Ask Marwa: Divorced at 28 and Desperate!
Date posted: February 24, 2016
I’m a 29 year old woman raised in a fairly open minded family, but I’ve always been conservative. Ever since I was young I was extremely old fashioned in my thinking, and the idea of being friends with guys and even communicating with them was absurd. I also wanted nothing but to get married and have kids.
When I was only 22, I thought I was getting old and never getting married, since no one proposed to me at the time, and as soon as I got a proposal, from an arranged marriage I agreed, even though my family strongly disagreed on the guy because he wasn’t good enough. Later, the engagement broke off, and I went into a depressive state. A couple of years later, someone else proposed, arranged as well, and I again agreed even though my family disagreed.
His family rushed the marriage, and we only got married 4 month after knowing each other. The engagement phase had many red signals to break it, but I still went on with it, because I feared my reputation after 2 failed engagement would be bad. Obviously the marriage failed after 6 months, and we got a divorce. After my divorce I decided to live my life. I was 28 and did nothing, never had real friends, never went out in large groups, and I wanted to experience it all.
Now I met a guy and the new job, and I like him, and he said he does too. The problem is, with everything that happened I feel stuck. I don’t know how to act or what to do with him, or how to even deal with him. I’m used to the arranged marriages, and technically I’ve never actually been in love. I’m fairly old now, and I’m scared of screwing things up. How do I keep the relationship, and how do I not let my past haunt me?
First of all, let me assure you that you are not old! You are just beginning an exciting new phase in your life. In the past phase of your life you acted upon the experience and tutoring of your parents, peers, and social circle, but now you are about to discover who you really are! Discovering the fire within you and your passions, your true beliefs, your own priorities, your special code of ethics, and your personal values, mission, and vision! Most people start that journey of self-exploration towards their thirties and I have known people who started in their sixties! It is never too late to truly embrace yourself.
My advice can be summed up in one phrase: SLOW DOWN!
If you rush yourself into another marriage, you will end up exactly where you are now – only with deeper scars and probably more casualties. I want you to grow more familiar with yourself and to feel comfortable in your own skin. For this to happen, you need to interact vertically and horizontally. Get to meet many people from different paths of life who share a multitude of interests with you and get to know them in depth. Allow yourself to get to know them, allow them to get to know you, and in the process you will get to know yourself.
As for your colleague, I would advise you to slow down again! Hold on to your heart and do not confuse attraction or addition with love! To truly love a person means that you truly love yourself and to embrace another person requires you to embrace yourself first. Enjoy the steady and slow pace of getting to know your colleague; get to know what he likes, what he enjoys, and what he stands firmly against. Go out a lot, visit places together, read books together, and gradually open up to one another. I want you to reach that stage where you feel comfortable being you in the presence of someone who is simply happy being with you.
Your worst enemies in this process will be: loneliness, the fear of loneliness, societal pressure, and your own comfort zone! Your comfort zone is being confined while self-exploration is a journey of freedom and self-acknowledgement. Your only defense will come from your desire to enjoy your life instead of putting an end to it – yes! Refusing to know who you are is equivalent to extinguishing the fire that keeps your soul alive. The worst kind of loneliness is that that comes from the estrangement between one and oneself. This is the loneliness that you would not be able to escape by another marriage.
Slowing down and enjoying the journey will help you avoid the heartache that comes with unmet expectations, rejection, and judgement! Everyone will judge you for the things you did, for the things you did not do, and for the things you want to do. During the upcoming phase of your life, you will learn how to become your own judge and guide and this is how maturity is defined!