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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.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 14:37:38

Colditz, he is miserable. And casts a gloom of misery over everything.
I will contact Student Services again, they're not replying to my emails, never thought to speak to a helpline place-will do that too, thanks yawningbear. Sometimes you are just too close to a situation and can't see the solutions.
I look around at the people I do know who are divorced and in each and every case they have the help and support of their parents and family........I've already cut my parents out, by divorcing I'm scared my kids will hate for me taking their dad away too. That I have effectively shrunk their family and eliminated everyone they care about.

ajuba Sat 03-Nov-12 15:15:49

OP, you can still allow your kids to have a relationship with their dad and allow him access. You wouldn't need to necessarily eliminate him from their lives altogether. But I do know what you mean, I think about these things all the time and it stops me doing what your thinking of doing. By the sounds of it, it sounds like your kids are better off not having your parents in their lives so don't feel guilty about that.

Romilly70 Sat 03-Nov-12 16:16:58

Hi OP,
Really sorry that you are in this situation.
It sounds like you and your H are complete strangers; he has not adjusted the cultural ways of his native Pakistan and treats you like a chattel, but benefits from your western education & upbringing to help himself and his family.

I would however say that your H does not sound like a bad father and perhaps with some mediation, you could divorce but still maintain a cordial relationship for the children. Hopefully he can continue to care for them on his days off.

Have found this link for help with single parents in higher education

What are you studying (if it is not outing you too much)

I would confide in your English friends, as you say it is probably obvious that your marriage was arranged and as it looks like you will not get support from your family, you do need people in RL you can turn to.

Good luck and keep posting, there is such brilliant advice on mumsnet

Abitwobblynow Sat 03-Nov-12 16:19:30

Hi ZM, a book I could really recommend to you is Lundy Bancroft Should I Stay or Should I Go? It is the clearest thing I have ever read about what you should expect in life, what he needs to do to change, how to check whether you are part of the problem, how to assess whether he is putting the work in to change, and then how to move forwards to your goals.

All I can say is, take your time and PLAN. You are already striking out for a sense of self, well done! You are on a course, you identify that your family are another drain and do you harm. I hear such strength and determination coming from you.

So now, get the paperwork together and start squirrelling money away. Buy cheaper groceries, put the rest aside (plus a little bit of cashback). Buy expensive stuff like washing powder and cleaning products etc for when you go.

This is what you need: the money to pay a solicitor, and at least 3 months' worth of rent and bills saved up.As long as you have a plan, you can set a goal and move towards it. You go, girl! wink

Monstroneous Sat 03-Nov-12 16:59:24

Hmm, the problem I guess, is that your husband has been unable to grow and develop as much as you have - he just doesn't have the stomach for it.

Whereas you are still keen to learn, and enjoy life, he is content to sit back. I'm not sure its something you can sort out via relationship counselling etc etc, as you have simply outgrown him.

there will be facilities available to you as someone who doesn't earn at present - including, I think, legal aid: I would make an appointment with citizens advice bureau and/or a solicitor to find out.

Oh, and don't close off your existing support networks: no shame in admitting that you had an arranged marriage whatsoever.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 21:05:54

Abitwobblynow, thanks for recommending that book, its actually on my list. I have some money saved up but will need it to buy myself an old banger when we separate. Its hard to save anything but will certainly focus on it more.
He is a good father- the kids think the world of him; For me it is like living with a child. He doesn't have an intellectual bone in his body and the constant silence is suffocating me. I can't even have a conversation with him in English without translating most of it and even then he just doesn't 'get' the colloquial phrases/sayings-I just give up, the conversation can never flow because he does not have the capacity for conversation, everything has to be shallow and superficial or he just doesn't understand.
Romilly, we are like strangers, I refuse to share a bed with him anymore as I just end up feeling so violated and used when the next day, week, month he just goes about life without discussing our problems, constantly ignoring the elephant in the room, so to speak.
I've been through every stage imaginable; denial, hope, blame, I've tried to help him with his language skills but you can't help someone who just simply cannot be arsed.
I have an appointment next week to seek welfare advice, I'm trying to piece together the jigsaw of what I might be entitiled to and when I have all the information I need I can decide what to do. I cannot comprehend the shame of being on benefits, I feel like such a failure, but I don't see any other choice.
I have been to CAB, they gave me a list of solicitor's in the area and couldn't advise me any further.

Snorbs Sat 03-Nov-12 21:15:29

zombiemum, there's a list of organisations that may be able to offer advice here. Rights of Women will also be able to offer support and advice.

Good luck.

awbless Sat 03-Nov-12 21:17:05

OP where are you? There are some really good agencies/support agencies in North West to help women in your position.

There will be a pastoral/student support officer in your college, find out who they are and ask to speak them, they will be able to help. It will be confidential and they will know who and where the local support is.

Silibilimili Sat 03-Nov-12 21:29:31

op this is not about whether the marriage was arranged or not. I sense a little resentment that it was arranged, so even if you did fall in love a little at some point, the arranged bit is always hanging there in your mind. Do you think he senses this and therefore does not put in his 100% either? So you live like strangers in your own home, living parallel lives?
Divorce is a big step. Specially with kids. But you cannot go on living this way. I would try relate as a first step.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 21:42:02

OP, English friends won't judge you for a second about arranged marriages - particularly the posh ones. I tried to message you last night about my mate's story, which has similarities to yours and a happy ending, but the site crashed.

Here goes again. She was married by agreement but not choice to a bloke from her parents' village in Pakistan. The wedding was phenomenal - we were taken out 3x alone in a week - her mum would have blown Danny Boyle & the Olympics out of the water. Husband settles in Essex & does nowt except send his cousins vast TVs and his mum bagfuls of gold jewellery. Mate not keen. But she got out - crucially, with advance planning.

She used our accountant at work (English, since you ask, Old Etonian) to work out how much it would cost to leave. She talked to a lawyer about booting DH out. She got a second job and saved the cash, and walked, not telling anyone much except 'It didn't work out.' She didn't complain, she didn't explain - made things a lot simpler.

In yr shoes I wd talk to the college about Elizabeth Finn grants (huge charity) and get any sort of job or homeworking to squirrel up some cash.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 21:50:58

Silibili yes i do feel resentment; but towards my parents for exchanging me like goods. I was taken to Pakistan in the summer holidays and married off, I have taken longer to find the right clothes for a night out.
Does he sense resentment? Course he does, I've expressed my disappointment and anger many times when I'm constantly left to deal with the day to day crap all the time. I remember juggling newborn baby, exhausted from lack of sleep and having to deal with estate agents/solicitors/viewers/sorting out then house for viewing with absolutely no input from him whatsoever. Never mind input, total apathy and disinterest. That's just one example.
Extreme situations do not allow for hand holding and stroking his ego. Yes he's stubborn and uses silence as a weapon. I am not the kind of woman to pander to a man's fragile ego-I'm too busy dealing with and coping with all the shit he won't do.
Yes we live parallel lives now. I have considered Relate but as per, he goes silent and refuses to communicate. Can't see him do a whole lot of talking when we go for counselling.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 21:54:41

Also, your parents may come round once you have separated. If you can face seeing them, they can help, and both them and yr DCs may benefit from the relationship. Keep the sisters on side for now. You really don't deserve any more isolation, and anyway, family are meant to be relations not soul mates.

You are blaming every family member you have. THAT IS FINE - I mean, who wouldn't - BUT bear in mind when you're on the other side of the door you won't be able to do that any more.

DH and your family won't be responsible for your unhappiness any longer. You'll have to let go of a lot of the blaming - speaking as a terrific blamer, I know how annoying that is to hear, but in the long term one feels much better. Scary, yes, but a brilliant chance to start anew.

You're going to have to make a go of a new life yourself. So spend time now working out what you want before you slip away. You are very alone, and it's hard - be nice to yourself

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 22:02:30

Thank you corygal, I'm hoping to have an appointment in place with the college next week. I will definitely take seriously the advice about putting money away.
FWIW, I came on to Mumsnet to ask for advice because I find it so hard to speak to anyone in real life about my problems, I've kept it in for so long that its beginning to damage me in ways I could never have imagined. My GP wanted to prescribe anti-depressants but I took the counselling route instead which really helped. I have also recently been diagnosed with an underlying health condition that I know deep down stems from this misery.

Silibilimili Sat 03-Nov-12 22:21:45

Also, another way to look at this is, this can happen to white/non Asian/ non arranged marriage situations too. Leave the reasons aside. White men can be like this too. This has nothing to do with the guy being from Pakistan. You can get white guys who do not want to continue to grow. It is more relevant from reading your post that you do not find him attractive. It is tough being on your own. Specially with little money and 2 kids. I am not trying to put you off the path that you may decide to take but just pointing out that within a marriage and outside of a marriage, in life in general, it is up to you to make yourself happy. Someone else cannot do this for you, nor take it away. Do not expect to be 'happy' unless you put in an effort to be after separating. Happiness you seek is within you. Hiding somewhere. Coax it out. Secure your children and their future. X

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 22:24:22

Pfff, OP, that's all you need at the moment - an effing health condition. Life on a stick. Maybe now is the time to look on the bright side for a moment:

Yes, the very thought of leaving is knackering. But that is because you are smart and taking it seriously, which is the best possible thing you could be doing right now.

You will survive if you leave your husband.

You may even find yourself feeling better than you could have imagined.... I reckon you will.

You may remarry and have a fantastic second marriage. Whether that happens or not, you're on the way to a miles better second career.

Right now, it's all going in the right direction for you, believe it or not.

Re awful family; yup, the Pakistan trip is pretty bad behaviour by your parents, even allowing for cultural differences, but the awful truth is that parents screw up regardless of yer culture and that. Many parents screw up badly. And thank goodness you're not sitting there saying 'where did i go wrong, I chose that man and it turns out he is not the one'.

I just don't know what to suggest about to how to deal with your parents. Again, regardless of culture, a lot of parents just aren't that supportive - which is rubbish. Grieve for it, but don't spend a lot of time on it. You've got better things to think about.

A lot of the older generation do go in for things like denial of marital problems or endlessly urging unhappy couples to stay together - because that's how fixed their beliefs are. My own mum, who is as English as they come, howls for couples to stay together come what may, which really means she tells the women to put up and shut up. I wince, but it's a generational thing. You don't have to take it seriously. If your parents aren't much good, you're not missing much by not seeing them, to be honest.

To repeat; you're right up against the wall now, but your life is moving to a better place.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 22:26:18

Corygal, I know I am isolating myself, hence my hesitation. I'm puzzled by the family are meant to be relations not soul mates, though.
My parents are both abusive, toxic, misogynistic people. I have been told in no unclear terms the level to which I disgust them and bring shame on the family.

Silibilimili Sat 03-Nov-12 22:33:47

Then it can't get any worse can it zombie? Concentrate on one problem at a time. If they have always been toxic, why do you expect them to change now?! On their view, they brought you up well, found you a lovely husband who has a job and is good to the kids, does not shout, answer back etc, treats you well (in that there is no physical abuse). What more do you need in life?!
See what I mean? So lower your expectations of your relatives and find good friends.

Silibilimili Sat 03-Nov-12 22:37:46

You will need a life overhaul if you take this path. Be prepared for this.
Tackle the depression problem too. Are you talking regular exercise and eating well? Focus on trying to enjoy the little things in life.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 22:40:10

Oh that's APPALLING - I can't believe they said that. A lot of those generational values are very rude, partic to women, and you don't have to put up with that sort of behaviour. Under the very same values, incidentally, your parents have a duty to support you and your grandchildren, which they seem to have conveniently forgotten. Leave them to stew for a bit.

What I mean was re family - you have to take the rough with the smooth, a bit. Don't think that you have to be the same as each other just because you share bits of a genome. Family is an accident of birth, whereas friends are through choice. Given that you, of all people, know rather too much about being yoked up with incompatible people, what I'm saying is that it's probably better not to expect too much from your nearest and dearest. That's so sad, but it's probably easier in the long run.

Mind you, from your last post, I would be tempted to accept that yr parents have moments of being deeply unimpressive and keep away from them for a bit. You're not missing much.

Listaddict Sat 03-Nov-12 22:43:17

Hi zombiemum, I'm in a crappy relationship too and have known I need to get out of it for a long time now. It's easier to stay even though it's shit, and I'm just scared of ... I don't know. Just scared of perhaps, being happy, being unhapy,...
Unlike you I actually chose someone who my family didn't approve of. I gave up everything, not just because of him but because it was easier to with him. I wanted to just be a nothing and it suited me.
I'm not happy and truth be told I was never happy. Like you I'm the one who has to do all the leg work and I fu&&ing resent him for it. I look at other people with envy and think how the hell did I end up with someone who cant even pay a damn bill, how do other people have guys who they can leave to manage stuff in life. My OH has been in and out of prison and is still there now, and still manages to suck the life out of me, even now. (Going to post a thread for help / advice on here soon). I guess like I said, it was just easier to stay and you hope they'll change, and one day miraculously they'll have bought a house, sorted the finances out, planned and booked a holiday, taken care of all the admin stuff, deal with everyone and evrything that needs doing, but really, it won't happen. If they don't give a shit by now, and in your case by 18 years, they never will.
It's hard, especially when you feel like you;re on your own, I'm sat here crying because I have no-one to talk to and know family will think I'm a muppet as I'm constantly fighting with him so they'll think 'here we go again' and I have no friends as I cut them off.
I know someone close to our family who went into an arranged marriage to a professional. Both pakistani. Anyway, depsite leaving school with poor grades, and having a young DD, she left him, did her exams and ended up with a law degree from Cambridge. he had to slum it though. But looks who's laughing now.
It can be done. Maybe not today or tomorrow but you know you deserve better and you know, hopefully, that life can be better without someone leaching it all from you. Be strong. And know you deserve better. Hugs, hugs, hugs.

