How many times have you had that moment of "ARGH I GIVE UP!!" ?

The last 3 guys you met were either married, sex-hungry or just plain weird (some were all 3).

That guy you've been chatting to for a few days has just vanished into thin air (even though you can SEE he's online everyday!)

Oh and that handsome Sports' Coach you hesitantly contacted online has informed you that you are an inch short of his height requirements in a wife.

Now is the time to stop looking.

I can hear you gasp from behind your laptop! "Why would I ever stop  the spouse search?? I need to find The One! Time is ticking by very loudly! I just want to find the right person so I can sigh, relax and ...well..be married."

BUT here are 3 reasons why you need to stop looking if you want to find The One:

1. You need to put the focus back on you

Why?

You've spent so long juggling work, family and the husband hunt that you've stopped taking care of yourself. You no longer have the time for the things that make you happy, you spend most of your free time glancing anxiously at your phone and most of your weekend meeting potentials. It's exhausting!

Action: Recharge your Me-Time Battery.

Make a list of 20 things that make you happy, that you enjoy doing and have nothing to do with anyone else. Take 7 days and commit to doing 3 of these things everyday.

2. You need to reconnect with your needs

Why?

Searching for a spouse can feel like running on a hamster wheel and somewhere between the last 2 guys you met you lost focus on what you actually need from a marriage. You've spent so much energy trying to impress, fit the mould and be accepted by potential spouses that you've lost sight of what you need from them.

Action: Recharge your Needs Battery.

Make a list of 5 emotions you wish you feel in a marriage (e.g. cherished , respected etc). Memorise them for when you are ready to get back out there again and make sure you are getting them!

3.  You need a mental break

Why?

Spouse searching is tiring. The endless meetings, the uncertainty and the rejections can leave you feeling mentally and emotionally spent. You can't search effectively if you don't have the mental and emotional energy the same way you can't run a marathon if you are not in great physical shape.

Action: Recharge your Mental & Emotional Batteries

Indulge in some meditation, pampering, retail, sport or whatever your idea of mental relaxation is. Switch your phone to silent, disconnect temporarily from social media,  online matrimonial sites and needy friends (you know the ones I mean!).

Honestly I recommend you do this at least once a month. Have a spouse searching detox, eliminate  the frustration toxins and recharge all the batteries you need to successfully become Mrs. Not Single Anymore!

NEXT: What WE Mean By "Dating"

Want to use your time out of the search than to work on your confidence and self-esteem. Click here to find out more.

What actually IS dating and what does it mean to the single Muslimah looking for a spouse?

In the western world dating generally means an extended period of getting to know someone through frequent meetings, seeing where it goes, possibly living together and, if both parties are like-minded, knowing that it will probably result in marriage. Oneday.

For the single Muslimah looking for a spouse however, it doesn’t mean these things at all! In fact, up until recently the only dates we considered were Mejdoul! (I know, I know! Lame! But I couldn’t write an entire article about dates without mentioning it somewhere!)

Like it or not , unchaperoned meetings between independent, like-minded Muslim men and women have become the way forward in choosing a spouse. But where do we set the boundaries that distinguish it from the western method of choosing a boyfriend and define it as a serious means of choosing a spouse?

Unfortunately it is this grey area in which much misunderstanding and hurt can occur.

A lot of Muslims belong to the strictly-no-meeting school of thought and prefer that interaction should not take place before marriage other than one preliminary chaperoned meeting to make a decision.

Then there are, what I believe, to be the most prominent group. Those ensconced somewhere in the middle between struggling to unite Islamic practice and living in the modern world . And yes I probably mean you.

Tell me if this sounds familiar..

You are deadly serious about marriage because as a Muslim woman that is what you want, that is your right and you are ready for the responsibilities.

However, as a single Muslimah living in a modern world where you pretty much make most of your own decisions, you realise that in order to fulfill your dream there has to be a bit of give and take. And as much as you want to get married you cannot fathom the idea of making a decision based on one meeting alone.

So the plan is this: that you meet someone (whether online or otherwise), spend some time getting to know him (maybe a few weeks or months) and hopefully both of you will declare your intention and willingness to move forward and agree that you are right for each other and get married.

