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Chose to play by own rules

Reader comment on item: Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men
in response to reader comment: Ahlen Ladies, Please Be Cautious and Guard Your Hearts

Submitted by Shömi (United States), Jun 14, 2017 at 12:25

Dear Jordana.
Please consider my reply as friendly. I think yours is an important voice and it greatly contributed to variety of advice found here. I can disagree with you on some issues, but I respect and appreciate your perspective as well as your good intentions. However, you repeatedly strike a note, which doesn't sit with me very well, and therefore I would like to address some of your comments on idealogical level.

First of all, lets distinguish sex tourism from otherwise innocent victims of romance scams. I find there is a great deal of confusion here. I absolutely detest sexual exploitation taking place in economically disadvantaged regions. I find that these practices are the root of our (as of western) skewed reputation in these parts of the world. As well as demoralization of people living there.

Having said that, I believe none of us here engaged in conversations with MENA men with the intention of taking any kind of advantage of them. In the early stages of such affairs, 100% of the initiative and persuading comes from the MENA party. In many cases it takes much time and convincing for us to open up to the prospect of getting romantically involved. We question but enjoy the exaggerated affection at first, and over time we conveniently allow ourselves to believe we deserved a miracle all along.

This formula works on most females. Please show me a perfectly confident or emotionally stable women to see things clearly at all times. I strongly believe we are all lovable and worthy of honesty. To blame all MENA population is obviously very wrong, but those who purposely pray on us for their own benefit are 100% at fault. I'm aggravated to hear, here especially, that there must have been something very wrong with me (or others) to fall for their deceit. Quite contrary. It's my confidence that misled me, and a firm belief that there is a higher orbit, where human beings can connect regardless of their headwear. Excuse me, but I have no intention to change nor blame myself.

I guess there is plenty of people who don't feel comfortable within the western lifestyle. Perhaps they have a greater chance of succeeding in interfaith marriages, it's easier for them to make sacrifices. I consciously chose the West to be my home. As a grown up, "westernized" woman, I frown upon financial/emotional dependance from men! I wonder, why would you advise western women to give up their freedoms and play by MENA rules? I have to say, I personally enjoyed my relationship doing the exact opposite of what you suggested. I accepted gifts and gestures but paid expenses related to my own vacations. When visiting my boyfriend's family, I left a large sum of money to his mother (indirectly, under a pillow). Because she hosted me with everything she's had, and I felt in debt. She was a victim of her son's agenda as much as I was. I probably broke some rules by offering monetary compensation, but never regretted it. Needless to say, my relationship with the guy was born from physical attraction, and we were lovers. I don't imagine myself marrying a man whose sexuality remains a mystery until a wedding night. I was not desperate to tie a knot with him by the way. It could have happened if the relationship worked out on every level, but it didn't. The guy was a cheater chasing a visa like most of them. Glad I found out BEFORE marrying him ;)

I know Jordana, that you are coming from a different upbringing and your advice came straight from the heart. But please understand, that being respectful of other beliefs is different from giving up your own. These men are approaching us claiming they have a preference for emancipated, modern women, yet in the end, they are the ones who practice what they think are western liberties, and we get stuck trying to live up to their version of decency.

My advice to you all is: go ahead and have fun, but leave it where it belongs. Be gentle to yourself and respectful of others. Don't take too much and don't give more than you can afford. And most of all, don't marry unless you are sure of a perfect balance. Give it time, plenty of time. Marriage is a very serious step. Keep on mind that some day this man might be making a final decision whether or not to keep you on life support. God forbid.

All the Best to All,
Shömi

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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