Silibilimili Sat 03-Nov-12 22:43:25

Life is not all about having an English accent either. It helps to blend in but means nothing. There is nothing to be embarrassed about having a Pakistani accent. Hat if you had married an Italian who after 20 years of living in the uk still has his accent?
The big problem I see in your marriage is that you feel you are doing everything. Do you get any time with each other op? Without the kids? Have you got comfortable in a rut, where the kids Matter and nothing else does?

Silibilimili Sat 03-Nov-12 22:52:01

All I am trying to say is, let go of this cultural bond. It's a great culture but seems it binds you and makes you feel a lot of guilt for wanting to 'live' instead of exist.
You will feel better for it. Sort one thing out at a time. In a book, give yourself aims. Break down the big ones into achievable ones.
Try and I manage what you can control, let other things go. Move away from an Asian area for a while if it means you can have a fresher start. I would plan this out like a project. With a schedule.
At the end of it, you will have a life that is within your control. Your terms.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 23:09:45

Guys, I had a serious reality check this past year regarding family, I do not expect anything from my parents and only went to them out of desperation.
I must live in a particularly family orientated area, where no matter what, families help each other no matter how badly a son or daughter has behaved-that is what I see around me every day. I know this is not my lot, I accepted that no help would ever be forthcoming in that way aeons ago and that is the reason why I have been stuck in this marriage for so long.
Thanks for clarifying Corygirl.
Silibili we don't have alone time without the kids, no. Even before the kids came along he had absolutely nothing to say. I know I am not the most fun person to be around at times but he doesn't even try. It is the total lack of conversation that frustrates me. The stuff he does come out with is so simplistic and child like it leaves me speechless at times.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 23:09:51

Funnily enough, I don't think you have to let go of any of your cultural allegiances to make a new start.

I just think you have to let go of individual people, which is terribly sad for you and quite enough of a challenge for anyone. But it will bring you to a better place.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 23:15:23

Silibili I am so far from being in an asian area it makes me laugh. I live in a predominately white area and an asian face is rare. I am making some fantastic new friends at college and for the first time in ten years feel like myself again.
I am trying to blend the bost of both cultures for my kids. I am mystified by certain aspects of Pakistani culture and have no desire to live my life in this way.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 23:19:03

How bloody depressing and lonely for you. It must be awful seeing other people in the warm bosom of the family, I must say I do get a pang myself when I see women whose families run to their aid in times of need, or even in times of running out of milk.

Your reaction to your family has been brilliant, I have to say. You have entirely taken on board they're not that sort of family, which is a very brave and hard thing to do, particularly when you're thinking you want to make a move to rescue your life and you need their help to do it. Most people go on desperately banging on the door.

Thing is, you can do this on your own. It's not that unusual either - a hell of a lot of people do set up on their own with their kids without parents on tap 24:7. A lot of parents are too old or too grumpy or too selfish to help. Leaving and setting up afresh remains perfectly possible.

zombiemum Sat 03-Nov-12 23:25:02

Thank you listaddict, I'm so sorry to hear you're going through such a shit time.
I get what people are telling me loud and clear that happiness is within you, no-one else can make you happy if it is not within you already, I totally get that.
I remember someone on Mumsnet saying that sometimes the solution
seems so difficult that the actual problem seems minimal in comparison. Thats how I feel most days. I'm just taking these first tentative steps, testing the water, I know I could not feel any lonlier on my own than I am now.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 23:29:35

Thought for bedtime: get a teeny pic of a house and stick it to the inside of your wallet. Will make you save for the new life that is out there waiting for you to arrive.

I'm off to deal with my cat, who hates fireworks and wants me to get into bed so he can lie on me and relax, which consists of dribbling and ear-splitting purring. Sleep well, OP - you deserve it. Sweet dreams.

Post again if you want to, am here tomorrow morning.

Corygal Sat 03-Nov-12 23:35:49

I know that's what you feel like. Remember that this is the bit of the change that is the dark night of the soul - morning has yet to show its face.

And yes, happiness is within you - but that really means in your case that other people have been not suitable for your life (or would be much good in anyone's, I am sniffily tempted to say) and that you need a change. That's all - it's your surroundings that are the problem, your happiness needs a chance to surface somewhere else.

Sleep well. I must go, the vast feral I call a pet is shredding the duvet.

GeekLove Sun 04-Nov-12 07:43:01

It will be daunting being a single parent but i know several single parents and I am awed at how good they are. Also you are in effect already a single parent since I doubt Mr Stonewall could parent to save his life. Remember he might use sulking and stonewalling as a form of control but have you thought it would be him panicking and shutting down since he is so poorly adapted to family life and life in another country?

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 08:37:42

Thanks Corygal, the days I'm at college I am perfectly happy, the gloom descends when I get home.
I'm stunned by some of the replies I have to admit.
My 'D'H has been here 18 years but has failed to pick up the language skills. He embarrasses me in every social encounter we have at the school. Other couple's conversations flow naturally, when people speak to us they have to slow the conversation right down as they can see he just doesn't understand.
My DH was telling me a girl at work was really rude to him and he was ignoring her now as a result! I was shocked; I advised him to speak to her in private and explain that he did not appreciate being spoken to like that, that what he was doing was unprofessional. His response? He got up and left the room, end of discussion.
GeekLove, it's so obvious isn't it that he just hasn't adapted? I never considered it might be panic, no.
My neighbour introduced her adult daughter to my DH a couple of times which he has a real bee in his bonnet about (bee in bonnet-not an expression he would understand) He gets so agitated that she does this???????? I explained that she was only being polite and courteous, what the hang's wrong with that? She's being friendly, not arranging his fucking marriage, calm the fuck down. He has difficulty relating to women due to his village upbringing.
Despite living in a non-asian area, he has no English friends. His friends are all other Pakistani's from the scattered community here.

droves Sun 04-Nov-12 09:05:51

Bloody hell Zombie .

I don't think I've ever read a thread about such a loveless marriage . Even threads where one person has cheated , there was always love at the beginning , even if it got lost.

You don't even like him .( Being fair ,given that he won't communicate ,he's hardly given you the chance to know him ,never mind form a relationship).

What on earth were your parents thinking matching you with someone so very different in personality ? . Apart from the children you don't have anything in common at all .You poor girl , 18 years of no proper adult conversations's like he's sucked all the fun from your home.

Don't be too disheartened about having no support from your family when you leave him. Loads of women do it ..I did it . I also have toxic mother and father ( Scottish kind of toxic ,like to get violent when the don't get their own way) they wouldn't piss on me if I was on fire ...but I still managed to get away from twatbag ex-h ,with very little money and a lot of determination and a few very good friends.

You need to make a plan . It will see you through the hard bits , just stick to the plan.

Firstly gather as much money as you can and hide it from H .
Then get as much info as you can , lawyers ,tax credits ,housing ect .
Put your name down with the council & look to landlords and estate agents find out how much housing costs near you .
Look into after school clubs for your children if you need childcare
Speak to the college ....they will help if they can.
CSa , you will be entitled to 20% of your Hs income for the children.
You might also be entitled to spousal would advise on that.

Normally I'd say stay in the marital home , but this time I think it would be a lot easier if you just leave the dinosaur there and start again.

I hope you get the freedom you want and have a easy divorce and a long and happy fulfilled life without him , because zombie your lovely and deserve so much more than your getting at the minute.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 09:17:05

Bottom line is I am so frustrated I could scream.
He won't even go shopping for new clothes without hours of hand holding. I barely have the time to shop for new clothes and certainly don't inconvenience others in the process. I am so exhausted from doing everything and on top of that I am expected to spend hours searching for clothes, kids in tow, that when we do find stuff that looks right, he puts it back, I'll get it another time!!!!!!!
He has no interest in clothes and happily walks around looking like a tramp. I ordered a whole load of stuff from the Next sale last year which he tried on at home and kept loads at my insistence. I was forced to take control of that one too because again, his whole appearance was an embarassment and he wouldn't do anything about it. He desperately needs new jeans, tops and stuff again but just ignores me when I say. Its just so pathetic.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 09:22:53

OMG droves, it's clear as day isn't it that I don't even like him........I'm in tears again. I had myself convinced for so many years that he was just adjusting, would get there in the end, what a fool.

Mollydoggerson Sun 04-Nov-12 09:30:19

I have no advice, but just wanted to say you are strong to face the reality of the situation and you will find a way out. You have to look out for yourself.

Romilly70 Sun 04-Nov-12 09:35:30

Poor you. He just sounds like a stubborn child.
(I do however wonder if he is deeply depressed, but to be honest that is no longer your problem)
Just start making your plans.

Just take it one step at a time and start confiding in your english friends, you will be amazed at how much people are willing to help you if you just ask

droves Sun 04-Nov-12 09:45:02

Zombie , You can do this love .

Dry your tears , your just one step closer to taking charge of your own destiny .

Now repeat after me ....zombie is fabulous and can do anything .

Go look in that mirror and see what an amazingly strong woman you really are .
Trust me when I say you living the hard part , it will only get easier from here on.

There might be a few legal bits to sort , but when that's done , the big weight on your shoulders will lift and you will be so happy you won't recognise yourself ! .


SoSoMamanBebe Sun 04-Nov-12 09:55:12

How do you think he would react if you left him? Would he and your family have issues with izzat?

ZillionChocolate Sun 04-Nov-12 10:07:49

You poor thing. I agree that your white friends won't care how your marriage started. There is no shame in taking steps to make yourself happy. Your children need you to be happy.

I also agree that as a priority you need to work out where you stand financially.

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 10:09:30

Was he brought us as middle class in Pakistan zombie? Where he had everything done for him by his mother or sisters, including buying clothes? He seems incapable for taking responsibility for anything. I have seen this type of behaviour in some indian men. where the women do everything for them.
I have also seen leaving everything to the last minute and then doing just the basic essentials as 'it does not matter'. What's the need etc. no aim in life, just get by. No ambition. Only interest is cricket and politics.
He seems devoid of lust for life. You can't live like this.
You seem to have nothing in common either.
If he is not willing to listen and you have 'spent' already 18 years trying to make thing okay, it's time to move on.
It is okay to do that. No shame in it. But do it the right way. So that you can avoid hopefully on your part the fallout for the Children. The key to that is plan. Plan everything.
Take help where it is given. White or Asian.
Be selfish and get what you want. It's okay to do that short term. Does not make you a bad person.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 11:03:25

DH is home today so I can't get to the computer as much.
OMG silibili, his only interests are cricket and Pakistani politics!!!!!!!!
Yes, he has had EVERYTHING done for him back home.
Droves, thank you for your kind words, thank you. Your description of your parents strikes a chord with me, my parents too are the kind that wouldn't piss on me if I were on fire, I never really had a choice when it came to limiting contact with them and cutting them out: Why would I keep going back for constant validation that I am worthless and useless in their eyes? Why would I allow them the opportunity to raze my self esteem and confidence to ribbons over and over again? In their eyes I can't do right for doing wrong, whilst my younger brother by virtue of being male can do NO wrong and is the light of their life.
As far as finances go, it's going to be tricky. He might a complete buffoon in every area but not when it comes to money and how much I'm spending. We haven't had a holiday for 7 years now because he keeps spending the money in the holiday fund that I had to fight for to get him to set up (that I scrimp and save on everyday essentials to allow that money to be saved every month).
Every Eid he sends money home to his family. Despite both his parents having passed away he still sends money to his married brother with no children who works as an electrician and older sisters. This area of his life is secret and non negotiable, he has made this perfectly clear.
The car needs work, or he argues living costs have risen sharply, which they have I can see that but still..........

GreatAuntMaud Sun 04-Nov-12 12:22:02

Contrary to the others here, I get a completely different impression of things from reading your posts. It sounds like you are embarrassed by this man, maybe rightly, but still, I sense a huge amount of good old-fashioned self-loathing on your part. It looks like your main problem with your H is his ethnicity, specifically his obvious show of it. What is so wrong with having an accent? If, like someone else said, your husband of 20 years was Italian and spoke with that accent would it bother you? Would you expect an adult American man who spent 20 years here to speak like an Englishman? Somehow I doubt it. And do you have to buy his clothes for him? If he was doing this to you, insisting on buying you your clothes, completely against your wishes and taste, wouldn't you shut down against him too? I doubt you'd be full of love for life and wanting to celebrate his birthday and all those other things you say he doesn't do. And really, saying that you'd rather die than admit to your English friends that you had an arranged marriage - you sound like a self-obsessed teenager who wants to appear cool to her mates. I'm sure English people do things that are shameful too. It's not like you're hiding a secret like you don't know who the father of your child is because there were so many contenders, or you married your husband because you were so drunk you thought he was his brother, or something like that (Read Take a Break or something for more ideas). You are ashamed to say that as a young girl you succumbed to pressure from your parents and had an arranged marriage. Really, get some perspective! I don't see any obvious deal-breakers in your marriage, like adultery, violence, drunkenness, refusal to work/earn, being a poor father to your children etc.

