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I met a man from Afghanistan (Afghan man?)....can it realistically go anywhere?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Or are we from cultures that are far too different? Anyone here have an Afghan partner? ...feeling quite confused.
post #2 of 40
I won't lie. Marrying a man from another culture makes marriage twice as interesting but twice as difficult. You have all the normal strains of marriage PLUS differing cultural norms to deal with.

My DH is from N. Africa and although he was raised in a very liberal Islamic country, we still have frequent battles- and it's been 8 years! But I wouldn't want any other man- EVER, that's for sure!
post #3 of 40
I agree. Cross-cultural marriage has it's own unique difficulties. And it's own unique joys. :

Do you share a faith and core values? I married an East African man our shared beliefs have been essential in keeping our marriage together. And even so, we have had different cultural interpretations of our shared faith, which has made for some difficulties. I doubt we would be together today if we did not share those common believes and values.

These are important things to think about with any relationship, but a few questions to ask yourself/him if you move forward in the long term...

If he is "progressive" in beliefs and behavior now, is he likely to continue after marriage?

What do you know about his native culture, particularly in relation to things that would affect you and any children that might result? Are there things in his culture that you cannot accept? And if so, does he share your view of those things? (ex: in my dh's culture, FGM is widespread, even among "westernized" evangelical Christians. I could not have married him if I hadn't been sure that he opposed FGM strongly. Same with attitude towards women/girls in general. I am not a feminist in the sense most people understand that word, but I could not have accepted a man who believed females were of lesser value than males)

In regards to religion and values: If you do not share them, how would possible children be raised? If living in his country, how easy or difficult would it be to maintain your own beliefs and life accordingly? Are you willing to conform to some of the cultural or religious values either out of respect for him or for your own safety.

How would his family accept you? If they did not accept you (for whatever reason) could you live with that? How would that affect possible children?
post #4 of 40
Are you of the same religious beliefs? Because I have never personally known a successful long-term relationship that was both international and interfaith between western nations and predominantly Muslim nations. A shared culture can smooth a lot of edges where beliefs differ; shared beliefs can smooth a lot of edges where cultures differ. Lacking either ... I would be wary.

Before everyone jumps all over me with success stories, I certainly don't mean it can't happen ... I just mean that if you're looking at the potential for strong differences of beliefs and strong differences of upbringing and strong differences in ideas about lifestyle ideals you're looking at a lot of things that need to be evaluated through a neutral, realistic lens that is hard to achieve when feeling a little infatuated. It's possible you'd mesh well, who knows ... but just be aware of the tremendous room there is for disagreement and misunderstanding, and don't jump into a romance before you both are clear on what you each think and expect.
post #5 of 40
Hey, OP, can you go over to PaP? There's someone there asking the exact same Q - you could compare notes.
post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Are you of the same religious beliefs?
No we are not. He is Muslim, I am not. I asked him if he thought that would be a problem and he said No. But how could it not be? He said he is Muslim but doesn't practice it....whatever that means? -He prays to Allah but doesn't go to any religious place. His family are all Muslim too but he only has contact with a couple of siblings as the rest of his family are still in Afghanistan.

He hasn't lived in Afghanistan for a few years, so he is somewhat used to western culture, that's what made me think maybe it could work? I guess you're all pretty much saying the religious differences are more important than the cultural ones?

Right now Im leaning towards "No" as the answer to my original question. (thread title)
post #7 of 40
My short answer is no.

How important is his family to him? You said he only talks to a couple of siblings, but how important is their approval? How old is he? How long has he been non-practicing?

I don't know how to differentiate between cultural/religious differences, because in Afghanistan they're so closely tied together. The Muslim religion creates the basis for their culture and has more of an impact than anything other than tribal dynamics.

A more complicated answer...I think that in the end, you need to honestly judge him as a person. How does he feel about gender roles? How open is he to other religions? How does that work with your own beliefs? Are you willing and open to change? Is he?
post #8 of 40
I agree with what a lot of other pps have said. DH is from India, I am caucasian-American. But we are both Catholic, and our religion is very important to our family, and to our own family upbringing. I think that makes a HUGE difference for us. Our religious views (even among Catholics, which can be very different) are almost identical. DH has said to me, he would never have married me, an American from the American culture, had I not come from a strong Catholic family. Since I did, I guess it was never an issue. (He didn't tell me that until a few years after we were married!) I'm sure it's not true for everyone, but in our case religion was more important than culture. Or maybe I should say that our culture is heavily affected by our religion? Since our religion was the same, cultural differences were more minor.
post #9 of 40
Hi! I've never posted on this particular board before, but I saw your question and had to reply...

