Dear Nadine Khan,
I am a 56-year-old married woman. I have two daughters and two sons. Mine was a love marriage, and I married F against the wishes of my parents. F is the son of my father’s first cousin, and since our families lived in the same neighbourhood, we grew up together. My father told me that F was exactly like his father who was a selfish, stern, stingy and a miserly person. Since I was very beautiful, I used to get very good proposals from good families. My parents told me to choose someone else, as F was not worthy of me, but I was in love and didn’t pay attention to what they tried to make me understand. My parents gave in and I got married to F. I was 21 at that time, and I was so happy that it did not bother me that the jewellery and clothes from F’s side were not good at all. My parents gave me a lot of gold and cash along with other dowry items. They told me to be careful with my stuff and not to give money to F, but I disregarded even this advice. But soon after we got married, F managed to filch all the money from me. He said he would invest it for me, and like the gullible idiot I was, I gave him all my money. I think that what worked in F’s favour was that soon after we got married, he was transferred to Karachi. I had no one to confide in here, and was totally dependent on F. And, I knew my parents didn’t like F, so I did not want to tell them about F wanting to invest my money. Nadine, 35 years back, 10 lacs was a big sum, and F swindled me big time. I never got any return from it, when I asked him a couple of times about it F told me that the investor ran away with the money.
I got a job in a private firm, as F claimed his salary wasn’t enough to manage the household expenses. Then my children were born and I had to continue working as F’s salary, according to him, did not increase. He only used to contribute grocery and rest of the expenses including utility bills, children’s fees and other necessities became my responsibility.
At my daughters’ weddings, F said he didn’t have any money. I gave my jewellery to them and used my savings for other expenses. But, it wasn’t this aspect of his nature that broke my heart. Nadine, just as my father had told me, F proved to be exactly like his father. After the first few months of our marriage, he showed his true colours. He had married me because my father is rich - not because he also loved me. Through my other cousins, I learned that he sent money to his sisters regularly. His sisters are very rich and don’t need money, but what was my children’s right was given to his nieces and nephews. He never bought me anything in 35 years of our marriage. Now that my daughters are married, I want to leave him. I am fed-up of doing slave labour, but my daughters say I shouldn’t do it because their in-laws would taunt them. My father has recently given me an apartment in Rawalpindi. I want to move there but my daughters don’t want me to leave their father. I have had enough. I got nothing from him and now want out. My sons are both working and don’t need me. I have decided to resign from my job and go to Rawalpindi where I have my parents and other siblings. The only thing that is holding me back is the thought that I would hurt my daughters if I go to Pindi. But I feel suffocated with him and don't even want to see his face. We have separate bedrooms, but breathing the same air nauseates me. What should I do?
Dear Manipulated Wife,
We all make bad decisions. Sometimes we get away with a slight rap on the knuckles and sometimes we have to pay dearly. Disregarding your parents’ advice was wrong, because they knew F and his family and in their wisdom tried to shield you from making a bad choice. You made another wrong decision when against your father’s advice you let F swindle you out of the money given to you by your father. In your defence, you were young and thought you were in love. You let your heart rule and by the time you realised F’s true nature, you had four children to think about.
However, now you don’t have the excuse of being young and inexperienced. You cannot randomly decide to just leave your husband without giving considerable thought to this problem. It’s no longer just your life only; you have four children, too. You need time away from your husband and children to figure out what you really want. An option would be to go to your parents’ house and stay with them for some time. If you still feel the same way, you can move to your apartment and your daughters can tell their in-laws that you have gone there to be with your old parents. You will get time to reflect and decide what you really wish to do. At present, you are frustrated and depressed and as such should not decide anything now that you may regret later. Having said all that, I totally sympathise with you, and hope you can do what you really want to. Best of luck!
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