I can understand the ethnic self-hatred, given the frankly useless family you grew up with. But I think this has coloured your opinion of your H. It sounds like he has no self-confidence, understandable when you're living your life as a clueless foreigner with someone who thinks you're a buffoon. I do have sympathy for you in spite of how my post reads. It looks like your H and you are not compatible and neither seems to like the other. I think the only way here is to amicably call it a day.

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 12:31:45

zombie, even if you squirrel away Gbp 10 a week, it'll help.
Re the sending money to Pakistan, have you asked him what will become if his children if he can't save for them? Your retirement as a family?
I know of a family whose 'man of house' did the same. Husband and wife worked their arse off here. Had only one child, sent all the spare money to family in Asia. The Asian family lived a nice life while these guys suffered here. Now that the 'man' has retired, he is regretting doing this as his family across the pint spent it all on getting drunk, movie and eating out.
This guy in the uk, although retired, is still in debt.
Doesn't your family know about this (not the other issues as I am sure they won't understand the compatibility and lack of other interests) but the financial issues?

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 12:49:06

I agree with greataunts post.

Romilly70 Sun 04-Nov-12 13:09:11

Great Aunt Maud I think your post is a bit harsh. I don't detect any self-loathing in the OP's post, she is just at the end of her tether in a completely mis-matched cultural marriage. Zombie and her H may be of the same ethnic background but they have been brought up in completely different environments. The H has no reason to change as everything is being done for him and probably realises that the OP has no family support; in fact they are indirectly supporting his attitude.

OP, you need to set up a seperate secret online bank account. Can you change where your child benefit goes to, that you can save that? Anything you can sell?

Although there is no domestic violence, there are elements of emotional abuse in your situation.
I suggest you get in touch with

They support women from asian and afro-caribbean backgrounds in leaving abusive relationships. (I reiterate that I am not accusing your H of DV, but controlling family money, stonewalling when trying to have a conversation are all forms of abuse). I think the Southall Black sisters could help you get your head around the cultural issues relating to the lack of support from family / community.

Zombie, you are only 36 years old. You have already made the brave decision to leave, start putting into place the practical steps. There are other posts in relationships about about the steps before leaving such as photocopying all financial information, important document etc. You should leave copies of all of this with a trusted friend. (Probably one of your English friends from College would be the best bet.) You CAN do all this, be strong

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 13:27:18

I disagree this is domestic abuse. However, I agree this is no way to live. Not for zombie, nor for her dh, who I suspect suffers also from depression.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 13:32:08

GreatAuntMaud I am shocked you would call me a self obsessed teenager! It took a huge amount of guts to come here and lay it out in the open as I keep my feelings bottled up and certainly don't go round gushing to anyone who will listen.
I was looking for perspective and I'm sure getting that!
So its only a valid complaint if he's beating me black and blue? The fact that he is emotionally and financially abusive and controlling is not relevant?
The clothes issue, he has a work uniform, he had so few clothes left hanging in his wardrobe that he started wearing his uniform on his days off......but wouldn't take the time to go shop for new ones without expecting me to accompany him? No I would not like someone choosing my clothes for me because I would get off my backside and go do something about it. Not go round for months and months wearing the same six items of clothing.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 13:42:34

Thank you Romilly, there is no incentive for him to change when I do everything. I have tried every which way but loose to get him to see that I am carrying him in every sense, it is grinding me down and wearing me out. It is like living with a child. He will not change, he has had 18 years to show me what he is capable of and there is nothing forthcoming. I've quite simply had enough now.
Silibili re the money situation, it will never change, he will never see sense and reason cause Lord only knows I've tried, but like I said that part of his life is completely utterly non-negotiable. Sure my family know he sends money back home.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 13:57:33

He keeps a close eye on the child benefit money, knows where every penny goes. I will try and save when and where I can.
It takes a huge amount of guts for a woman with young children to consider such a huge step. I weep for my children and what I am about to inflict on them, they are my achilles heel. I never ever saw myself as someone who was a quitter, I have done everything I can, of that I am satisfied.
I don't want my children to copy our relationship or view it as normal, my DH sucks the joy out of the household when he is here.
GreatAuntMaud thanks for putting the blame onto my shoulders for him being depressed.
Life is what you make it, if I was to move to China tomorrow I would do shit loads of research and know that when I got there that I would have a phenomenal amount of adapting to do. Not just sit there on my lazy arse being enabled and wanting everyone around me to do all the legwork. The first thing I would do before I even got there is start learning Chinese, not sit there feeling sorry for myself that my partner doesn't think much of me.

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 14:10:57

zombie, I don't think anyone is blaming you for your dh being depressed.
He might have seen your family and thought that he is marrying into a traditional Pakistani family and you will be the same.
This can happen in arranged marriages where the people marrying are very different from the families they come from.
I agree re. The English language problem but he seems to be doing well career wise without this so maybe he sees no point in trying harder?!
You will be kinder to yourself if you let go of the resentment and hatred. This means, accept the situation. It has happened. What's the next step? You will be kinder to your Children too if you let this go and thik of the future and not the past.
Re. Money, don't you need any to buy books? Lunch? Some fees? Etc wink
If there is a littlest part of you that wants to salvage this, show him this thread. He can read it at his leisure and think about hat he wants to do.

Abitwobblynow Sun 04-Nov-12 14:11:54

GreatAuntMaud, sheesh!


You seem to have no idea what living in a patriarchal third world is like for women, and what submitting to those values do to a person, and you should be supporting this incredibly brave young woman instead of spouting morally relativistic right-on BS. You are either a muslim in denial or a liberal.

Either way, you aren't listening. Shame on you!

The right-on New Labour party did young Asian women the most enormous disservice when they abolished the strict marriage visa controls set out by the Conservatives (I wonder when voters will be intelligent enough to make the connection between laws and the subsequent headlines they read about, in this case, the meteoric rise in the topics 'forced marriage' and 'honour killings'. Another thing those morons have to apologise for.

motherinferior Sun 04-Nov-12 14:12:51

It's OK just not to want to be married to him, beti grin. As we all know, some - maybe lots of - arranged marriages can work very well in the long term; yours is not making you happy. (FWIW I wouldn't want a bloke like the way he sounds either.)

You're a year younger than I was when I took up with my partner. There's loads to look forward to...and yes, I agree, quite a lot of potential support too.

motherinferior Sun 04-Nov-12 14:13:53

Oh, and I agree about if you move to a country you learn the language and try and negotiate the culture. (My partner and I are both half-Asian, btw.)

DontmindifIdo Sun 04-Nov-12 14:18:39

It sounds like you've tried, and now you've done trying so it's over, your marriage only "works" when you work hard at it. That's not how it should be. The relationship side should be easy. The man in your life should be a support, not another drain.

Other people have given good practical advice, just to say while it's going to be hard to be on your own now, think forward, without your parents or your H in your life, you will only have yourself to look after once your DCs are grown.

Silence Sun 04-Nov-12 14:20:48

I agree with the putting away of money - even a tenner a week will make a difference. and agree with MI on everything she has said

You sound like you are discovering a whole new life at college - I hope you continue to enjoy it and make some real friends

Abitwobblynow Sun 04-Nov-12 14:21:23

I hasten to add that I am not against arranged marriages: they actually have a higher success rate than those based on Western luuuuuurve. And, the careful matching of family values with family values in a loving situation, is why they are so phenomenally successfull.

But let us face it: in this situation the family of origin is dysfunctional cruel and uncaring, and the process treated her as a 'thing', a piece of meat to be parcelled out without consultation. Not a recipe for success. She was not put on this earth to please her family, but to be the best human being she can be, and in this she has my full support. You go, Zombie! I applaud your courage.

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 14:26:56

Arranges marriages are VERY different to forced marriages.
zombies is obviously a forced marriage.

I wish people would not use the term arranged to describe forced marriages.

The success rate of arranged marriages is good. But BECAUSE family backgrounds are similar. How can this be when one is brought up in Pakistan and the other in the uk or USA?

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 14:30:19

Thanks Abitwobbly, thank God someone understands. The way you described being a piece of meat is exactly how I feel.
I don't go around every day focusing on what happened, I wouldn't be able to get out of bed if I did that. Every day is a step in the right direction, every day I am one step closer to my goal of achieving my qualifications and financial independance.
I want desperately to remain on good terms with my DH when we separate. He is the most important person in my life after my kids by virtue of being their DF. He is the only one other than myself who can see how wonderful our kids are and be amazed by them in a way no-one else ever can.
Whether we can achieve this or not remains to be seen, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

GreatAuntMaud Sun 04-Nov-12 14:47:58

Zombie, I didn't "put the blame on your shoulders" for your husband being depressed. In fact I didn't mention him being depressed and I don't think you did either? I do stand by my post though, I do get a different impression of your H than just lazy and calculating but tbh as you never chose him of your own free will you have every right to be resentful. Like I said I do have sympathy for your situation because no one should have to live a life of complete unhapiness with a person they dislike and have nothing in common with.

Abitwobblynow as for "You seem to have no idea what living in a patriarchal third world is like for women". I am a woman, from the patriarchal third world, in an arranged marriage, so I'm going to ignore the rest of your post.

GreatAuntMaud Sun 04-Nov-12 14:50:22

Just seen your last post zombie. I think you have the right attitude there.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 04-Nov-12 14:52:13

I'm divorced.

My marriage was arranged.

I did tell my friends about it, the support and love I got from my friends was deeply touching, not a single person judged me on having had an arranged marriage. One friend even said that mine was unfortunate and a lot of arranged marriages do work, my parents has obviously but crucially my dad and mum treat eachother with love and as partners and equals.

Get friends and support together, you will need it when you divorce.

Try and keep things as amicable as possible when you divorce.

You can't continue living like this.

BessieMcBean Sun 04-Nov-12 14:57:24

Is he depressed? Just brought up in the medieval style of life of some of the asian countries more like.

I wonder what his education was, sounds v lacking to me or maybe he is not bright. Might explain his inability to speak the lanuage after 18 years my god 18years and can't speak the language or adapt to western customs like buying clothes

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 14:58:26

So buying clothes is a western custom?! hmm

GreatAuntMaud Sun 04-Nov-12 15:07:09

Yes in the East we string together leaves to cover our privates unlike you advanced Westerners.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 15:10:23

Despite everything that's happened I have nothing against arranged marriages but would approach them with the same caution I would a raging out of control bonfire.
Silibili you were agreeing with GreatAuntMaud back there, wish you would make your mind up.
AFAIAC mine's was arranged, its only through the recent hoohaa over forced marriages that I realised mine's was forced. Would you like me to change the thread title for clarification?
I realise the majority of arranged marriages are conducted with sensitivity, love and compassion by caring, protective parents- none of those are anything I recognise in my life.
My parents hide behind the repectable cloak of Islam but view their daughters with horror repulsion and revulsion, hot potatoes to be tossed away as quickly as possible with minimum effort.
I am not here to uphold the values of Islam but seek support in finding a solution to my own personal situation. I am alone and will be completely alone when I come out the other side of this and that there is the crux of my hesitation.
I have bent over backwards to accommodate my DS's and keep them in my life but they are in marriages of their own choosing and simply cannot understand what I am going through and quite frankly would rather not be reminded, those doors are still open and will always remain so.
But I cannot tell you how much it hurts to know that no-one cares.
Thank you for all your kind words. I am touched beyond belief.

BessieMcBean Sun 04-Nov-12 15:15:48

Was the DH buying clothes at shops for himself in India or Pakistan when he left, I would guess no, his mother was, or he went to a tailor, or maybe the tailor went to him. If he WAS buying clothes from shops in India or Pakistan regularly 18 years ago then it is an even greater mystery why he can't now.

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 15:32:41

Make up my mind in what zombie?

I agree with the other poster and the gist of her message that there is nothing major like domestic abuse etc, just plain incompatibility at all levels. I also felt that some of the things you are saying are 'unreasonable' like or example the accent issue. It's not a big thing in the overall picture if other things are good. However, the more you share, the more I realise this clearly is not the case.
On the whole I sympathise with your situation. I feel sorry for you and your dh and your kids. It's not a nice place to be in.
I am trying to give you honest balanced advice and not agree and nod with everything you say here. Just trying to put another perspective on your situation.
I won't any more if you dislike people not agreeing with you or pointing out some things I see differently.

As for your thread title, it is up to you what you call it. I just wanted to make this distinction clear when people are posting that most arranged marriages are good!!

crescentmoon Sun 04-Nov-12 15:37:00

Does he get you into debt to send money to his family? I have heard of such cases and would find that unbearable tbh.but otherwise, he is just looking out for his siblings like how you wish your own blood family would look out for you. Perhaps his older sisters in Pakistan are having marriage troubles or need to save to get out of their marriage, in that case yur husband as their wealthy brother is their only recourse as there is no child benefit or welfare system in those countries. Say we have the welfare state as our big brother to fall back on but in those countries there is no welfare state, should he close himself off to their plight? I know it is difficult when you feel you could be living so much better but God Willing, If you work hard and achieve your aims you can attain the lifestyle you wish for yourself.