My DH is from Iran and is Muslim, I'm from the Midwest and Catholic. My family is pretty typical Irish/Eastern European heritage, we all went to Catholic school... pretty common for this area. DH grew up in Iran and moved here when he was about 21 (he's 45 now). As far as cultural differences go... it isn't that big of an issue for us. Our upbringings were actually pretty similar in the important ways... really close with siblings, very strong emphasis on education from our parents, big, crazy extended family. Religion-wise, neither of us is particularly strict about religion, which I think is why it works out ok. neither of us has the attitude that the other is wrong, religion-wise. It also helps that we have pretty open-minded families that didn't think our relationship was an issue (his mom was just happy that he was finally getting married!) I would not have pursued a relationship that my family was against. We share the same careers (we're both PAs), which I think is great. It gives us a lot of common ground.

I'm not saying that there aren't difficulties with a relationship like ours... getting past what "other" people think and say was really hard for me at first. Some things DH has experienced I cannot relate to at all. And sometimes DH is so bossy and stubborn that I could just scream. Whether that's part of his culture or part of his personality, whatever. I love him, he loves me, our families are happy, it all works.
post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by samy23 View Post
Or are we from cultures that are far too different? Anyone here have an Afghan partner? ...feeling quite confused.
I'm not sure how long you've been seeing him, but I can give you my perspective from dating a man from a very traditional Eastern European culture earlier this year, who'd been in the States 5-6 years. We were the same religion (Orthodox Christian), though I had to end it after about three months, essentially due to culture differences.

Pay very close attention to what he says/how he acts. The fellow I was dating was very nice, good manners, and such the first month or so, but soon after that he began making a lot of negative comments - very anti-American *anything*, anti-independent women (even though I'm pretty traditional, I'm still single at 40, so I'd *had* to do a lot of stuff on my own), he was even upset I was very active in church things, both in my specific parish and at a wider local level. He would even get angry if I bought my own coffee when we met for coffee and I got there before he did.

How are you at languages? I'm awful (couldn't even manage Spanish), and told him that from the beginning, yet he would invite me to things (like his church), where he told me *everything* would be in his native language *and* the other people there tried to speak English as little as possible *and* weren't very welcoming of people outside their ethnic group.

He and his sister were both in the States (only siblings, father dead) and were trying to get their mother over here - and I was told it was traditional for the widowed mother to live with the eldest son's family - regardless of if he was newly married.

I also found that even though he was conservative religiously and knew very well I was, he kept pushing the physical boundaries from the beginning. From comments he made, he seemed to think that *all* American women were very loose when it came to sexual morals.

Uh, no!

So, remember not only would you be marrying a guy, you'd be marrying his family/culture. There are lots of posts on MDC with women having trouble with the DH's family, particularly those from abroad when coming for visits, or expecting all sorts of money to be sent back to the home country, etc. Think *very* long and hard about if you even want to expose yourself to those sort of issues. I have a very low annoyance level, so chose to not even deal with sharing my kitchen with a MIL!
post #11 of 40
Okay, I'm writing here as a mostly "traditionalist" type Muslim woman here, American, started practicing Islam as a teenager (my own choice, hadn't even met a Muslim before in my life at the time) and married to a Syrian immigrant dh (met in college). I have frequently counseled American converts to Islam about marrying men from other countries.

Some thoughts:

1) He has only lived here for a "few" years? Not enough IMO. I have seen people who have lived here for 20-30 years and are still yet to become acculturated. What is his immigration status? If he is not a permanent resident or citizen, don't bother. I have a close friend in a very bad situation now because her dh got deported 3 months after they got married. She was, of course, already pregnant. Don't get me started. Just don't.