Essentially it is not dating in the western sense but a shorter period of getting to know someone through meeting and interacting with them, often unchaperoned, but generally in public, to decide whether or not you want to marry each other.

But ah if only it were that easy dear sisters!

For a lot of single Muslimahs, this plan can often go awry!

The majority of single Muslim women today are faced with a generation of Muslim men (though not all of you guys before you start chasing me with pitchforks!) who use the idea of “dating” as a get out of jail free card!

For example you could spend a few months getting to know a guy only to have him let you go claiming that “it’s too early, we don’t know each other well enough yet, we’ve only been dating a while”, leaving you feeling foolish in your supposedly antiquated desire to get married rather than just date without purpose.

Or you get the guy who will “date” you for months, be happy to be exclusive to you but who will declare after a period of time that he is not looking to get married and that his intention was only to date and again you are left feeling foolish for misinterpreting his being on a matrimonial site and stating “looking to settle down” in his profile (!).

Arrrgh!!

Is it any wonder than the Muslim woman is becoming disillusioned and frustrated in her search for a spouse?

People might call you picky but you are not, you are independent, smart and you don’t follow the herd which is why you prefer to make an informed decision about the man you marry.

Whether you want to call it dating, purposeful meeting or just plain getting-to-know-him opportunities, it exists and, done correctly , it works! However, it is relatively new to our world and must be treated and defined as such.

We cannot turn to dating guides written by authors whose goals and timelines are different to ours or to the chick flicks and Bollywood movies that only create a fantasy instead of guiding you to the reality of life as a single Muslim woman in search of commitment.

We, as single Muslims, must empower ourselves to define what it means to “date” and ensure that the people we meet are on board with this new concept to our community and respect its boundaries. We need to learn the skills to help us navigate this new arena and ensure that we are in a place to be making informed decisions. And most of all we need support and guidance when actually “dating” to lead us towards our goal of getting married!

Want to know how to makes "dates" actually work for you so you can actually head towards marriage after just 3 meetings?? Click here.

Why You Deserve More Respect & Support In Your Search

The number of unmarried Muslim women aged 27+ is fast growing and it is about time that we, as an ummah, start to give these women the recognition, support and respect they deserve instead of just derision, judgement and pity.

Times are not what they used to be. We live in a world where we are surrounded by choice: what to eat, what to wear, who to associate with and who not to. It’s only natural then that, with so much on offer, the marriage process has become trickier than it was 20 years ago, and now needs serious re-evaluation.

We are still urging women to find a spouse and settle down using the old-fashioned mindset then criticise them when they do not get anywhere , calling them “picky” or “past it”.

How do I know this? It wasn’t so long since I was that woman: 30+, single, going on endless first dates, trying to find that ultimate connection that would mean I had finally found the elusive One.

And it’s not like I “left it too late” as many women are told. I had been looking since I was in my 20s but faced rejection after rejection for the most ridiculous of reasons.

Like so many of our sisters I went on endless first dates, disappointed each time I met the guy only to find that the “spark” wasn’t there. Or other times, I was delighted to find the spark only to be told he didn’t want to pursue it further. And sometimes I’d find that connection only to have the guy just disappear without a trace, knowing most likely that he’d found someone better. Probably younger too.



Like so many of our sisters, I’d lie awake at night, stomach churning , wondering what I was doing wrong, questioning myself as a woman, finding dissatisfaction in my looks and other such perceived superficial flaws. I’d project into the future, seeing myself as a single “older woman” and desperately trying to make the lifestyle changes in my head just in case it happened. The other option was to “settle” which was too frightening to contemplate.

I wondered whether I would ever find the one for me or whether the chance had indeed passed me by and I hadn’t noticed. I avoided anything to do with weddings be it weddings shows, Bollywood songs about weddings and often just weddings themselves!

I could never understand why others could do it so easily. I remember the gut-wrenching feeling every time I received a wedding invitation from someone younger than me. I imagined them making wedding plans, surrounded by loving, crooning female relatives then later on after marriage travelling the world and making a flock of babies while I was still dragging myself out on those first dates trying to turn a coffee at Starbucks into something meaningful and full of potential.

