Secrets From My Husband's Past

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society Topics: Marriage Views: 34829
34829

Question: 

My husband had girlfriends in the past which he refuses to talk to me about. During our engagement, he made it clear that he wasn't an angel in the past, but that he is a different man now and he doesn't like to talk about his past since it is between him and Allah. He also told me that he is not in touch with any of his ex-girlfriends. Things went well, and we got married. 

A few months after our marriage, I saw an old photograph on his friends Facebook page of him sitting next to a girl. My husband first told me that she was a friend, then explained that this was one of his ex- girlfriends who he had intended to marry but did not because his parents didn't approve and because he and his girlfriend had issues as well. He refuses to tell me what these issues were. The critical point is that I found out that she is still his friend on Facebook and that she sends him messages every now and then, contradictory to what he had told me previously about not being in contact with any of his ex-girlfriends. My husband let me go through all the messages between them, and there was no foul play there, alhamdulillah (all praise and thanks belong to God). I also found out that he had met with her during our engagement period to let her know that he was getting married to me. 

Besides all the pain and anger that this has caused me, my husband has now planted the seed of suspicion and curiosity in me. I want to know everything about his past-What were the personal reasons that caused him to break up with this girl? Why didn't he remove her from his Facebook account prior to my finding out about her? Why did he still leave the path of communication open between the two of them? Was he a virgin when he married me? My husband refuses to give me any answers to these questions, which frustrates me. I feel betrayed. 

Every now and then something happens to spark another question in my head about his past. Whenever I confront my husband with these questions, he gets extremely angry and tells me this is irrelevant information that I don't need to know, and he doesn't answer my questions. This has led to daily fights between the two of us for the past few months. He feels that he has the right to keep his past to himself, and I feel that I have the right to know certain things about it. It is to the point where if my husband had to pick between getting a divorce and telling me the details of his past, he would not know what to choose. 

What is your advice for our situation? 

Answer: 

Many couples will experience difficult times when secrets come up in marriage. Some counselors have a "radical honesty" policy where nothing should be kept secret, including previous pre-marital or extramarital relationships. Others believe that honesty isn't always the best policy and that there are valid reasons for keeping some secrets from one's spouse. Our personal belief is that ultimately it will depend on the type of information revealed and what purpose it will serve. 

Consider these questions: 

How do you think the information about your husband's past will contribute to the health of your marriage? Will it change the way you view your husband? Is your husband doing anything now that makes you suspicious about his commitment to your marriage? 

As you mentioned, your husband did share with you before your marriage that he had previous relationships, and it seems that he has made an attempt to be honest with you after your discovery on Facebook of an ex-girlfriend. 

You will need to consider that your husband may be trying to protect you from unnecessary heartache about his past. You will also need to consider that his secrets may have involved someone who asked for their privacy to be protected. Remember that part of our faith requires sutrah (concealing our mistakes). There are numerous stories of the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructing people who came to him admitting that they had engaged in zina (sexual relations outside of marriage) to conceal their mistake and repent to God. 

The Qur'an even tells us: O ye who believe! Ask not about things which, if they were made known to you, would trouble you. (Qur'an 5:101) 

It sounds like your husband made amends and returned to his faith, and he may not be comfortable revealing that part of his history. If you believe your husband is sincere in his transformation, you may be obsessing over information about your husband's past that has no relevance to your relationship with him today. Perhaps you are having difficulty accepting your husband for who he is, including the fact that he has made mistakes in his past. You married him knowing that he had past relationships with girls, but now that you've seen remnants of his history, the reality may be difficult for you to process and accept. You are letting your curiosity get the best of you and control you rather than focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Your husband probably chooses not to share with you details about his past because he understands it will not improve your relationship and instead may even damage it. 

Instead of focusing on the type of man your husband is today, you are investing your emotional energy into unnecessary information that is driving you and your husband apart. Your need-to-know particulars may be driven by your own insecurities. If your goal is a successful and healthy marriage, you must reflect on why you are feeling insecure and how you can move towards accepting your husband unconditionally. 

Your husband's past does not define his present, nor should it define your relationship. He has acknowledged that he is a changed man. Your perception of him may have changed, although he is still the same person you married. If you want to be happy in your marriage, you will need to let go of the past and give him the benefit of the doubt. 

It is also important for you and your husband to have an honest conversation about the level of sharing you expect in your marriage. This might mean involving a counselor to help you make a distinction between personal privacy and complete transparency. Identifying what should be shared or not shared is part of essential communication skills that couples must learn to use in their marriage. Having these conversations will help you establish dialogue and bring you closer to each other. 

