Dear Professor Nadine,
I am, unfortunately, a very beautiful 27-year-old woman, and my beauty is responsible for my unhappiness. I was only six when my mother died, and my father wasted no time in getting married again to Q, with whom he already had been carrying on an affair. My mother was very rich and my father had initially started his business with her money. He is a good businessman, and now he has three thriving businesses going. In addition, he is totally ruthless and selfish where money is concerned. He married me to his business partner because he wanted to buy him out, and my husband married me because I was very beautiful. I was 17 at that time, and my husband was already a maternal grandfather. His first wife and children hated me in the beginning, but my husband made it clear with his attitude towards me that it was just a marriage of convenience, and he had no love for me. Now they just have contempt for me and say whatever they like to me and about me. The only favour my husband has ever done for me is that he allowed me to continue with my studies. Professor, I am sick and tired of my life. I don’t exist for my father and my husband lost all interest in me after I miscarried and developed some complications when I was 18. I am very lonely.
I have given you the background because I don’t want you to judge me harshly for what I am about to reveal. At a party in our house, I met a business associate of my husband, T, who lives in Lahore. He is a widower, and has a 12-year-old daughter. Since he did not know many people at the party, my husband ordered me to look after him and to introduce him to other guests. I found him very good company as he is a well-read person and could talk on any topic! My husband now uses me as his hostess because his first wife has developed rheumatoid arthritis. So in the last two years, I met him many times here in Karachi and when my husband took me to Lahore on his business trips. T is very perceptive and knew I was unhappy, and I also wanted a sympathetic ear, and ended up confiding in him how things are between me and my husband. To cut a long story short, T proposed to me. He will have to take some business losses if I say yes, but he is prepared for it. I have been thinking about my life. I feel I don’t owe anything to anyone, and should look out for myself. For the first time in my life, I am in love. I know it’s a sin and I feel guilty, too, but I have never crossed any boundaries. Moreover, I am afraid that my father will react badly and hate me for life. I am so confused, I need your advice.
Dear Unlucky Woman,
It was very selfish of your father to marry you off for his personal advancement, and that also at such a tender age. It was even more unfortunate that your husband treated you so badly, but that does not make you unlucky, dear. It simply means you were used first by your father, then by your husband. However, carrying on an affair with anyone else is certainly not the right thing to do. You have a right to seek divorce and remarry. If you want to marry T, don’t worry about your father’s reaction; you don’t owe him anything at all, and he has no right to interfere in your life. As for your husband, since he is not interested in you as a wife, you have a right to leave him and get married to someone you love. T seems genuinely in love with you as he is prepared to accept financial losses if you agree to marry him. You should go about solving the problem according to religion and law. This decision will affect your entire life, so think hard before taking a step. Good luck!
I am a 33-year-old guy. I am well-settled and my parents want me to get married. The problem is that they want me marry someone who is young and beautiful, but I am already in love with a colleague, R, who is widow and has a baby girl. R is not very beautiful or young but I can talk to her about anything and everything. We have a great understanding, and R even told me that it was unfair on my part to expect my parents to accept a widow for their unmarried son. Anyway, I told my parents about R and my mother actually blew up. She called R all sorts of bad things and accused her of ensnaring me, which is totally wrong. I was the one who pursued R. In the beginning she really tried her to make me realise that our society is very hard on women that contemplate second marriage with a guy not married before. We have been together for three years, and are both adults. We know our minds and hearts. I don’t want to live my life with anyone else except R. R’s family is all for the match, but with my parents’ blessings. Her mother told me that I should not take any step that could hurt my parents and alienate me from them. My father has come round and even my sisters have met R and accepted her as my future wife. So how do I convince my mother, Nadine?
Dear Anxious Son,
There is nothing wrong with marrying a widow. You can give your mother the example of our noble Prophet, who married a widow. Also, R seems a very good human being, as is her family. Instead of instigating you against your mother, they told you that they would accept your proposal only if your parents are all right with it, which shows they are a very decent people. The good thing is that your father and sisters have accepted R, and hopefully they will manage to persuade your mother also. This may take some time, and you should also keep trying to convince your mother. Ask her to meet R, and her family. Tell her what their conditions are about accepting the proposal. Just be patient and remain calm.
It is very commendable that you care so much about the feelings of your mother. My dear, your mother also loves you a lot and wants the best for you. All you need to do is to convince her that R is the best for you. Good luck!