Ask M: Should I back out of his proposal?

Dear M,

I am a 30-years-old independent Muslim woman who is somewhat conservative. Three years ago my marriage of 14 months ended in an acrimonious divorce, and since then I have focused on my work. I recently received a proposal from a 48- year-old divorcee, who happens to be my aunt’s neighbor. He seems nice, although a bit quiet and reserved.

I feel reluctant to accept because I’ve observed certain behaviors in him that resemble my ex-husband’s. This worries me, but I also wonder if I am evaluating this man with clarity and fairness, or if I am still gun-shy because of my failed marriage. Meanwhile, his older sister is eager for me to marry him quickly and his five-year-old daughter seems to like me, even becoming so attached to me as to call me “Mom.”

I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, but the thought of entering into marriage again frightens me. What shall I do?



Dear Hesitant,

I recognize how difficult it can be to consider marriage after a non-amicable divorce that has left a scar on your heart and  psyche. It’s normal to have flashbacks and see traits of your ex in a new suitor, but make sure that you’re viewing this man through a clean lens and evaluating him for who he really is.

Time is your friend here. Don’t let anyone or anything pressure you into making such a major decision. Don’t buckle, but rather politely and firmly let this man and his sister know that you need time to make the right decision. Ask him to keep his daughter from becoming attached to you in order to protect her feelings in case this road does not lead to marriage. Then do your due diligence (perhaps ask your aunt’s help in finding out more about this man). While you are doing your research, focus on the qualities you are looking for in a spouse and see how he measures up to your criteria.

Also, keep in mind that there are  challenges that come along with marrying someone with children. His daughter will come first, no matter what. Since his marriage also ended in divorce, I assume there is a co-parenting situation. Be mindful of that. His ex will always be in the picture and they will communicate often. Make sure that while you are still deciding whether or not to accept his proposal, the two of you discuss what sort of relationship/role/boundaries you will have with his daughter and his ex-wife.

May Allah heal your wound, guide you and bless you with a good spouse.

With love,


Dear M,

I am a 24-year-old college graduate and have just launched my own business. I recently accepted a proposal from a 29-year-old man. I find him neither attractive nor interesting, but agreed to marry him to please my mother, who is determined that I marry young. We plan to wed in less than a year, but the closer we move to the wedding date, the more I am convinced that I cannot spend my life with this man. I’d like to break this engagement, but I don’t know how to deliver the news to my mother without breaking her heart and ruining our relationship. Please help.

Bad Daughter


Dear Bad Daughter,

It sounds like you have made up your mind to not marry this man, and it is your right to do so. I understand that you feel anxious at the prospect of delivering the news to your mom, but consider the alternatives–youare “stuck” in an unhappy marriage for the rest of your life or you end up divorced. Those are far more severe and far-reaching consequences than sitting down with your mother and having an uncomfortable conversation.

At the end of the day, every parent only wants his or her child to be happy and healthy. I suggest you have a heart-to-heart with your mother. Tell her how you really feel about this man. Ask what she sees in him thathas convinced her that he is the right partner for you. It is possible that the criteria you look for in a partner do not match with hers. You may want to re think your decision after the conversation. Be open minded and respectful but know that this decision is ultimately yours to make.

I pray that Allah makes your affairs easy and gives you a suitable spouse.


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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