Source: SuhaibWebb.com  WebbCounselors - A collaborative advice column produced by two WebbAuthors, Amal Killawi, a Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in mental health and marriage education, and Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine, a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in premarital counseling. Please note that our counselors are not religious scholars and will not issue religious rulings.


  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Life & Society
  Topics: Marriage
Views: 34829

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Older Comments:
ABDULRAHMAN FROM NIGERIA said:
It is a good article. He is protecting her.
2012-04-09

SABRINA FROM SRI LANKA said:
The husband could have easily saved himself and his wife all this trouble by removing his girlfriend from his contacts, especially on a public domain. Why does he need to keep in touch with her anyway? Would he accept his wife doing the same with an old admirer of hers? If we can just put ourselves in the other person's shoes for a minute, we would all act with more understanding and consideration.
2012-03-29

ADANGBA FROM NIGERIA said:
This woman should understand her husband loves her and if she opened as car of
the husbands life that he wanted to manage and forge ahead she will definately
regret her living and also endanger herself and possibly their kids if they have any
, so pls let her just stop proknosing into issues that can bring
insecurity and put her utmost trust in Allah' . Let stop been too incuisitve and
allow peace to reign forever, I wish her well.
2012-03-14

MUSA MURTALA FROM NIGERIA said:
I agree with you to be jelous and angry, but will not advise for a seperation, i and my wife are staying in two different state in nigeria and we so much trust ourselves that we dont bring up what happen in our past even though we joked about it, but the most important thing is believe and let him have the confidence that you trust him and always remind him that your marriage is between him, you and Allah, and will put all your trust in him and Allah, this i believe will touch him even if ( which i dont think) he is dating this lady, but you are marred to him as such you are the woman in the house.

Ma'salam
2012-03-14

DAVID FROM NOONE said:
Why are you so concerned about his past? If he is cheating on you then you have right to say something, otherwise about his past you have no right to know even if you are his wife, coz u r his wife now not in past. I just want to say that doubts make faith weaker. So be a stronger believer and do not doubt him until some thing solid comes up. Divorcing on just coz he is not telling you his past is really ridiculous to me, at least.
2012-03-13

AMG FROM USA said:
Thanks for the article. But shouldn't the husband completely end his relationship with his
former girlfriend(s), as a means to ease the mind of his wife, and as a means to keep the
whisperings of Satan at bay?
2012-03-12

KHALID FROM UAE said:
Typical woman ! Instead of appreciating that he did not hide his past,
you are now complaining .. Stop dwelling on the past. Its gone and
what matter is today and the future.
2012-03-10

YASH YASIN FROM TANZANIA said:
Don't remind yourselves about the past evils!take care!!!
2012-03-10

J R H FROM UNITED STATES said:
With respect, I believe that the counselor missed a
huge point in the reader's question; namely, that the
husband still has contact with this woman, that they
are facebook friends, and that they have continued to
correspond even after the marriage of the questioner
and himself. Another extremely important point is
that the husband continues to keep a photo of himself
and this woman together,sitting next to each other on
his profile. My comments are these: How much
respect does it show, on the part of the husband,
forhis wife, that he has an intimate photo of himself
with a past love (r) on his profile? If the wife trusted
him until she found out that he lied, how is she at
fault? Where is the validation of this reader's
rightfully serious concerns about her husband's
present, not part, lies. What he has committed is a
serious breach of trust, and I ask you: If the tables
were turned, would the advice be the same? It seems
to me that it is imperative that the husband correct
his many mistakes immediately and try with all of his
effort to become the man he represented himself to
be before marriagebe



her husband until she found out that he was not only
concealing his past, but
continuing to lie to her in the present, how is she
making a mistake?
2012-03-10

JACQUELINE LIPPART FROM MOROCCO AND UNITED STATE said:
Both the husband and wife need to beable to communicate ,they need to be open and honest with each other,there should be no secrets ,they need to beable to accept each other.
2012-03-10

FADZILAH FROM MALAYSIA said:
how would he react if YOU had a past?
2012-03-10

DRINA FROM USA said:
As Salaamu Alaikum,

In my opinion this was a very healthy, concise, pertinent response to this writers questions. It was handled in a very professional yet consoling and empathic manner. I pray that the insecurity that this woman is feeling will subside as she matures and weighs the good in her marriage against the imagined images that can destroy a relationship which appeared to be good until she started to uncover to much of her spouse's past. This of course can happen with males or females when they become overly possessive due to their own personal insecurities about themselves and their self worth. I thought the response was very helpful and insightful and pray this obsession with her husbands past will not destroy their future together, insha'Allah.
2012-03-09

