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End my 18 year arranged marriage?

(217 Posts)
zombiemum Fri 02-Nov-12 18:26:13

I am looking for advice about my arranged marriage, I feel like I am going slowly crazy. Please be kind, I'm emotionally spent and frequently end up in tears lately.

My husband is from Pakistan, we have been married over 18 years. My parents knew I had no desire to be married, but married me off at 18, what I wanted simply didn't enter into the equation.

We have a DD age 9 and a DS age 4. The thing that is becoming more and more of a deal breaker for me is the fact that he is so slow to adapt and change. He speaks with a heavy accent, his written English, grammar and spelling is appalling, my DD writes better than he does. He understands that he should work on his language skills but is too lazy to do so. In fact, too lazy to do so just about sums him up.

Up until a few years ago, he went to work and came home, did a bit of hoovering, played with the kids and that was it. I, meanwhile, have spent years being constantly stressed out of my box doing all the household admin, everything to do with the car, solicitor, making appointments, researching the best products to buy; need a new car? I do all the research. Going on holiday? I do all the research, he?s happy to tag along but as soon as something goes wrong he criticizes and moans and gets angry that I should have known x, y or z was going to happen. I do all the problem solving, dealing with any tradesmen, any crisis that pops up I have to deal with because he just sits there looking like a frightened, lost little boy.

I was told frequently when I said I don't want to marry anyone from Pakistan, that I was making a fuss about nothing, they learn, they pick everything up when they're here and have to do it.

He is in a position of responsibility at work, works hard there, but is quite happy to have everything done for him at home. I have been a SAHM for the last 7 years but I started College last August as I want to change careers and need the skills that are required. I'm at College full time, on his two days off, he takes the kids to school etc, and does whatever needs to be done around the house.

I have just started a two year course. I will be actively looking for a full time job after this, plus my youngest will be at school. Money is tight.

Whenever we have problems he will not sit down and discuss things. He goes silent, won't talk and just shuts down. I end up losing my temper.

We have had huge problems in the past with him sending money home to his family without discussing these finances with me first, we have been on the verge of divorce many times. He is secretive and silent when it comes to this. But now I have kids, am a SAHM, I have no means to support myself and my parents have made it clear they want nothing to do with it.
 
The deal breakers for me are:

Has been approached many times by his bosses for promotion but won't go for it. He stepped down a level a few years ago blaming it on lack of support in his role, irresponsible staff, being constantly short- staffed and no time to train up all the new starts he had.
I have no respect for him.
He refuses to talk through any problems in our relationship; doesn't want to know. If pushed will immediately cry divorce knowing I have no means to support myself.
Stonewalls, ignores my feelings/emotions completely but thinks its okay to approach me for sex.
I feel utterly alone and bereft.

Its long, sorry.

lalalonglegs Fri 02-Nov-12 18:32:46

I can't offer much advice but wanted to let you know someone was thinking of you. How long is your college course and what are your chances of getting a job that will support you and your children at the end of it? Is there anyone who will offer you support (if your family won't) if you do end your marriage?

WildWorld2004 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:35:08

The first question you should ask yourself is are you happy in your marriage? If the answer is no then you should leave.

It might be worth asking the jobcentre what help you would get as a single mother at college.

You say your parents dont want to be involved but would they support your decision if you did divorce because you will need support.

Taking the first step towards divorce is hard and scary but once you get passed that its not too bad. smile

dequoisagitil Fri 02-Nov-12 18:38:08

Have a look at the 'entitled to' website and see what benefits/tax credits you would get as a single parent - he would also be expected to contribute to his children's support if you divorced/separated.

If your course is with a university, there may be bursaries, support or loans you can get. Have a chat with student services. Otherwise CAB.

There are ways out of this marriage.

AuntLucyInTransylvania Fri 02-Nov-12 18:41:22

I an so sorry you fibd yourself in this situation. I think that after 18 years, that it was an arranged marriage is a red herribg. What's done is done. If i were in your shoes, i'd be asking myself:
1: Would i be happier now, if i were to leave him and make a new life for myself with the children, even if we were financially worseoff in the short term and
2: If yes, is there anything I/we can do to feasibly change this - councelling etc?