You say his English is bad but he must be doing ok to have been offered promotions from his bosses yet choosing to turnthem down himself. There are some men who are just not wired that way-perhaps you can incentivise him to work harder and earn more money by saying there will be more to help his famiy. Think on this seriously however, if you divorced him would he stint on sending money to poor relatives to pay maintenance or would he pay the minimum and end up sending his family most of his salary? Currently I would bet at least 80 per cent of his salary goes to your family unit because you are there to advocate for your kids. he is divorced the CSA will only require him to contribute a smaller percentage.

As you said earlier he has two days off a week to look after the kids so you can attend your full time college course. That's great btw, keep on at it. I'd say plan long term.

Get good marks on your course, get on well with teachers so that they k now you and are happy to give you advice and references. Start looking for internships or placements depending on the course you are doing. Go to careers advisors. Seek out networking opportunities, just use this time to devote wholeheartedly to your chosen career. My DH once worked with a doctor who had graduated from medical school at aged 43- if retirement is at age 65/67 you have nearly 30 years of working ahead of you plenty of time to develop any career from scratch to a hgh level.

This is what i would say to my own sister. Currently your DH is at the least, financially supporting you and your children so that allows you to focus on your career.i know you have waited 18 years and if you can bear it I'd say wait a little while longer, else you will be expending too much energy on basic survival- food/shelter/clothes, instead of building the great new career you want to have.

Good luck inshaallah, if you can bear id say play the long game instead. It might ed up being that in finding and making your own goals and accomplishments you will get a sense of fulfillment that you were previously relying on your DH to achieve.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 15:41:15

The buying clothes thing, I buy my dh's clothes. He can't be arsed. But then, he buys the chainsaw replacement and the bits to make shelves for our kitchen. Most importantly though, every morning he brings me a cuppa in bed, and for that, I will happily buy his clothes, underwear, socks and shaving cream.

Honestly, there is so much give and take and compromise involved in marriage. It is worth it only if you care for and respect your spouse. My sis left my dear bil, because they are incompatible and she just doesn't respect him. He is a lovely bloke, still close to our parents and a wonderful father. But Dsis did the right thing for herself, and my niece gets lots of love at both homes.

My parents were completely unsupportive of Dsis. They thought she was crazy to leave him, selfish for not putting the children first etc.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 15:46:05

GreatAuntMaud I'm glad you are happy in your arranged marriage presumably arranged with great care and attention to detail by loving caring parents. Lucky you.
Thanks for negating my suffering into that of a self obsessed teenager with nothing better to do than practice a bit of islam bashing.
Once upon a time I was as passionate about defending my culture and faith as you are now. Not any more.
I realise you cannot bear to hear your culture being bad mouthed in this way. I understand.
Islam has nothing to do with this, it is about a patriarchal culture, uneducated abusive misogynistic parents inflicting damage left, right and centre with no regard for their own flesh and blood.
I cannot even imagine treating my kids like that.

crescentmoon Sun 04-Nov-12 15:48:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 04-Nov-12 15:49:17

All men from back home send money back to support their parents.

The accented English is not something that will change unless he spends lots of time surrounded by English speakers. He might have an accent forever. My dad grew up in England from his early teens, he worked for a merchant bank, he still after retiring has a very slight Indian accent. It's sweet, he's very correct & articulate in his spoken English tho.

You both are clearly not compatible, you need to seek legal advice, I don't think you'd get legal aid for a divorce so try and be as reasonable as possible & attempt to keep things amicable.

Also make sure you're not linked to any debts apart from your joint mortgage, as when you divorce you'll be lumbered with the debts.

suburbophobe Sun 04-Nov-12 15:54:12

You sound like a tower of strength having carried this marriage for 18 years.

The organisation for forced marriage is called Karma Nirvana. I just went to check the website to give you the url but it's been hacked! angry

They're on Facebook tho so you can contact them like that.

Wishing you all the best.

Oh yes, another thing, if or when you do leave please make sure you have the children's passports, if they have them.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 15:56:39

Zombie, I really do feel for you. It must be like one big scream building inside you for 18 years. The anger, the fury, the frustration.

The people you are most angry with are your parents, because they betrayed you. Taking it out on your dh or auntmaude or anyone else will not ease the betrayal. The worst thing is, your parents couldn't give a flying fuck what you do, and so you cannot hurt them back.

It must be gut-wrenching.

I do agree with auntmaude though. I think there are lots of intermingled issues here, and at some point, you will need to sort through them.

If you go to the statelyhome thread, you will find all kinds of emotionally abusive families, across the ethnic, class, religion spectrum. It might provide some emotional balm to see you are not alone. You will come out ok on the other side. You sound like a strong, spirited person. Lots of best wishes to you.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 16:30:35

Thanks flatbread, now I'm emotionally unstable too into the bargain, cheers!
"It must be like one big scream building inside you for 18 years. The anger, the fury, the frustration."

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 16:36:44

Why could I want to hurt my parents back flatbread?
Do I sound like I have the energy for more drama in my life?

I have no desire to hurt my parents, whats done is done, they stay out of my life all will be well. I'm trying navigate a path through all this shit, this is more than just a guy having a slight accent FFS.

Silence Sun 04-Nov-12 16:40:23

Zombie - I find the best way is to ignore the silly remarks and concentrate on the decent ones.
On a forum as large as this there are bound to be a few - smile

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 16:47:24

Sorry Zombie. Maybe I was projecting. I went through a bad patch for seven years where I moved to a new country for dh where I literally knew no one. Plus I had given up my job for the move. I felt trapped and could just feel a scream building inside me. I felt deeply confused, angry and claustrophobic. The worst was I could see no way out, except adjusting my personality and ambition in making it work.

We have moved on and have a good marriage now. But I remember how much I hated him, my life, my situation. Luckily he was willing to fight for our marriage and make it work.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 16:51:43

And tbh, I think you do sound very angry, stressed and out of balance, which is natural. Not sure though why you are getting angry at posters who are providing you their own perspectives and experiences.

No one is being malicious here.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 17:04:46

And Zombie, just to provide you one more perspective you may not appreciate.

My experience of anger and claustrophobia came from a situation similar to your dh's, in a way. I moved to a new continent for my dh. I had to learn a new language and a new culture. He, on the the hand, was within his comfort zone. I hugely resented him for that.

Everything was new to me, especially the cultural nuances, and I felt like an outsider, a nobody. I was in a very successful career and I left that and moved for him. There were years I was seriously depressed, couldn't get off the couch. DH would come home after a long day and clean and make dinner, because I couldn't care less.

It worked out because dh was very patient and pulled be along till I found my own feet. And at core, we loved and respected each other and wanted to make it work.

Cross-continent marriages come with so many problems, especially if one partner is moving to the other one's home territory.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 17:31:32

With all due respect Flatbread, 18 years is a long time.

I have tried everything.

Where there is no communication, only silence, there can be no progress.

You both sound like equals. We are completely mismatched at every level.

I have tried with my heart and soul to make it work.

I'm not getting angry, I'm curious as to why you would think I would wish to hurt people that have hurt me? What would I gain from that?

GreatAuntMaud Sun 04-Nov-12 17:32:18

"GreatAuntMaud I'm glad you are happy in your arranged marriage presumably arranged with great care and attention to detail by loving caring parents. Lucky you.
Thanks for negating my suffering into that of a self obsessed teenager with nothing better to do than practice a bit of islam bashing.
Once upon a time I was as passionate about defending my culture and faith as you are now. Not any more.
I realise you cannot bear to hear your culture being bad mouthed in this way. I understand.
Islam has nothing to do with this, it is about a patriarchal culture, uneducated abusive misogynistic parents inflicting damage left, right and centre with no regard for their own flesh and blood.
I cannot even imagine treating my kids like that."

Well now you've made me quite angry at your false assumptions. Where did I say that you had "nothing better to do than practice a bit of islam bashing."? I didn't even so much as mention Islam. As for defending my culture and not bearing to hear my culture being bad mouthed in this way, I AM NOT A PAKISTANI, SO I AM SORRY BUT I DON'T GIVE A MONKEY'S ABOUT YOUR CULTURE BEING BAD MOUTHED. I don't even come from a Muslim country so you can stop flattering yourself that I am defending the culture that you yourself seem to dislike. angry

GeekLove Sun 04-Nov-12 17:42:52

Zombiemum hope you are ok. Please ignore the bun fighting it looks like some haven't read all your OP.
Maybe you could try MN local and see if there anyone local although it still is under development.

As for your marriage its not like he checked out more like he never checked in. He sounds like someone who sees you as a person and a vessel and he probably resents the fact you DO have a plan for life. You can mix and be friends with people from both communities. He resents your strength and initiative because he expects to have it all done for him. As a result he has ended up with learned helplessness which you have unwittingly enabled. I know how exhuasting it is being a cheerleader ALL THE TIME ( have memoirs of holding xbfs hand on going to the Job Centre, writing a CV, getting a counceling appointment ).
Time to invest energy to yourself and family. Think about where you want to be in a years time.
Also you need to check on what exactly your marriage status is before you start any proceedings.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 17:45:08

Abitwobblynow as for "You seem to have no idea what living in a patriarchal third world is like for women".
Your words GreatAuntMaude: "I am a woman, from the patriarchal third world, in an arranged marriage, so I'm going to ignore the rest of your post. "

Not your words? Yes? No? Maybe?

My apologies, when you said you were a woman from the patriarchal third world in an arranged marriage, I thought you were muslim in an arranged marriage.

Anyone else confused by GreatAuntMaude?

GeekLove Sun 04-Nov-12 17:49:57

I am also confused by Great Aunt Maude too. Hope you are able to get some useful info from this thread.

GreatAuntMaud Sun 04-Nov-12 17:51:38

Did you think that coming from a Third World country meant you are a Muslim? hmm. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Especially at the "Anyone else confused by GreatAuntMaud?" comment. FYI I'm from Sri Lanka.

I don't think my conversation is adding anything helpful to your situation so I'm out. I wish you all the best.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 17:53:13

GeeklLove, so true I could cry.

"He never checked in"

He didn't, he never checked in.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 18:00:54


My apologies; I'm glad you are happy with your arrangement and wish you all the best. But you insinuated a lot when you described me as a self obsessed teenager. Maybe my story seems so off the chart unbelievable to you that you compared it to something out of 'Take A Break' magazine.

You couldn't make this shit up, trust me.

Romilly70 Sun 04-Nov-12 18:03:28

Zombie, you do sound really upset and with 18 years of a (to put it mildly) frustrating marriage and unsupportive parents and sisters to boot it is understandable. I think some of the comments made by posters; you may have misconstrued so try not to get too upset.

This thread has somewhat descended into a bit of culture bashing which is a shame as there has been a lot of very good advice and support for you here too.

I am wondering whether it is worth starting a new thread asking for specific support for a single mum who is looking to continue further education and also how to leave the marriage in as good financial shape as possible.

Then you wouldn't need to mention the cultural origins of your marriage, as to be honest you yourself have drawn a line under your marriage and your parents and I think it is the cultural issues which are getting people all riled.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 18:05:38

Zombie, I am not saying you should make it work. Not at all. It seems both of you are incompatible.

Regarding hurting your parents, I worded it badly but I meant making them feel/acknowledge the pain they have caused. Really feel your distress and realise the enormity of their stubborn, thoughtless actions. The impact it is having on four lives, two of which are fully innocent in this mess. If your parents don't care and are not sorry at all, how do you get emotional closure regarding what they did to you...

Like I said before, I wish you all the best. You seem like a strong, determined person.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 18:42:11

If you cut-out the Islam/Pakistani bit, you are left with a cross-continental marriage which itself is fraught. Add in different languages and vastly different cultures, and it becomes even more difficult.

I moved from the US to France. Sounds easy? It has been bloody difficult. I find the language maddening, the culture isolating, the food bland, the shopping dismal and I could go on and on. I especially hate the fact people look at dh and answer when I ask a question and that I sound like an imbecile sometimes because I don't know the language nuances. (And I can sense dh inwardly wincing or embarrassed about it). I have a PhD from any ivy league university, for god's sake! And yet, so often, I feel invisible, an appendage to dh...

My neighbours (and my sanity-savers) are a French-American couple. She is French and her husband is American. He has lived in France for 30 plus years and you know he is an American from a mile off. He has a lovely nasal/ Bostonian twang and he still prefers to read/speak in English. My French is not tip-top, but at least I am getting the accent right while he goes on oblivious to his strong drawl. I have seen some French people snigger when he speaks, which is very mean. It is such a relief for me to speak with him, have common reference points and just feel completely comfortable.

It is bloody hard being a foreigner, especially when your spouse 'gets it all' effortlessly. I have a theory that two people from different cultures should live in a third, far-flung country where they both have to struggle with the basics. Otherwise it is so easy for the resentment to build up on both sides.

Abitwobblynow Sun 04-Nov-12 18:54:47

"Arranges marriages are VERY different to forced marriages.
zombies is obviously a forced marriage.

I wish people would not use the term arranged to describe forced marriages."

Well said, Sili. That is absolutely the distinction.

There is a lovely muslim comedy made in South Africa, called Materiaal, where the frustrated hero says 'I want to marry her' and the grumpy father says 'you don't just marry her, you marry the whole family'.

