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akdag23

Married To Turkish Man....what Was I Thinking?

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I met a Turkish man in London when I was studying abroad. He was working at a Kebap shop. We saw each other for a while and then we went to Turkey to visit his family and we got married in Turkey. We have been married for 2 years and he now lives in the US w/ me. We have so many problems, we cannot seem to resolve anything or come to any understandings. I feel so trapped and I am not the person I used to be. He doesnt let me drink, he always critizes what I wear and is worried about people looking at me. He won't eat meat that is not halal, he won't let me eat meat that is not halal. I feel like I have made the biggest mistake. I have tried to talk to him about things but he gets very very angry. We are going to visit his family in Istanbul next week. I don't know what to do. I just need to talk to someone who can understand and perhaps give some advice.

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Hi Akdag23 and welcome to our forum. It's always hard to reply to posts like yours when we have never meet the person you are talking about. I'm assuming he wasn't like that before you got married?When people decide to marry people of a different culture and who hold different reglious beliefs married life can be very difficult. How long did you know him before you married, how much time did you spend togeather. Has he suddenly changed or were the signs already there and you choose to ignore them thinking it wouldn't be a problem? Is he a practising Muslim who prays 5 times a day and goes to the Mosque on a regular basis?I'm wondering why he feels the need to get angry with you when you try to talk to him about it and also how old he is, I see you are 23?. Does he treat you well otherwise. Is his family very traditional and how well do you know them and how do they treat you?. Does he want you to go with him to visit his family in Istanbul?Sorry to ask so many questions but you haven't really given us a lot to go on as we are only seeing one side to him.

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Hi AkdagWelcome to the forum, and sorry to hear that things are not working out for you at the moment.What does your gut instinct tell you about what you want from the future? Are you looking to repair the relationship or get out?If you're looking to get out, why even go to Istanbul and have to go through the strain and pressure of dealing with the family and the travel?On the other hand, if you want things to work out you really do need to find some way of getting him to listen and to see that he needs to change because this isn't working for you. He's not likely to suddenly stop doing these things if there is no reason for him to do so.Not all Turkish / American or Turkish / English (etc) marriages end up this way. It's not something you should just accept as cultural. It's not uncommon for Turkish men to want to impose these sort of 'rules', but there are 2 of you in this relationship, and you don't just have to sit back and accept what he wants.What happens when you don't do things as he wants? Does he sulk? Argue? Get angry? Does he ever get physical? If he gets physical, I would advise you to find a way out of the relationship quickly. But if it's just sulking, perhaps you need to stand your ground and make it clear that the decisions are not all for him to make. If you show a bit of determination - even if it's on minor issues at first - it will give him something to think about, and you may start to reclaim some control in the relationship.If he doesn't change, you may have some difficult decisions to make. Life's too short to spend being unhappy.......

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''But if it's just sulking, perhaps you need to stand your ground and make it clear that the decisions are not all for him to make. If you show a bit of determination - even if it's on minor issues at first - it will give him something to think about, and you may start to reclaim some control in the relationship''great advice above :-)welcome to the forum...

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Thank you all for your responses. I know I did not give much information. Hopefully I can fill in some blanks now...We knew each other for about 5 months before we got married. I was stupid though because I knew he would be like this from the beginning but I guess I choose to ignore it because he seemed so sweet and caring. He is very sweet when I am doing what he wants me to be doing and when we are not arguing. He doesnt pray 5 times a day and not every Friday but when he can he will go to the Mosque. It is a difficult situation because his family really likes me and they are very nice to me. We can't speak to each other though because I do not know Turkish and they cannot speak English. My family also really likes him too. He doesnt show the side I see though to anyone else. I feel like I have changed the person I am since I have been married to him. I love him but I don't like to be controlled. I dont know when or where I made the mistake of letting him think that I wanted to be muslim. I am interested in his beliefs but do not share the same beliefs. I told him that I would like to have the choice of being able to have a glass of wine with my family as that is normal for us and he said if I did that he would leave me. I drank before we got married and he knew that. I am in Istanbul now and am visiting with his family. I am trying to have a good time. I feel uncomfrotable here though. My husband is almost 25. He isn't that much older than I am. I think that I made a very immature decision to marry him in the first place. I am now trying to figure out what to do because I want it to work out but I have a bad feeling that he will never be okay with the life that I want. I don't think I am very happy but I am very confused and unsure. I already made one bad decision, I don't want to make another whether that be to get a divorce or work it out...