But sadly this is not the end of the pain for our single sisters oh dear ummah. Oh no, we then have to face your criticism and judgment. The way you ignore us when marriage proposals come up, favouring the younger girls in your circle instead. The way you look at us with a mixture of pity and scorn for being where we are and not yet married, as if it is some kind of exclusive club and we are still merely children for not yet being a part of it.

Yet what you don’t see are the tears, the waiting, the uncertainty, the heartbreak, the endless rejection and the crippling blow to our self-esteem each time we are rejected or realise we have made a bad decision.

You don’t see the evenings we spend at home alone wondering whether everyone else is out there meeting their soulmate right now. You also don’t see the effort we make to attend social events in the hope that the man of our dreams might be there, then the disappointment when we get home and remove the fake lashes wishing we had just stayed home instead.

And let’s not forget the hierarchy of martyrdom! Yes single sisters you know what I mean. When I used to speak to my married friends about the trials and tribulations of my life I’d be met with, “wait until you are married then you will know what stress is!”. As if being married takes you to the next level of the martyrdom game and gives you extra points. (Incidentally, now I am married I get the “wait until you have kids” trump card).

But the assumption is that your life is somehow way easier because you have no husband or kids. Oh and you also have all the time in the world to do things at the drop of a hat for people and attend all of their social events because, as a single woman, you can’t possibly be doing anything else with all that luxurious free time you have right?

You may be thinking, well what about the guys over 30? Aren’t they going through the same thing? The answer is of course they too suffer from rejection and anxiety because they too want to settle. But the difference is they have much more choice than the sisters.

A guy aged 35 with a great job , a car and a place of his own is at the top of the bachelor pile and will often overlook you for a younger sister if that is what he wants. A woman aged 35 with a great job, a car and a place of her own unfortunately does not share the same prestige. She is treated with suspicion and ridicule and Allah forbid she should be looking anywhere other than her age group or older!

As a result the single sister ends up taking near desperate measures. We become elated — almost grateful — when someone is showing an interest in us that we ignorethe fact that he isn’t treating us with respect and probably doesn’t intend to marry us. We put up with all kinds of questionable behaviour because we believe we are compromising but actually what we are doing is clinging onto the hope that he will be the one to marry us and show the world that we are wanted and loved.

Most of our lives we were told to stay away from boys and were led to view them as something taboo and wrong. Then all of a sudden we were told to go out there and meet someone just like that. It’s like sending us up Mount Everest in flip flops!

The problem is we have never been equipped with the tools to make those decisions. In western culture, girls have boyfriends from a very young age and quickly learn the rules of love, often supported and guided by the parents. Our sisters instead are raised to succeed in education and employment, which is great, but we were never raised learning how to choose a spouse other than looking at a bunch of useless biodata facts, making a decision based on his height, age, education and income and hoping that the one coffee we have with him after work one day will seal the deal.

But because these are the only things we have ever been told to go by, we cling to them, never daring to widen our options for fear that we are deserting all that we know to be correct in the art of choosing a spouse.

We are so preoccupied with getting married now that we fail to remember that we are choosing a man who will journey with us into old age one day and hence we make decisions based on our current needs and lifestyles.

So why am I sharing all this with you today? Because I want us as an ummah to recognise the pain and trials that our single sisters over a certain age have to endure and to show a little empathy and understanding towards their situation.

Most of these women are dying to find that one guy who will be their companion, their best friend and their soulmate and your criticism of them will only destroy their self-esteem further.

It’s like telling a sick person to just “get better already” or telling a poor person to merely “get more money”. Next time you meet a sister who has been single a long time, ask her how she is feeling not whether she has met anyone yet, empathise with her pain even if you do not understand it and treat her like the smart, valued, worthy member of society and the ummah that she is.

I created Single Muslima Solutions for these very sisters. It is my gift to you in a world where no one seems to understand what you are going though and expects so much of you with so little support offered.

I want you to know that it will get better, there’s nothing wrong with you and you can learn to make it happen for you with a man who will treat you with nothing less that the love and respect that any sister deserves.

"Dear Soraya, I am almost 40. When I was in my 20s I didn't feel ready to get married yet, there was so much I wanted to do. But now I am wishing I had because I am finding it really hard to meet someone as I am so set in my ways and life. I feel like I should marry whoever asks me for the sake of getting married and maybe - if I'm lucky - having kids"

S, New York

It’s so easy for people  to blame you and say it is your fault for being “so picky”. Or to shake their communal head and tut “well that’s what you get for leaving it so late”.

