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Hi, Twinkie !
I'm sorry to hear that your father has told you that you can't date your boyfriend. Like I mentioned in my previous reply, most dads don't think anyone is good enough for their baby daughter. You still have options since the rest of the family seems to be quite fond of him. Have one of your uncles or elder family members talk to your father on your boyfriend's behalf.
As far as dating, would your father let you see your boyfriend IF you had a chaperone along on the dates ? Like many fathers, maybe he's worried this fellow will take advantage of you. I'm sure he'd never do that, but perhaps he'd warm to him if you went out on chaperoned dates. I know that no one ever wants to go on a date with their mom, but bringing along mom may be a way to get your father to warm up a bit.
Will your father allow you to go out on chaperoned dates ?
Ahh, sorry. I see that your boyfriend has already gone to speak with your father about this.
I think my advice still stands, but you can start looking for people to intercede on your behalf at this point. People your father respects.
Has your father met his family yet and are they the kind of people he would like? If you can get everyone together in some sort of nice, low key, sort of situation it might go a long way towards having your father see this as a reality. Does your boyfriend have any sisters with adorable children? It sounds crazy but nothing melts a cold father's heart like the potential for adorable grandkids :). Ask them over to the house for the afternoon. Oh! Can you drum up any Saudis in your fathers area that have successful marriages with non-Saudis? Ask them to speak to your dad informally about it.
You said that your father is sure he is right and you are wrong. Bringing other people that your father likes and respects into the conversation might just make him realize that, really, it is only him who thinks you two love birds shouldn't get hitched :)
Twinkie21: I'm about to write a book here! Apologies in advance.
as you said, the core of this isn't a Muslim problem, it is an everyone problem. The poster who thinks this has anything at all to do with Islam has never had a friend who told her Greek parents that she wasn't marrying a Greek man (that was a scene...). Religion-wise, one side of my family is Catholic (and Polish) and my parents pretty much had to get married in another country (they were the only people at their non-Catholic wedding) and just inform the family that happened. It has always been clear that my sibling and I, as the only non-Catholic grand children, are a bit, well, less. I have two friends who are both female and married to each other. When one of them told her parents that she was married, she had waited because she thought her parents would disapprove of a gay marriage, her mother said "we don't mind that, we just wish you would have married a Jewish girl! You know you have to have the children or they won't be Jewish."
And I understand the needing to have things approved in Saudi. That TOO isn't a Saudi problem or a Muslim problem or anything. I am an American living in the UK, my boyfriend is a New Zelander (with UK citizenship through his father) living in the US. He can't grant UK citizenship to his children automatically so if we want any children we have to have UK citizenship (and thus EU citizenship) they have to be born in the UK, but that is a problem if I have been out of the US for more than 10 years because I, then, can't grant US citizenship to the child unless the child was born out of wedlock, so at some point I would have to go back to the US, then come back here. I don't even know how New Zealand works, PLUS there are different benefits for parents in each of these countries (friends of mine flew back to Australia to have their first child because they got some money from the government somehow). I am sure that Saudi is the same way, with certain benefits and requirements for citizenship, etc etc.
Now that I have yammered on forever about this having nothing to do with religion, do you have anyone within your faith that you can talk to? Is your counselor Muslim? A religious leader or maybe the female lead of the Muslim students association at school? I'm looking for someone who is older, experiences, but really can understand all of the nuance of where you are coming from with all this. If you were Catholic in this situation, I would tell you to go chat with the friendliest of priests in your parish :) Don't go looking for answers, just go looking for wisdom.
The next thing is to be honest with your boyfriend. Make sure he knows the situation with your father and come up with some strategies to make this work together. Beyond being Saudi or not, what are the qualities that are important to your father. For my father, he would only fully approve of a man who was clearly kind to me in every possible way, who was smart and self sufficient, and who could provide for me financially. The last one sounds old fashioned (heck, I have a PhD, I provide for myself), and my father knows that, he just thinks it is important for a woman to be ABLE to stay at home with the kids *IF SHE WANTS TO*: his mother didn't get to do that. Added bonus if the boyfriend is in the tech industry :) If it is important to your rather that your potential husband is faithful, talk up his faith at every opportunity. If it is important to you father that he has a good career, talk about the work that your boyfriend is doing planning for the future. If it is important for your father that your husband wants to spend a lot of time in Saudi, inform your boyfriend that he wants to spend a lot of time in Saudi :)
This is a slow and indirect process. You make all of the positives about your boyfriend known and understood: not in a list in the middle of a fight, but just facts that float in the air. This gets your father used to the idea. Get mom and sisters in on it. In a years time or so, once this foundation is laid, you ask for the two of them to go out to dinner, probably alone. You boyfriend dazzles, shows respect, and very formally asks your father for his permission for the two of you to get married. If you father says no at that point, your boyfriend, again, politely, respectfully, asks what he can do to change your father's mind because he loves you and believes that the two of you can make the sort of family that your father would be proud of. At this point, after this span of time, your dad will realize that your boyfriend isn't going away.