SA FROM SAUDI ARABIA said:
The girl should focus on the present and work towards the larger
goal of having a fulfilling marriage. There is no need to "dig old
graves".It does not serve the greater purpose of marriage. What is
past is done and over. She should look towards the future. It's not
fair for her to enter into her husband's facebook or email accounts
or pry into his wallet or brief case or his closet! There's always
some privacy that should be maintained. It's good for the marriage
to grow into a happy everlasting relationship. Moreover, she should
look for things that will make herself and her husband happy as much
as possible. That should be her priority. If you're happy in
marriage in the initial few years, you'll remain happy with each
other for the rest of your lives.
2012-03-09

M. RASOOL FROM USA said:
As-Salaamu Alaikum
Are we all reading the same question? "My husband had girlfriends in the past..." That is a problem right from the beginning, because he has not made an effort to discipline himself in preparation for marriage. He has been in training to be promiscuous! "He is a different man now and doesn't like to talk about his past since it is between him and Allah." Ok, Mr. Differentmannow, it was between you and Allah, but when you put the photo on facebook you made it "public." You made it very very public. This is all nonsense! To the wife: who was your Wali? Did he advise you to marry this man, who admitted that he had "girlfriends," which is a contradiction, if we understand the chemistry that manifests itself due to our fitrah? After knowing this what was the motivation to pursuing him. What you see, is too often, what you get. Is it possible for people to change? Of course, but it this case you need to ask yourself, if you really have a future with this man. May Allah grant us the best of this world and the next.
2012-03-09

ANONYMOUS FROM UK said:
I completely sympathize with the lady concerned and I also understand that the counsellor is absolutely correct- focusing on the past does not help at all. However, one component of the story is the manner in which the husband reacts when he is asked about it- there are two ways (possible more) to say, "no, I dont want to talk about it". Instead of simply avoiding the topic or refusing to talk about it, he needs to explain WHY he doesnt wish to bare the past and this might hep put to rest all of the wife's insecurities: if its because he has promised to protect the honor of someone else, then say that. if its because he is scared of spoiling his marriage, then say that. if its because he was ashamed of what he was and doesn want to deal with that shame, then say that- but whatever the reason is, he MUST conclude by reminding his wife that she is respected, loved and the most important woman in his life NOW and that he values their relationship more than anything. Women generally need to hear that they are appreciated and loved much more than men and on a regular basis. Lack of appreciation for women, creates problems even in marriages that dont have these kind of issues. In essence, he has lost his wife's trust in him to some extent and it is on his part to gain it back. On her part, for the sake of her peace of mind and their marriage, she must give it an honest chance.May Allah help them both and save us all, ameen.
2012-03-09

GIGI O FROM USA said:
I am a staunch advocate of deactivating facebook accounts and prefer if the muslim ummah would refrain from allowing themselves to fall prey to this or any type of social networking without securing some strict rules of use.Unfortunately in this(give out all your) information age, it is often too difficult to rebel against the social pressures at least for those who are the weak in faith. At the very least my muslim brothers and sisters heed my warning and be adamant about men/boys adding non-mahram females and vice versa,as friends. To me it is no different than being alone and our dear Prophet(s.a.w)said "Never is a man alone with a woman except that Satan is the third party with them." Yes this does include facebook where one and one interaction may occur in the realm of cyberspace!
Her being on his facebook as a 'friend' has created this suspicion because she is no longer an entity of the past!This is Shaytans handiwork. I pray that you defeat him and come out a stronger couple inshaAllah!

2012-03-09

ZAKARIA FROM USA said:
Getting rid of Facebook accounts by Muslims would greatly help.
2012-03-09

ANJUM FROM PAKISTAN said:
I think this is not correct and you should stop immediately. He is trying to keep the things away from you at some level. One of my friend did this mistake, who shared every thing with his wife and after few years she shared all these things with the children's and now u can understand his position in front of his kids. I strongly recommend no one should share these kind of things with wife. Ladies are not having the capabilities to hold any information for a long time. Every Father wants to hold high regard in front of kids.
2012-03-09