So what happens?

Filled with this sense of shame, guilt and panic you do whatever you believe it takes to “put it right” and that means trying to deploy a system  that only really works for a 21 year old: you know, the one where you meet the guy, say yes after one meeting then there’s a wedding and you are married, all in one fluid easy movement.

But it’s not as simple as that is it?

There is so much more evaluate before saying yes and guess what sister? You have the right to make a choice based on your life as woman over 30.

Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself so that you are clear where you can compromise and meet someone halfway and where you will stand firm.

1. How much of your career you are willing to sacrifice for marriage?

You've spent years building a successful career, making lifelong connections at work and progressing up the ladder through your sheer determination, hard work and skill. But when it comes to finding a spouse sadly this very same achievement can be your biggest blocker.

Be super honest with yourself where you stand here. Do you feel happy and ready to take a break or slow the pace in your job to focus on marriage? Or do you feel that your job has become too significant a part of your life to simply give up? Are you OK to take a step down or start a new job elsewhere?

2. How far are you willing to move?

Your home and geographical location hold much more significance to you now that it would have done in your 20s. It's the place where you have created and maintained personal connections with people and if you are a homeowner or renting , it's the place where you've made a home for yourself.

What are your plans for your property if you have to leave it? Are you OK to  have someone move in with you? What's the furthest you are prepared to move without losing all the connections and relationships you currently have?

3. Who else will be affected by your marriage?

If you have children already then this is possibly the most crucial question as it not just your life that will change but theirs too. Are you OK to shift them to a new school and have them make new friends? Or does their need for stability mean you desire to stay in the area?

Maybe you have parents who require your care. In which case are you OK to leave them? Is there someone else in the house who would take care of them? Or would you rather have your husband move in with you so you can still take care of your parents?

You should not feel guilted, shamed or bullied into making any decision that will create serious upheaval to your well-being. You are at a  stage of your life that is enriched with experience, success and stability. Own it, be proud of it and make an informed decision based on it. Decide where and where you can compromise  and let your goal be to meet someone understanding enough to support your decision to marry him.

NEXT: How To Deal With Wedding Envy

What's the most hurtful thing you've ever been told about your single status and your age? Email me at sorayasinglescoach@hotmail.com

Beware of the virtual relationship! (7).png

Have you ever felt that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when another of your friends blinds you with her 10 carat diamond ring as she hands you her gold and ivory embossed wedding invitation?

It's OK. We all have.

But how do you stay calm, sane and positive when you suddenly realise that you are the last singleton of your group? 

1. Acknowledge and embrace how you are feeling. Say it out loud to a trusted friend, write it in your diary (or email it to me).

Say it, say that you feel panicked, afraid, jealous, angry, outraged, whatever it is. Once you have said it you can then work through it.

Don't suppress it, it will only come back to haunt you in some unhealthy way.


2. Remember the hadith:  “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

Granted it's not always easy but think about your own wedding one day in sha Allah. You would want your friends to be happy for you. Who knows, maybe right now your friend is  feeling a little guilty that it's her and not you getting married.

She needs a supportive friend more than ever right now.


3. Treat yourself!

Ok this one is a bit superficial but do it!

Buy that expensive coffee and cake, watch the film you love, have a hot bubbly bath, go to your favourite workout class.

Whatever cheers you up, indulge and use it to remind yourself how deserving, valued and amazing you are whatever your marital status


Remember we are only human. Yes we are Muslim but we are by no means perfect.  You have a heart and a soul and, as women, Allah has blessed us with the ability to feel a range and depth of emotions. It's how we deal with them that counts.

NEXT: 5 Top Tips For Dealing With Rejection

Need a confidence boost when it comes to marriage? Click here to check out the Confidence To Commit course.


 

Why does it always seem to happen to me? I have so much to offer, I am intelligent, charming, beautiful and interesting. But he's not interested. What is so bad about me? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t anyone see my good qualities? Why does nobody want me? 

F, Manchester

It's a sickening feeling, it can keep you awake in the early hours of the morning tossing and turning wondering whether you will ever get married, whether someone will ever say yes to you and see what a wonderful woman you are.

