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My new partner is a Muslim, I am c of e, can it work?

(48 Posts)
FeelingOld Thu 04-Sep-08 16:11:15

We have been seeing each other for 8 months now (although spending this month apart cos its Ramadan sad) and things are going brilliantly. He is a lovely lovely man and he treats me and my children very well and we are just having a fantastic time.
He would like me to go to Bangladesh with him next year to meet his family and he says he is ready to settle down BUT my only concern is that i know he would ideally like to be with someone who would convert to being a muslim and i dont think that that is something i am prepared to do. Having said that i am fully prepared to adapt my life (to some extents I have already) and respect his beliefs, but just dont think i can convert but that doesnt mean I am not prepared lead a lifestyle that incorporates all of the things that are important to him.

So i suppose i just want to ask if anyone else has done anything similar or if you have converted.

hanaflower Thu 04-Sep-08 16:13:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KerryMum Thu 04-Sep-08 16:17:43

how devout is he?

KerryMum Thu 04-Sep-08 16:18:04

if this was a non-starter he shouldn't have gotten involved with you in the first place.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lulumama Thu 04-Sep-08 16:22:15

if you are not prepared to convert and he wants you to, how can it possibly work?

has he been married before? does he have children? will your children be expected to convert?

sounds like a non starter if you don;t want to convert anyway

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littleducks Thu 04-Sep-08 16:33:45

you can technically be married and still practice your own religion as a Christian

i think it could be hard for you, obv not all muslim men (or c of e women) are the same so it is a bit unfair to judge but (judging anyway) you would need to carefully consider future issues

how devout is he, and are you?

Boulders Thu 04-Sep-08 18:34:41

Hi Feelingold
Of coursde it could work but it depends on a lot of things, there are compromises to make in all relationships but this is a biggie.

Even if your partner is very strict and devout it is permissable for him to marry a Christian or a Jew providing any children will be raised as Muslim. How do you know he wants you to convert? Has he actually asked?

My OH (7yrs) is Bangladeshi Muslim and I am Christian, we have one son. I haven't personally converted and we haven't really had any issues. My OH also practices Ramadam so is fasting at the mo. But I haven't had to change my ways as I don't do anything frowned upon by Islam anyway (drink, drugs, immodest dress etc).

How old are you both? Do his family know that you have children? Sorry if too personal.

lou031205 Thu 04-Sep-08 18:43:31

Sorry, in all honesty I can't see this working at all. It is a shame, but for both of you the compromises would be so huge that I think you would lose yourselves, and that can't last.

handbagqueen Thu 04-Sep-08 19:03:44

A muslim man can marry a women of any other religion without her needing to convert. The real queston is would his family accept you and if they don't will he stick by you.

My sister married a RC whose family are very religious and they both accepted to respect each others religions had a muslim blessing, catholic blessing and a civil ceremony. They did have support from both families which made the marriage work and 15 years down the line they are still happy.

FeelingOld Thu 04-Sep-08 19:31:48

Wow it doesnt look good for us does it?

Firstly I know quite a lot about him as he does about me because we have been friends for over 4 years but only started a relationship 8 months ago so some of what he told me about this was before we got together.

He has told me recently that his family just want him to be happy as he has spent the last 7 years over here earning money to send home to support them and he thinks they will approve of me or he wouldnt have asked me to go over to Bangladesh with him next year to meet them.

He has also said that although ideally his wife would be muslim or convert(but not compulsary) he loves me and that I am exactly the kind of woman he has been looking for for a long time and he has said he is willing to compromise on this as I too dont do anything frowned upon by Islam just like Boulders.

Its me who has the worries about all of this, he doesnt see it as being a problem at all.

Boulders Thu 04-Sep-08 20:46:43

Don't worry too much about what's said on here, they are only opinions from people who do not know either of you!

Maybe you are not so worried about the religious situation for yourself and are more worried because you have the kids to consider? Obviously they are the number one priority and might find things harder with a new family with a different culture/religion.

Good luck, I would love to know how it goes! I've been to Bangladesh a couple of times with OH so feel free to contact me if you want.

Imnotok Thu 04-Sep-08 20:55:14

Only you and he can make it work and if you truly want to be together then no one will be able to stop you .

pinkmagic1 Thu 04-Sep-08 20:57:08

I am CofE and my husband is Muslim, we have 2 beautiful children and have been very happily married for almost 11 years. We where only teenagers when we got together and it was the first serious relationship for both of us so we just sort of grew and developed together, finding our own middle ground.
It is permitted for a Muslim man to marry a Christian or a Jewish women and he is not allowed to force her to convert but is expected for any children born of the marriage to be raised Muslim.
Someone mentioned that because he is not seeing you during ramadan, he is only interested in sex. This is definitely not the case. During ramadan it is forbidden for a man to have any physical contact with a women that is not his wife, this includes just kissing or holding hands, not just sex. Also he must try and avoid any kinds of sexual feelings.
I'm sure his family will love you and welcome you with open arms if you make their son happy.

