Dear Mo: How do I tell him about alcohol in my past?

Dear Mo, Salaam,

I met a guy through a friend and because things are going well, I’d like to know whether or not he sees a future with me. I am refraining from broaching the subject because so far he and I have not discussed our pasts in detail. Relationship wise there is nothing in my past I would be uncomfortable sharing. However, in my younger years I used to drink alcohol. I stopped several years ago, but it seems that while Muslim men can make this mistake and be forgiven the transgression by the community, Muslim girls are held to a stricter standard.  I do not want to lie to this person, but the idea that something I no longer do could ruin a happy relationship is frightening. How do I motivate myself to have the “talk”?



Walaikum as-Salaam Hesitant,

As I sat down to respond to you, I realized that you are really asking four different questions.  Which is good.  We need better questions more than we need better answers.  This is my take on your predicament:

Q1: “Is this dude into me?” (please note that until we know one way or the other, no matter how dreamy, he is just a “dude”…and remember there are lots of “dudes”),

A: I don’t know…and the only way to know is to have “the talk”.

Q2:  “Is this dude your matched pair?”

A: I don’t know…and the only way to know is to have “the talk”.

Q3: “Do we have the talk?”

A: This is the ONLY one you have some control over.

You are always allowed to broach the subject of “the talk”.  So if you feel that it is time…ask.  He may be feeling the same way…or he isn’t.  But either way, you are better off knowing – especially if you want to explore a relationship with this dude.  (and that gets you an answer to Q1 and Q2)

As a general comment, I don’t know where you are in your spiritual journey, but keep in mind that before you can fully and wholeheartedly invest yourself in a relationship, you have to reach a point where you forgive and truly love yourself.

Q4: “Is this person going to judge me (and will it hurt)?”

This is the most difficult one because you don’t have any control over how someone will respond.  It is done.  Card played.  No take backs.  Past is the past.  The desire to change the past is a noble one in some ways, it shows true repentance (or at least acknowledges concern) about something that happened.

If it helps…there are many saints and wonderful humans that have lived a life of excess in their younger years.  Someone even said, “the road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom”…he probably was hungover. A lot. Because that is full of wisdom.

When you love someone (or even when you are just enamored with someone), you want them to love you back.  It’s natural to feel anxious at the prospect of revealing something about yourself—something you can’t take back– that might repel someone you love.

Here is the good news: I guarantee that if this is the person for you, he won’t hold your past mistakes against you.  The revelation may be a shock to him so give it some time to sink in.  And if this person does consider the news a deal breaker, well it’s a cheap price to pay for something/someone better.

Our first job in life is to make ourselves whole…this is what it means to be a believer.  Our next job, if we are fortunate is to make ourselves whole again with our mate.   Don’t be afraid, if this “ruins” a “happy” “relationship”…well…I would say that it wasn’t “happy” or a “relationship” nor was there anything to “ruin” in the first place.

Have no fear…love is vicious, painful, and not for the timid.  It is also for everyone because nothing is greater than the Divine Gift of Love.  Don’t let anyone judge you.  If they do, move on to the next dude.




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  • Farrah says:

    Salaams – great question and answer mA:)! I find it so crazy that, especially in the Muslim community, people go about love and pursuit of marriage in such a black and white way. Loving someone means to love the human for human being’s sake – not because they are of a certain profession, appearance, past, etc. Yes – accepting certain things can be difficult, and this is natural, but doesn’t mean you can’t get over it and have a happy relationship.

  • anisajam90 says:

    Salaams! I understand when getting into a potential relationship bringing up the topic of past sins can be somewhat terrifying. I’ve heard from many sheikhs that unless the sin will directly impact the other person(ie. and std from premarital relations etc.) you do not have to tell the person. Now I know that’s somewhat shocking because normally we feel we have to share everything, but the example the sheikh gave was if Allah SWT has covered your sin and shielded you from others knowing then why would you uncover that sin that Allah SWT has covered for you out of his mercy.

    Of course everyone is different and at the end of the day you must do what’s best for you but I hope that bit of info can ease your mind and heart a bit! And Allah SWT knows best!

    Good luck!

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