Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for relationships

Quora Question: The only woman I’ve ever fell for doesn’t want me. How can I make her feel like I do?

I’ve been crazy about this woman for years, we went on a few dates, but then she became distant and I had to push to get her to see me. Now she says I shouldn’t put my life on hold, as she’s not ready for anything. I don’t like any other woman. I tried turning up at her work, her home, but she gets really awkward. Do women like persistence?

Dear Anonymous,

Whoa there, you turned up at her work and home unannounced, do you think this is normal behaviour?

Now I’ve scolded you for that, let’s get to the crux of your dilemma. I’m going to let you into a secret women won’t tell you. If she really likes a guy, she will continue to go on dates with him, period. If after a few, you don’t hear from her, it’s means she’s not particularly interested in pursuing things further. Women find being direct hard, because they don’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings, so they withdraw and hope they pick up on the signals.

It seems some men confuse this ‘take a hint’ lack of interest signal as ‘she wants me to chase her’

It’s possible that if you pursue intently enough, she may fall for you, but be warned, the attraction element maybe missing, and it becomes a one-sided relationship.

Kudos to her for being straight with you after a couple of dates. Rather than string you along further, she told you to not wait for her

Being pushy and not respecting her decision is one thing, but stalking her at work & where she lives is damn right disgraceful. Pull your socks up, and listen up dude, stop thinking you know what’s best for her. She knows her own mind, and wants to move on, you’re not right for her. It’s a hard part of life realising that the people we fall for don’t always feel the same way. You can’t control or make feelings happen for her. 

You’re contradicting yourself by saying that no other woman makes you feel the way she does. If that were true, then shoe on the other foot, if a woman liked you, but you had no desire to forge a future together, it would be OK for her to harass you without your consent?

Someone has to tell you straight for fear that you will get yourself into a lot of trouble. There’s a fine line between showing keenness and becoming obcessed. Do you want her to get a restraining order, because that’s where you’re heading sunshine. 

Take my advice, as a woman who’s had to deal with men like you, including ex’s I haven’t seen in many years, who think it’s ok to keep my number and send me random messages. This is what you do:

  • Delete her number and any other contact info from your phone
  • Delete any past email correspondence between you
  • Keep your mind preoccupied, so you don’t ‘online stalk her’ by looking at her social media accounts
  • Never turn up to a woman’s place of work or residence unannounced
  • Take time out and pursue interests 
  • Don’t whine or mope around, deal with it and start dating again

Contrary to this widely held delusional belief that there’s only one person you’ll ever fall for, the reality is that it’s simply bull s***!

My dad re-married my mum after having his heart broken, and he admitted he was extremely lucky to find such a warm loving person. My brother broke up with his ex of five years, but went on to marry the only woman that I considered a complete package for him. There are other people out there…

For God’s sake, have an ounce of self-respect. If you really love someone, you will sacrifice your own happiness for theirs, even if it means they are with someone else. Life’s too short to chase after something that only exists in your mind and not theirs…

Best wishes,

Abi 

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Quora Question: Please help, I feel like I’m never going to be as important to my girlfriend as her ex.

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for three and a half years. Her previous relationship was with her first ever boyfriend. He split up with her, and broke her heart, but they still keep in touch. I know I will never replace the love she feels for her ex, it makes me feel insecure 😦 

My Answer:

Oh dear 😦 I can certainly relate to how you’re feeling.

The first person I fell really strongly for was over a decade ago. He came out of a longterm relationship, but to my discomfort also kept in touch with his ex. I will throw him a bone, he was always honest about it. I split up with him over it, then they got back together. A few years later they split again, and he intently pursued me saying he never forgot how kind I was. Anyway, his ex started contacting him again, and that was it, I walked away. 

Funny thing was the reason he split with her first time was because she was messaging other men on Facebook. Second time, she treated him like dirt in front of her friends. I don’t like a man or woman to have no self-respect, it’s the number one most unattractive trait a potential partner can have. He was letting her treat him badly.

Despite this, they ended up getting married and having children. I heard from a mutual friend, who doesn’t like her, that she still makes him unhappy at times, but do you know what, I never once was jealous. Sure, I was hurt, more about feeling used, but if being with his ex is what made him happy, then good luck to him. He has his family. 

In certain circumstances, if a couple splits and they either have children, or the relationship wasn’t working for both of them, then remaining in contact as friends is fine. There’s no threat to subsequent new partners for both of them.

