father have spoken to him- he actually told my mother she is teaching me bad things, because my mother said that I should go to work and I should study, and taught me to stand my ground.

Can anyone advise me please?  In our culture unless a man cheats on you or beats you divorce is not permitted, but he doesn’t beat me, and I cant catch him cheating on me.  I don’t know if he is or isn’t, he simply doesn’t want to be with me. He won’t leave because he has nowhere to go, he has no money and he loves his daughter to much to break her family and routine, so I live a loveless marriage, but I can’t live like this any longer. 9 years is enough,  I want to laugh and smile and have a husband that will guide me and help me to grow as a Muslim and love me, how long can I live like this?  I don’t want to get married soon after this, I want just to breathe and spend time with my parents and just lay my head on my mother’s lap, I’m so tired of fighting and so tired of crying.

Please can someone advice me?

- TryingHardToDoTheRightThing

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18 Responses »

  1. Assalaamu alaikum,


    Sister I felt like crying when I read your post..I feel for you. But...I am also confused as to what 'more' I can advice u than what you know -
    To be honest, I dont see this man changing and neither do you. That would be a a miracle and a miracle is a miracle because it is 'unexpected' - if u get my point here.

    So either you live a loveless life for the rest of your life, or you divorce him and start afresh. Had it not been that he loves and is great to his daughter, it would hav definitely been a case of you 'should' divorce...but having a little daughter myself, and being divorced...I know this is what makes the whole thing very difficult because you are left thinking 'do i sacrifice my life and happiness so that my child can grow up with both parents who love her' or do i divorce and seek my own happiness over this?
    I couldn't live an unhappy married life with unhappy parents...I dont know if you can or even 'should'.

    The decision is ultimately yours sister but what I will recommend you should certainly do is to pray Salat ul Istikhaara. Start that as soon as possible and seek the almighty's guidance...then believe and act upon whatever He guides you to. If you are not aware of istikhaara, there is a link on this page explaining everything about it so check that out inshallah.

    May Allah descent his Sakinah upon you and grant you relief, Ameen.

    Was salaam

  2. Salaam Sister,

    It is sad to find out that things didn't work out for you in your married life. And from your conclusion, I think you have already decided to get divorce from him, since you find no other option.
    Have you ever thought about consequences? what your daughter will have to go through because both of you are not able to cope up with each other.
    Where you have tried to work this out for 9 years, please try it for some more time but in a different way, I mean to say try to go to mosque with your husband and attend halaqa. Also attend any other Islamic workshops in your area. Besides go to some marriage counselor to seek guidance in your relationship. Talk to your husband and find out what does he want (please don't argue with him when you are trying to find this out). Have you fulfilled your responsibilities regardless of what he is doing? please checkout this beautiful website (
    If at the end you still want divorce then do istikhara up to 7 times and Allah will make it easy for you.


  3. Assalamu alaykum Sister,

    Islam encourages divorce rather than a "stuck" marriage where a woman cannot grow further on a personal as well as religious level.

    We all need love. We marry for love in halaal way. If this halaal marriage does not bring us love, there is no meaning in remaining stuck in it.

    If you think your life can be better without this man, you may seek a separation. Remember, thinking about daughter you may not think of separation and due to this reason continue to remain in a "stuck" situation, in a loveless life. And what about the Muslimah in you who wants to grow the Islam in her? What about the Muslimah whom Allah is inviting to His path? She may get lost in this loveless marriage of ten years almost.

    Allah is the care taker, provider of all and the Best of Providers - Khairur raaziqiin. He will provide of His abundance to you and your daughter.

    My advice is get people from both sides talking, arrange for a meeting with one good person from each side and try to work out the matter.

    If you are unable to work out peace. You may seek separation if you think it would be better for your life in dunya and aakhirah.

    128. If a woman feareth ill treatment from her husband, or desertion, it is no sin for them twain if they make terms of peace between themselves. Peace is better. But greed hath been made present in the minds (of men). If ye do good and keep from evil, Lo! Allah is ever Informed of what ye do.
    129. Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so): But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
    130. But if they separate, Allah will compensate each out of His abundance. Allah is ever All Embracing, All Knowing. - Surah Nisaa.

    Sister pray to Allah, read the Qur'an with meanings, Insha Allah it will heal your wounds and show you a way.

