I am a European male atheist living in Singapore and I have a Singaporean (Malay) girlfriend. We’ve been together for almost 2 years; the relationship is now getting serious. However my girlfrind wants me to convert before we marry. Whilst I have the umost respect for her religion and her views conversion is not something I can contemplate if I’m to be honest to both of us.
I’m interested in hearing from others in Singapore or Malaysia in a similar situation.
I’ve posted on a couple of expat forums and have had a lot of interest and feedback. However it’s been all from the European, non-Muslim perspective. I’d like to get some different views and especially from Muslim women who have found themselves in a similar situation.
Welcome to the CFI Forum, BY. It’s a difficult dilemma you have. I’ll be interested to see the comments that others provide, though in the final analysis this is a personal issue for you alone. If you honestly can’t convert wholeheartedly, then you’ll just be leading her on. It’s possible that she’ll accept a surface conversion for the sake of her culture or family or what have you, but if not, it doesn’t sound like a workable situation.
In general one should never willingly lead oneself into a situation which is both long term and uncomfortable.
Welcome to the forums. Glad to have you here. I assume your gf is Muslim? Be that as it may, if you do not wish to convert then don’t. I don’t think it would make for a happy marriage if you converted against your own wishes just to marry her. Playing along to get along usually ends up in misery for you and eventually it could take its toll on your relationship. No, I’m not Muslim. Far from it. Like many here, I’m a humanist.
No matter how strong the love or lust is prior to marriage, any motivation of either partner to change or manipulate the other when they get married is doomed to failure in my opinion. Unfortunately, the normal stresses of marriage are tough enough and the love/lust becomes a smaller part of the new relationship, but when there’s pressure to change one’s behavior or beliefs, the underlying negative feelings of the manipulated partner can’t help but leak out. And the marriage will deteriorate. You have to make your own decisions, but if it were I, I’d grit my teeth, suffer the loss of a delightful girlfriend and find someone else.
P.S. You also shouldn’t try to convert her, because she’d have the same underlying negative feelings.
Dont ever try to convert to Islam if you are not into it whole heartedly. The religion is too demanding and I’m sure you wont be comfortable. Just tell her you cant. If she cant take it unfortunately you might have to separate.
If you want your marriage to be forever, you have to base your decisions on what you can tolerate during that forever… ...and don’t forget the kids. How will she expect to raise them. Can you tolerate your children’s indoctrination into a religion you don’t believe in? To turn them into apostates can literally risk their lives. Can you live with yourself if they are murdered because of the rationality you as an atheist had inserted into their brains? Being an ‘apostate’ in Europe or America, is much different than being an apostate in a muslim country that takes its religion deadly serious!
In addition to the excellent advice you have received I’ll add that your girlfriend is not in love with you, she is in love with the person she wants you to become. As difficult as it will be, my advice is to end the relationship and find someone who will accept you as you are and allow you the freedom to grow as you wish, not try to mold you to an arbitrary shape.
I also live in Singapore and am married to a Singaporean, but she is Chinese and Christian. I was a Christian but became a atheist a few years after getting married. Luckily her family is a mixture of all kinds of religions, so it was not to bad for them, but my wife recently told me it was one of the hardest times of her life to deal with no longer going to church or going to her cell group. She would even lie to church members when they asked about why I stopped going to church and cell group.
I have noticed that in Singapore when you marry someone you marrying the family in major way. You will have to visit them often, give them money every month, visit various uncles and aunts that may not even speak English etc. so if their family is very religious and you fake it or are marginal you could be in for all sorts of problems with the other family members. If you have kids, you should be prepared for your wife to want to spend even more time with her family. For instance, some of my friends here have to see their inlaws every night once they have a child and eat dinner with them. One of my friends go so irritated with having to see his inlaws all the time that he decided to look for a job back in the US to get away from all that.
When I was still living in Japan, I had a girlfriend of over a year that was Indonsian and a Muslim.
We also talked about getting married and were very much in love but it wasn’t going to work out. It still pains me to think about it since I do still think about her from time to time but here were the core bullet points that we both had to realize.
- It was no more fair for me to ask her to turn her back on her faith than is was for her to ask me to convert to hers.
- Turning her back on her faith meant turning her back on her family and that was out of the question. Family is too important to Indonesians.
- Since she had never been to the US and did not speak English very well, she was very nervous about how she would find work and live (even with me).
- All she knew about America was what she saw on TV. As a Muslim, she was afraid she would not be recieved well here.
- Indonesian are very proud people. They do not want to be a burden, or overly dependent on anyone. (even their spouse).
Letting her go was very difficult to me. She was one of the most charming, poised, loving and stunningly beautiful women I have ever met but it just wasn’t going to work. I wish you the best of luck and I sincerely hope it works out for you.