ABSOLUTELY TRUE! Because 'the whole family' means the culture of that family, the way they deal with problems, how they approach difficulties (and he WILL revert to this). I think this is something every girl (qualification required: human being) needs to be told. [When I met my MIL I should have run!].

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 18:56:18

flatbread, you are so right. It is worse when it Is considered funny/uncool to have an accent from India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka/Bangladesh.

op I see your irritation even in your posts to people who are trying to understand/advice etc. is this how you are like at home too? With you kids? That also must make you miserable.
I think for your sanity, you need to share all this with a real person in real life that you trust not to be judgemental.
18 years of little niggles that mount up are not good for your health not your DCs.

Flatbread Sun 04-Nov-12 20:28:22

I know, Sili.

The funny thing is, the people who were sniggering don't really speak English at all (They live in our neighbourhood and I have helped with their son's English homework). Yet they thought it was ok to snigger at someone who made an effort to be bilingual.

Corygal Sun 04-Nov-12 20:35:36

Zombie, been thinking of you. Internet no good today for me. I'm not surprised you're tetchy - who wouldn't be.

People on here get very worked up about the nitty gritty of cultural issues, which in other circs would be great but here leads to sidelining you and the main issues, your wellbeing and the solutions you so urgently need. Rudeness to you as a result is adding insult to injury, by the way.

I know it's hard & I do get you - you've just got to get out, and you know that. Start saving, and getting advice IRL.

zombiemum Sun 04-Nov-12 22:49:57

I am gobsmacked, utterly gobsmacked that everyone has focused and homed in on the accent and ignored everything else.

I think I seriously need to consider moving IN to an asian area, make life easier.

There is no domestic violence therefore your feelings are invalid Zombie, go away, make yourself useful and stop whining.

Arranged marriages are wonderful, stop badmouthing them.

When I see successful people in all walks of life living life, going after their goals, having fun, being fully functioning independant capable adults it fills me with admiration and an accent makes that person even more interesting and more cause for admiration. I take my hat off to them.

My Dh is none of the above. Posters have insinuated that I am to blame for his depression and lack of motivation.

When he first came here I suggested it would be wise to enrol on an English as a second language course, get to know the culture, the lay of the land so to speak but he wasn't interested. Wanted to get straight to work so he could start sending money home. I was working full time and was perfectly able to support him for the duration of the course.

I know now that you cannot change a person, they are what they are. The person you have in front of you is all you have to work with, accept it or move on. I have decided to move on as I cannot accept that this is my life for the remainder of my days.

SoSoMamanBebe Sun 04-Nov-12 23:13:39

Zombie, honestly? Keep it together and plan your safe exit. This is the internet. Some folks are mad, bad and dangerous to know. Call for help and get some sensible advice from a prof.

Silibilimili Sun 04-Nov-12 23:47:31

zombie, I would look into how to get your divorce as a first measure. Does it have to be done in pakistan? British friend of mine who got married in India had to go to India 2x for his divorce. What is the procedure?
Who would look after your kids if you had to go? Will they be safe if you ale them there? How safe will you be from his relatives?

Good luck. Wish you well.

zombie I've been lurking since the beginning of your thread and have been wanting to post and have finally worked up the courage to do so.

I too had a forced marriage when I was 17 yrs old and taken to India for what was meant to be a holiday. When I found out what my parents had planned I went on hunger strike, I'm a greedy fucker though so only managed a few days cut myself, tried to ring the Police in the UK...anything to avoid being married off to an uneducated man 9 years older than me.

My plan was to get back to the UK and do a runner but by the time I got back I was pregnant and beaten down and thought that I had to accept my fate.

The marriage was horrific, domestic violence, emotional and financial abuse. All our money went to his family in India...all of it. I worked like a donkey, doing manual labour, sometimes 7 days a week and struggled to buy things for my 2 children (I had 2 by then), but ALL our money went on his family in India who were living it large with the money I earned whilst I struggled to feed my children.

I had asked my family for help in the early years and was very quickly put in my place, I don't blame my mum, she was as much a victim of my psychotic father as I was.

Anyway...the point of me telling you my story is:

1. I get the whole 'being embarrassed about the accent' thing. I too was deeply embarrassed by the way my ex-h talked, behaved, dressed etc. That isn't because we're heartless bitches, it's because we were forced into this weird relationship with someone you don't love. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it properly, let me try again, it's because there's no love there that every little thing that you would usually find endearing in a 'normal' relationship is highly irritating and frustrating instead.

2. I have now been divorced for 12 years after 12 years of wasting my life. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I did not have the balls to end it earlier, I thought I'd be scarring my children by exposing them to divorce and was scared I wouldn't cope as a single parent. In the end I walked away with nothing, just a few clothes for us and some toys for the children.

3. Since then, I have completed an undergraduate degree, a post grad degree, qualified in a highly regarded profession and am currently doing my masters. I achieved this on my own, with little assistance, no family guidance and even less money.

4.During my marriage I went to India twice and was always sad that I would never have the chance to see another part of the world. My ex only ever wanted to spend money on going to India. In the last few years I have been away on some amazing holidays and seen and done things I never ever imagined I would.

5.It wasn't until last year, after 11 years of being divorced that it actually occurred to me that what had happened to me was a 'forced marriage'. I'm not sure why that realisation took so long, maybe I was culturally brain washed?

6.I am now in a happy relationship and have been for a few years to a man who is Muslim but was born and brought up here. Incidentally, he was also forced into an arranged marriage at 17 years old, yes it happens to young men too! I can't begin to explain how different it is to be with someone you love, someone you have chosen for yourself. We can talk and debate and sing songs together! We can watch the telly together and laugh at the same jokes! We can argue about politics, religion, the price of name it.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is...I get it and even though you're marriage doesn't have the same issues that mine did, I understand that hollow feeling you have inside you when you feel alone and the yearning that somewhere out there, there is someone who truly loves you and you love back and the stunned acceptance that even if that person knocked on your door tonight there's nothing you can do because you're trapped in a situation that someone else forced you into.

So... Plan your exit carefully, make your move when it suits you but DO get out and start to live the rest of your life the way you would have chosen to live it. You can do it.

Crikey!...that was a bit long! shock blush

Flatbread Mon 05-Nov-12 07:50:52

it's because there's no love there that every little thing that you would usually find endearing in a 'normal' relationship is highly irritating and frustrating instead


What struck me though, is how OP only seems to see things from her perspective without even acknowledging that others might have validity.

She has dismissed her husband as being lazy for not adapting culturally. Does she really think it is so easy to fit into a foreign culture and language? How many countries has she lived in exactly, that she is so contemptuous of the efforts her husband has made and deems them inadequate?

She keeps saying how she was forced, but what about her husband? Did he have a real choice? Was he forced by family pressures and financial need? It must have been frightening for him too, coming to a new country, having to find a job, learn a new language and adjusting to a marriage with a partner who resented him.

I don't see anyone on this thread telling OP to stay married to this guy. But at some point she has to let go of this anger. And part of it might be seeing things from his perspective.

Abitwobblynow Mon 05-Nov-12 08:00:22

WELL SAID, Garam. PS I agree that the educated people of India and Africa are more educated than the English!

This isn't, as Zombie says, about accents and whether arranged marriages are good or not - those are defensive side-shows.

Look, I think people really need to cut the cackle.

I get completely fed up of right-on, liberal white people who APOLOGISE for their culture and PRETEND that other cultures are 'as good as' theirs is. Right-on, super-liberal multi-culti deceitful patronising self-hating BS.
Equally, I despise other cultures who go on a victim-party whilst completely denying what is wrong with their cultures which failed them (politically and economically) and required them TO VOTE WITH THEIR FEET TOWARDS THE WEST.

Come on, let's stop lying! I come from Africa. Let us tell a few truths:

Some of the self-indulence of the West cause them huge problems. The West (especially Britain) in my opinion is Godless, licentious, and lost. It surprises me not at all that Western youth, despite all their frantic partying and hanging it all out, report deep feelings of emptiness and have the highest rate of depression. Their souls are not filled by all this materialism and ease of life.

Africans have a real problem with the misuse of political and economic power which results in grinding poverty and misery for the people.

Muslims have some severe internal splits which they deny and project onto the West. It doesn't work, and only when Islam starts debating stuff honestly will these things be resolved. I mean, come on! Wahhabi, Sunni/Shia etc are NOT WESTERN PROBLEMS.

Non-Western cultures - African, Indian, muslim etc. - are severely patriarchal and harm themselves immeasurably with this DEVALUING of half their population.

The Pakistani practice of endlessly marrying cousins and the Indian and Chinese practise of aborting females is just obviously, plainly, fucking stupid. The Almighty Our Creator, sits and waits for us sinful humans to reap our own consequences. Which are: increasing genetic and mental problems, and who are all those little princes going to marry? The mills of God grind slow, but they grind!

BUT: bottom line, and let's stop lying about this - the 100s of years of civil war and upheaval and revolution the countries of the West have gone through has shaped and created INSTITUTIONS that are vital and WHY the West works in a way the rest of the world doesn't. Rule of law. Freedom of speech. Independence of the judiciary. Education. Patent laws. Intellectual property. You might not have thought about these issues at all, ever; but they create the situation in which jobs and freedom and safety and consistency HAPPEN, and they are why you, your people, and your ancestors (me too) VOTED WITH OUR FEET. We are here because OUR COUNTRIES AND CULTURES FAILED US.

Bottom line! It is time we stopped being victims and defensive about our cultures, and told people who are not grateful to be here to either fit in or go home, and it is time English people stopped pretending their institutions are not superior.

Back to Zombie's dilemma, which is real and involves human beings doing things wrong!

Abitwobblynow Mon 05-Nov-12 08:05:31

sorry, could I add to the end of the sentence about Africans: misery for the people - which of course, they blame on 'colonialism' and 'imperialism' ie the West and white people. After 60 years this is getting really lame.

Romilly70 Mon 05-Nov-12 08:15:56

Blimey, this thread has really stopped being anything to do with the OP's original dilemma and a lot of culture bashing and projection of poster's own issues onto the OP.

Zombie, I really do think you should take what is good from this thread and perhaps repost under another name about leaving and the help you need, without reference to all the cultural issues which are really a bot of a red herring.

good luck!

Flatbread Mon 05-Nov-12 09:49:52

Romilly, are the cultural issues just a red herring? 

It is clear that OP 'looks down' at her husband. He is just not good enough for her. And there is a cultural element to this, for sure, from OP's posts - 
"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."

"My 'D'H has been here 18 years but has failed to pick up the language skills. He embarrasses me in every social encounter we have at the school. Other couple's conversations flow naturally, when people speak to us they have to slow the conversation right down as they can see he just doesn't understand."

"He might a complete buffoon in every area but not when it comes to money and how much I'm spending" 

"Despite living in a non-asian area, he has no English friends. His friends are all other Pakistani's from the scattered community here."

He may well be a laid-back underachiever, but honestly, I would say OP shows an appalling lack of sensitivity to her husbands situation as a migrant.  If she bothered to read any account of people who move to new countries, with new languages, she would find that lots of people have difficulty learning the language, especially nuances. She made some snide comment about her husband not understanding 'bee in her bonnet'. I would be surprised if OP could get subtle cultural references in mandarin, even if she had lived there for 18 years.  My friends who have moved to China and married local Chinese women definitely feel like foreigners in many ways and usually hang out with expat friends. Nothing new there.
And most bizarre of all, this -
"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."

Who are these 'English' friends? Are only white UK nationals 'English'? And why is OP so keen to win their approval that she would 'die of shame' if they disapproved of the cultural origins of her marriage? 


fuzzywuzzy Mon 05-Nov-12 10:05:36

They are both clearly incompatible.

OP is unhappy and does not wish to be married to him. I think that is enough to be honest.

And he sounds exhausting. It's something else when you have a grounding of mutual love and repsect within your marriage, but OP's relationship does not seem to have that, from either side, her husband sulks when they have arguments yet he still expects sex!

It's not a crime not to find someone attractive, by all accounts it does not sound like OP would have chosen this man for herself had she been given the choice.

After 18 years of such a marriage, anyone would feel traumatised, OP's feelings of shame are her feelings. She doesn't need to be ashamed her friends will understand I'm sure. But she doesn't need to justify her feelings either IMHO.

I dont think we are placed to berate her for feeling how she does. None of us are living her life.

OP, start squirrelling money away, keep a very close eye on bank accounts, ensure you are not named as co-signatory on any debts except the mortgage. Remove passports and birth certificates to a safe place. Obtain your husbands NI number and work address and details as you will need these if you apply for CSA for your children (you can apply without them but its faster if you have this).
I'd also get counselling, you appear to be suffering a great deal and doing it alone, nobody can function like that.
also look around for housing how much it would cost etc to get an idea of the target amount you need to save to leave. Make an appointment with your local CAB and find out what you would get in benefits if you left. Make an appointment with a solicitor and see what they say abotu divorce proceedigns and what they tihnk you would realistically get.

Hope for an amicable parting, but prepare for fight.

zombiemum Mon 05-Nov-12 11:49:13

You’re right Flatbread, I didn’t go into a blow by blow account of the years and years I’ve spent WAITING patiently for him to adjust. To point out resources available that would help, to guide him in every aspect and every last detail of his life. Hoping and waiting.

