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Pakistani Muslim & English Christian Relationship

True story written by a Pakistani British lady who escaped an arranged marriage and has now married her long-term partner and had a baby.


I met my now husband who i will call A when i was 18 (7 1/2 years ago). We worked together, and straight away we kind of clicked and got on really well. At the time my parents were trying to persaude me to marry someone from Pakistan to the point where nearly everything was arranged apart from the plane tickets. I had spoken to my parents on numerous occasions telling them i didn't want to get married, but it fell on deaf ears and they continued the preparations. A was well aware of the situation with my parents, but at this point we were just friends.

Anyway to cut a long story short, the pressure got too much from my parents about the arranged marriage. I felt i couldn't tell them about what had by then developed into a relationship with A, for fear of being locked up at home and then taken abroad and being forced to marry a stranger. Therefore on our third 'date' i left my home with no money, none of my offical documents and just the clothes on my back. None of this had been planned. It was the hardest thing i have ever had to do. I was all too aware of all the shame and humiliation my running away would cause them, and the guilt was overwelming. I'm still not quite sure how i made the decision to leave.

I had to phone my parents to let them know what was going on as they didn't know anything about what i had just done- as far as they were concerned i had just gone to work that day as per normal.

The phone call that followed was absolutely horrible. I could hear my parents wailing in the background, crying and telling me that i wouldn't have to marry anyone as long as i came back... It would have been so easy to believe what they were saying, but considering the rows we had had over the last few months I knew that it was just their way of getting me back home where they could 'deal' with me. I didn't dare tell my parents where i was for fear that they would perhaps resort to violence in order to get me back, I didn't want A or his family to live in fear of their lives.

The following weeks were awful in terms of the guilt i felt for the embarrassment and humiliation i had brought onto my parents. I was well aware of what they would be going through, and was at an incredible low.

The only light in my life was A, not once did he put any pressure on me to stay with him even for the reason that he had helped me get out of a disastrous situation. He was there when the guilt got too much and I found myself crying for all the pain I knew I had caused my family. Even after everything that had happened between them and myself, I still missed everyone so much. That was probably the hardest thing to bear as i had never been away from them for any length of time, and i still loved them so much in spite of everything.

If it hadn't been for the love, support and emotional strength I received from A I probably would have given into the pressure from my parents, and would have been made to go through a forced wedding back in Pakistan to someone who was virtually a stranger.

Six months later and I had settled in with A, got a job and was getting on brilliantly with A's family who were always so supportive. Then my parents tracked me down and came to see me. Seeing my parents after what felt like years was heart-wrenching. I desperatley wanted to see them and find out how they were, but i was afraid to let them into my new life as i didn't want anyone to destroy my wonderful relationship with A.

I did end up seeing them and agreeing to meet them, as they said that by this point I had nothing to fear and they had called the wedding in Pakistan off. What then followed was a few years of my parents trying to convince me that i could undo the damage I had done, and come back to them and marry someone of their choosing- so they hadn't given up completley!!

Most of these visits ended up with us arguing and me leaving to come back home. I should add at this point that they did not want to see A and he was not accepted by them, I actually think they thought that I would tire of him soon and eventually come back to them.

I continued seeing my family every few weeks in the hope that they were coming round to the idea that I had choosen my path in life, and was happy and in love with the person i was with, but they continued to try and convice me otherwise, until 5 years later we got engaged and started to plan the wedding.

I invited my family but they declined the invitation. I was disappointed, but by that point I had come to expect them to decline any opportunity to meet A or any of his family, so i was determined not to be upset and to make sure that my wedding day be the best day of my life, and it was.

Now 2 years on we have a beautiful 9 month old baby girl. My parents do dote on her but they still refuse to see my husband, I know the situation is not how I would like it but I have come to accept it. They have definitley mellowed in the last 7 odd years, and hopefully in time they will accept my husband fully, but I'm not letting that dictate how i live the rest of my life.

We will live how we want to, and I refuse to feel guilty about my decision to leave home, fall in love and make a life for myself.



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