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Hi again Akdag23, I have re-read you first post and the second several times and I think that honestly you have made your decision but sometimes even when we know what we have do to make things better for ourselves it's still hard, especially when you have invested over 2 years of your life in a marriage and still have feelings for that person. I commend you in your effort to try and make your marriage work but unfortunately it isn't possible if only one person is making the effort, sometimes when things are broken with the best will in the world they can't always be fixed.I don't think he will change, you said that you knew he would be like that before you married, but it seems like it is getting worse rather than better. It is obviously causing you a great deal of unhappiness and if you stay in this relationship I can only see it getting worse for you.The reason that I asked about his praying ritual was to see how religious he actually is and from what you have said he isn't that religious at all. If you are a true practicing Muslim you live by the 5 pillars of Islam as a way of life, the most important pillar is that any true believer must pray 5 times a day.I feel that he is using Islam as an excuse to control you and the things you do, if you did convert to Islam his controlling nature would get much worse.Has he got his American Citizenship yet?When we marry we all change in one way or another but usually they are little things. You are, it seems, expected to change the person you are completely....but you are still young and have made a mistake marrying him from what you have said but I think you owe it to yourself to make a better life for yourself where you will be happy.I wish you luck and hope my post hasn't spoilt your vacation in Istanbul but they are just my thoughts and hopefully other members will give you theirs.Good luck and let us know how it goes :)

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I agree with Abi sorry hun. Your not a full muslim if you dont pray 5 times a day as that is one of the most important parts of the religion and it do sound like he is using it as an excuse to control you. It also sounds like to me that you have made your decision too.I married my husband after being together for 7 months and in those 7 months I made it clear every day that I respect his religion and way of doing things but I will never change or convert (Harun isnt a true practising muslim but is muslim) and he understood that and has never asked me to change or tried to control what I do.You deserve to be Happy everybody do and like Abi's 1st post ... Life is too short to be unhappy.Hope you have a great stay in Istanbul. xxx

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Hi Akdag23,Welcome to the forum and sorry to hear that you are having a difficult time. I agree with all the other posts, l also think that you have made your mind up and its time to get out and start living YOUR life again. Don't beat yourself up, we all make mistakes. At least you do not have any childern to consider, that would have been far worse..I am sure that once you are back in your homeland, you can confide in family members, perhaps show them the forum, explain a little about what life has been like for you behind closed doors. Your family will support you through this.When l was 21 l married a lovely man, unfortunately he changed overnight, tried to control everything about my life, he was never violent towards me but the mental torture was intolerable. It took me 5 years to finally admit that he was not going to change and that l needed to get out. I left him and l have absolutely no regrets, l should have done it a lot sooner..You are very young and have the rest of your life ahead of you - marriage should always be about consideration for each other, team work, not all one sided and controlling, thats not love.Good luck and keep us posted.Bev xx