Staying silent for fear of hurting his ego; every attempt that I or my family members made (my brother especially) to help him improve his language skills were shunned with horror (why? fuck knows). Because in the early days we were one big dysfunctional family, we kinda helped each other. It was my brother that would harp on at me about his ‘simplicity’ and how I ‘needed’ to get him into college, whereas I kept reassuring him that he would learn, he would get there in the end, that ‘at the moment’ he just wasn’t trying. ‘At the moment’ has turned into 18 years.


I have been to Pakistan several times and within weeks was speaking fluent Urdu, reading road signs, the newspaper, when it is not a dialect I am familiar with.

We used to write letters to each other in the beginning (no email, texts back then, just good old fashioned letters). He would complain he couldn’t read my letters in English-so guess what Flatbread? I learned to read and write Urdu, something I am had no experience of previously. He then asked me who was writing these letters for me because he didn’t believe it was me. I took my sorry ass off to an evening class and passed a fucking GCSE in Urdu, got an A. I practiced and practiced my handwriting skills. I put in the f***ing work because it MATTERED, it was important to our future that we were able to communicate.

18 YEARS HAVE PASSED. He never checked in to our marriage for me to be able to locate a point at which he may have checked out. Right from the get go he was SILENT and UNCOMMUNICATIVE and I spent YEARS blaming myself that I wasn’t good enough.

It is clear that OP 'looks down' at her husband. He is just not good enough for her.

Really? You reckon? HELL YES, I AM EMBARRASSED - so F***ING SHOOT ME!

I live in a white English community, there ARE NO black or Asian faces here. THIS IS my community, HERE, where I live. Not f***ing Southall, or Birmingham, and this is what I call home. I would like to ‘fit in’ to my little community if that’s alright with you Flatbread? I am trying to make new friends, network, get out more, I don’t have a pool of multi-culturalism going on here to take my pick from.

You clearly have some serious anger issues Flatbread that you need professional help for. Stop projecting your shit on to me. Get some counselling because you’re like a dog with a bone.

EscapeInTheCity Mon 05-Nov-12 12:08:37

zombie I think you are totally right.
I am not english, have lived here for 15 years. It took me about 1 year to be able to understand everyone (by that I mean also be able to understand people with a strong scottish accent, being able to listen to Emmerdale and the like and get' all the slang and so on).
I have (albeit shortly) lived in Poland too. And I learn polish. Enough that I could sort of communicate with people there within a few months. I would expect that I wuld have been fluent if I had stayed 18 years there (not the least so I could communicate with my own dcs, support them at school talk to their teachers/friends, get my own friends etc...)

When you move to another country, the least you can do is learn the language of that country. I really think it's a minimum.

On the top of that, I think you have the really big issue of having brought up in the UK to to feel completely at ease here. Obviously, it's not a criticism but it means that your values are very very different from the ones of your DH. You want to 'fit in' your community, you know you actually do fit in but your DH doesn't (and doesn't seem to want to).
Yes he might have been forced to come to the UK. Just as the OP has been forced to marry him. At which point is it OK to say, 'I was forced to do X but I have decided not to do it anymore'.
If this is such an issue for the OP's DH, if he is struggling so much to adapt, why is he not going back to his country?
If the OP feels she has given her best go at making this marriage work and it's not working for her, why should she accept it 'Because it must be hard for her DH to be in a foreign country'?

You get the life you choose. At every point in life, you have a choice.

EscapeInTheCity Mon 05-Nov-12 12:18:37

Flatbread, I would disagree with your experience of living abroad.
1- You can get the nuances, believe me you can. There might be always some little things you didn't know but nothing is stopping you from learning those as you go along (just as even as an english person, I am sure there are some expressions you don't know about). The OP is talking about someone who hasn't moved from a level similar to primary school age children. Not quite the same than 'not getting small nuances'
2- Yes some foreigners choose to mix mainly with expats. That doesn't mean that they have to or that they are right to do so. Being in China as a Westerner means facing racism (quite a lot) and being clearly a foreigner which are clear stumbling blocks. But these aren't there for the OP's DH. There are enough asian people in the UK that her DH doesn't stand out as 'obviously a foreigner'.
but in any case, the only way to be integrated is to mix with 'the locals'. You do need to make the effort though and that usually start with having a good handle of the language.
3- Unlike your example, the OP probably has a quite good understanding of the culture and nuances of her DH culture because of her own background (ie being bicultural). So she doesn't need to learn a lot of the things we would need to learn.
4- Have you actually lived abroad yourself and tried to be part of the local life, not living just as an expat?

Flatbread Mon 05-Nov-12 12:20:59

I live in a white English community, there ARE NO black or Asian faces here

Hey, I am a non-white American in a totally white area in my adopted country. But unlike you, I don't have issues with it or a desire to win validation from the 'white' community. If anyone looked down their nose at me, they would get a kick on their arse rather than any brown-nosing to win their approval and 'fit-in'

And my white American friends in China? Yup, they are a very small minority as well. But somehow, people just put up with their weird foreigner/ Guaillo ways. As far as I know, people don't look down their nose at them either.

There is only one person in this thread who has shown serious anger issues. And no prizes for guessing who it is. For your own sake I hope you can work through it and your cultural/racial baggage

EscapeInTheCity Mon 05-Nov-12 12:25:32

So Flatbread, are you saying that you don't get all the nuances of the english language too?

And why is it that you don't feel you need 'validation'? Is it because you actually don't really feel you belong to the UK unlike the OP who has been living here all her life and wants to feel included and belonging to that group?

that's not about skin colour issue, that's about the feeling on 'this is where I belong'.

EscapeInTheCity Mon 05-Nov-12 12:28:20

Also remember, the UK is NOT her adopted country. It is HER country, the one where she grew up, the one that she has learnt and adopted the values from.

As it happens these values are clashing with the ones of her husband (and the ones that were her family's too).
It's not unusual for bi-cultural children, especially when there is such a big discrepancy and is a different matter to having moved to another country.

Flatbread Mon 05-Nov-12 12:44:04

Have you actually lived abroad yourself and tried to be part of the local life, not living just as an expat?

Escape, if this was to me, I have lived in three continents and five countries. Lived, not visited. DH has done the same or a bit less. Dh and I come from different parts of the world, different race, culture, language. And our closest friends are people who have similar mixed backgrounds. So yes, mostly an expat community where ever we have been. There are just more shared reference points with people who are as international as us.

I mean this is nothing new. There are loads of people who have written about the displacement about being a foreigner. Straddling two or more countries and in some ways being a stranger to each, because you no longer fully fit in anywhere.

Regarding the language thing, some people are good with languages, others are not. So what? It doesn't make them 'buffoons'. If that was the case, most of the British expat community where I live would be buffoons as many of them cannot order more than a drink in French, and they all hang out with each other, within their comfort zone. (though in OP's case he mustn't be that bad since he found a job and was offered a promotion)

I think we all get that OP and her husband are incompatible. And that she should call it quits. But the contemptuous and demeaning way she talks about husband's efforts to adapt to a new culture is quite shock Obviously all her consideration and fawning is for her 'English' friends with whom she so desperately wants to fit in.

EscapeInTheCity Mon 05-Nov-12 12:59:36

I am sorry but I think english people who live in France and can't even order a drink ARE buffoons. Just as a french person living in the uk but not speaking enough english to order a pint would be a buffoon (but strangely you never really hear that sort of story)

It's easy to live in another country within the expat community. There is little connexion with the people in that country, no risk of having to modify your behaviour to fit in. When you do move to another country, with no family around and get married to someone there, then the least you can do is 'get out there' be part of the wider community, not just the expats.

And his efforts are lame tbh. I have expected my DH to learn my home language even though he as 1- no interest at all in languages and isn't good at them and 2- he is never ever going to live in my home country. And he has because 1- he then can understand me and the dcs we speak in my mother tongue and 2- he can be part of whatever is happening when we are together with my family.
I think it's the least he could have done.

Interesting though that you find it difficult to adapt to new cultures etc.. when you have been travelling so much. And that you find that being part of the expat community is 'the norm' because 'it's so hard'.
Even though there are many many people who live in bicultural/binational marriage who have found this is NOT necessary and that you can adapt quite well to a new culture (especially when it's the same one for such a long time).

Note the 'not fully fitting anywhere' doesn't mean you should stop connecting with people from that country. And it is even more the case for children who have been brought up in multicultural environment. Have you given some clack to the OP about her own difficult position, being brought up by parents with a different culture than the one of her environment and how difficult it will be for her to manage expectations from 2 different cultures etc..? Have you though about difficult it can be for her too to fit in that cultural difference?

EscapeInTheCity Mon 05-Nov-12 13:01:44

BTW, the OP IS English! That's her culture reference. She feels she doesn't fit in because she cannot 'be' the way she wants because she has to adapt to the culture of her DH that are different from hers and from her country.
It's different from wanting to fit as desperation which seems to be the way you've taken it.

zombiemum Mon 05-Nov-12 13:24:27

Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Every bit of it resonates, I am in awe. I am so glad you have found peace and are an inspiration, truly.

Abitwobblynow Mon 05-Nov-12 13:46:02

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

zombiemum Mon 05-Nov-12 13:46:29


Thank you for explaining.

There is absolutely no fawning on my part to my English counterparts. None. My friends are my equals. I am not trying to impress anyone and couldn't give a shit if someone doesn't like me. I've already moved on. I have lost count of the number of acquaintences I've dropped when I realised they WERE looking down their nose at me. Na an, go f**k yourselves, I have no time for white superiority and snobbery. And trust me, around here, LOADS.

Growing up, I was not 'allowed' to socialise with my English schoolfriends outside of school. School and home were solar systems apart.

My whole married life I have contended with my DH's disapproval of my friends too. Frankly, I'm sick of it. Sick of being told what to do, who I can and cannot speak to. I am who I am and will not be forced to fit in to this narrow boxed in version of what others want me to be. This is MY life.

I WANT to feel a part of my community. To go to the school and just chat and laugh with the other parent's at Parent's Evenings; THIS is my home, HERE is where I belong and THIS is my community.

Why am I even having to justify this, FFS.

zombiemum Mon 05-Nov-12 13:59:28

Whoa whoa Abitwobblynow

I really don't think thats fair, Romilly never said any such thing! What are you talking about?

A bit harsh to lay all the blame for right-on ultra liberalism at Romilly's feet?!!!!!

Flatbread Mon 05-Nov-12 14:45:28

Zombie, it is fine if you want to leave your husband because you are incompatible or you don't find him atrractive or because you think he is too laid-back regarding his career. This can be the case with any guy, irrespective of where he is from.

The issues about him not speaking English properly, having a South Asian accent and having Pakistani friends and hence not 'assimilating' sounds like stuff from the Daily Fail.

I don't want to get into an argument with you. You are obviously going through a lot and need support. But I would gently point out that not every one who is supporting you is necessarily doing it out of your best interests, but doing it to affirm their own prejudices.

I would suggest you write in a British South Asian forum for support from people who have been in your situation or blank out the cultural/racial stuff and start another thread on MN to get general advice.

nailak Mon 05-Nov-12 17:05:06

*I WANT to feel a part of my community. To go to the school and just chat and laugh with the other parent's at Parent's Evenings; THIS is my home, HERE is where I belong and THIS is my community.

Why am I even having to justify this, FFS.*

I often feel like this! espescially when it comes to threads about hijab and stuff, it is an amazing realisation that in the place you consider your home, and the only home you have ever known, others think it can never truly be your home, and you have to assimilate etc, how can you assimilate in to a place you are already part off?

As for your marriage, have you come up with a plan? 18 years is a long time, and each person knows how much they can bare. If you have had enough, then you don't need to justify your decision to anyone.

and as for you will have no one, feel free to pm me if you want to talk.

Flatbread Mon 05-Nov-12 17:32:45

Nailak, no one is asking the OP to 'assimilate' - it is her own country, and she has all the ease and comfort of being in home territory.

Just questioning why her husband needs to 'assimilate' in a Daily Fail type of way. Surely he has a right as an individual to talk the language he wants and hang out with the friends he wants. Identity is to be celebrated, not hidden like a dirty secret.

If OP finds that shameful and embarrassing, she needs to find out why that is the case. Most people who have a spouse from another country are often irritated by their quirks and can find it a bit isolating having a cultural divide, but rarely find it shameful.

It is ironic that OP wants to be 'herself', but is deeply uncomfortable with her husband being himself.

I am walking away from this thread thinking that racism is well and alive. And sometimes in the places you least expect it to be.

ajuba Mon 05-Nov-12 17:43:04

I think a point that's being missed here is that english is a universal language. It is widely used in Pakistan , so the OPs husband must have had some exposure to it whilst being brought up there. It should therefore not require much effort on his part to become more fluent in it. he obviously just can't be arsed. However, in years to come he will find himself alienated from his children as that will be their first language. Also, agree with abitwobblynow. I also don't tell my english friends that I am married to my first cousin from Pakistan as they would find that a bit ergh, but in no way does that mean I'm trying to impress them. They don't need to know everything about me.

nailak Mon 05-Nov-12 17:54:41

my parents are cousins, i didnt even know this growing up, there were always some confusions when it came to making family trees and all that, and when i figured it out in my teens, i hid it and was ashamed,

in contrast, my husbands bro and his wife are cousins, their kids are in twenties and have always known this, never seen it as something to hide or be ashamed off, and are happy with who they are.

