Now Reading
I Don’t Love My Husband and I’m Okay With That

I Don’t Love My Husband and I’m Okay With That

My husband and I have been married for three years and I still don’t love him.

Our marriage story isn’t extraordinary. I met him through a friend, who insisted that we would make a good match. “He’s just like you,” I remember her gushing to me one day over tea. “You like the same things.” At first, I was completely taken aback by her determination to get me hitched. Both of us had been adamant about waiting on the right men to come along, even if it that meant waiting until we were in our thirties. We looked on judgmentally as some of our friends fell for the first guy that came along and swept them off their feet (or, more accurately, convinced the fathers of their future brides they were good enough for them). I didn’t want to be “that girl” — the girl who finished college and immediately became fresh bait. I didn’t want to be the one whose aunties and estranged family members decided they knew what was best for her and transformed themselves into FBI agents on the lookout for suspects (i.e. potential grooms). But isn’t that how the universe works? It goes out of its way to give you exactly what you didn’t ask for.

So I graduated college. For a year and a half, I sat at home trying to decide what to do with my life now that I didn’t have classes to go to and I was at a loss. I didn’t want to go to graduate school right away because my brain was fried and deserved a break. But I wanted something to happen, some glamorous event that would bring me out of this rut that had become my life. I’d wake up at 9:00 A.M., realize I didn’t have classes I needed to be awake for, and go back to sleep until well past noon. When I was awake long enough, I watched bad movies and ate stale chips. This happened every day, without fail, for a year and a half. I started feeling anxious, knowing I should do something about this unfortunate turn of events but lacking the motivation to actually do anything.

But isn’t that how the universe works? It goes out of its way to give you exactly what you didn’t ask for.

When my friend told me about this man whom she believed was perfect because he was “just like me,” I was initially thrown off guard, but then I started entertaining the idea. I was 20 years old and at a crossroads in my life. I could literally choose any direction to go in and take it. I could backpack across Europe if I wanted to. I could climb Everest (probably not, but everybody wants to climb a mountain, right? That’s a thing?). I could forget my arts education and start over completely, learn something new. Or…I could just get married.

As bad as it sounds now, I think I was willing to do anything that got me out of my parents’ house and offered a break from the routine I’d lived through for so many months. So even marriage, which I’d sworn off until I was at least 26, seemed like a welcome prospect. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. I wasn’t thinking about love or the future or even how this person looked. I was, to be completely honest, only thinking —selfishly, I might add— of how it would be a nice change for me, so I went for it.

When I gave my friend the green light, she immediately stalked our suspect on social media and sent me everything she could find. He wasn’t bad looking. Average looks, cheesy smile — nothing that made my heart stutter. I remember feeling a vague sense of foreboding and a tightness in my chest, but I ignored both. I was determined to follow through with this endeavor now, this adventure that was going to change my life for the better.

I was 20 years old and at a crossroads in my life.

We were married five months after we started talking. I can’t recall how I felt on my wedding day besides numb. It occurred to me that I was 20 years old and getting married, willingly,  to a complete stranger. I’d broken all my own rules and I couldn’t even truthfully claim that I was happy about it. But it was too late. In a blur of events, I was moving halfway across the country, away from my family–just like that. After two decades of being in my parents’ home, after years of wanting to be somewhere else, anywhere else, I was gone.

It was during our third month of living together that I realized I didn’t love him. I cared about him, sure. I was slowly adjusting to living with someone else who wasn’t family, slowly getting used to his habits, both good and bad. I cared about him the way you care about a distant cousin you’ve never met — that is, by association. Again, harsh, but true. I knew that he was my husband and that I could at least make an effort to care, even if on the inside I was questioning our entire, eight-month relationship.

It had happened so fast. I don’t know if I was expecting it to happen so fast. I never had time to adjust to the idea of going from a single girl who’s never had a roommate to a married woman with an actual, real-life husband. There was no period of time where I could sit down with myself and have an honest conversation about whether this was really what I wanted. That conversation came later, in the middle of the night during one of many sleepless episodes.

I cared about him the way you care about a distant cousin you’ve never met — that is, by association.

See Also

I remember that night well. I was staring at a singular point on the ceiling, at a black spot that could have been a spider. My thoughts were particularly dark that night. I listened to him breathing next to me and tried to slow down my own breathing. My heart shook like a battering ram in my chest. I clenched my hands into tight fists at my side and tried to count backward, but it was useless. The thought had already seeped into my brain, like black ink, spilling and spreading until it was all I could think of for the rest of the night.