BABAR JAHANGIR FROM PAKISTAN said:
It's always a best choice to forget the bad past and focus on your present to make your future better. If you keep on insisting him to tell you each & everything happened, you may end up with a broken heart and probably a broken relation. Try to read this verse again.
"The Qur'an even tells us: O ye who believe! Ask not about things which, if they were made known to you, would trouble you. (Qur'an 5:101".
Knowing about his past now, will only create more disturbance for you.
May Allah bless both of you with a peaceful understanding relation. aameen
2012-03-09

HASSAN FROM NIGERIA said:
Assalamu Alaikum.my sister it is very important to follow islamic guide for chossing a live partner. That way you are not likely to make mistakes in choosing a compartable Husband. Don't cry over spilled milk, deep down in your heart you must forgive him and his 'past' that is the best way to move forward. Suspision will only push both of you apart. Remember, don't open the door for satan to destroy your marriage.
2012-03-08

MYMOENA FROM AUSTRALIA said:
May the All mighty ALLAH grant you a spiritual peacefull heart.. in
the knowledged that ' The sins of man is between man and Allah for
only Allah can see into the hearts of people. I feel you need to be
gratefull that your husband did acknowledged his past and has taken
responsibility and told you about it before he married you what an
'honourable' thing to do. Importantly, I feel you have low
selfesteem, are immature,unforgiving, unkind and a very jealous
woman..and want to punish your husband by interrogating him
EMOTIONALLY daily..Be carefull.. Please,console with the fact that
your husband and the other lady friend was on the verged to be
married when destiny stepped in and for sure there is a history
between them. It is admirable that they have remain on friendly
terms..sad though that his parents was so judgementaland and
uncompassionate.Your husband married you because he LOVES you.. What
was your childhood like?..appears you have much unresolved issues
that needs to be address.Do you have a past?? for LIFE in itself is
a journey of SELF discovery to show us who we are and who we are to
become. May ALLAH guide you heart and mind and give you the best
outcome in your marriage Inshi Allah..
2012-03-08

ADAN FROM KENYA said:
Let bygones be bygones,every person has his/her past,why do you want to know of his past?you have him now and his past is past now,what if he tells you and things get worse if the story of his past hurts and haunts you,do you know maybe he doesnt want to talk about because it hurts him or maybe he feels bad coz he doesnt have the person he wanted to marry,shun the idea of his past,build trust,have dialogue and try to keep close,inshallah Allah wil help you.pestering him with same question may bother him and bore him to an extent of running away,be careful.GOD BLESS YOU EN YOUR FAMILY
2012-03-08

ALI TONY) NIRO FROM CANADA said:
AA,I read your response to husband's past, as a muslim today and what I understand about Islam, you are correct the past is between you and Allah as long as the past does not become the present and should be completely done away with. You failed to answer the part why is he is still in touch with his x when he assured her that his ex's are the past is this a lie & lying is very bad in Islam, are we encouraging lying so that the wife will not be suspacious? what about honesty and truth, as it says in Qur'an it is best for you to tell the truth even if it goes against you. Also the peolpe who went to the Prophet (PBUH)that had commited zina and he would tell them to repent to Allah which the person should do, in sharia law is this not punishable with 80 lashes? as Allah says in the Qur'an "Show no mercy or softness"? for the sin of fornication.I hope that as muslims we are not diluting the message of Allah and the prophet (PBUH) just to make people feel good and give them the idea that it's OK to do this and you will be forgiven (as Christians believe)? We acknowledge that we will sin and should always ask Allah the Most Merciful to forgive us and Allah will forgive us if we have true repentance and we should also strive not to repeat the sins especially the grave ones if we believe and want to please Allah. In everything we do as muslims should be to please Allah and avoid all haram things, if we fail in the small sins as we will we should strive to avoid the bigger sins at all costs for our salvation.In todays world of equality and feminism a lot of muslims male and females believe that it's OK to have pre-marital sex, boy friends & girl friends and so on.and later on become a good muslim ask Allah to forgive me and it's done all is OK, this is not what Allah tells us to do, on the contrary He forbids this, why are we so soft in telling muslims, no this is haram and should avoid all haram or sinfull deeds, do we want to die not knowing if Allah has forgiven us?
2012-03-08

SAMIR ABDULLAH FROM UAE said:
The husband socializing with women who are in essence strangers to him now. This is not correct and he should stop immediately. Even if it is facebook. He is tyring to keep the fantasy alive at some level. In contrast, a husband usually wants his wife to hold him on high regard. The husband may be in fear that his wife will lose all respect for him if the information of his past is revealed. This in his mind may be detremental to the marriage anyway and contrary to the prophet's advise.
2012-03-08