Anyway this has nothing to do with OP.

OP has made her decision, and had EIGHTEEN YEARS to think it through, and try methods of sorting it out.

drizzlecake Mon 05-Nov-12 18:07:07

Not learning the language means you cannot discuss your DCs school work with their teachers and that everything, the council tax, rent, bank etc has to be sorted out by your english speaking partner.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 19:01:09

I think it's fair and well to be liberal and quote the daily fail but the reality is that you need to learn the language of the country you live in.

I think the op is unable to express her thoughts/frustrations as well as someone else might. (Possibly more politically correctly).
Forget about being in a daily fail world, or a politically correct one.
For a marriage to work, a husband and wife need to make an effort to fulfil each others wants, needs and desires. The op clearly fulfilled her part by helping her dh here, doing all the things that need doing, having children etc etc. what has the dh done for her. Kindness and being good to the kids alone is not enough for a marriage. Not the type the opseeks anyway (rightly so).

What type of a life is it when one is not fulfilled sexually, mentally or financially ones partner.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 19:01:52

op, I appreciate your candour and honesty.

Romilly70 Mon 05-Nov-12 19:31:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hope you're ok zombie

I'm sorry you're thread has been hijacked when you're going through such a difficult time already.

There are lots of us here who understand what you're going through and are happy to keep on supporting you.

Thinking of me if you want to.

Abitwobblynow Mon 05-Nov-12 19:48:52

So Romilly why do you undermine and sneer at attempts from Zombie to be an authentic human being then? Why the relativistic 'all cultures are fantastic?' Zombie herself complained about being undermined!

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Nov-12 20:10:30

Evening all,
just a little reminder that we ask people to respect each other, even if they disagree with their opinions. If there's one thing we could all do with it's some moral support

fuzzywuzzy Mon 05-Nov-12 20:15:26

Abit wobbly I don't think she was, She was suggesting that maybe if the OP reposted without the cultural details she might get better advice on how to plan her departure without people getting caught up in the details (which happen to be cultural), as they do not have relevance on helping and supporting OP in her situation.

Regardless of the details, the facts are, OP wants to and needs to leave and is looking for advice and support for this step.

Good luck OP.

Mimishimi Mon 05-Nov-12 20:24:11

What is the fallout with your family, and his, likely to be? On the upside, he does not sound like a jerk, just a mismatch in personalities and temperament. On the downside, obviously you do not want to continue to live like this and it is causing you a great deal of stress. My gut feeling is that you should stay in the marriage and maybe learn to accept that he has strengths ( nice guy, good provider) and he has weaknesses ( unwillingness to learn English). Everyone has them and the next person you meet will too. If there will be no support at all from your family, it could be extremely difficult. Also something to take into consideration is the honour aspect in his family - whilst he might be a nice guy and his immediate family might be okay, is there anyone from the extended family that you might have to worry about taking it upon themselves to defend the family honour ?

ajuba Mon 05-Nov-12 20:38:01

Mimishimi, contrary to what the media may have you believe, not every pakistani family has lunatics waiting in the background ready to carry out honour killings at any hint of family "shame". They may not approve, and be happy about it, but they'll just have to get over it as it's essentially none of their business.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Mon 05-Nov-12 20:44:55

OP it is clear that you are mismatched and in my opinion, without knowing you in real life, it really looks like you need to leave this man. Sorry I don't have more constructive advice. Keep skimming off household money I suppose. Maybe try to get a part time job?
greatauntmaud whether OP has self loathing is irrelevant. I am sorry but unless you are part of a culture where women are traditionally treated as chattel and at best not considered (as her husband does when he sends money home) you cannot slam her with such great authority.
Furthermore please don't underestimate the impact of cultural incompatibility. This man clearly doesn't know how to deal with women.
His causing embarrassment to OP in social situations may not be a big deal to you, but OP has ONE life and to spend all of it with someone who clearly can't understand her or her context and makes such little effort to- that doesn't seem like a situation anyone should have to deal with.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Mon 05-Nov-12 20:47:55

flatbread. I'm sorry but assimilation is important. One can be proud of one's identity but there are people who cannot handle sticking out like sore thumbs. I understand where OP is coming from and to call it a Daily Fail type of emotion is in my respectful opinion, bollocks.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 21:04:55

I don't think flatbread is saying its not important to assimilate. But just trying to point out that people stick to their comfort zone. What they know.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Mon 05-Nov-12 21:07:05

Usually, yes. But that does not a happy marriage make, where the partner is culturally in a different place.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 21:08:36

As an expat, I have done that. Stuck to what I know. Does not mean I did not put in the effort to mix with everyone but just found it easier to mingle with the British. Even if this meant we had nothing in common but the country we came from. It's human nature

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 21:09:08

Exactly zombie2

Mimishimi Mon 05-Nov-12 21:11:57

My husband sends money home. Along with his brother, we built a new house for them. Since any money he sends to rhem comes from what he earns, I have no problems with it whatsoever. They supported him to get him where he is today, they have helped us tremendously with childcare particularly BIL's family, by coming over on 3-6 month visas. We owe it to them. Actually I would feel less respect for my husband if he did not help his parents.

Honour killings are very common. The media is not exaggetating it by reporting cases. Nutjobs in the wings are almost a given, especially in families which are reluctant to learn English.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 21:29:38

mimi I disagree with you. I am not Pakistani to know /confirm what you say but I doubt if ops other half would let her study further if he was that backward.

I would be surprised.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 21:31:18

Please people! Get off the cultural bandwagon and let's look at this rationally instead of scaremongering and stereotyping.

Silibilimili Mon 05-Nov-12 21:40:41

Despite what has happened, op does seen to have some sort of respect for him. In the was she describes his interaction with their kids. It is natural. 18 years is a long time.

I suspect too op that you feel tired and lonely in trying to keep all the plates spinning all the time. It is hard work. No moral, mental or financial support. The constant conflicts. It must be draining. Day in day out.
I disagree with the poster who said stick it out. Can you imagine what it would it be like when the kids are gone and he is older?! op doing the cooking, cleaning, arranging... All day long...
Get out while you can op.

nailak Mon 05-Nov-12 22:24:42

honour killings are not that common imo

just as common as other killing of women,

i suppose depends on your defintion of common?

knackeredknitter Mon 05-Nov-12 23:35:45

OP, I think that your relationship problems stem from the fact that your h seems to care very little about your feelings. He doesn't care about the things you care about to the degree that you feel unsupported and undervalued.
He sends money home to his family without discussing it with you, because he sees you an unimportant, he makes no effort to plan anything because he can't be bothered, refuses to talk about problems in the marriage because he doesn't care that you are unhappy.
You may not think this is domestic abuse, but it is, it is emotional abuse.
It has got nothing to do with his culture, religion or language and everything to do with his attitude towards you.
I think if you should make plans to don't deserve top be treated this way

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Mon 05-Nov-12 23:48:16

knackered I suspect it may stem from the attitudes that were taught to him within his culture. I however agree with you that that is irrelevant. What matters is his ability to transcend that (or rather in this case his inability).

EscapeInTheCity Tue 06-Nov-12 08:02:32

re assimilation, I actually think you have no other choice than do some of the 'assimilation'.
In my home country, it is normal to smack children. Everybody does and it's actually seen as the sign 'you are a good parent who keep their dcs under control'. I am living in the UK, i don't smack my dcs because... I had to assimilate in some ways and live by the unwritten rules of the country. I actually parent more as an english than as the way I was raised.
I have also learnt to talk about the weather and not say that snow is fantastic (which I think it is).

If you want to be living 'in' the country, there is no other way to do it. (Note it doesn't mean rejecting your onw culture. It's just that some of the bits of the englisg culture become part of your culture even though it's not part of your original culture).
But if you are living with someone with a different culture, then it's even more necessary because it will affect your daily and personal life. And there is no way a marriage will survive wo the compromise (ie the assimilation).

NB; the assimilation actually works both ways. I have taken some of the english ways but my H has taken some of the ways of my country by the simple fact that we are living together.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Tue 06-Nov-12 08:07:00

Well said escape.

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 12:53:52

escape, good post. Very much agree. However, I suspect that ops husband did not even think about this before taking on the challenge of getting married. I suspect he either fell in love (benefit of doubt) completely and got the shock of his life upon coming here or he saw the op as a meal ticket. Less so now but atleast 20 years ago, living in the uk was the ultimate. One had 'arrived' in life by being here.
Also, as I have said earlier, it could also be that he saw the ops family culture at home and thought she would be the same despite growing op here and therefore all will be fine. Later in, upon realisation possibly a stubborn personality trait took over. Who knows.
I have seen this in a couple of Asian marriages I have seen. They did not end well either. Sometimes despite trying, from both sides, hugs just don't work out. These marriages I am talking about we're arranged and not forced. With these, there is also an element of the holiday romance and the reality is very different when they live together.

EscapeInTheCity Tue 06-Nov-12 12:56:29

it could also be that he saw the ops family culture at home and thought she would be the same despite growing op here and therefore all will be fine

yep agree with that.

drizzlecake Tue 06-Nov-12 15:40:22

Couldn't OP's husband be as much a victim of this arrangement as zombiemum?

Perhaps his family just saw him as a mealticket sending home money from the UK and he had as little say as her.

Thinking about the fact that he won't even buy clothes he could be depressed. If he was reasonable he might even agree that divorce is a good idea for them both, but im my v limited experience divorce is seen as a shameful situation so zombie will have to battle on herself.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Tue 06-Nov-12 16:20:08

drizzle it could be.
Having said which, I don't see that that can change OP's decision.

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 19:22:07

Flatbread, my frustration comes across as petty to those not living my life. The years I have WASTED believing he was adjusting, waiting patiently in the wings whilst day after day, month after month, year after year he has completely ignored the emotional element of our marriage. Happy to discuss the day to day shit, just don’t talk about ‘us’.

The disgust and contempt he has shown me EACH and EVERY time I have suggested ideas for better assimilation left me stunned.

Is that racist? I am insulted by that. This ONE individual, my ‘D’H is who I am talking about. In general, having been shown little or no mercy by my parents yes, my views on my own culture are not the most favourable.

My parents exploited me in every regard and treated me like something to be exchanged. My husband has shown me contempt and been controlling using silence as a weapon- you think that’s made me a little biased perhaps? Too f***ing right it has.

That does not make me racist so stop being so bloody ridiculous. Having been on the receiving end of some pretty unpleasant racism at secondary school I have far too much personal experience.

These are not ‘irritating quirks’ Flatbread, he has not adapted culturally. At all. They are huge clanging deal breakers.

Imagine if you can, you were taken to Africa/India/ Pakistan to some tiny village in the back of beyond and married off to a guy with a basic knowledge of English and a primary school level of education. Imagine if you can, LIVING with this guy for years and years and he makes NO attempt WHATSOEVER to improve. Can you imagine living with someone like that WITH your Ivy League College education? Are you picturing it? Cause that’s my f***ing LIFE we’re talking about. NOT irritating quirks. FFS.

You are mistaking my contempt for him as an INDIVIDUAL as racism. And YES, after almost two decades I make NO apologies; deal with it.

We have not had a holiday of any description for the last EIGHT years because of his sending money home to his family. Each year he allows me to do hours and hours of research only to turn round and say, sorry, there’s no money. We put away £200 EVERY MONTH, but when I actually want to book something………..I give up. Fair enough, car repairs have been costly lately, living costs are up, he just uses that account now as his to do with as he pleases.

As for his job, he STEPPED down from a MANAGERIAL position because he couldn’t handle it, he demoted HIMSELF. His managers have asked many times if he wants a promotion and he’s turned it down every time. Since the recession, funnily enough, there’s been no more offers. His job does not involve report writing or a high level of education. For what it’s worth, I feel he has done well for himself on the job front (I coached him for his interview, I helped fill in his application, I practically held his hand). My opinion on this is he is motivated at work as it was his main motivation to be here.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Tue 06-Nov-12 19:31:20

OP you sound amazingly strong. I am sure you will make it out of this situation and land on your feet.
Do you think your children understand this vast gulf in their own way? That may help them when they are more grown up, to understand why you had to separate.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Tue 06-Nov-12 19:39:40

In fact OP I am only amazed that you made it so long.
I went through yesterday wondering how you do it. Each conversation I had with my DH, I wondered how I could have done it had we not been on the same wavelength.
From eating or appreciating the same or similar cuisines, to the tv that we watch, to in-jokes based on our favourite characters, to music. It's one thing to have different tastes. It's quite another to be so different that you have no idea what makes the other person tick. I can't imagine how you do it.
All those who slate you should take a day and stop and think before every conversation they have with their partner, every email or text they send them, and every assumption of a joint identity that they do casually (eg "we'd love to have you over"/ "we like to spend our weekends in x way") - whether they could have handled not being on the same wavelength for so many years.
I think you have to walk in someone's shoes to understand them.