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Hi again, I would like to give an update and any advice or comments are welcome...I read all of the posts and have taken the time to think about what I want, how I feel, what people have said...I feel like I have been living a lie because I am doing things only because my husband wants me to not because I believe or want to (eating halal meat, not drinking alcohol) I want to be open and honest and happy in my marriage. Bottom line, I don't want to leave my husband and I don't want him to leave me because I do love him amd I would be heart broken. I respect his turkish culture and his religion. I have never asked him to eat something that he wouldnt be okay eating, I have never asked him to try alcohol. Today, I told my husband that I am not a muslim, I do not believe in the same things he believes in, eating meat that is not halal is no problem for me, drinking alcohol socially and responsibly is not a problem for me...he did not get angry at first, but then he got very angry and he told me....he can't live like this, I can't believe you lied to me for 2 years, I have to leave you, I can't trust you...I will never get married again....This was at lunch time and I had to go back to work since then but I had to tell him how I felt, we have had problems and I could not take it anymore. I don't think he saw this coming but it felt like an appropriate time as we were discussing the fact that he doesnt have a job and he would prefer to find a job in washington DC or new york because then he could make more money then where we are living now (richmond, virginia) and also so we wouldnt have to fight all the time. I told him what is the point of being married if have the chance to live together but you choose to live somewhere else...I also told him that the reason I think we fight all of the time is because I am not happy pretending to be a muslim because he wants me to.....Anyway, so he told me that he loves me very much, he was crying and I know I have hurt him very bad. I am sick that I have hurt him this badly. I want to work it out...I told him that we need to work it out and that it is possible but he said I dont think so...I know it is possible to have an interfaith marriage, I don't know why if he says he loves me very much why he does not want to try and work it out...Any comments, please....Thank you, SarahOne more thing I need to add/mention...This is another thing we have argued about more than once and I don't know how to feel about this either...His family is planning on buying a house soon but they are borrowing money from family/ friends. My husband told me that his father needs some money from us and I don't know if the father is asking for it or if Ethem has offered...anyway, we have some money saved away but I am only 2 years out of college,we just bought a new car and still have school debt to pay, not to mention that we don't even have a house, but live in an apartment. (ethem doesnt work yet because we just moved and he has no college education, but he will hopefully get one......?...) I am just a little uneasy about giving away 10,000 dollars given the situation we are in. However, my husband told me that the house they are currently living in will be in his name when they move and the new house will be in our name so when they move out 20 or so years from now we will have he 2 houses in Istanbul.Is this a common occurence? Do I need to be worried? I would like to help them but I just want to be better informed I guess...and if he ends up leaving me I guess I wouldn't be giving any money to his family......Thanks

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Hi akdag23, well I was with you both until you mention giving his family money. Don't give any of your hard earned money away, you will never see it again. Don't be 'a little uneasy about it' be very worried. Would you give a white Christian American $10,000, no I don't think so. The house will never be in your names it will be in his. I'm sorry to be blunt about it but we hear of way too many cases like this and they all end in tears with a lot of money changing hands. Please don't do it.

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I agree with Cukur. It would be very foolish to give your hard earned money away, especially with your marriage being rather rocky to say the least. Use it to pay off some of your debts first before giving it away. You won't see it again if you send it to Turkey. Anyway, by the sound of it they already own the house they are living in so why do they need another house? You keep the money.What I think you must do is to sit down and have a good think about what you want out of life and then think about how close or far away from that you are. You say you love him, but you are obviously not happy and have been living a lie. Examine your feelings honestly, is it really love that you feel or is it fear of being on your own that keeps you with him? By the sound of it you would be much happier without him after you have got over the break up.There is no mention of him loving you or doing things for you, it seems to be all me, me, me on his part. He wants his own way and threatens you with breaking up to manipulate you and you seem to be jumping through the hoop to please/keep him. The next time he threatens to leave over something you want say OK I think it would be better if we did split up as I can't go on living like this. See what his reaction is. It might take a while to work out but don't weaken, start standing up to him and see where that takes you.Not easy I know but you must be brave and strong or your life will drag along miserably for a long time. If you don't take action he's just going to carry on the same way cos he's getting what he wants.

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Hi Sarah, Thanks for the update, 'Do I need to be worried?' honestly, yes you do. $10,000 is a lot of money to hand over especially as you have school debts to repay, but not sure how much of it is yours, but I do agree with what Cukur and Sunny have said.Your husband responses when you told him were what I thought they would be. Yes, you will be heart broken of course if your marriage ends, but he doesn't sound like he want it to carry on but if it does it will be on his terms, which is where you are at now.Interfaith marriages can work but only if both sides can bend and I can't actually see it happening in this case sadly.Sorry that I can't say anything else, it's just the way I see it.