I don’t love him.

I cried, at first. I cried whenever he left for work. I cried at night, long after he fell asleep, and let my satin pillowcase hide the evidence of my tears. I don’t know who I was crying for. It could have been for him because he didn’t deserve to not be loved. But it could have been for myself because I sold myself short, something I realized too late.

I walked into marriage for all the wrong reasons, because I was young and naive and afflicted with the disease of the young, who want to do everything now and rush into half-considered decisions. Of course, I’m still young, and I’ll make a thousand more bad decisions. But this is the one I have to live with because now I’ve put myself in a position to pretend for the rest of my life. It will get easier and I find myself caring for him more and more every day, but I don’t see myself ever being in love with him.

The thought had already seeped into my brain, like black ink, spilling and spreading until it was all I could think of for the rest of the night.

That crippled me, at first. The idea that I had to live with this human being, even though I didn’t love him, drove me to the edge of panic for months. I fought an internal battle where there were no winners and I felt completely helpless. But I’ve come to accept that maybe love isn’t what I’m meant to get out of this relationship, that there are more valuable lessons to take away from our time together. As strange as it may sound, I’m getting to a place in my mind where I can be okay with just caring about my husband, even if I can’t bring myself to fall for him.

View Comments (28)
  • Three years isn’t all that long. When you’ve been married 25 years, then you can speak with the wisdom of experience. And you’ll still only be 45.

    • Bad advice of the month. Well done. After 25 years and six kids she can then think – hmmm – I was right I did make a wrong decision. Good job I can now still rectify it.

        • Not within Islam. Neither party is expected to put up with a poor partner. Commitment is excellent when there is a basis of love. That had never existed in this case. Three years down the road they will both have found better spouses. To stick to a sinking ship, in which neither party is going to be happy is foolish.
          She has learnt the hard way “Marrying for money is the hardest money you’ll ever earn.”

          • It’s natural law that marriage is a lifelong commitment. Islam recognises natural law. Just because divorce is allowed, doesn’t mean it isn’t breaking a promise. It just means for practical reasons you are allowed to break the promise.

          • Because it isn’t. Pigmy society for example don’t have an institution of marriage. Nor do many tribes of PNG.

            Islam itself accepts that a marriage can be for as little as 30 minutes.

            The Prophet was quite happy to take women captured in battle. Indeed, only one of his companions didn’t have sex slaves.

          • Those stories about the Prophet and his companions are largely unreliable and made up. The imams, who say that that a 30 minute sex contract is marriage, are not doing justice to the Islamic principles of natural law. Note also that even by those messy hadiths, the Prophet never divorced any of his wives.

            In terms of Pigmy and Papua New Guinea tribes, the interpretation of their behaviour by anthropologists may not properly represent the reality of normal life in those communities. And even if it does, all that means is that their cultures are out of line with how God intended human beings to live. The fact that cultures that normalised traditional, life long marriage have prospered and dominate the world today, whilst the Pigmy and Papua New Guinea peoples have not and do not, shows that traditional marriage is the most functional institution that resonates with underlying human nature.

          • May I ask, under which scholars have you studied under and what is your prestigious academic background in the usool ad-deen? What level is your mastery of Arabic? Are you qualified in the science of uloom al-Hadith?
            Anything that you feel uncomfortable with is simply deemed ‘unreliable’ and from ‘messy hadiths’ lol. Is this how fragile ones imaan is? Disregarding 1500 years of illustrious scholarship of this religion, just to fit in to a liberal agenda epitomises this site, with all due respect. I only came to advise you sincerely. Seek knowledge of the religion and stop trying to fit in to the secular liberal ideology….follow the Sunnah.

          • Which Sunnah? There are as many opinions as there are Imams.

            I’ve no wish to follow secular liberal ideology, but 1500 years of illustrious scholarship didn’t exactly leave Muslim societies in a thriving state. Better to be reasonable, rational, and to think critically.