What is his socio-economic level? IME, only people who are brilliant academic scholars or doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., are even worth thinking about for more than a second. Again, I know this sounds horribly judgmental, but I have seen too much. Yes, there ARE exceptions, don't get me wrong, but IME, the vast majority of those who are here as lower-class laborers or people who perpetually can't finish their degrees for one reason or another, should be avoided. What many people also don't realize is that in Muslim countries, the governments tend to have a pseudo-Soviet style way of channeling the best and brightest people into higher-value careers. So if a guy is here and he's not in a higher-value career... he may not have been that bright or applied himself in school back in his home country. Again, a generalization but a good rule of thumb I tell people all the time is to use their potential DP's academic and work history as a real telltale sign as to their suitablility. Don't accept excuses like "well, something happened and 10 years later I still didn't get my Master's." Red flag!!!

2) Okay, so he says he is not really a religious guy. Honestly.. I know there are exceptions to this, but I am sorry to say that most of the people who come here who are "still believers but not really practicing" are scumbags. I know this is a big generalization but I have seen and heard too many stories. Maybe they were raised in really conservative settings and they came here to rebel. They don't go to the religious centers because they know they would be shunned there. They have a tendency to get drunk a lot. Again, big generalization I know, but I've seen waaaayyyyy too much of it.

3) This type is also the type that falls into one of two categories after the "newness" of life in America wears off and things get tough, either economically, culturally, in a marriage, etc 1) Continues in his own irreligious behavior (gets drunk, has girls on the side, etc.) but demands strict conservatism from the women in his family. This is another "don't get me started" topic, but it is common in Muslim countries as well as with expats here. or 2) Suddenly "finds" religion again but tends toward extreme strictness or outright extremism either because they feel they want to somehow "make up" for their time of irreligiousness and/or because the "religion" they were taught in their country was deeply flawed.

In this respect I would be more afraid with Afghanistan than other countries. It is my belief that the Taliban's deviance in religious matters comes from the fact that Afghanistan unfortunately has a lethal mix of poverty, illiteracy, men who grew up without their fathers (due to all the wars over the past 30+) and people who do not have access to primary source religious texts, including the Qur'an. These people don't know Arabic, so they tend to invent really strange "religious" rules that actually are not part of Islam.

Again, a "don't get me started" topic but over the years I have seen too many women in these situations who then go around believing (and promoting their belief) that Islam is a messed up (usually misogynistic) religion because "my ex-husband said/did X to me and my daughter".

I know this sounds depressing, but again, I must stress, as an American married to an immigrant, as a Muslim woman, and as a person who spends my time in circles with many immigrants and crosscultural relationships, I have seen A LOT.
post #12 of 40
Umm Zaynab, I was glad to see your post. : I was thinking many of the same thoughts but tried to keep my post to my own experience and not get too deeply into concerns about a specific country or religion. But those are similar to observations I've made (sadly).

I had a friend recently who I was soooo glad didn't continue with a relationship because he was the kind of man you described who was "religious", and demanded strict behavior from women, but for himself felt free to carouse. And he was encouraging her to go to Dubai with him. I was extremely worried for her and her young daughter. This happens in any religion and it's certainly something to be very careful of. I have seen it among Christians as well, and dh saw it in folk of every religion in his country. A lot of times it is related to cultural expectations, sometimes not.
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmmZaynab View Post
Yes, there ARE exceptions, don't get me wrong, but IME, the vast majority of those who are here as lower-class laborers or people who perpetually can't finish their degrees for one reason or another, should be avoided.
I totally disagree with this while also not totally disagreeing with this. Which makes no sense, I know. What I mean is I totally disagree that U.S. employment status is itself a telltale ... but I do agree that education status can be. Most immigrants I know -- almost all, really -- are clerks, limo drivers, airport employees, yada yada yada, because these jobs can be a lot easier and more profitable to get with only foreign degrees in hand. Every last one of them are engineers in their home country though, and most of them are invested in furthering their education here to be more marketable. I think demonstrable ambition counts a lot more than current status, but with a big emphasis on "demonstrable."

