dating while muslim and hiding it from family

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^because we all enjoy a good islamic dating meme.

The topic of this post was inspired by an anonymous submission to ask hiba, if you have a situation you’re in and you’d like me to talk about, please submit and give me things to talk about!

Submission:

I’m in a tricky situation.

I was asked out on a date by this guy (muslim) who wrote his number on the back of my receipt.

I’m also muslim. I went on the date. I had first been nervous because i’ve never gone on a date with anyone, matter of fact, i’ve never had any “date” like interactions with anyone (aside from the talking phase).

I really enjoyed the first date but in my gut, I high-key had a feeling this was “wrong”.

My mom and sister (even my little brother who’s 13) know I went on a date. However, my dad doesn’t. I think the guilt from hiding from my dad is what was eating me up, also knowing that dating was approved of.

BUT HERE I GO, going on a second date with him.

I know it was religiously wrong. But I was deep. I really liked this guy.

I went with the intention of letting him know we should hold off from being anything more than friends.

My reasoning is that we’re both “young” (18) and we’re both trying to figure out where the hell we’re going in life. I was trying to say, don’t let yourself get distracted from your ambitions. I was also trying to say, don’t you feel the least bit guilty hiding? Or even about lying to your family?

He had family who worked in the mall where we had our second date and was antsy because he thought someone would see us together. He literally said to me, “My aunt works at macy’s so I hardly come by this side of the mall when i’m with girls”.

RED FLAG.

Also, yeah his parents didn’t know he was out with girls.

My dad didn’t know I was out with him.

So we’re both in the wrong.

BUT, I have the trust of my family, (aside from my dad, because he’d freak out).

At the end of the date, I told him essentially, lets be friends.

Idk if i’m taking this hard because he’s the first guy who’s really told me he was attracted to me (he never got the chance to say if he liked me, nor did I), or because I genuinely liked him.

He’s being dry now, and hardly replies to me like he did before.

I mean I did end up friendzoning him.

But it was for the best.

Maybe sometime in the future it’ll work out. For now, I choose to not hope for him to wait for me.

I’ve been regretting my decision lately. I listen to his corny ass playlists. I keep watching videos we took on our first date. I keep reading over our texts to see if there was even a chance he had even been interested in me.

I think he’s hurt which is why he’s being dry (also duh, school and work plays a part, but he opens my snaps and stories frequently).

idk if I was right for doing what i did because i really liked him.

help.

My Response:

Okay, so this is definitely an interesting situation. There’s many dimensions to this situation so I’ll try my best to address all of them. But I will not delve into the religious aspect of this (wrong or right) as I follow a much more liberal interpretation of Islam than most but I like to respect everyone’s faith and don’t want to overstep.

For starters, it’s so great that you have a family where you’re able to tell most everyone that you’re seeing someone. I actually completely understand the whole father situation because in the beginning of my relationship, I had told my mom and my siblings but my dad has always been stricter so we kept it from him. It’s a strange situation to be in, but the fact that you disclosed it to your mom, shows that you’re not really doing anything wrong. You went with the permission of your family even if it was not every single member. I’m sure your mom has reasons for wanting you to keep this from your father and if it ever got serious, he’d be able to be in the know too. At least for my dad, that was the case. Sometimes we keep things from loved ones to protect them. My dad couldn’t imagine a boy looking at his little girl so it was a big deal when he came in the know. I’m sure if the situation ever turned to more, your dad would know too.

I kind of looked at it as ‘not telling him yet’ as opposed to not telling him entirely.

But on the other side of the coin, although you and I may have families that are okay with us talking to boys, not everyone is that lucky. A lot of my friends are fully committed in their relationships but still have to keep it from their families because their families simply would not accept their children dating. When it comes to brown and arab boys, not telling their families is not an immediate red flag. They simply may not have the option to. Many can only disclose their relationship when they want to get married or when it’s gotten to a serious point. It’s sad but unfortunately it’s the truth.

If you guys have only been on two dates, I find it’s culturally understandable that they didn’t tell their family.

Now, this doesn’t mean that brown/arab guys should get away with keeping their girls a secret.

If you’ve been seeing each other for a while and they don’t tell their friends about you (for whatever reason they give you), that’s a problem. If they keep you from their social circle, that’s a problem. But if you’ve met many people from their life, they just are unable to tell their family, it might just not be culturally sound. Now, of course, this is if you’ve been together for a bit. It’s understandable if you haven’t met their friends or they haven’t told many people by date two.

But regardless of what is going on, it’s important to have real, honest conversation about the situation. That means you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about their family boundaries when you first start talking. This would avoid any hurt feelings if you’re not comfortable dating someone who can’t talk to their family about you (it’s a valid deal-breaker). Also every brown/arab family is so different with their rules, this would ensure that there is respect of this on both ends. You may not want to go to a restaurant your dad frequents and he may get antsy on the side of the mall where his aunt works. It’s important to take into account both individual situations.

Now, as for if you were right or wrong, I can’t give you the answer to that but I can tell you some of the best advice I was ever told, its either love or a lesson. Your first ever encounter with a guy more than likely won’t end in marriage, it’s the harsh truth. Also, you can’t go back. You simply can’t turn back time so let’s look at the situation as it is now. You miss him. I’m not sure how often you were talking before but it’s very very natural to miss people. Even when you don’t want to go back to them. It’s also natural that he’d be drier as he was essentially rejected.

To figure out whether you were wrong or right, you need to have an honest conversation with yourself. What was the true reason you couldn’t date him? You seem to give a couple different ones throughout your passage.

Was it the guilt? Was it your age? Was it the religion and families? Was it that it was your first interaction of this sort and you were scared?

You need to figure out for yourself if your reason still stands. Sometimes we push away what’s unfamiliar because it takes us out of our comfort zone. And sometimes, for no apparent reason at all, our gut tells us that there’s a problem, and I truly believe it’s important to listen to ourselves. But only you can decide if your original reasoning still holds up. It’s important to be very honest with yourself even if the truth isn’t pretty.

What I can tell you is that there’s no going back in time. Even if you decide you want try again, the most you can do is be candid with him about why you felt you wanted to end it before and see if he’s willing to take a chance again. We can’t control other people’s actions, only our own and so if he doesn’t want to try again, you’ll have to take the lesson you learned from this situation and be better the next time a similar situation comes up.

And if you realize that your original reason of ending it holds up, you can identify the deal breaker in this situation was and try to avoid it going forward.

I understand this is a very strange situation to be in, especially considering he’s the first guy you’ve ever gone out with. Venturing into new phases of our life is always difficult. You’ll likely hit a couple bumps on the road before reaching your destination. It’s either love or a lesson so you collect those lessons until you find someone worth using them on.

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