Clearly in your case, your girlfriend still holds a candle for her ex. A decent person would cut contact and move on with their lives, and show some respect to their new partner. No one wants to be second option, in case her ex decides he wants her back. Then you’re dropped like a sack of potatoes. Nah, no thanks, is what you should be thinking. I’ve met both guys and girls like this, and they’re what I call emotionally unavailable.

She may not be intentionally using you, but be cautious. Tell her honestly how insecure she is making you feel. If she disregards your feelings, move on.

No one wants to date someone who’s not over their ex years later! People like that are selfish in my opinion. Don’t feel sad, I would rather be you than her pining after a guy, who lets be honest if he really wanted to be with her would. She’s delusional, if her ex really loved her, would he split from her for years? 

She shouldn’t be in a relationship until she’s ready! If you’re really in love with your ex still, would you be f***ing another person in the meantime? No, you’d stay celibate, that’s a test of real love. 

Golden rule in life, never bring s*** to anyone’s doorstep, it’s an incredibly unkind thing to do.

There are loads of lovely girls in the world that will treat you better, go find one…

Best wishes,

Abi x

Quora Question: How attractive would you rate your physical traits, on a scale of 1 to 10?

And please provide reasoning as well. I’m curious about what people find attractive about themselves and how it affects their confidence. (Please try to add photos of yourself because it is much preferable to just text.)

My answer:

I wouldn’t have answered this question of my own volition, but it was an A2A from the beautiful Aimon. As the saying goes, there always has to be one who doesn’t follow the rules. Here’s my take on what I value (not rate) about my physical traits:

It’s been a bit of a journey to get to a point where I’ve learnt a lot about what it is about me that makes me feel attractive.

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From an early age, I was overshadowed by my mother’s beauty. My friends would always comment on how stunning she was. I would watch her in awe, but my father was strict on education, he didn’t want me to be preoccupied with looks.

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I grew up as the only ethnic minority (Pakistani immigrant parents) child in school. I stood out like a sore thumb. The first memory of knowing I was different was in primary school when my friend asked me why I wasn’t White like everyone else. I remember tears falling when we had to describe each other’s eye colour, mine were the only ones that were referred to as black.

My dad had to console me. It was from there he was able to educate me on why I was different, and there was nothing to be feared.

The teenage years were difficult ones. I was a reclusive child, while the girls at school talked makeup and boys, I was reading books on pure Mathematics and Physics. Being the top student was more important than how I looked to the outside world.

Then the rebellious years came where I was trying to find my identity. I remember as a teen finding a Playboy magazine under my brothers bed one day. I looked nothing like any of those women in the pictures, Carmen Electra was unbelievably curvy. I was olive skinned, tall, flat chested and lanky. I’d try and stuff myself with chocolate to put on weight, but I always weighed the same. Frustratingly, I was envied by the anorexics, that I took as an insult and it made me hate my skinny frame even more.

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I went through a phase of being interested in the exterior, and started to notice people reacting to me differently. I’d walk into the pub and the whole room would go silent. In a rural village in the middle of nowhere, they never saw a non White girl looking very Westernised before.

I may look confident in that picture, but it was all a front. I attracted the wrong kind of men. My ex boyfriend wanted to book me in for breast augmentation. He saw me as a doll that needed fixing. He was “rating” the physical traits of a woman that were important to him, those I didn’t possess, which was to the detriment of my self-esteem.

I was crazy about him, to the extent where I allowed him to control every aspect of my life. But then I was to watch someone suffer the indignities of a terminal illness, witness them die beneath my very eyes.

I took time out and did charity work with children. It was mentally challenging to look at young children who were disfigured, but they were also my source of strength. I admired their spirit, their exterior may have changed, but they were still the same person inside. I was able to walk away from my ex boyfriend.

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Now this is the woman I’ve become and accepted.

It’s ironic that after all the years I battled through the insecurities of being different, now those are the physical traits I’m grateful for. Olive skin has helped in the ageing process, being naturally slim means I can enjoy food without the guilt, breast health over shallow concerns of being flat chested. Ultimately, comparing myself to others and then giving myself a rating based on that “ideal” perception of beauty is futile, as my exterior is what I’ve been born with and cannot change. I have my imperfections for sure, but in the grand scheme of life it’s unimportant (not for my ex but for me at least). I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.

The above forms the basis of my answer. While the “1–10 rating system” is more notably a male activity, females are guilty of using this entirely subjective point based system too (there is plenty of variance in male/female opinion).