Sadly you cannot stop rejection from happening, it's kind of part and parcel of the spouse-searching process but you can soften the blow when it happens.

So here are 5 top tips to help you do just that:

1. Look to lessons from the past

We  all know that if someone or something is meant for us it will be and that Allah knows best what is good for us. So look back over times where something you wanted turned out to be wrong for you and use those examples to reaffirm your belief that this new rejection has happened for the best. Also look back on those moments of rejection where you felt you'd never meet another guy like him. But you did didn't you?

2. Learn to detach yourself from the outcome

When we meet a guy it's not just a guy we are meeting but the key to our dreams of marriage. That's why when things don't go as planned it can feel like the end of your hopes for everything that could have been with that particular guy.  The key is to stay mindful and in the moment when you meet someone new. Get to know the person rather than the wedding, marriage and married life he could potentially give you. That way if things don't quite go right  it is more a case of the loss of an interesting person from your phone contact list, rather than all the hope you had invested in him.

3. Avoid seeing the rejection as a reflection on you as a person

Just because he didn't see your great qualities or wanted to marry you for them doesn't mean others won't. We are not to everyone's taste because we have different tastes. I bet you can name 3 perfectly lovely guys you have said no to in the past and it was OK. It didn't mean you didn't appreciate their good points, they were just not for you. Sadly the movies lie to us when they present the heroine who fends off the advances of all to chose just one. In the case of looking for a spouse you need to think a little more practically.

Yes it sucks if the guy you thought was a perfect match didn't feel the same way. But it doesn't mean you are not worth the kind of guy you are looking for. It just means that particular guy wasn't for you.

4. Allow yourself time to recover

The worst thing you can do when suffering from the hurt of rejection is to get right back on the horse. It may feel like the strong Beyonce independent woman thing to do but really it's like running on a broken ankle!

Let yourself heal, feel good about yourself again, look after yourself and only get back out there when you are ready otherwise your search will be fruitless. Nothing is more important than your well being and happiness and married or single we are each responsible for ensuring our own. Mr. Right will not escape you or pass you by if you take some time out for yourself first.

5. Learn and grow  from it

Every time things go wrong see it as a learning experience rather than a new stick  to beat yourself with. What might you do differently next time? What will you be on the lookout for? What do you now know is a total no no for you?

Do it without blaming yourself, do it objectively and look the future and how your new-found wisdom will serve you better next time. You can either grow from it or let it destroy you. If you let it destroy you, you are only hurting yourself.

It may feel like the end of the world each time it happens but each time it happens you will bounce back again because your goal is marriage, companionship and happiness and you can find that with any number of the single Muslim guys out there. He wasn't interested? It's OK. There IS someone out there who has been kept for you and if you need to meet a few frogs along a the way it's OK too.

NEXT: "It's OK For You, You're Not Married" (plus smug martyr face!)

 

 

Oh here we go again (cue inner eye roll!)

To use a clichee, if , during my 14 years as a singleton, I had £1 for every time I heard this smug, patronising and just plain insulting phrase I wouldn’t have a mortgage to pay off right now!

But there it is. That one phrase that , as a single woman, can just cut you down and diminish you to nothing but a mere woman-child who apparently has no idea of what life really is.

There are other variations of it too: “wait until you’re married then you will know (insert presumed stress factor here)” or “It’s different when you are married as you will see oneday” (plus smug patronising martyr-like smile).

They all boil down to one ugly assumption : that as a single woman your life is WAY easier than theirs. You have endless amounts of free time, your cash flow is bottomless and your problems stretch no further than chipped nail polish.

Oh if only they knew!

You might have a bit more spare time and you may have a bit of extra cash at the end of the month but please do not assume that it makes life less stressful.

You are in charge of your own life and whilst it is a hugely liberating experience it is also a potentially scary one. You pay the bills, you pay the mortgage, you maintain the car and you deal with the unpleasantness of day to day living by yourself. (It brings to mind the friend who once said me "how can you be broke? You're single!")

You're also alone in dealing with the daily battle of trying to stay positive as you wonder when exactly you are going to find The One and get married. You endure endless dates and countless rejections that you can’t always talk about openly. You lie awake in tears wondering why it’s so easy for everyone else to find a partner but so damn hard for you. You constantly question whether you are the problem and are somehow unworthy of love.