Quote:
Okay, so he says he is not really a religious guy. Honestly.. I know there are exceptions to this, but I am sorry to say that most of the people who come here who are "still believers but not really practicing" are scumbags.
Another "disagree without disagreeing." It definitely happens a lot. But again, in my experience, a lot of Muslims coming from predominantly Muslim cultures would, by American definitions, be very actively practicing and still say they are non-practicing ... there's that tendency to shy from calling one's self "religious" if one is not actively trying to devote every last minute to fulfilling religious minutiae. But I have never known those men to be actively interested in marrying to a non-Muslim. Willing, sure, but while usually going into it on the hopes that their spouse somewhere along the way will convert. And I've seen a lot of relationships in those cases succeed where the woman did eventually sincerely convert, and fail where she did not convert or did so in name only. With exceptions, of course, but that's been the general rule in my observation. It's not a recipe for success when one partner is going into it with really big, unspoken hopes that go unrealized.
post #14 of 40
I PM'ed you.

Quote:
This type is also the type that falls into one of two categories after the "newness" of life in America wears off and things get tough, either economically, culturally, in a marriage, etc 1) Continues in his own irreligious behavior (gets drunk, has girls on the side, etc.) but demands strict conservatism from the women in his family. This is another "don't get me started" topic, but it is common in Muslim countries as well as with expats here. or 2) Suddenly "finds" religion again but tends toward extreme strictness or outright extremism either because they feel they want to somehow "make up" for their time of irreligiousness and/or because the "religion" they were taught in their country was deeply flawed.

In this respect I would be more afraid with Afghanistan than other countries. It is my belief that the Taliban's deviance in religious matters comes from the fact that Afghanistan unfortunately has a lethal mix of poverty, illiteracy, men who grew up without their fathers (due to all the wars over the past 30+) and people who do not have access to primary source religious texts, including the Qur'an. These people don't know Arabic, so they tend to invent really strange "religious" rules that actually are not part of Islam.
This is all true.

Though, not all Afghans are Talibs, and some are highly educated. There is a fair chance that the OP's guy is a Tajik, Nuristani, or Hazara, none of whom are Taliban. Some people received decent education in Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or even Russia.

Quote:
-He prays to Allah but doesn't go to any religious place. His family are all Muslim too but he only has contact with a couple of siblings as the rest of his family are still in Afghanistan.
I do want to note that in Afghanistan, sadly, there are way more atheists than in other Muslim-majority countries. I actually met many atheists, agnostics, and total renegade Christians and Zoroastrians, thanks to the horrific work of the Taliban.

So not to be religious in Afghanistan is not necessarily to be lapsed.

OTOH, most people in Afghanistan have cell phones. How can nobody in his parents' village or clan have a cell phone?

Are his parents alive?

Tell you one thing: I would not marry or date an Afghan whose parents were alive if he weren't sending money to them on a monthly basis, I don't care how much he makes here. That is a very bad sign.
post #15 of 40
Thread Starter 
Wow you have given me plenty to think about! In reply to a few questions:

He does seem very family orientated, he has told me he loves his family and misses them dearly, and would love to have his own children someday soon. He is in contact with his family back in Afghanistan, but it is limited to email and letters I believe he said. I don't know if he sends any money to them, I didn't ask if they are poor and need his financial help -probably need to have known him a little longer before I can ask that type of question without seeming rude.

He is the less strict of the type of muslim....I don't remember whether that is the shiite or sunni one, but being the less strict type is better for my situation not being muslim myself right?

He knows I was raised Christian, all my family are strict Christians, but he doesn't think that matters, he wants to meet my family whenever I am ready to introduce him to them...which is nice. Ofcourse I'm worried they will be forever angry with me for dating someone of a different religion, but that is my choice and I really think once they get to know him, his religion won't matter as they should hopefully like his personality as I do. Im quite pleased he has a religion, since I was raised in a religious family, sure it was 2 completely different religions, but imo it is better for me to find a religious man than an atheist etc. We have both been raised in religions.

We haven't talked about me converting to Islam. He hasn't brought it up, maybe I should ask him if he hopes that will happen in the future, because I definately would not want to. I also need to know how he feels about if he plan to have children someday, if he would want them to be raised as Muslims, because again I wouldn't want that.

He has been living over here for 8 years.

I don't think If I married him I would be marrying his family as someone said, because he only has a couple of siblings over here that he sees regularly, the rest of his siblings and parents are all in Afghanistan -so we wouldn't be seeing them unless they came over to visit.