It would be remiss of me if I did not concede that it’s simply human nature for us to want to be considered attractive. We can all say what we want about universal ideals of beauty, but in the end it’s all a matter of taste. Without question, we all have opinions and standards, and a way of categorising it. I just prefer to not reduce people to mere numbers…

For the record, it’s the way my lips smile that I value. I get a heck of a lot of free Pret coffees thanks to that 😉

Thanks Aimon for the A2A.

Best wishes,

Abi x

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Quora Question: How do I move on after four years of waiting?

I was in a longterm relationship, but she left me over four years ago for another man. They are now married and have a child. I can’t get up from under the bedcovers, and don’t want to delete her number from my phone.

My Answer:

Dear Anonymous,

Four years! I think this lack of acceptance and unwillingness to move on is emotionally holding you back.

In the past, I used to dwell on missed opportunities and failed relationships, but a culmination of growing older and the death of two important people in my life has made me more pragmatic.

Whether you wish to believe this or not, the truth is that each and every one of us share this in common: we’re born alone and we’ll die alone. There’s ultimately only a limited time we have to fulfil our goals in life. However morbid this sounds, without question, I know in X time in the future, my fate will be realised, and I will be in some box underground.

The journey between birth and death is all about taking risks that only you can choose. Those people you welcome to join you along that path may cause heartache, disappointment and sadness, but there is also the opportunity for friendship, passion, commitment and happiness.

I’m afraid there’s no way of predicting which direction your relationship takes, that’s the uncertainty of life. Failures we learn from: I’m never going out with someone that has a,b,c instead the next one will have x,y,z. Overtime, you’ll recognise within a short period of meeting someone whether they’re right or not, a skill that comes with age old wisdom (making mistakes + learning from them).

The problem with ruminating over your ex is that it has led to depression, your ‘hiding under the bed covers’ tells me this. Your behaviour is understandable. You are alone in your comfort zone. It all stems from our childhood, being put to bed at night by our parents, given special attention and kisses, and our duvet cover tucked in tight around us. We feel safe. You can see nobody else, and on a subconscious level you think nobody that might want to harm you, can see you either. In reality, all you’re doing is burying your head in the sand.

Sometimes you need a proverbial kick up the backside. That’s what my close friends do, never sugar coat a situation to make me feel better, they offer advice that will benefit me in the longterm even if it hurts. When women have problems we talk about them. Men complain that women “always want to talk about things” – yeah, because it’s a healthy way to work through emotions! Half of my close friends are male, they probably feel more comfortable talking to me than another man. That’s what I’m going to do to you. Your ex girlfriend has moved on with her life, she’s married with a child, in years to come she may also have grandchildren, while you grow into a lonely old man, not letting anyone that has the potential to make you happy be part of your life. Don’t you think that would be a real shame? I don’t even know you, but I feel it would be.

Keeping her contact details. I’m sure many of us can relate to this. For me, it was about sentimentality. One day, I saw the dress I wore when I switched my dad’s life support off, it was in mint condition, but everytime I looked at it in my cupboard it made me sad. So, I put it in a bag with the rest of the clothes I’d never wear again and gave them to charity. My dad was gone, keeping hold of something I was never going to use again was pointless, instead I was giving it away to a new owner.

The same analogy applies to phone numbers. My phone has no trace of any past ex’s contact information, I delete anyone I know I won’t ever see again. I genuinely wish them health & happiness, but those doors of getting back together are firmly closed. In any new relationship I start, I don’t want to bring s*** to their doorstep. I think it’s important to always look forwards than to remain stuck in the past.

Despite leaving you, the memories will always be in your head & the love you felt for her will still remain in your heart. Your ex maybe gone but she’ll not be forgotten. I’m not cynical but a realist, I don’t believe there’s only one “soulmate” rather that there are a number of “companions” out there in the world that share the same aspirations as I do.

The “one that got away” is a myth that allows us to hang around feeling down on ourselves, instead of going forth into the world and meeting new people. Do yourself a favour, kick those covers off, place one foot in front of the other, and start living again… (think of those young innocent people who lost their lives in that horrendous Orlando gay club massacre. They had no idea that would be their end. You’re still alive with the world at your fingertips, don’t waste a second more wallowing in self-pity!).

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again” – Alex Tan

Thanks for the A2A.

Best wishes,

Abi

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Abida Ask’s Quora: How would you feel if your future wife kept her maiden name after marriage?

