Discussing our dark pasts … and a marital “sell-by” date?

Dear M,

I turned 25 this year and with this birthday came the pressure to find a spouse. I have been made to feel as if I have a sell-by date that is reaching its end. I did not show any interest in marriage up until now because I always wanted to ensure I had my own career and was financially responsible for myself before marrying. I earned my degree but struggled to find work, so I enrolled in graduate school. Now I’ve almost completed my program and I feel as though a deadline is looming. I’ve lost all my friends to marriage and they’re constantly judging me for being the last, remaining single girl of our group. I dismiss their concern/criticism by pretending that my career is my top priority, when in reality I’m single because no one has ever taken an interest in me.

I’m starting to suspect that the problem is me. Maybe I don’t know how to meet and engage with people or maybe I’m not attractive enough. I even gave online matrimonial sites a shot and all I found was stifling misogyny. I’m starting to lose hope. Maybe I should throw in the towel and just start adopting loads of cats now.

Future Cat Lady



Dear Future Cat Lady,

To feel this way at 25 years young, when you are about to earn a graduate degree? Oh my! This is the time to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments. Bravo!!!

Your aspirations to attain a higher education and become financially independent are admirable. It is easy to question whether or not you are on the right track when your close friends begin to pressure and judge you. But remember that their opinions are just that—THEIR opinions. This is your life so write your own stories at your own pace. Don’t allow others to dictate your feelings. Do what’s right for you.

Now, as far as meeting a mate goes, if you feel your introverted personality might be hindering you, then it’s time to challenge yourself in this area. Expand your social circle by joining some groups like a book club or maybe a mosque volunteer group. Set goals to meet new people who share common interests with you, and use the opportunities to improve your communication skills. And you might even meet your future mate along the way.

Keep in mind, marriage is neither a solution nor a destination. Singles often envy their married peers because they assume that couples enjoy love, romance and companionship. In reality, marriage is a journey that has ups and downs and does not necessarily guarantee happiness. It’s better to try and lead a full life and wait for Mr. Right than it is to marry Mr. Rightnow in order to please society.

With love,

Dear M,

I am an unmarried, 21-year-old girl who comes from a pious, conservative family. I consider myself a moderate Muslim. I have been wearing hijab from a young age and approach life with a spiritual frame of mind. That being said, I am not a virgin. I have been intimate with one man in my life. My question is this: should I discuss my past with my future spouse? A part of me wants to remain quiet–whatever my sins may be, they are between me and God. On the other hand, how can I conceal something so enormous from the person with whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life? And of course, I worry that if I do disclose this information, my future husband may reject me. While I have yet to meet my Mr. Right, I am agonizing over this dilemma. I know that what I did was wrong, but I cannot change the past. I can only repent and not make the same mistake again.

Born Sinner



Dear Born Sinner,

It is human to sin, and Allah loves those who sincerely repent. I believe in being honest with a potential partner about our goals, habits, finances, present-day character and religious observance. However, this does not include past sins—in other words, sins which you no longer commit.

These remain between you and God, and He conceals them for you. Your past is not your future husband’s business. How will your past impact his future life with you?

It seems as though you felt genuine remorse over what happened, asked Allah for forgiveness and have not committed the sin since. Allah is the Most Merciful and we are not to despair of His mercy. You are not less because you have sinned. We all do. So leave the past where it belongs and move on. There is no need to keep dwelling on it. Focus on your present and future. Ask Allah to give you a good husband who will be your partner in this life and the Hereafter.

With love,


M is a skilled dating coach with many years of experience in helping women find suitable spouses online. She utilizes lessons learned from her own personal experience along with decades of proven professional skills as a business consultant with focus on human behaviors, communication and relationship development.

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