Ask The Therapist: ”My parents have fixed my marriage with my cousin without my consent

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My life is becoming hell. Without my permission, my parents arranged for my marriage to my cousin. When I told my mother I liked someone else, she fixed my marriage to my cousin rather than taking my side. He is the son of my Khala. My Khala and Khalo wed as cousins, and they have three abnormal kids. My mother is aware that genetic issues may result from this marriage, but she is unconcerned. She did all this because she doesn\’t like my Tayi, and the guy I like is a member of her family. Because of this, I haven\’t spoken to my family in the past two months. I have told my brothers as well but no one in the family supports me. They all are just telling me that if this wedding doesn’t happen, I will spoil their reputation. My mental health is not stable, I am becoming more and more angry with each passing day, and I just feel hatred towards everyone around me. I want to live my life according to my own terms. Please help!

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Response from Shahrukh

Dear Anon,

I\’m so sorry you\’re having to deal with having to not only leave a relationship you want to be in but also having to be coerced into getting engaged against your will! That\’s terrible, and while I\’m aware that forced marriages are common in Pakistan, where parents make decisions on their children\’s behalf without consulting the latter, it violates not only your human rights but is also prohibited by law and your religion. We can now look at your options to see if we can help you escape this situation.

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Forced Marriages in Islam

Anon, religion is a fundamental part of both our nation and the majority of homes. So, if a case is to be made, it could be that neither a man nor a woman is required to wed someone they do not want to. This argument might conflict with Islam\’s concept of parental obedience, but scholars agree that it has its limits. Although the bond between parents and children is considered holy in Islam, there is still space for abuse of authority, which is why certain limits are in place. It turns out that one of those limitations is marriage. While it\’s true that parents can offer advice and direction, they don\’t give consent. This is important to remember since it is a point where both the law and religion concur. You are allowed to decline.

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A Look at Your Options

I understand that you, Anon, are going through an extremely trying moment right now, so now could be a good time to stop and think about what you can do. I would advise you to check into this a little bit more because I am aware that there are solutions available in this country that differ depending on the makeup and dynamics of each family.

• Your allies and support

It\’s critical to acknowledge your support network, including friends and family, during these trying times. This will provide you with emotional support and protection while you work through whatever is occurring.

• Enlist the help of those who would be able to stand by your side

Sometimes it might be beneficial to enlist the assistance of a family member, a close friend, or someone who falls into that category and can talk to your parents about the situation and how you feel.

• Appreciating your resources

Anonymous, several things might work in your favor, one of which is financial independence. I\’m not sure of your employment situation. Still, if you have access to some money, you might consider exploring the possibility of sustaining yourself and living on your own if the scenario persists. Even though it could seem like a scary thought, it is achievable. Consider whether it is a thought that is workable for you.

• Discuss with your family

While quiet might be deafening, it is not always sufficient. I know that this talk can be difficult, but Anon is necessary. You are free to choose whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life with someone. Your parents may not agree with you, but it is your decision. Sit them down, express your feelings, talk as gently as possible, and maintain your position.

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• Create space for whatever is to come

It\’s acceptable if you\’re feeling frustrated, depressed, or helpless right now. Given how difficult it is to be in this circumstance, it is equally crucial to carve out time for yourself during this period.

Anon, you are the best person to describe your family and situation. I want you to know that you are permitted to say no and are not alone in this. It might not be simple to carry out, but it is feasible. Take some time to sit with everything, consider your alternatives, and determine the best course of action. I sincerely hope that everything turns out well for you in the end and that you successfully achieve your goal. Wishing you luck and further success!

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