I’m interested to get the general consensus. When I asked male friends it seemed that it was a big “No” Their comments were, “if a woman expects half of what I own then she can’t expect to keep her maiden name.” I was told, “get used to a life not getting married if that’s your attitude” 🙂 Abi

Joel’s Answer:

When I was younger, my answer would have been a definite “no”. There was no way I would allow anyone who married me to keep their maiden name.

But over time, I came to realize that feeling, for me at least, came from a place of insecurity. I felt, for some reason, that having a woman take my name made her mine. As if I had some claim to ownership.

Once I saw that part of me, I didn’t like it. It’s rather an ugly sentiment. Don’t you think?

So, I set out to change my perspective. I reinforced my values that were built upon my desire for a partner who was a true equal to me, rather than someone who was a treated as a belonging of some sort.

It’s embarrassing for me to admit that I ever felt that way. I feel shame when I think about it. But I have changed. I no longer feel that way. Any partner of mine would be free to choose what they felt was right for them.

Jaidev’s Answer:

Changing the last name of a woman is an indication of the transference of ownership from her father to her husband.

If the man wants to “own” his woman, he probably will expect her to change her last name. Some men might expect the change to take place not due to any personal reasons, but from a wish to conform to social norms. 

There are some men who will see not changing the name as an affront to their ego. Those who see the marriage as a business transaction are probably the ones who expect the change as payment for ownership of half of what they own. If, however, he respects her and sees her as a person and not as property or a trophy, he will not force the issue.

A name is part of our identity. It is a marker of how we see ourselves; of what we see when we look in the mirror; the linchpin of our ability to say “I am”. Does marriage radically change a person’s identity overnight? I think not. Bottom line – no one owns you. Do exactly what you are comfortable with; no more, and no less. If something as trivial as a name can turn a man away, they are probably not the kind of person you want to be with.


 Shafiul’s Answer:

My wife has her maiden name. I’m married for nearly five years now. I personally don’t like it, I don’t see the need for her surname to be changed to mine. She didn’t bother either. My child carries my surname, that’s significant for me, since I carried my fathers.

Dileep’s Answer:

You can always ask her if she would like to change her name after marriage. But that’s it – that’s how far you can go with it. It is entirely up to her if she wants to do or not. If you are very particular about it, I would say clear that up before marriage. What seems unfair to you might seem fair to her. All these arguments depends on their perspective.

I personally believe if she really loves you, it would not matter if she changed her name after marriage or not. Also keep in mind that changing name does not ensure that she would be a great wife and Not changing her name will not make her unfaithful.

Again, can you say that I would be a good husband only if you agree to carry my family name? You can not. If you say you are just degrading yourself.

Having said that you can always tell her that you would like her to change her name after marriage. Leave the decision to her and save your dignity.

 Kyle’s Answer:

It depends on the guy of course, but think there are plenty like me who frankly do not care.

It is easier sharing the same name, frankly if my wife hadn’t taken mine I would have taken hers. Its not important to me which way it goes, merely that we become the same.

I know a few women who’s family’s name was significant in their industry so they keep it after marriage, the guys didn’t seem to care.

Quora Question: I am a Hindu in love with a Muslim girl. She wants me to convert. I love her a lot but don’t want to accept Islam. What should I do?

Obviously I can’t tell you what decision you should make, but I can offer you some guidance.

Life experience shapes who you are:

Most people assume given my name and parental heritage, I’m a Muslim. Truth is, I was born and brought up in a rural village as the only ethnic minority family, apart from my parents & brothers, everyone else was Caucasian. There were no mosques.

My father survived the partition as a young child; his witnessing of death, including that of his childhood Sikh friend by the hands of Muslims changed his perspective on religion. He saw the ugly side of all religions (Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs all fighting). He still retained his faith, for him the thought of Allah existed very much in his heart, but he didn’t believe it was necessary to have to follow the daily traditions and pray/go to mosque. Instead he spent his life doing charitable things. When his younger cousin came to the UK to study, my father was a young graduate in his first job, but every month he would give him money to help him out. Never once did he ask for his cousin to repay his debt. He also went on to buy computers for the school in the Pakistani village he was brought up in, and sent money to a widowed woman who needed Hepatitis medication.

