Muslim Girl in America

I'm an American girl, born and raised, and a Muslim.

A Conversation of Argumental Proportions

on January 5, 2013

So, just to give you an update, things did not work out with Jersey. I talked to my parents and they agreed, and it actually ended up being a mutual thing as he felt the same way.

Well, now let me update you on Texas. So he’s coming to see me. This weekend in fact. Today in fact. At this moment his plane has already landed in my lovely and charming city. But deciding what activities we’ll do when he’s here has resulted in something like our first argument. Here’s a recap of what happened.

So, when we discussed him visiting, I had mentioned that the first week in January would work best for me. He wanted to wait until the end of January. I think he realized we were entering the “lets-move-forward-or-break-up” stage, because he decided to come this weekend. But he didn’t check with me before booking the flight. This results in him flying into an airport far away from my location and staying in a hotel that in not accessible to public transportation. He contacts me one day and asks which airport is best? I tell him the one near me is best and is metro-accessible. We had discussed this before (which airport was better), and I had also previously mentioned the airport near me. He tells me he has already booked a flight into the other one. I tell him that it will be harder for him to get around the city and he’ll have to cab it. He asks me, “Why aren’t you going to pick me up? I had planned on you picking me up and driving us around.” I respond with, “Well, I wish you would have checked with me first before making plans that concerned me”, which I feel is completely appropriate. I tell him that my parents aren’t comfortable with us in a car together until they’ve met you, and I’m going to respect their wishes. He asks, “So, does that mean you’re not even going to come to my hotel and meet me there?” I firmly say No. Maybe he didn’t mean anything … lascivious….by it, but I don’t go to hotels to meet men. Period.

So then I ask him why he had booked a flight and hotel, when I, who have lived in this city for a number of years and know what I’m talking about, suggested the other one. He said when he lived in my city, that was the area where he lived. And he expected me to spend the whole weekend there. He didn’t want to go into the city. He didn’t want to ride public transportation, and never did when he lived there. He said he only drove around that suburb and that was good enough for him then and it should be good enough now. Wow. And he said this all very defensively. Very adamantly. But there’s one thing to mention here: there are no musuems, no downtown, no real fun activities to be had in said place. Only restaurants, really. So I ask, “Did you expect us to just sit and talk for 2 days? Why are you against going to a museum or doing something fun?” He says that he does not expect us to talk for 2 days, though his tone of voice suggests he might have been, which to me does not sound like fun. We’re meeting for the first time, not negotiating a business deal (though in our culture, some might debate that point). He states that he went sightseeing when he lived there several years ago and he doesn’t want to see anything again. I respond by saying, “It’s not about the museum or sightseeing. It’s about doing an activity together and hanging out together.” To me, he just sounded afraid. He keeps bringing up that he doesn’t want to ride public transportation as he doesn’t want to get lost or end up in a bad neighborhood. I tell him that I would never take him to a bad neighborhood.

I decide to try a different tack. I mean, this is a man who has told me that he loves to travel and loves to explore new cities like I do. Either he has multiple personalities, or he was exaggerating. So I try talking to him calmly, rationally, and unfortunately, like I’m trying to talk him down from his fear. “You told me that you love to travel,” I say. “That you love to explore new cities.” He says he does go to new cities, but stays near the hotel and doesn’t venture out. “So you don’t like to travel then?” I ask. “No, I love to travel,” he says defensively. “I’ve actually done a lot of traveling. I even ride the Boston subway when I’m there.” So I respond with, “And I’m sure you studied the map and where you needed to go, asked for help if you needed it, and once you rode it a few times you were fine.” He just kinds of grunts in the affirmative, as he can’t really say anything to that.

And I try yet another tack. I say, “If this works out, I’ll be moving to a city where I don’t know how to get around, and, yes, that’s scary, but you get a map and make your way through it.” He responds, “But you won’t be alone, you’ll have me.” To which I reply, “And you won’t be alone when you visit me, either. You’ll have me.” To which he just grunts in the affirmative again and doesn’t really say anything else.

So, I’m left wondering what’s really going on. Is he just assuming things about himself that aren’t true? Or is he just afraid to take risks? Maybe both, but definitely the latter. In the back of my mind, I actually think that may have been one reason why his marriage didn’t work out. I think he got afraid and ended it before it got too real, so to speak. I also think that he is too used to thinking only about himself, and not really considering others. Maybe this is a guy thing, I don’t know. I’ve been “independent” for a few years now, but I’m usually thinking about other people. Not that I’m not selfish (I’ll be the first to admit that I am), but I’m a very caring person. I don’t love by halves – I’m all in or I’m all out. That simple.

My feelings about Texas swing back and forth on a pendulum each day. One day I’m excited at the possibilities, the next I’m scared of the realities. Getting married and starting a family is what I want, but I’m afraid of that as well. Is there a Dummies guide for Muslim brides I can read? I’ve waited my whole life to share my life with someone and, if things move forward with Texas, am I settling? I never wanted to settle – it’s one of the reasons I didn’t get married earlier in life. The problem is that even as practical as I am, I’m just as much of a romantic. Curse you, Jane Austen, for making me believe there could be a Darcy out there waiting for me and that I don’t need to settle for the Mr. Collins in the world. And being a romantic is not a good thing for a Muslim girl to be. We’re told from an early age that romance plays little part in our married lives. But I know in reality that marriage isn’t like those in romance novels, and movies, or even Jane Austen. That it is more practical for most.

I recall a conversation with one of my cousins (who has been married several years) regarding marriage. She asked me what I wanted most from marriage. I said I wanted someone who was a true partner that I could share things with, and someone who would be there for me emotionally when I needed it. She easily responded, “That doesn’t exist. Get that thought out of your head, because you won’t find it.” But why? Everybody needs someone to talk to, to share things with. Why can’t it be the person you’ve pledged your life to? Sigh.

Well, I’m going to keep an open mind as the weekend progresses. We’ve had other pleasant conversations since this pseudo-argumentative one, so we’ll see how things go. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading!

-M

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3 responses to “A Conversation of Argumental Proportions

  1. B Girl says:

    Good luck and I hope the visit goes well! 🙂

  2. Emma says:

    There are some guys who have issues (may be emotional, mental, or even physical) that prevent them from being strong, projecting confidence, taking risks,(in their minds), etc. However, these things can be covered up (for a time), and more “innocent” (inexperienced) women may not get it at first. Something is wrong, but you’re not sure what! There are men who never leave their comfort zones, but they function w/in a “bubble” created by their family, few close friends, etc. I’ve seen this myself!

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