  • This is the most important line in this piece ” I don’t know who I was crying for. It could have been for him because he didn’t deserve to not be loved.” You made a stupid decision but mostly I feel bad for your husband. Who said you have to stay in this marriage forever? You’ve only been married for 3 years which is a very short time in the bigger picture. You’re probably only 23-24 and have your whole life ahead of you. Furthermore, he deserves a wife who will love him and be in love with him. I got married at 22 and I thought I loved my ex husband so our stories are different. Still, our marriage didn’t work out. I got divorced 2 years later despite protests from family and elders. I am now married to the love of my life and consider my divorce to be one of the best decisions I have made. You made a mistake, don’t drag it out. Don’t be like our parents’ generation who stayed for decades and spent their whole lives suffering with the wrong person, simply because they didn’t have the courage to leave in the beginning.

  • I’m sad to hear you rushed into a decision to marry when its not what you wanted. However I don’t think you should get complacent with the idea that you can never love your husband. A good, happy marriage is one you create and requires work from both husband and wife. I think a lot of what we’re told about love being just about euphoric feelings which will propel and sustain a marriage are inaccurate and misleading. I just finished reading this book called ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Dr Gary Chapman which you might find useful to help improve your marriage. It says that the “in-love” experience on average lasts 2 years after which couples start to return to reality and suddenly find they no longer feel the same way about their significant other. Its about learning how each of us feels loved and offers practical help on what you can do to consciously be loving towards your spouse. I hope it helps and pray inshallah that you can work to create a very happy, loving marriage that you both deserve!

  • Repect.!
    “…. maybe love isn’t what I’m meant to get out of this relationship, that there are more valuable lessons to take away from our time together”

    Perfectly concluded.
    Contrary to popular belief, love aint the name of the game !!!

  • Don’t let yourself feel stuck and you’ll never find yourself stuck with anything again. It’s not too late to leave and try again for the right reasons

  • I was married two weeks after I met my husband. At first I know I didn’t love him, how could I? It was scary and awful and my mother in law turned against me. I almost ran away but he got down on his knees and gave me a gun and asked me to shoot him. It was manipulative, yes, but it also was a strong move of passion that I was missing. Things changed after that and we have lots of love making and hate being apart. The beggining is never easy in these kinds of arrangements, but love isn’t something spelled out by destiny. It is something you create and build over time.

  • If a sexual relationship of a couple of years hasn’t helped you love the guy – nothing will.
    Think of the smell of the guy – how do you feel? Smell is our primordial sense – if you don’t have a good feeling about his odour – you are looking forward to years of bitterness and resentment.

  • Kinda surprise at the comments on this post.
    “walk out girl” ?
    “love less marriage” ?
    There was once a man who came to Umar r.a and said the same thing that “I don’t love my wife.” ..he wanted to divorce her because he didn’t love her.
    Guess what Umer r.a ‘s reply was?
    “Must every house be built upon love? What about loyalty and appreciation?”

  • You are living with this man, and you cannot give him a 100%, and because of that, you are being unfair to yourself, and to him. If you can’t love him, you are depriving yourself and him of feelings that people in marriages should feel.
    The relationship you are building is based on ease (which is now so hard for you), and like the comments I’ve read below, you are now learning that “Marrying for money is the hardest money you’ll ever earn.”
    You may be stable financially, your families may get along, and you may be doing all of your duties, but if you are truly unhappy, then, only you can make yourself happy.
    If you haven’t fallen in love with him by now, then there may be chance you will never be able to love him, he will be a housemate, a room mate, or whatever, and that is unfair to him, because he probably doesn’t even know.
    There will be children, and memories, and things you’ll want to do with someone you love, and you will feel inadequate.
    Don’t do this to yourself, there are enough people in the world living in marriages that suffocate them, no one has to cry to sleep, and you certainly shouldn’t have to.

  • Respect husband values.. So a women will get respect..What man thinks about wife he cant tell to everyone..u should respect him and he will do the same..if he is wrong he will definately say sorry for wrong doings.but if u or him re not afraid they will get a divorced..its for sure

  • I’m 36 and in a process of getting to know a guy who is crazy about me. I dont feel the same way about him. Not even close. But he respects me, I can trust him , he takes the lead in all matters, is planning to arrange for an accommodation and everything that i will need to feel comfortable living with him after marriage. He wants to make sure everything happens the way I want. The only thing he cares about is me. But I dont love him, I dont know what to do. I’m not getting any younger and I am lucky to have met someone who is doing so much for me.
    Any advise?

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top