    Your last line of not marrying again quickly, wanting to breathe and sleeping on your mother's lap indicate the level of loss of confidence, how shaken you are inside and also shows your mental state at the moment which is quite disturbed. You need rest from fighting, surely you need it.

    Think about it, ask Allah for guidance, look at the circumstances and chose what you think is "equitable" in the sight of Allah and Insha Allah you would know it when you read the Qur'an.

    May Allah help you.

    Your brother.

  4. Assalamu aleikum my beloved sister in Islam: TryingHardToDoTheRightThing

    I am sorry to hear about this situation. First I am not going to say more than what has been said above, but somethings up sets me really you said "He was a bit of an atheist when we married".......Prophet Pbuh said "give your daughters to a man who his religion and character satisfies you", but here I can see when you were given to this man religion was not payed attention to and that is why you are today in this mess.

    Think and decide.

    1. Is your husband Muslim at all?
    answer: no, because prophet pbuh said "the one who leaves prayers knowingly has left his religion"
    in another hadith he pbuh said "prayers are what between us (believers and unbelievers)".
    more info:

    2. If we have seen that he is not believer, can he be your husband?
    answer: no, because in Koran Allah says:

    Sahih International
    O you who have believed, when the believing women come to you as emigrants, examine them. Allah is most knowing as to their faith. And if you know them to be believers, then do not return them to the disbelievers; they are not lawful [wives] for them, nor are they lawful [husbands] for them. But give the disbelievers what they have spent. And there is no blame upon you if you marry them when you have given them their due compensation. And hold not to marriage bonds with disbelieving women, but ask for what you have spent and let them ask for what they have spent. That is the judgement of Allah ; He judges between you. And Allah is Knowing and Wise. Surah 60.10


    Because you have tired of trying to teach him what is wrong and right, so my beloved sister what you should do, would you take the law of Allah or the unIslamic culture of yours?. Take Allahs law and judge accoding to it, gather all of your family, Imam who knows his religion (an accurate belief: from Quran and Sunnah) and your so called husband and tell them the truth, no matter however he begs you, not to do it. Show the evidences that he never does any Islamic actions moreover he looks at porno and etc. My sister do you know that a man who watches porno movies does not need woman (wife), so if he has these things, where does he need you (ask yourself)? he just plays on your rights and that is unbearable, so you have 100% right to leave this man according to Islam and healthy thought, no matter what your culture says, by the way know our culture is Islamic culture if we are Muslims...Deen means in Arabic culture and whoever takes another Deen than Islam he is not Muslim....

    My beloved sister in Islam, you are very special person as Allah has made you one of believers and you pray five times a day and you hope meeting with Allah on the day of judgement moreover Allah has given you work and has made your Risq or bread sufficient to leave this man and accept Allahs religion without fear that you do worry about yours and daughters bread. ´Thank Allah and leave this man, before he makes you as he is now. Allah legislated devorce as a way out for those who take easy way than difficult, because Allah has descended this religion to make things easy for us and to teach us the best way to live and to die. Learn your religion and be firm on it until you meet with Almighty Allah and spread any good that learn from this religion to relatives and those who are around you.....Jazakallahu Kheiran.

    Sorry for my beginner English as I am student, I hope you understand insha Allah.
    Sincerely your brother in Islam Abdullah.

  5. Sister, I came on here trying to find some sort of answer to my own problems and came across your post very nearly word for word what I wanted to say. I have been married 4 years but we are heading the same way as you. My husband showed me so much love and attention for the first 3 months of marriage but now we are the same as what you have described.

    I will stick it out as long as I can but I hurt so badly inside.
    I cannpt speak to others about it because they say I am ungrateful.
    I want to know how I can make this better.

    • Sister,

      Please log in and submit your question as a separate post, thank you.

      SisterZ Editor

    • 99% of men become big softies when they hear and see the pain in their wife's eyes. The problem is for 99% of women suffering from inactive and stagnated marriages, hardly any of them bother to actually sit down at a suitable time to discuss this.

      I say suitable time because I've just got home from work and the last thing I want to do is stress, I'm especially unpleased because it was a 2 hour journey to get home when it should have been 1 hour 30 mins.