CoteDAzur Thu 04-Sep-08 21:03:12

I am a non-believer born Muslim, DH is a quasi-believer Catholic. It works for us. Then again, neither of us are really interested in religion.

Even if you both feel strongly about your respective questions, I only see it being a problem re children.

FeelingOld Thu 04-Sep-08 21:06:11

Imnotok - thanks for your post, we do want to be together and as i said before its me not other people.

Boulders - thanks, I might just take you up on your offer to contact you. My kids have also known him for over 4 years and show a real interest in his religion (they are 13 and 8) and he is always happy to answer any questions they might have.

Judy1234 Thu 04-Sep-08 21:08:44

Why hasn't he seen you in Ramadan though? It's just about eating surely. Can't you meet and talk etc.

Surely if he's not allowed to meet with women during Ramadan and he follows that rule then he should follow a rule about no sex before marriage? Seems a bit selective to me (unless of course you don't have sex).

Why not ask him to convert to C of E? After all he's moved here and the Muslim religion does respect Jesus so it would not be a massive change for him and might be the best option all round. Bit sexist when women change religion to match the man rather than vice versa.

FeelingOld Thu 04-Sep-08 21:11:46

pinkmagic1 - you are right its not just about sex why we are not seeing each other during ramadan, he says we can not see each other as it would be impossible for us to not want to kiss or touch each other (and i dont mean sexually) and he believes that it will make our relationship stronger. We speak on the phone daily and text each other too and although we are missing each other already I totally respect his wishes.

saramoon Thu 04-Sep-08 21:12:32

Don't really see any probs with your situation either. I am Christian - although not practising - and my DH is Muslim. We have been married for 6 years. He prob would have liked me to convert but i wasn't prepared to do that and that was fine. We went to Africa last year to meet his family and my family here adore him, although some were wary at first.
Our dd will be brought up muslim - but will be going to a C of E school up the road. We are very happy together.

beeny Thu 04-Sep-08 21:23:44

Im afraid i do see problems my dh converted to Islam.He does not drink eats halal meat and prays sometimes.Our ds is being raised a muslim.If your dp wasnt bothered about religion at all i think it would work.If he hadnt converted we would not have got married.I did not have any sexual relations before marriage.I am a practising muslim

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 21:27:13

No, don't think it will work.

My partner is Jewish and I am C of E. But neither of us are believers and each of us goes along with the other's festivals. Our families are totally OK with it too - lots and lots of non-believers.

Jahan Thu 04-Sep-08 21:58:35

Of course it can work.
I know lots of inter-faith couples who've been married happily - Jewish/Muslim, Christian/Sikh, Hindu/Muslim and Christian/Muslim.

The one thing they all have in common is that they are not very religious, respected the partners religion and had families who were ok with it too.

Tryharder Fri 05-Sep-08 01:13:12

It may well work - particularly as you were friends before you got together. I am a Christian and my partner is foreign Muslim and we have 2 children. Religion isnt an issue between us at all - and there's certainly no pressure on either of us to convert to the other's religion. I personally believe that converting to a religion as a result of family pressure is the wrong reason to do so - you should only convert if you truly believe in something.

However, I would be a bit concerned about meeting his family as don't Bangladeshis 'normally' have arranged marriages - I suppose it depends on how progressive they are. But hey, you can encounter disapproving inlaws if you marry an Englishman.

I know of many white women who have rushed into marriages with foreign Muslim men only for their marriages to fail very, very quickly. Unfortunately, the men have often been motivated primarily by the need to regularise their immigration status and the women have no understanding or appreciation of their husband's culture.

The reality is that marriage to someone from a different culture/religion is bloody hard. But if enter into the marriage with your eyes wide open, then it can work. But compromise and biting your tongue over issues is often the key!

I would consider (among other things)

1. Religion - would you be expected to convert, what about any children?

2. Immigration - sorry to ask but is there any possibility that your partner is looking for a way to stay in the UK?

3. His and your family - family disapproval can have a huge negative impact on marriage.

4. Housework and other chores - how would this be shared out. Sounds trivial but it's one of my biggest bugbears that my partner does sweet FA in the house and I do absolutely everything - in his culture, men dont do that sort of stuff.

5. Money and finances. It's quite common in some Muslim cultures for women to have no idea at all what their husbands earn. To what extent would you be expected to support your family here by yourself while your partner sends his money abroad. Do not underestimate the pressure from abroad to send money.

6. Culture. In many Muslim cultures (and indeed others as well!), men are the 'boss' in their households and some do not expect to have to tell their wives where they are going, who they are with and what time they are coming back. Sounds trivial? I\ve seen marriages fail for precisely that reason.

Feelingold, your man sounds lovely and I wish you all the best. Go for it but make sure you have considered all the pitfalls. Good luck. smile

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