I am a 27-year-old engineer working abroad. I hail from an under-developed area of South Punjab where my parents and many of my family members live. My parents are uneducated and very conservative in their approach towards life.
Five years ago, when I was studying in Lahore, I fell in love with a girl who happened to be a distant relative of mine. She also loved me and we both used to communicate regularly. I told my mother about my wish to marry her but she and my sisters objected strongly to it because in the past there was a rift between our families. But I kept on insisting my family as a result of which my mother unwillingly went to the girl’s house with the proposal of marriage.
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Unfortunately, her parents knew about the case and thus turned down the proposal. I was left with no other option but to quietly accept their decision. The girl too cut off all the communication with me.
Two years ago I went abroad to work, and while I was in a different country, back home in Pakistan my mother fixed my marriage with her niece (her sister’s daughter). I did not object to it at the time and remained silent as I did not care with whom I was getting married to after having lost the love of my life.
But now, after two years, when the time is nearing for me to marry my cousin, I simply do not want to go for it at all. I do not have any emotions for her. Although she is educated and has a job, she is not the type of girl with whom I imagined my life with. She is a typical girl whose sole ambition in life is to get married, have kids, be docile and obey her husband. I do not want such a life partner who does not have her own will at all. I strongly believe I am a person who needs to know a girl before I can marry her. Arranged marriage is not for me. I believe husband and wife should be friends and soul mates and I do not see us being anywhere close to it.
When I spoke to my family about this but they were not ready to accept my decision. My mother’s health deteriorated and the girl’s family was also very upset to hear this. I could not see my ailing mother while tension between my aunt and her family was also mounting. Therefore, I told them that I would comply with their decision. My mother’s health has now improved and everyone is happy except me. Things have returned to normal in both the households.
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I must admit that I still have not been able to get over my lost love and miss her terribly. And the fact that she is still single keeps me from wanting to marry anyone else. Please tell me what I should do.
An unhappy engaged guy
Dear unhappy engaged guy,
The thing is that your proposal was turned down five years ago and you got engaged to your cousin two years ago. This means that there was a gap of three years between both the events. Do not you think three years was enough time for you to come out of the shock and give a definite answer about getting engaged to your cousin? You had three years to think whether you would be wanting to go for an arranged marriage or not. Therefore, your remaining silent at the time of the engagement and now contemplating breaking it is a bit unfair to everyone involved.
As for the girl whom you love, I do not believe that she will be coming back in your life ever again. She loved you too but when she realised that it was not possible being with you, being a mature person she cut off ties with you. She was able to see that things would not work out between you two as both the families were against it. I know that you still love her, and I also understand and appreciate your emotions, but the sad reality is that there is nearly no chance that you both can be together in the future. Thinking of her and still pining for her even after five years have passed by is just going to keep on making you feel lonely and unhappy. I believe it is about time that you try to seek closure and bury your past.
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The way I see it you have two choices. One of them is to accept the wishes of your family and marry your cousin. There is no harm in that. She seems like a good person who would try to do her best to keep your married life a happy one. With time, you may grow to love her and appreciate her for the person she is. Your criterion for an ideal life partner is different but it does not mean that a different sort of a person cannot lead to you eventually enjoying marital bliss.
The other option that you have is to be strong and go against the wishes of your family. This will lead to a lot of upheaval and drama in your family. Many of your relatives will be angry and upset with you. But at least, you will get the chance to look for the type of spouse that you want to marry.
On a different note altogether – I am not trying to be sarcastic or cocky here – but it seems to me that in our culture and part of the world, whenever a guy or a girl wants to marry someone of their choice, it is usually almost always the mothers of such guys and girls who suddenly have a deterioration of health. And the reason is also almost always the same: the mothers want their son or daughter to marry a girl or boy of their choice – usually from their side of the family. Seeing this happen at countless times in our society, it makes me wonder how much of this sudden worsening of health is real and how much of it is emotional blackmail.
All the best!
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.
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