As a parent, his philosophy was that his children were to integrate and respect the religious faith of the country they were to be brought up in. We celebrated Christmas, Easter, I would sing in the choir. Then one day, I was to make my father very angry. He found out that I’d stopped going to morning assembly for prayers. He asked me to go to my room and come out when I realised what I’d done wrong. I was at a difficult age intellectually and emotionally. My passion was Science, my understanding was that there no valid evidence proving the existence of God; so there was no reason to believe. However, I realised after sitting in complete silence for over an hour, regardless of what I believed, what I was lacking in was humility. I was able to figure out his anger, it wasn’t my lack of belief, it was my arrogance to not want to understand & learn why religion is important to others.

The first time I stepped into a mosque was for my dad’s funeral. It was one of the hardest days of my life thus far. I couldn’t read the Quran, my brothers were in a separate room, and as a woman I couldn’t be present for his burial. An elderly woman who was a complete stranger was sat next to me in the mosque. She assumed I couldn’t understand Punjabi, but she made a rather crass comment about my sister-in law (White/English) that a White woman shouldn’t be allowed in a mosque. If someone had said that about me in a Church, you could imagine the outrage, how was this any different to being racist? That’s when I realised that being religious doesn’t make you a better person or give you the right to judge others. My sister in-law was wearing a head scarf paying her respects and mourning the loss of her father-in law. I too witnessed the ugly side of religion, where’s the humanity, tolerance for other human beings?

Conversion:

Religion and spirituality is a very personal thing. I’m not going to suddenly start believing in God/Gods, just because my partner does. I’ll certainly respect their faith, and I’d be fine with altering my diet or lifestyle to make them more comfortable, but my beliefs won’t be changing. Isn’t it illogical to expect someone to believe in something they don’t? Similarly, I wouldn’t dream of giving any man an ultimatum of “it’s either a life with me or a life with your faith, you can’t have both.” Who the hell do I think I am telling someone how they should think?

One of the people I love most in this world is my best friend; in fact, I’d go as far as saying she’s my sister. She’s a devout Hindu. If there was a choice between her and me living, I would sacrifice my life. I’d give up eating beef, and I’d be happy to celebrate religious festivals with her, but I wouldn’t convert for her.

To me being in a relationship doesn’t mean abandoning your sense of individuality. To be a genuine Muslim must come from the heart (exactly in the same way you feel as a Hindu), true conversion can only be done out of love for Allah. I know the difference between when someone loves you unconditionally, and when someone loves you only when you’re the way they want you to be.

My favourite quote from Gandhi: “Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take a different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarreling?”

Make what you will of my answer…

Thank you for the thought provoking A2A.

Note: despite my lack of faith, I’m currently practicing Ramadan with my Chinese colleague. Both of us are agnostic, but we like the thought behind it – showing compassion & empathy for the poor. If only we could see the world from other’s eyes, surely it would be a better place…

Best wishes,

Abi

Quora Question: How can I make my boyfriend more classy and modern?

Her: My boyfriend of 6 mth. comes from a lower middle-class family, but for the past 2 years has been earning a huge package at a big firm. Still, he has some irritating habits: making small talk with rickshaw, taxiwallas and waiters; roadside chai; no knowledge of brands and being fine with any outfit.

My answer:

“He makes small talks with rickshaw, taxi wallers, even waiters, has roadside chai, has no knowledge of brands & is fine with any outfit”

Good grief woman, when I read your predicament with your boyfriend, within a fraction of a second there was only one conclusion I made:

He’s awesome, will he marry me!

You are a very lucky woman. He has it all, I would be proud to have such a grounded boyfriend. Good manners and respect for others is priceless, no amount of money can buy you that. He’s gold dust!

Being successful does not give you the right to degrade others you feel are ‘less worthy’ of his respect. These rickshaw drivers, taxi wallers, waiters are human beings who are hard-working, their success isn’t measured by how much money they earn.

One of my neighbours is worth £50 million, he doesn’t wear labels, and chats to everyone, I must feel privileged that he takes his time to talk to ‘poor neighbour’ me, and even God forbid the cleaner. Next time I see him, I will tell him not to talk to me, because otherwise that would mean he’s not classy. He suffers from the same ‘flaw’ as your boyfriend; both being genuinely authentic.

May I ask, what is it that you do? While he’s working his way up the ladder, one day, he may decide that he wants to ‘trade’ up to a more beautiful, successful, kinder woman, befitting to his ever burgeoning ‘classy’ status. How do you feel about that?

“he comes from a ‘lower’ middle class family”: this is another problem with your attitude right here. I think he’s a credit to his family. Unless you can appreciate him for the gem of a guy he is, then do him a favour, don’t turn him into a snob. He already exudes class. I can bet your bottom dollar, he won’t be single for long!