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Relationship Problems

I’m married for almost the past twenty years and it was not a love or arranged marriage but I never feel satisfied and happy with my husband. Recently I quit my religion and now don’t see any reason to be in this relationship as he’s not providing me the attention, care, financial support I deserve. He’s dependent on me for the past two years and before that he was engaged in an extra marital affair too. I tried to talk to him many times, pointing out if he wouldn’t change his attitude I would leave him but he doesn’t care and remains indifferent and careless towards me and my daughters. Due to some security reasons, I cannot disclose my change of faith with him or anyone in my family as there’s a very severe penalty for an apostate, death sentence for a man and life imprisonment for a woman.

I’m concerned about my daughters as I don’t want to raise them in a society where women have no rights and they are treated as second class citizens. I am 50 years old and have a Masters degree in Islamic History and after some research I discovered that my degree and teaching experience is of no use in western countries. I don’t have any other choice except to relocate somewhere else where I can spend the rest of my life with my will following my beliefs. I’ve been suffering from panic attacks since the past twenty-five years and after consulting a pshcholgist I managed to control those attacks but still find myself sometimes facing the same situations. I take a pill to keep it mormal. And I was doing good but from the past few months the way my husband started treating me and the way I’m left alone because of my changed faith I feel so depressed, confused and overwhelmed. I cannot decide if my issues are real or I’m making them so big. My husband uses me as a sex object and forces me to do many things I don’t like and it hurts me so much. I just want to opt-out of this relationship and want to live a peaceful life.
Please help me to reach a certain conclusion, I would be so grateful to you. Thanks for providing me this platform to express my issues freely without any pressure or fear. (From Pakistan)

Thank you for reaching out here. I admire your courage, sense of perspective, love of learning, and sensitivity for your daughters. The world is changing, and I can only imagine how difficult it is to feel used and oppressed in a marriage when you can imagine a better life. A quick search reveals that there may be some ways to use your master’s degree in the west, but more than that it seems like the disappointing and abusive marriage is the first thing to deal with.

My guess is that the panic attacks are related to your desire to leave and fear of your safety. What are your options? Who can you trust to help you with taking the next step? What is the safest way to proceed? As this article explains you are not alone, and there are risks. Yet is also seems from this article that this is a growing issue in your country.

My hope for you is to find the courage for you and your daughters. You may want to consult legal advice about your situation as this may provide you with a way of thinking about your options.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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