GeekLove Tue 06-Nov-12 19:41:46

I'm sorry that others seem to think that this is all a "bit of a tiff" (I fucking hate that phrase btw).
I think you are strong and that in your mind this is over -the next stage will be harder. Can you open a bank account ? With £200 /pm you should have a deposit soon. Make up a bug out bag with NI details passports bills rtc. Whatever you do don't change around him as there is always the possibility he will become violent when he realises his domestic droid is going to disappear. s for your DCs I think they will come round but this is the most dangerous time even if he hasnt been physically violent. One thing for certain is he is no your friend.
Remember the three C's
You didn't cause it
You cannot change it
You cannot cure it
With respect to your H and how depressed he is.

EscapeInTheCity Tue 06-Nov-12 19:45:33

zombie you have no apologies to make re your feelings for your husband.
I think some people on here are far to pc and just refuse to acknowledge that difference in education and culture can make a marriage unworkable when one of the part do not try and bridge the gap.

You do sound very strong though and I would urge you to talk to some of your friends in RL about it. Many women have been in that sort of situation and no one will think that you haven't tried hard enough.

When are you finishing your course? Do you think you can wait until you have finished it or do you want to leave before that?

wtiw, I think your dcs will know the difference. At the very least because they have grown up here and will have absorbed the English values. In the top of that, they have a fantastic mum who also hold these values. And they will have learn.

Just one thing re keeping contact with your H. Does he have a british passport now or still one from pakistan? Do you think he is likely to go back there if you divorce? If he does, could he want to take the dcs with him?

Flatbread Tue 06-Nov-12 20:01:55

Zombie, your parents were obviously morons thinking that two people with such different educational and cultural experiences were fit for each other.

I just can't help feeling sorry for your husband. I do think that for a village boy with just a primary education, he has done quite well. He is working and not on benefits, he is a loving father and his colleagues/ bosses at work think well enough him to offer him a promotion, and he is financially responsible. Some people are ambitious, others are laid-back. Not a crime either way, but it must be hard for him to live with a partner who is judging and contemptuous of him. From what you write, he seems deeply unhappy, shut-down and depressed.

None of this invalidates your experiences or suffering. Leave him, build your own life. Wish you the best.

Zombie - this isn't about race or religeon really - this is about your unhappiness at being in a loveless marraige and being abused (the silence is a from of control and so is abuse IMO).

You sound together and strong and the best thing you can do for your kids is get them out and show them what a proper relationship is like - I am not syaing jump into another but even living without the angst and control which is shown by you and your husband will be beneficial for them.

I am sorry that this thread has turned into a debate about culture, all you wanted was some advice and compassion. I can understand how frustrating it must be for you to want so much more and expect love and respect from your husband and not get it. It may be down to his upbringing and culture but being immersed in life in this country must surely at least allow him to see what can be acheived if he tries.

Search on the web - I am sure there must be organisations who can help you in your situation who deal with arranged marraiges and their failure.

Good luck though - there is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself and give your children a future in life and if you are the only parent to be able to offer that then go for it.

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 20:30:08

Feel sorry for him til the cows come home.

You think I was always like this?

I have only been like this since the DC came along. Before then, I was anything but. Having kids has put a HUGE strain on our already crap marriage. No family to turn to for help, plus being responsible for every last detail around the home, being constantly sleep deprived and exhausted. Unable to turn to him for help or advice on ANYTHING cause he aint interested, doesn't care, hasn't got anything useful to offer, shrugs his shoulders, looks blank, goes back to watching the telly. Take your pick.

That is the reality of my every day life.

I absolutely will never understand as long as I live, WHY and HOW he would think being this way could ever be fruitful. HOW can a man be so emotionally devoid, or so scared from emotions that he completely shuts down that side of himself. It is utterly beyond my comprehension.

You can be Dad of the Year, Provider of the Year, but if you treat your wife like nothing more than a domestic servant put there on God earth to serve you and service your needs and look affronted if she wants to discuss the marriage, the relationship with a "You fucking joking me? I don't think so." look, you're a pretty nasty piece of work.

And when did financially controlling become financially responsible?

If he is unhappy, shut down, depressed, it is his own doing as far as I am concerned. HE has made me this way. This is NOT who I am.

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 20:37:58

I only hope my kid can forgive me for what I am about to do to them.

The tears are streaming down my face as I write this. They're the only ones I care about anymore.

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 20:55:06

Your kids probably will not like this and therefore you initially. When they become adults however, they will realise. They will understand. They will admire your determination to make a better life. Your tenacity in trying to make your marriage work for 18-20 years.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Tue 06-Nov-12 20:55:47

op maybe write a letter that sets out how you are feeling now and share it with them when they are older? It will not help but if they harbour resentments when they grow up, hearing from their mother in the moment, not years later when the situation improves, may help.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Tue 06-Nov-12 20:56:34

Sorry, I meant "it will not help now but..."

GeekLove Tue 06-Nov-12 20:59:05

They WILL forgive you. I remember one of my friends at University on the final demise of her parents marriage saying when 5 years old 'why don't you get a divorce?'
They will wonder why you didn't doing sooner. Why not think of the fun days out and simple stuff they like to do when the Dementor is no longer part of your lives.

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 21:02:52

op you have not answered the practical side of things. The cultural and emotional things seem to take over the thread.

1. How will you save money
2. How is you dh likely to react to you asking for a divorce?
3. Where are your passports?
4. Is your dh likely to get violent?
5. Have you got a safe place you can go with the kids?
6. What is the timescale you have given yourself for this?
7. Why is your dh allowing you to do your college course?

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 21:21:29


1 Don't know;save what I can when I can.
2 We've been on the verge of divorce before so it shouldn't come as too much of a shock. Is there such a thing as an amicable divorce? Don't think so, I only HOPE he understands its making us both miserable, that I've worked out a solution and this is best for all of us.
3 Passports are ALL expired except his. I will now start photocopying all the documents, gather them together with expired passports and find someone to keep them for me.
4 Don't know. Anything is possible. I feel so sorry for him I really do, he's facing a lonely life on his own, when he realises its happening for real, who knows? Am going to call Karma Nirvana tomorrow.
5 No
6 Six months max
7 He's mentioned several times he would like to be a househusband. I really thought he was joking. I think he believes that once I'm qualified and have a job that he can put his feet up. He can be both patronising and grateful at the same time about me being a SAHM and bangs on about how I have NO CLUE about what its like to have to earn a living! I've been a SAHM for about 8 years and have always worked full time prior to that.

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 21:25:50

Tomorrow am calling Child Tax Credit people.

Friday Student Finance.

Spoke to Welfare today; they need to see what the above two are giving to see what I an entitled to.

MAY be entitled to Housing Benefit.

Council Tax will only pay the water and sewage part of it.

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 21:26:51

Student loans and bursaries (am not entitled to anything atm) are classed as income.

nailak Tue 06-Nov-12 21:41:24

i dont know what you think of this idea but you could try national zakat foundation, which is a charity working in the U.K, they might be able to help you out with money, counselling, safe place to stay (they have built a few womens refuges etc)

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 21:44:51

You seem to have a good handle on the practical side.

What about yours and your children's security? Have you got a friend to go to in an emergency?

Is your husband likely get violent? Against you or the kids?

Sorry to even say this but i am worried so I will.

Is he likely to harm you in any way? Or the kids?

EscapeInTheCity Tue 06-Nov-12 21:50:20

Do you think your H will want to go back to his country? If he does, is he likely to take the dcs with him?

Again, I would really have a word with some close friends in RL. You will some support in RL too.

colditz Tue 06-Nov-12 21:56:43

Zombie mum, the only experience I can offer you is that I too lived with a dullard. He resisted learning, he actually had NO curiosity about anything, no motivate to find out about what children were and why they do the things they do ... He's a dullard.

He was an English dullard, a white dullard, and it wasn't an arranged relationship - but nevertheless, intelligent communicative people cannot live happily with dullards unless they are completely in charge of them. You cannot have an equal relationship with a dullard.

And so I left him.

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 21:58:17

Your dh sounds beaten/tired from life. What pressures has he got back in Pakistan that he is sending Gbp 200 a month there?!

There was a Pakistani family we somehow knew. Husband did not get on with first wife. She was always miserable. Whenever we saw her. One summer he went back and took the old one and returned with a new one. Kids from the old ones came back with him.

Has he got another wife over there you do not know about? Just wondered.

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 22:02:37

Thank you Nailak, will certainly give them a call. I can't afford to be proud at this stage.

There's no telling what extreme circumstances will cause people to do. I don't want to take risks.
Think I'll call Womens Aid.
I have friends at college, have confided in one.
There's every chance Escape, that he would go back for a holiday. I really don't think he could stay for months and months, his job wouldn't entertain that.
There's no way he can take the kids with him, but my disapproval is hardly going to mean anything. Apart from hide the expired passports what else can I do to prevent the worst from happening? Call the passport office?

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 22:18:19

Make sure your husband does not have secret passports for your Children. Not sure how you will check this.
Take copies of his salary slips to prove pay.
If you have jewellery, go put it in a safe deposit box at a bank as this will also come in handy.
Set up a 'safe' code with a friend. So forexample, if you get found out and he is holding you and the kids hostage, how will you let anyone outside know you are in trouble? Set up a word or phrase you can text to a friend for them to call the police on your behalf.

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 22:20:15

Is Pakistan a duel citizenship country?

zombiemum Tue 06-Nov-12 22:28:57

He sends money back, but not the full £200 month. It builds up, then for example, January £1000 spent on finding and fixing leaks in the car, major service, brake pads, something to do with suspension.

I know this to be fact cause I have the bill.

It builds up again then things like the car insurance, road tax and house insurance are all due in the same month....see what I mean? He's not sending the full 200 every month, but its going somewhere. I really don't think he has a wife back home.....but who knows? If he did, I'm sure he'd be itching to get on a plane far more regularly than he does now for some sweet lovin', cause lets face it, he aint getting much of that from me!

He's been back home twice in about 5 years.

Silibili great advice about the safe code. Don't have any jewellery left so that won't be an issue.

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 22:29:07

You should write a diary. A diary if your feelings and experiences.

Will be useful for your children and grandchildren (and maybe even for a published book).

Silibilimili Tue 06-Nov-12 22:36:51

Sell your kids unwanted toys, things you don't need and he won't notice they are gone. Another form of income. Is your husband tech savvy to find out a secret eBay or PayPal account?

Who does the grocery shopping? Siphon off money here too if you can. Just a little bit so as not to get caught.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 06-Nov-12 22:53:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 07-Nov-12 07:06:26

Ask a solicitor if it is possible to get a prohibited steps order so the children cannot be removed from your care without your permission.

I've just point blank refused to allow ex to take my children 'back home', I wouldn't even know where to begin looking if he decided he wasnt going to return them to me (which he would), also I have girls, I'm not going to even allow the risk he would marry them off without regard for my childrens rights or feelings.

Pakistan is a dual nationality.

GeekLove Wed 07-Nov-12 08:47:18

More to the point do you think he COULD co-parent. I'm not sure if he would be in a fit state to do so. Are you planning on leavin or are you planning on obtaining an occupation order? Either way check out the avice on domestic violence at the top of the page and have an ermergency bag ready.

zombiemum Wed 07-Nov-12 10:54:50


Thank you for your kind words. I think it would really help ME to write it all down for my kids to read when they're older; brilliant idea! My biggest fear is that the trauma of the separation means they hold me responsible and never thought to out it down for them to read when they're older.

Spoke with Karma Nirvana: I really want to stay where I am if I can. She explained about the occupation order and that was something I really needed to hear.

To take the kids out of their school, out of their home and not see their DF either would be a triple whammy- its too much for them. My biggest hurdle is finances, so will see what Student Finance say.

Need to see a solicitor who can hopefully offer legal advice on getting a prohibited steps order re what fuzzywuzzy said.

GeekLove Sat 10-Nov-12 07:43:24

How are you doing OP?

zombiemum Sat 10-Nov-12 11:20:35

Hi Geek Spoke with Student Services yesterday.....they were really helpful. I feel better. They have so many support networks to draw from and this is not the first student separation/divorce they've seen.

I have to get to a solicitor to draw up separation papers for the college to put into place the change of circumstances. I made it clear I'm not ready to go ahead with things right this minute. I'm just gathering information. Finding out what I need to do. Saving what I can. Removing documents to a safe place.

Looks like I have no choice but to take out a student loan each year, which means, by the time I finish my degree I'll be in £15k worth of debt.

zombiemum Sat 10-Nov-12 11:24:00

The price of freedom eh?

Eastpoint Sat 10-Nov-12 13:04:42

It sounds as if you are doing really well now. I have friends whose mothers were unhappy & left their fathers after they had left home & all have said how much they wished their mothers had left earlier. Your children will be able to tell you are unhappy & after the initial shock will be fine - happy mother = happy children.

Good luck!

AWhaleOfATime Sat 10-Nov-12 20:03:58

You will be able to cope with the £15k. You won't have to repay it straight away etc... It will be a small price.

GeekLove Fri 21-Dec-12 23:03:30

Hi how are you op? Hope that things have settled down. Don't worry about the 15K dept as I'm sure you will make full use of it.
How are the DCs doing?

ippychick Tue 24-Jun-14 10:25:15

Hi, this thread goes back nearly 4 years but it still comes up on an "18 year" internet search. Just wanted to say to Zombie, hope it all turned out ok for you - hope you made the move, completed your course and went on to find happiness. x

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