Dear Coleen: I’m in an unhappy arranged marriage but I miss my ex so much

Dear Coleen

I’m in an arranged marriage and I wasn’t happy about it. We didn’t meet before the marriage, as we were in different countries but we spoke on the phone. I knew he was kind and sensible, but I was worried he wouldn’t be the right person for me.

When we did get together, I missed my ex so much, but managed to push those feelings away. I wasn’t happy, but it was my parents’ choice and I didn’t want to hurt them.

I tried to get closer to my husband and get to know him, but I really didn’t get his personality. He is a good person, but we just have nothing in common.

We’ve known each other for a year now and have been married for a month, but I just can’t get close to him and be myself with him. Everything is so formal and there’s still a lot silence between us when we’re together. We just do our own thing and I feel so disconnected from him.

Last week we went on a trip, but barely said a word to each other and were in our own worlds. I just don’t think we are right together. He, too, could sense that I wasn’t happy, but assumed it was because we were away from home. During the trip I realised I can’t forget my ex and he is perfect for me. I feel I need to talk to my husband about divorce but I know my family won’t support this decision.

Coleen says..

This is a very difficult position to be in and I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to feel so trapped and helpless.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say leave if you’re unhappy, but I realise the reality is much harder and more complex. However, I do think the one person you need to speak to is your husband. You don’t have to bring up your ex, but you should definitely say you need to talk because at the moment you don’t feel the marriage is working and you don’t feel connected to him.

You say he’s kind and sensible, which means you should be able to have a calm discussion and, who knows, he might be feeling exactly the same.

He might feel uncomfortable, too, and be struggling to find common ground. Talk about where you go from here and what you can do about it.

It might be a case of both of you agreeing to try to make a go of it or, if you’re both unhappy, presenting your families with a united front.

If you feel you’ve been forced into this marriage, there is support and advice available. Forced marriage is illegal in England and Wales and this includes emotional and psychological pressure to marry.

You can email the Forced Marriage Unit at [email protected] (Tel: 020 7008 0151) Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Good luck.

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