Haunted by the past [Archives:2006/1003/Community]

November 30 2006

By: Faozia Bawi
[email protected]

We live in a judgmental and discriminating society that is unkind, harsh and biased. I would like to share the story of a beautiful, emotional, sensitive, kind-hearted, amiable, and self-sacrificing young lady named Sawsan who has been referred to me for case evaluation.

Sawsan, 27 and divorced, comes from a modest and conservative Egyptian family residing in the United States. She was married at a young age to please her parents' wishes not knowing what she was putting herself into. The husband had no self worth, no morals/ethics and cruel to her in every aspect of life.

She tried to make the relationship work because there were children involved, but unfortunately that didn't succeed. After several years of an increasingly unhappy life being abused verbally, emotionally and mentally, she decided to end the misery and get a divorce.

The process wasn't easy for her especially since she was the one requesting to be divorced. After so much hardship and a great deal of social stress, she was able to divorce herself and move on with her life.

Years passed and she met Marwan, a 29-year-old gentleman of Syrian descent. Sawsan and Marwan found comfort in one another and became real good friends.

As time passed, Sawsan grew so fond of him. She found him to be a noble man with a great personality and characteristics she always wanted in a man.She saw in Marwan the person she was searching for and he found in her a person that was rare and unique, a person he would want to spend the rest of his life. He was astonished by her beauty, wisdom, and caring personality.

As time passed, Marwan began to express how much he admires her. Several months after meeting Sawsan, Marwan told her that he loves her and that she has taken over his life; he also told her that he spoke to his family about her.

This revelation made Sawsan feel happiness she never felt before; she couldn't believe what she was hearing. She knew deep in her heart she loved him as well but never imagined that it is possible for her to fall in love and feel loved in return. This marked the first time in her life she feels happiness.

In the midst of this happiness, a shiver ran through her body and a sudden fear arose within her. She realized Marwan never asked her about her past and that she needs to let him know about everything. He never questioned why she wasn't married and she never brought it up because it was something she wanted to keep in the past and never thought she would fall in love with Marwan or there could be something more than friendship between them.

The moment of truth scared her and she didn't know how to approach it, but knew for a fact that she needed to tell him everything.

She managed to break the news to Marwan. He was in shock and denial. He couldn't believe or accept the fact that the person he fell in love with and had plans to form a family was previously married and divorced. He admitted to Sawsan that although he had previous relationships he never imagined being with someone who had a previous relationship. He acknowledged the fact that although he loved her so much, the relationship wouldn't go anywhere.

Hearing this news hurt Sawsan so much it made her wish she was never born. After several discussions the couple agreed to give the relationship a chance although Marwan was determined it was a dead end. Several months later he told her that he took a decision to end the relationship between them and that it shouldn't go any further because it wasn't going to take them anywhere.

Sawsan's past came to haunt her and all her dreams shattered as glass in front of her eyes. She tried to hide her feelings and treat him as a friend, but he was convinced it was impossible and wanted nothing to do with her; not even her friendship although he still cared for her and she was a great person.

Sawsan had no choice other than to carry her pain and walk a long journey of heartbreak and despair; a journey of struggle. She is suffering emotionally and mentally and is in severe depression. She is being denied happiness because of a choice she didn't make for herself. She is being denied love because God's destiny for her was to marry and divorce.

Sawsan and Marwan's story is real and is only an example of the double standard society we live in. What kind of society is this that gives men the freedom to have premarital relationships and still be accepted while at the same time denies women the right to love and be happy because of a previous matrimonial relationship. Is this what our society and religion are based on? I am sure there isn't anything in the Quran that gives men this right. Do women in Sawsan's situation have the right to love, remarry, and lead a happy life? Well, the answer to this particular question lies within each and every one of us.