The Muslim Break-Up (Guest Post)

Guest Post written by Sarah:

I don’t remember swiping right; I don’t remember the first message he sent, the days I took to reply, but I remember everything else. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t.

I quickly realised he was like nobody else I had ever met.  He was emotionally intelligent, self-assured and academic; the total package. The ground rules were clear; 3 months on the app, our first call would be on my birthday. I naively thought that my beloved rules would protect me, stop me
from the feelings that swept me off my feet. We chatted for hours, living in different time zones I stayed up until I couldn’t keep my eyes open just to be able to talk to him. It always felt worth it, my soul danced as he talked, the smile was still there when I woke up.

Two months in, the season changed. Our beautiful summer of romance seemed to shift, I found myself in need of a sweater to shake off the autumn chill that came my way.  Some days he was silent, others he was normal, he seemed very careful not to share the harder aspects of his life. Although he was always open about his need for space, to me, it seemed his life had overtaken him, and he
had made the decision not to include me in his thoughts and fears. I nervously braced myself for winter as I counted down to my birthday.

His name appeared on my phone 20 minutes before my birthday; I realised he’d marked me as an appointment in his work diary. While strangely formal, weirdly, I was kind of into that. I had hoped that hearing his voice would change the rip tide I was caught in, but I felt myself being pushed
out to sea, swept away in cold bitterness.

What should have marked a decisive shift in our relationship; one step closer to meeting and making things real felt like a total let down. I hadn’t expected him to call and in the process of stumbling out of the room to answer I
woke my toddler who demanded to speak to “Santa” on the
phone. Moment ruined.

He said he’d call again, which I naturally assumed would bemlater in the day and not days later with almost no messages in between. The radio silence chilled me but, ever the go –getter, I asked for “the talk” and he scheduled it into his work diary. I’ve never been one to stay where I’m not wanted, if he didn’t want me, I would at least give myself a role in it.

He left the way he entered: articulately, confidently and in a way that took my breath away. Why it ended is of little relevance, his message was clear: it was over and we wouldn’t be speaking again. I didn’t put up a fight, although
I desperately didn’t want him to go.

Honestly, I never really knew whether his reason for ending it was true; was I just an experiment which had reached its expiry date when I got too real? Had
I been the rebound I always feared I could be? A time pass during the day until someone in his time zone was available? The questions haunted me no matter how hard I tried to ignore them.

The void that he left felt so dark I couldn’t even utter the words to those closest to me. Almost a week passed before I finally told someone; that was when the tears finally came.  I agonised for weeks over whether I should message him;
summoned every ounce of willpower and strength from hours of prayer and accepted that the “perfect message” that didn’t lower my standards but also left the door open just didn’t exist. Finally, I gave myself a date; if I wasn’t over it
by his birthday I would message, I diligently scheduled it into my 2019 work diary.

The problem with these Muslim interactions is that they are so hard for others to sympathise with. He was never yours; there was never any real commitment so how can you miss something that never was?

These discussions often miss the whole point. Whether you met them through a marriage app, a rishta baji or your parents it’s the intention that is there. You’re getting to know one another with the end goal being marriage, you didn’t just fall for a random on the street. You fell for someone who supposedly wanted the same as you until one day what they want is not you. It’s
not just him that’s gone; it’s the imaginary life you had built together. Having to recalculate your future minus the thing which brought you joy is rough.

Practical tips for handling your Muslim breakup

Make sure that door is firmly closed once it’s over. Leaving it open, as I know, is only torturing yourself. Open doors will only mess with your head. Close. The. Door. Trying to stay friends will just put you in a space where you’ll eventually have to ask: “what is this?” and the answer to that question
is always a broken heart.

Make some time for self-care. You need to cry? Go ahead. You want to run? Eat cake? Be my guest. Do what makes you feel better. You deserve it.

Take some time to pinpoint what exactly it was about the person that knocked you off our feet, so you can find it in someone else. No matter how much you might think that you’ll never meet anyone at their standard again, remember
that Allah doesn’t take something except to give you better.  You don’t need to be able to imagine better. He’s got you.

Tell yourself a story. We are hardwired to love a story; your brain will torture you if it doesn’t have an ending to the story. Not sure if you buy the one they told you? Make up your own.

Talk it out with a friend. You know the one; that one who tells you what you actually need to hear. I have friends who tell me he’s coming back, although comforting, it’s pretty unlikely. My colleague listened quietly when I told her about my Muslim break up. “He’s just not that into you” was her calm reply “if he was, he’d still be calling you”. Harsh, but sometimes you need it.

If you’re a person of faith then give it to God.  Allah knows both of you better than you ever could; if it’s his decree that the two of you aren’t right for
each other then he knows best. You know that thing you do that you don’t want anyone to know about? Yeah, that one.  The nose picking, or toe plucking. Allah knows. He knows the other persons stuff to. He decides who you get, and
who you don’t.

Most importantly, give yourself time, healing doesn’t always happen overnight so try to be kind to yourself. Do. Not.Rebound. We hate to sit in discomfort, hate to delay our gratification but when you fail to heal you will only bleed over
someone who didn’t hurt you.

As for me, I’m out of the game……….well, at least until Valentine’s day.

One Reply to “The Muslim Break-Up (Guest Post)”

  1. ”when you fail to heal you will only bleed over
    someone who didn’t hurt you.” This is very profound and excellently written. I’ve been bled on and bled on others.It’s not pretty and it’s not cool.
    As far as being friends go, I think it’s also a good point to raise and discuss. Modern society definitely puts pressure on us to somehow automatically be able to have civil relations and even friendship with people who have, intentionally or not. just put us through the kind of intense emotional pain you described. It’s possible, but wont always happen and there’s no shame or failure as human beings if it doesn’t. Shut the door is good advice, give it time to heal, having regular contact is picking at a scab,No picking, no scars,No scars and maybe you might get a friend out of it…one day.

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