If it's yes and no, then start planning. It's Ok to want to be happy. I hope you find the right path for you.

zombiemum Fri 02-Nov-12 18:42:23

I am utterly miserable in this marriage.
I have cut all contact with my parents due to their toxicity, hostility, controlling manipulative behaviour.There is no way my parents would ever support me on this.
Thats just my point; how do i do this on my own?
I have made an appointment with student services at university to find out where i stand.

dequoisagitil Fri 02-Nov-12 18:47:37

It's not going to be easy, I'm not going to kid you, but it is do-able. Loads of women do it, and yes, it can be a struggle, but being free is priceless.

It's easier when you have a supportive family, but they got you into this mess in the first place...

You might find life a lot better once he's no longer around to do for.

zombiemum Fri 02-Nov-12 18:49:18

I'm scared I'll mess up my kids. What are the chances are of finding a good job at the end is anybody's guess in the current job market, but I just want to concentrate on getting my degree then worry about the job at the end of it.
I have considered staying put until I finish my degree but seriously cannot stomach the situation I'm in that long.

mummytime Fri 02-Nov-12 18:56:31

Could you talk to someone at your college/University? There should be some form of student support, and you may be entitled to all sorts of things if you do separate/divorce your husband.

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Nov-12 19:05:01

It is very, very rare for me to post on MN that I think someone should split up, but I think this situation is intolerable. sad

You have tried your best with a situation you didn't choose, and I hope you can find some way out/forward.

Having never been in this situation, I'm sorry, I can't offer any advice, but wish you all the best. x

SirSugar Fri 02-Nov-12 19:17:10

Was your marriage registered in Uk or Pakistan?

Do you own your property here and if so, whose name is on mortgage/deeds

nailak Fri 02-Nov-12 19:32:08

Hey sis,

Each woman knows when she has had enough and how much she has tried. After 18 years no one can say you havent had sabr, you haven't made the effort, you haven't tried. It is a very long time.

Is this the man you want to get older with, who you can trust to look after you if you get sick? Is he loyal?

You say you don't respect him? Because he has no motivation, he doesn't seemed bothered about anything?

If you do decide to leave him, I am sure there will be funding available to you as a full time student with dependants. There are also organisations that can help.
RIzq is written.

If you feel you will be a better person and it would be better for your self and the things you want to be without him, then maybe it is a good idea.

Also I am sure there are people who live nearby who would be able to help and support you , like friends!

zombiemum Fri 02-Nov-12 19:50:43

Thank you so much for your kind words, I am in tears reading them.
I can't respect someone who has no regard whatsoever for my feelings, who will not acknowledge my feelings in any way; I cannot respect someone with absolutely no passion for life, someone who just exists, never plans anything, never goes anywhere, won't celebrate my birthday/anniversary/happy event of any kind.........Just can't go on like this.
The full weight of responsiblity for arranging/organising anything falls on my shoulders-he is quite simply not interested.
He has ignored me to such an extent I feel almost invisible, like I don't exist....
SirSugar: We have a joint mortgage, yes. The marriage was registered in Pakistan.

ModernToss Fri 02-Nov-12 20:06:41

I don't have much advice except to say that you deserve better, and I hope you find it. And if you've done all the organising for so long, you'll manage just fine.

sneezecakesmum Fri 02-Nov-12 20:52:14

This is so sad. You both sound like nice people. Your H works, helps around the house and kids and is not abusive and controlling. You are clearly caring lively and motivated.

What is quite clear though is that neither of you love each other and probably never have. The cultural and personal difficulties mean that you would be better off separating and I would second what the others here have said. Good luck in your choices.

MatureUniStudent Fri 02-Nov-12 21:35:51

I am a single mum, to four, with no input whatsoever from my exh. He dosen't see his children at all, and two have serious health issues (and one has mild ASD). I am also doing a degree part time at University. And yes somedays I am overwhelmed with stress and will have a weep. But you manage. You do. And what really helps is that I have none of the ghastly emotional turmoil I had in my 20 odd year marriage.