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Last night was terrible. I couldn't stop crying, can't eat, can't sleep. He is still here but he told me that he cannot change his mind about drinking and eating halal meat. I told him several times that I can't live like that as I don't believe in those things as being bad or wrong. He is saying I love you very much, blah blah, but then I say how can you just walk out and leave me. He tells me he will go back to Turkey and tell his family that I died and will never marry again, says we can stay married but I will never see him again. Then he tells me how can you choose alcohol over me, and that gets me confused because I don't want it to be like me choosing alcohol over him but that I am a grown women and can make my own decisions and him, being my husband, should respect those decisions as long as they are morale. He told me I need to tell him of my decision after I get home from work whether it be keeping him here and agreeing to not drinking and eating halal meat or disagreeing and he will buy a ticket to Turkey. This will be a long day. I am trying to figure out what to do. I can't imagine him not being here, we have so many things that are ours and some many things we do together, everything will remind me...this is so difficult. I feel guilty for not have being honest earlier about my feelings but was afraid of this exact situation happening, my family is not close to me, we just moved here, I have no friends here, I don't know what I will do...

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Hi Sarah -- he is testing you now ! If you say you won't agree to giving up social drinking and "unclean" meat, he will leave. I know it's very painful for you, but you know that if you agree, you are agreeing to be under his control always. If he gets away with this, the way will be clear to make other demands of you in the future. There's always heartbreak when one person tries to change the other.You should call his bluff. If he leaves, it's better for you to suffer short-term heartbreak but regain control and self-respect, than to spend the rest of your life tormented as you are now. The decision is yours and I don't envy you right now, but wish you all the best. :mellow:

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Sarah so very sorry to read about last night. To me it looks like you have 2 choices, if you stay with him he will totally dominated you for the rest of your married life, you will loose who you are and what makes you the person you have become. I can only see the situation getting worse as time goes on in that he will decide who your friends will be, what work you will do and any decisions to be made by him alone. Your second choice is to free yourself from this marriage and find yourself again before it is too late.Yes it's hard but Sarah you are only 23 years old, is this the way you want the rest of your life to go. You were brave and stood up to him and his reply is that he will tell his parents you have died, that he won't marry again and that you will never see him again, that is a spiteful thing to say and shows his dominance once again. I will say again, none of this is about religion if he was a true Muslim he wouldn't treat you in the way he is doing. In Islam you are suppose to respect other peoples religion and way of life and he clearly isn't doing either of those things.Is this man the same one you feel in love with, is this the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, to only lead the life that he chooses for you.Sarah it is going to be a very hard and painful time for you but you must set yourself free if you want to lead any kind of normal life before you lose who you are. None of this is about alcohol or eating halah meat, he just want you to do what he says, plain and simple. You have done nothing wrong so don't think you have even if he blames you for everything.You say you aren't close to your family but maybe you should ring them and tell them whats going on, whilst you don't have friends yet where you live maybe you have old friends to could talk to. In the UK you can phone a group called the Samaritans they are for people who are troubled and have no one to talk to, do you have a similar thing in the US. They won't solve your problem but at least you can talk to someone who won't judge you but will listen and you may find that a comfort.Yes, it will be hard to imagine life without him but you will get through this, whilst it won't be next week you will do it just have faith in yourself you owe it to yourself and he doesn't deserve you.Sarah keep strong xxxx

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They say that a person will not change until the fear of staying the same becomes greater than the fear of change. If you don't change now you will end up changing about twenty years from now when it will all be so much more painful and expensive. This guy is trying to control you, get out while you can, six months from now you will laugh about it. You're young enough to start again easily, it will be a lot more difficult when you are forty five or fifty.