      Point is, pick a suitable time, when he's ready to be receptive and then speak your heart out to him and then come back and tell us he doesn't change.

      Men forget, they do it regularly and they need reminders, if you don't give the reminders then how can you expect things to change.

      Whilst most men aren't romantic and hate the idea of it, they love the idea of their wives being happy and happy with them, so it cannot fail.

      Good luck.

      • John, speak for yourself.

        You may be the type of man who is not romantic and hates the idea of it. Does not mean that most men are such. From my readings of Rasul(sws) he definitely was not as you describe.

        SisterZ Editor

      • Actually my observation has been that men are generally more romantic than women.

        Wael Editor

        • Wael,

          Apart from Hollywood and Bollywood chick flicks, where would that observation be?

          That's not a joke btw.

          • Just personal experience, things I've seen, people I've known. Men are the ones who meet a woman and fall in love at first sight, and are ready to propose marriage right away, while women are more cautious. Men are the ones who will spend years or even decades longing for a past love. Men are the ones who tend to feel that "as long as we are together we will be happy", while women look at more practical considerations like income vs. expenses, relationship with the in-laws, etc.

            Many psychologists say the same.

            “Men are typically more romantic than women,” says Dr. Terri Orbuch, a social psychologist who has spent the last 24 years studying 373 married couples. In interviewing spouses, she discovered husbands were more likely to describe their wives in traditional romantic terms, while wives spoke more practically about their relationships. “When we asked married men to talk about how they met their wives, their stories had more romantic flavor,” explains Orbuch, who details her findings in the book 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great. “They talk about being smitten, falling hard; they also use terms like 'soul-mate' and 'love at first sight'," she says. "In contrast, wives talked about being very cautious of their partner when they first got together and guarding themselves from getting too close early on."


          • Hmm. Clearly 'just' your observation Mr Abdelgawad.


        • Every individual is different. Some are robotic, some are romantic.

          John is clearly a robot (no offence intended). And not like the one from 'wizard of oz'. Even that one had a heart.


          • Alright SisterZ, no need to be insulting. You can't call someone a robot and say no offense intended, lol.


      • @John

        Then these men you are referring to need to know that this is the reason why their wife is unhappy and moody. So instead of expecting the wife to sit down and complain to them and constantly remind them to be nice to them, I think the man, being the guardian and sheperd of the household, should know that without romance in a marriage, no matter what you give the woman, she wont be satified fully. If a man does not know that much about a womans psychology or cannot see himself being romantic, then in my opinion he shouldn't be thinking about marriage. He won't be able to handle a woman.


        • I understand a woman's requirement for romance and I also understand men after a while forget to be romantic.

          Most of the men I know, including me, are up from 5:30-7:00 in the morning and get home between 5:00-7:00 and then have bills, insurance, tv licenses etc to worry about when they do get home. On top of that there's many other things which take up time, for example all the daily groceries which are needed. It is exhausting and it's not an excuse but these men just don't have the time or the energy at the end of most days to do anything other than sit down and watching the news or sport. A gentle reminder is all they need, can be subtle, sometimes it needs to be more than just subtle.

          SisterZ has never liked my attitude, so I'm not surprised she calls me a robot.

          SisterZ, it's funny you should say I'm a robot, this entire week I've been looking for some jewellery, a necklace and earings for my wife to be, perhaps that's something I should not do, it's not in line with my "robotic" nature is it?

          Anyways, the original poitn was, sometimes it's good to give men reminders, they get into a routine and forget how they were in the honeymoon period of the marriage.

          • Hmm John, the ice is melting, lol.


          • Assalam O alaikum brother John,
            Happy be-lated Eid-ul-fitr:). Sister Z was just winding you up lol. She is good at it. I see a different brother John from the one I knew in the past. Good improvement bro; may Allah keep you and my future sister-in-law happy.
            Bro, this is not an issue; everyone is different. We are made differently and wired differently; even all the women are not same just as we men are different. You do have a point that timing really matters. How, when, where and what we want to discuss/demand matters a lot. However, it's a great generalisation when you say that "men are not romantic" and I also don't agree with it.
            It's healthy to have different opinion; remember our opinions are derived from our knowledge, experience and the environment around us:)

            Well sister Z agreed with you at least twice but I can provide you the link to one of such post which is;




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