OP - you can face anything, when you have peace in your life and sanity in your head. And you can do your degree and bring up your children (on benefits until you get a job post degree). So, don't be scared - it can be done, one foot in front of the other, hour by hour and soon you will be out the other side.

ajuba Fri 02-Nov-12 22:48:31

OP, so much you say reminds me of my situation...these marriages are loveless. But we get stuck in them because of kids, finances, izzat. These men from back home don't really view women as their equals. He wouldn't be sending money back home without consulting you if he did.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 00:22:08

ajuba, I've tried for so long to make a go of it but I feel like the living dead. I cannot imagine spending the rest of my life like this but I don't know if I can cope alone. I couldn't give a shit about izzat (honour). Twice I have been to my parents looking for help and support and both times I have been sent packing. Somehow, somewhere, I have to find the inner strength to raise my kids alone and do everything else on top.
My time as a SAHM has left me exposed and completely vulnerable. I have learned a valuable lesson and will never allow myself to be in such a financially dependant situation again. I've literally flushed my career down the toilet and am now trying to regain my financial independance.
My sisters don't understand, they keep telling me to 'stop crying wolf' and stop bleating on about it.
My family are the ones that seem to be causing me the most heartache. I feel like no-one understands and that they're constantly minimising my hurt and pain
I have no-one to turn to.
I cannot confide in my English friends as I would rather die of shame than admit I'm in an arranged marriage even though it's so bloody obvious.

comethasmybrokentelly Sat 03-Nov-12 00:29:18

Leave. You will survive.

SirBoobAlot Sat 03-Nov-12 00:30:00

You don't have to tell them that if you don't want to. Just that you are so painfully miserable and need their support right now.

I have no knowledge of the practicalities, but its obvious how negative this relationship is for you, and I'm sorry you are in this position.

Mayisout Sat 03-Nov-12 00:36:33

You will need to get as much support around you as possible. DH might return to Pakistan so might not be around to pay maintenance.

Also you must be careful that there isn't an attempt to take your kids abroad. Your DH sounds as if he couldn't organise anything like that as he is so pathetic but his family might try something.

There is support for girls whose parents are forcing them into arranged marriages but sorry, don't know what it's called, but they can possibly help you with the legal position and give you the support your family aren't.

Maybe you should stay until you have completed your degree and have a job and keep quiet about any divorce plans until then, though you deserve a medal for putting up with him this long.

Welovecouscous Sat 03-Nov-12 08:07:39

I am sorry to read about your unhappiness and sad that your family don't understand.

Your English friends will not judge you if they are true friends. One of my ex colleagues recently divorced to end her arranged marriage in her early 40s. Her DH was not a horrible person, but they were not happy. She is much happier now and all everyone said was good for her for being brave enough to start again. She is a bright, attractive, modern woman who happened to have had an arranged marriage.

I don't know if this will strike a chord with you but another friend in an unhappy marriage was considering divorce. We said to him that it might take time to meet someone else and he needed to remember it can be very lonely to be single. He replied that he could not be lonelier than he was with his wife. They are now divorced and both much happier.

Op you are so young. I am exactly the same age as you and got married 3 years ago and had my first dc last year. if you want to you can start again. Yes it will be very hard, but you can do it if you need to.

Hugs to you.

yawningbear Sat 03-Nov-12 08:54:09

There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about and as welove says if they are true friends no one will judge you. If I had a friend in your situatuon I would want to support them and help however I could, and hopefully your friends will feel the same. It will be hard but will it be harder than the situation you are in, I doubt it, because the benefits will be vast. What you will need is real life support, you can't rely on your family so it would help if you could turn to your friends. Also as a starting point can you go to the student welfare place and find out where you would stand from a financial point if you separate? And as mayisout suggests what about speaking to one of the organisations that supports women who have been forced into unhappy arranged marriages? Just having a proper conversation with someone who understands how you are feeling might be of help. You sound lovely and you deserve to have a chance to be free and happy, as we all do. Really hope you are able to find someone to speak to in RL.

colditz Sat 03-Nov-12 08:57:52

If you want a divorce, have a divorce. He sounds miserable to live with and you cannot even look back on what attracted you to him in the first place because it wasn't your choice.

colditz Sat 03-Nov-12 09:00:57

And your English friends will not judge you for being in an arranged marriage, they really won't.

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