That is a long way out, a very long way out, and if that doesn't work, well, that is decision time. I think you will find many people in your faith that see father's approval as ideal for a marriage but, in the case of a bad-faith refusal, they would put your father in the wrong. You were born and raised in the US, you have kept your faith, you want to marry a good Muslim man, you want your father's approval and he is withholding it based on your fella's nationality? That ain't gunna fly. This is when you start sending local religious leaders in to talk to your Dad about it. He need someone to tell him that he is a) lucky that you care what he thinks; b) lucky that you aren't, I don't know, converting to Catholicism for your man; c) lucky that his daughter found someone who loves her so much that he is willing to go through all this.
I really wish you the best. As long as you are honest with your boyfriend (and work together at this) you are not wasting his time at all. You are both young, yes? You are fine. Just enjoy the time you spend together. Don't argue with your father, show him that this will work.
You are in a bit of a 'catch-22' situation :-(
It seems like at this point your only hope is to tread carefully, and give it quite a bit of time before asking again. Maybe your Uncle might be able to sway your father a bit, but leave that one for little while, too!
I know that waiting seems a long time, but I am sure that your BF will be more than happy to wait if that is what it takes. You won't be ruining his life by doing so.
I'm glad that you have a Therapist to talk with. You may find it a huge help.
Where it comes to parents, I understand what you are saying, but AS a parent, I can tell you that our children are always our babies :-( There are loads of things that I was doing as a 19-20yr old that I would deem far too young for someone to do today.... yet I had left school before I turned 16 and was working full time. NOW if someone wanted to leave at that age it would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black - LOL!
XXTWINKIE21XX Posts: 35
10/27/12 10:53 P
Thank you guys for replying. It means SO much to me.
It took awhile to reply because (and this may sound stupid) every time I came to reply I'd start crying. I'm actually going to see a therapist on campus to talk things out next week, I think it might help me feel better.
@FIT4MEIN2012 - Actually, this doesn't have to do with women being 2nd class citizens (though in Saudi Culture, in a lot of ways they still are).. It has to do with the Saudi Government controlling their citizens in the name of 'protecting' them. Even men need a permit to marry a non-Saudi. Thanks for the sentiments
@SlimmerKiwi - Thanks Kris, I hope he gets on my side... but he is just SO sure that he's right and I'm wrong, that I'm in too deep to see the situation for what it really is; impossible. :(
@Karate_Kid - He has done a lot to try to win my father over without you know trying to hard and being fake. Thanks, I'll need all the luck I can get!
@ARCHIMEDESII- Thanks for your reply! However, he HAS told me to stop seeing him.. Religiously, dating is wrong. I think it might have to do with me being his youngest and last daughter to marry. My parents got married at 21, my oldest sister got married at 21, and my other sister got married at 23, why is it that I'M too young and not them?? And I'm by far the most independent than both my sisters. Part of me says the same thing, if he loves me, he'll wait. But at the same time, I don't feel fair saying that. I wouldn't want anyone to put their life on hold for me. And my father has basically said no a number of times, its like he'd be waiting 3 years for a no. Thanks again for the time you spent replying to me
@ONNALEE11 - I didn't buy ANY Halloween candy because I don't trust myself lol. I really DO feel better after I exercise, its a great release. My sister says "Eeveryone settles, thats why its called settling down" lol. Easier said than done, not to settle.. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Yes, As a Saudi citizen you need to be 25, however, no one goes by the law. If you have connections, you can do anything. I fully believe my uncle's know someone, but my dad just won't ask :( (Which I understand-ish... I don't like asking for favors either - but he did it for my cousin). I FULLY appreciate your practical advice, thanks so much for the time you spent writing it.
@LUANN_IN_PA - Yup, I live in VA. I've lived in the US my entire life (my mom is American), but I am VERY connected to Saudi Arabia. I go visit every year. If I got married without the government's permission, they will not recognize my marriage, children, etc. Also, my husband and kids might not even be able to get into Saudi Arabia (its kind of hard to get into Saudi Arabia). He is an American citizen, so if I wanted to go against my father, I could marry him and enter Saudi Arabia as an American, but it would be a hassle and I would lose a lot of the benefits the Saudi government provide (and there are a lot).
LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 16,375
10/21/12 5:47 P
According to your Spark page, you are living in Virginia.
Saudi law doesn't apply there....
Is he an American citizen?
Please don't binge on Halloween candy; you'll only feel worse afterwards, and you know it. "Step away from the candy bar, ma'am!"