So married sisters next time you feel the need to chime in and remind your single sister of how wonderful her single life is please remember that she is fighting battles you’ve never had to fight.

NEXT: Marrying Outside The Community

What do you wish others would understand about your single life? Email me at sorayasinglescoach@hotmail.com

There have been many articles written to celebrate the love two Muslims have found by marrying out of their race or cultural community. 

This is not one of them.

Yes finding love is to be celebrated and of course there is much benefit to the mixing of cultures and growth and diversity of the human race through it.

But my point is the fact that it has to be celebrated and written about is in itself a disgrace.

Let’s not bury our heads in the sand here , racism is rampant amongst our ummah! Every cultural community has it’s negative opinions, stereotypes and ranking of other races. 

Some communities create the illusion of inclusion by boldly boasting how their offspirng has married a (insert race of same skin colour here) as if it somehow makes them cosmopolitan and open-minded. But when the skin colours differ too much that’s when problems arise. Anyone at the extreme scales of black or white the racism alarm sounds at full blast and operation Disown Child is activated.

Other communities are even less accepting to the point where their child must marry someone from the exact same country, village and even family as them. Add to this the strange notion of caste which has crept into some areas of our ummah and you find a single woman (or man) given only 2 options: to marry their cousin or an unknown person from across the planet.

And I needn't remind you of the disgrace to our ummah that is "honour killing", an oxymoron if ever there were one.

Racism is rife across the globe and it wasn’t so long ago that a mixed race couple could even be arrested. But that isn’t us. Or rather it shouldn’t be us. As an ummah we take our example from the best of mankind and in theory marry people based on their character. But when we start choosing or rejecting on the basis of race first before anything else we are doing a great disservice to ourselves.

By all mean marry in the community for reasons of personal preference but not because one culture is deemed superior to any other.

NEXT: I Live Alone And Love It

What have been your experiences of race and cultural boundaries when searching for a spouse? Email me at sorayasinglescoach@hotmail.com

I was 29 when I made the exciting and adventurous decision to move out of my parental home and live alone. I'd had zero luck finding a spouse and whilst my father would have happily begged me to live at home until I was collecting my pension, I felt that it was time to be my own woman and create a life of my own.

But oh what a landmine that was to navigate when it came to finding a spouse!

If you are reading this right now it is probably because you live alone. You've either bought a property (yay you!) or you are renting a place. 

Here are 3 of the most important things to consider when searching for a spouse as a woman who lives alone:

1. Do I tell him I live alone?

Honesty is crucial and all but do you want to mention to someone you have just met that you live alone? Maybe there is an issue of safety and vulnerability and not really knowing much about the guy. Or maybe you just want to avoid all the "can I come over?" that seems inevitable the moment you mention you live alone. 

2. Do I mention that I own a property?

This is such a tricky one. If the guy you are meeting does not own his own property there can be a real inferiority complex to deal with. Some guys won't even consider a woman who is further up the property ladder than he is for fear he will look less manly! Then of course you have the other end of the issue where you fear a hungry eyed man see your property as his own pot of gold one day and you don't know whether he is as interested in you as he is your home.

3. Do I accept lifts home?

For reasons of safety I'd never recommend this anyway. I know there's this whole gentlemanly aspect to walking or dropping a lady home. But do you really want him to know where you live? Do you subsequently want to risk him just popping round one day?

Sadly this should not even be an issue but it's no secret that searching for a spouse goes hand in hand with all kinds of cultural baggage and the idea of a lady living alone is still an anomaly. By all means do not meet every guy with distrust but do consider the possible implications of being 100% open about your living situation if you feel it might impact on the way things develop.

NEXT: Ex And The Single Muslima

What has been your experience of meeting guys as an independent women living alone? Email me to share your experiences at sorayasinglescoach@hotmail.com

 

 

If you are a single Muslim woman over the age of 30 the chances are you have an ex. And and “ex” can mean anything from a guy you were once engaged to, to a guy you were meeting for the purpose of marriage, to a husband to a full blown boyfriend . And let’s not be naive. It happens. It’s always happened be it 1917 or 2017!