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You are right Cukur, and change can come only from within, and it'll only come if one can see and understand a reason for changing -- otherwise, no change ! Sarah, this goes not only for you but for him too.

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I agree with all the other above have said. Unless you stand up to him and show that he should not try to control your life you will not be happy. If you give in to his threats you will only carry on being miserable and he will, as said above, add more things to control you. If he refuses to be reasonable and respect you then get out now. As Cukur says it will be hard, but relatively easy compared to what it will be like in the future especially if there are children involved.Call your family and talk to them about the situation. Maybe you could go to them for while or someone could come and stay with you?Be strong Sarah.

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Ihave read this with a growing sense of unease for you.Please listen to these wise people.Send him home ..buy him a ticket if you have to,but do not give him any of your money.I have heard of,and lived myself all these control issues and it will only get worse not better.You will find the strength to carry on believe me. Log on here daily if you have to and there are people to talk to.Be strong sweety..you can do it.xx

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I also agree with what the others have said. You are not choosing alcohol over him - you are choosing your freedom, and dignity. He has no right to treat you like this - don't let him, please. I noticed his remark that he intends to tell his family you are dead. Horrible in any case. But if your behavior is genuinely unacceptable to them, why does he feel the need to lie about your breaking up?!

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What a shame that you are still in such an unhappy marriage. Sunny's advice struck a real cord with me, please read her post again.. l understand that you love this man but 'love' is a difficult emotion to define. Having said that it should mean 'happiness, fulfilment, trust and most of all feeling free to live together but also as individuals!please find the strenght to send him home with your blessing. Anyone who can say 'l will tell my family you are dead' is not worth your love and hurt.. as said before. yes it will hurt and you will grieve the loss - but you will recover and be stronger for it. If he really loved you and cared for you he would understand your way of life, instead it seems that he feels he can now control everything you do (as you are his wife) and you should just except that!!! flexibility is not an option here so you need to think of yourself. It is better to be alone than in a bad relationship, believe me, as for being on your own, well sometimes thats just what we need to figure out what we are really looking for, and eventually getting closer to the mark..Be strong and give this guy the kick up the *rse he really needs. Move on and upwards, in time you will look back and thank your lucky stars..Bev xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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Akdag23, I am so sorry to hear about what you have been going through lately. I am the same age as you but I live here in Turkey. I am sorry to say I agree with all the comments above, he is just going to control you if you stay. And when I read he will tell his family you have died and will not marry again ... would you actually let him do that and pretend you are dead!!! If he loves you like he says he do he will try and work things out ... also he would love you for who you are not who he wants you to be. Reading your 1st post on here, he must have known who you were when you met as you have admitted you are not your old self anymore. A relationship needs both people to work at it, not just you. İf you change and do what he wants you to do what will he do for you in return except for make you a person who your not and control your life.I know its easier said than done but as I am the same age as you and I have no children. I would have to end the marriage. You may be heartbroken for a while but after that pain goes away at least you will be happy and maybe find somebody who will love you for who you are not who they want you to be. xxxx

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RE-reading through all this, one thing worries me -- that he's prepared to tell his family you are dead rather than admit the marriage has broken down. I've read of cases in the papers of husbands like this, whose world comes to an end if the wife leaves. If they feel they have lost, then they have nothing more to lose .... with very tragic circumstances.It's a case of losing honour if the marriage fails. By telling his family you have died he'd be in denial. You should consider your physical and mental safety, and proceed carefully. I hope all goes well for you and you break free of the hold he has over you.

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Having just read this thread, I agree with all the comments. You cannot let this man control your life. I feel very sad for you but if I was your mother (my sons are your age) I would be advising you to leave him. One of the most alarming things to me was when you mentioned that he wanted to give a large sum of money to his family. I don't believe you will ever see it again and I am assuming that because he is not working and you are it is probably money you earned. Good luck with whatever you decide and I hope you can confide in a close friend or relative.

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