But seriously, for your own peace of mind, eat healthy and clean (as a fellow Sparker advised me not too long ago) and continue to exercise, and you'll feel a teeny bit better than you would otherwise.
In my profession, I have witnessed the cycle of domestic violence for many years. Your friend's decision to return to an abusive relationship, and the statement she made to try to justify it, indicate to me that she has a very low self-esteem. That's sad. But YOU would only settle if you settle. In other words, if the thought of settling because it "beats the alternative" scares you, then simply don't do it.
I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly, but there are two issues here, is that right? As a Saudi citizen, you have to be 25 yrs old for the permit to be issued by the government to marry a non-Saudi. Doesn't that mean that even with your father's permission, you'd have to wait until 25 to marry a non-Saudi? And then it's the Muslim religion that requires you to get your father's permission to marry anyone, Saudi or non, at whatever age? If the preceding is correct, you have at least 3 years to wait anyway. If your guy wants to marry you and stay with you for life, I'm assuming he would wait for you for 3 years; I mean, you two are dating and are allowed to see each other, right? Just not marry? You could work on changing your dad's mind in 3 years, I would think, depending on what his objections are.
And if not? You still don't have to settle.
All of this is "practical" but unfortunately, emotions are rarely practical. You are a mess, right now, but time has a way of dulling some of the emotions you are experiencing right now.
You're in a difficult situation, but not an impossible one. You father may just need more time to get used to your boyfriend. If he's like all fathers (regardless of race or religion), he probably feels that no one is good enough for his daughter. A lot of dads are like that. What to do ? Be patient. It's obvious your entire family like him, that's a positive sign. How to turn your father around ? Time, you really need time to convince him that marrying this fellow IS right for you.
Consider this, in the two years you've been dating, your father hasn't told you to stop dating him. that's a good sign too. Your father may think you're too young to marry at 22. So, it just might be a matter of letting your boyfriend "grow" on dad. Once your father sees that he's okay, he may start warming to him.
What happens if he doesn't ? Then you might have to wait until your 25 so that you can get married on your own. Waiting three years to get married is not the end of the world. If this man loves you, he'll wait.
I had a cousin who dated the same woman for seven years before they finally got married. No one knows why they waited so long, however, they have been married for over 15 years now.
Try not to cry... things really do have a way of working out. Be patient. I suspect your father may come around if this young man sticks by you.
Some of my friends have faced similar situations. Sometimes persistence works, sometimes it doesn't. You didn't say much about your friend, what is he able and willing to do to accommodate your father's wishes? Maybe if he takes some steps to show he's serious, then your mom and sisters can help you convince your dad?
Good luck to you!
I am really sorry that you are facing this dilemma. Unfortunately I can't really offer any suggestions because there are significant cultural and legal issues involved., but from my understanding, tho', the only hope you have is to get your father on side ...... somehow .... maybe with a little influence from your mother? ! Perhaps having some patience and if possible have your friend involved in some way with your family, with your father's approval, might sway your father in time.
Twinkie, I am sorry you feel like this. I wish that I could help, but the background is just so far out of what is expected by a liberated, free society that I am beyond thought! I just cannot conceive of women as 2nd class citizens unable to think for themselves. i hope you find someone to help you through this.
XXTWINKIE21XX Posts: 35
10/20/12 7:52 P
I am a mess. I can't stop crying, I can't sleep, and I go from eating EVERYTHING to eating NOTHING.
Heads up, there's a lot of culture and religion that dictates the situation making it much more difficult than it should be...
I met this amazing guy 2 years ago and have been in a constant fight to convince my dad to let me marry him. My mom LOVES him, my sisters love him, his family loves me... its just my dad who is INSISTING on saying no because he is not Saudi (which I am).
My dad's not exactly racist, but the Saudi government requires any Saudi citizen to get a permit to marry a non-Saudi. I am 22 and you have to be 25 for the Ministry of Interior to even look at the application. Because I am a practicing Muslim, I NEED to have my dad say yes for my marriage to be valid.
I keep praying to God that something will happen to change the situation... but things remain as hopeless as they were when he first went to speak with my dad about marrying me.
Today my friend told me that she is going back into an abusive relationship with a guy she has been on and off with for the past 5 years and I just lost it.... She said it beats the alternatives: being alone or marrying someone she doesn't know.
I'm scared. I don't want to end up like her, settling because 'it beats the alternatives' but my current situation is SO bleak and hopeless that I feel like I'm going to do that too. You know, "if I can't have the man I want, the man I fought for, what's the point??"
I'm super sad and super depressed and I'm trying to put my angst into exercising but I wonder how long that will last before I stop at the nearest CVS and buy everything in their Halloween candy and stuff my face.
I could use a pick me up.. help?
Edited by: XXTWINKIE21XX at: 10/20/2012 (19:53)
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