One of the problems you might experience as a single Muslim woman over 30 is a greater sense of regret when you consider your ex. You may forget that he is an ex for a reason whether he ended it, you did or you both decided to call it quits.

He and the relationship were not right for you and that is why you are not in it anymore. However, as time creeps on and you find yourself meeting more and more unsuitable men, timewasters and players it’s only natural to look back to what was.

Maybe the ex symbolised a time when you felt you were nearer to the marriage “goalpost” than now . Maybe you feel like if you could just pick up where you left off it will be as if nothing has ever happened.

Or perhaps it’s because the uncertainty of what the future holds is too frightening and it is safer and more comforting to look back on what was. Before you know it you’ve sent a seemingly innocent text message to see “how he’s doing” just for a little bit of comfort. After all, better the devil you know right?

The danger however is two-fold. 

On the one hand you are overlooking what made him an ex in the first place. Was it that temper, neglecting your feelings, not being fully present emotionally or maybe his refusal to commit ?

By overlooking these things you bring yourself to problem number two in which you’ve accidentally put him on a pedestal. As far as your are concerned he is the man that brought you closer to marriage than you have ever been and therefore this make him a kind of benchmark. 

You believe that if you can find another guy like him you will get to that almost-married point again but without the same mistakes as last time

As a result you miss out on the opportunity to meet many amazing guys. You consciously or subconsciously turn away anyone who is different from the pedestal version of the ex . And when you do meet a guy you are always measuring him against the ex instead of on his own terms as his own person.

However, from his pedestal the ex has much more power than you realise. 

The hurt he caused you has never left you. Somewhere deep down you have catalogued his bad behaviour, his cruel words and his negative attitude and when meeting new guys you look for signs of these and freak out if he so much as loses his rag when the waitress bring him the wrong meal for the third time.

We are not robots, we cannot just switch feelings on and off. 

But if there is someone from the past who is still dictating your actions in the present then it’s time to detox him. Remove his number from your phone, delete his old messages and emails, delete the photos, learn to think of him objectively as just another man you once knew and get him down from that pedestal otherwise he will hold you back from that happy ending you dearly desire and deserve.

NEXT: I Don't Want To Live With In Laws

Got a question about an ex? Want to go back? Want to move on? Email me at sorayasinglescoach@hotmail.com

As a single Muslim woman over 30, searching for a spouse has become an increasingly arduous task. By the time you have reached 30+ you have become more and more your own person. You have created and nurtured your own life, surroundings and settings and in essence created your own nest. And it’s a wonderful thing!

Long gone are the days where you simply existed in your parental home until your marital home became you new abode. Many women are choosing an in-between stage in which so many adventures are happening. Instead of jumping from parental home to marital home they are rerouting via things like travelling, owning their own home, working towards a lucrative career to name but a few.

So the idea of marrying and settling into a home life with in-laws can seem almost like a step back rather than that all-important step forward.

For a lot of single women, it’s not the in-laws themselves who are the problem but rather the concept of living in a family home with cultural and social boundaries that they have not had to live by since they were teenagers. 

The thought of leaving a life where they are free to come and go, dress as they want, attend whatever social functions they want or just chill at home in pyjamas watching TV is one that fills single sisters with dread. 

And not because they feel they are somehow superior to living with in laws, but just because it is a lifestyle so alien to their current one . It feels like moving in with housemates rather than family because you are not a child acquiring new parents but a fully grown functioning adult woman moving in with other adults.

It is not uncommon to hear of marriages suffering , or indeed ending , due to the pressures of living with in laws. And I am not talking about the Indian soap opera mean mother-in-law stereotypes that drive a wedge between husband and wife. I am talking about a reasonable woman with perfectly lovely in laws who just cannot deal with the lifestyle connected to the extended family.

It’s easy to label such women as “arrogant” or “superior” believing that they are shunning our traditional ways . But really how traditional is it anymore? Is it fair to expect a woman to give up her entire lifestyle and enter into one she is not happy with just for the sake of being married? 

And no when i say lifestyle I don't mean that toxic stereotype of the “modern woman” who has no apparent respect for her culture, family or herself. I mean a woman who is a grown up adult with her own life that she has created for herself. That lifestyle. And what is the husband giving up in return?

To any sister out there in any doubt about living with the in laws I say be true to yourself. Living with the in laws works for a lot of women but also doesn’t work for many. Be honest about how it makes you feel and don’t judge yourself if it doesn’t feel right for you. 

NEXT: What to do when he suddenly disappears

Unsure about living with in laws? Want to talk it out? Email me at sorayasinglescoach@hotmail.com

What To Do When He Suddenly Disappears

I know you've done it, we all have. Phone next to you on the sofa or table, casting anxious glances every 2 minutes to see if that little Whatsapp circle is illuminated! Opening his chatbox, seeing he's online you start to write a message then stop. Then start, then stop.

Why?

Because he's suddenly stopped communicating with you. He's gone from regular messaging to zilch. Or maybe it went further than that, maybe you were even at the point where you had met and all was going great then whooosh he's disappeared quicker than the last samosa at iftaar.

Why is it so difficult to find a guy who actually knows what he wants and is serious about marriage??

This is THE most common issue I get asked about on a daily basis so to help you along here are 5 tips to help you deal this situation without compromising your dignity or turning into a furious  she-wolf!

Tip 1:  Assess  your expectations
 
It could be that you have only just met this guy and have only started to communicate recently. Even if you have sent 100+ texts in last 48 hours since meeting him (which I certainly don’t recommend!) it’s still a short period of time! In all honesty then sisters, as hard as it is to accept, he doesn’t really owe you any explanation for his disappearance. Leave it be. Continue with life as normal. Meet new guys. If he contacts you again you can decide whether or not you would like to continue where you left off. 
 
 Tip 2: Step out of your imagination
 
In your mind you are probably picturing him with his phone in his hand carelessly flicking past your messages, laughing demonically every time he sees your name pop up and telling his mates all about how much he hates you. Before you know it you've concocted a whole narrative to explain why he isn't replying. The truth is you don't know what the reason is and unless you've progressed to family-meeting stage, unfortunately there's not much you can do other than continue living life, getting out there, meeting people and being ready to receive the right guy (be it the one who is currently not texting you or otherwise).



Tip 3: Live
 
What were you doing before you met him? One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to put your life and world on pause and focus your entire attention on  communication with this guy because you believe he could be The One. I've heard of sisters totally rearranging evening and weekend plans to accommodate phone calls etc. only to have the guy suddenly disappear. Of course it's going to feel like a part of your life is missing if you've created significant space for a guy who has not yet earned it. Get back to what you were doing, live your life, keep busy.  Before you know it you've forgotten what you were even worrying about as you've given your self distance and gained clarity on the situation.

Tip 4: Reality check

I often hear from ladies who feel absolutely insulted because mid texting conversation frenzy he stopped talking to you . You scroll back up over the messages reading and re reading between the lines wondering what you could have said wrong. You take it as a personal affront that he could simply leave you hanging half way without so much as an explanation. Reality check: you live separate lives. Things happen that cause us to abandon our phones suddenly: someone at the door, a phone call on the house phone, an urgent errand or maybe he just needed a poo! Don't jump to conclusions just yet!

Tip 5: Move forward with dignity

The real desire is to "have it out with him" and demand to know why he disappeared like that when everything was going well. If you never even met or you met just once, don't do it. I know you want answers but demanding them is just a form of trying to control the situation.You can't control it. Don't give him the satisfaction of knowing it affected you, let him feel outraged instead that you're not that bothered. Then do something nice for yourself and reward yourself for having had a lucky escape from such a thoughtless man!

Of course if things have gone further like you had talked about marriage, decided to move forward and  meet families etc.  then he just disappears.  feel free to send a polite message or email explaining  that you have noted his disappearance, you are not impressed by it and that you shall moving forward in your search and that you wish him the all the best (even if you don't really!)

The bottom line sisters is to listen to your female intuition and use your common sense.
 

 If he has a genuine reason for being too busy to contact you e.g. family bereavement, then maybe this isn’t the best time for either of you to be entering into marriage talks. It doesn’t make you heartless, it just means you are stepping back and taking care of yourself and also allowing him some space.

 The best course of action in this situation is just to step back, get some perspective and see what happens. Continue your search and don't put all your eggs into one basket until that basket has met your family and set a date for the wedding!