He has mentioned he doesn't have any intention of going back to Afghanistan. I am unaware of his immigration status, I wouldn't know how to bring up that conversation? If he has been here for 8 years, he must be allowed to be here ? I don't worry about it being a case of him wanting to find a woman to marry so he can stay here, because if that was true surely he would have been married by now?

Educationally, I think he finished high school in Afghanistan just before moving here. And since being here he has been in college studying the English Language -he hasn't progressed much in several years, but it must be really difficult having to learn another language, and when his friends mostly speak his native language aswell. I think he said he has been doing the same 1 year course, for the last 3 years. So ofcourse his employment opportunities are limited. He works minimum wage jobs. But at least he works and seems to have a good work ethic.

From the way he treats me, he seems quite respectful of women. It is too early to say that for sure, but he doesn't demand anything or treat me bad etc.
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by samy23 View Post
He is the less strict of the type of muslim....I don't remember whether that is the shiite or sunni one, but being the less strict type is better for my situation not being muslim myself right?

...

We haven't talked about me converting to Islam. He hasn't brought it up, maybe I should ask him if he hopes that will happen in the future, because I definately would not want to. I also need to know how he feels about if he plan to have children someday, if he would want them to be raised as Muslims, because again I wouldn't want that.

...

If he has been here for 8 years, he must be allowed to be here ? I don't worry about it being a case of him wanting to find a woman to marry so he can stay here, because if that was true surely he would have been married by now?

...

Educationally, I think he finished high school in Afghanistan just before moving here. And since being here he has been in college studying the English Language -he hasn't progressed much in several years, but it must be really difficult having to learn another language, and when his friends mostly speak his native language aswell. I think he said he has been doing the same 1 year course, for the last 3 years. So ofcourse his employment opportunities are limited. He works minimum wage jobs. But at least he works and seems to have a good work ethic.

From the way he treats me, he seems quite respectful of women. It is too early to say that for sure, but he doesn't demand anything or treat me bad etc.
Potential red flags here, to be honest.

First, there is no such thing as a "more strict/less strict" dichotomy between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Being one or the other means nothing with regard to a level of being "relaxed" about religion. It concerns me when I see someone entering into a relationship in which they really have no idea how the other person's religious beliefs might affect their expectations of family life.

With regard to converting ... I can tell you right now if he expects it at best he most likely will be evasive about it, and is likely to say "no" regardless. I'm not trying to make it out like Muslim men are big fat liars; the intentions there are good even if the practice really isn't. IME men who hope their wives convert explicitly do not want their wives to feel like they should do it to make their husbands happy. They want it to come from the heart. I can not even count the number of times I have had a man married to a Christian woman come to me and ask me to talk to her about taking interest in our religion, because he felt that properly he can't. It's just something to be aware of going in.

Minimum wage jobs + a long time in the U.S. frequently equals an overstayed tourist visa. If I were you I would want to know his visa status. And I really wouldn't rule out a marriage-for-visa potential if he is overstayed ... it's not always something so easy to find that not having done it before means its not his motivation. If he's dedicating his time to study and is not progressing, I would go back and think about what UmmZaynab had to say.

And finally, treating you respectfully is good. But it doesn't in any way means an absence of views and expectations that clash with your own. Any good, extremely conservative, by-the-book Muslim man will treat women with the utmost respect. A degree of respect that very often charms women unaccustomed to it and the culture that demands it, for that matter. But it can be a part of a view of mutual responsibilities to one another that might not fit well with you.
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
And finally, treating you respectfully is good. But it doesn't in any way means an absence of views and expectations that clash with your own. Any good, extremely conservative, by-the-book Muslim man will treat women with the utmost respect. A degree of respect that very often charms women unaccustomed to it and the culture that demands it, for that matter. But it can be a part of a view of mutual responsibilities to one another that might not fit well with you.
Very, very true.
post #18 of 40
*sigh*. Prepare yourself for some VERY hard questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samy23 View Post
Wow you have given me plenty to think about! In reply to a few questions:

He does seem very family orientated, he has told me he loves his family and misses them dearly, and would love to have his own children someday soon. He is in contact with his family back in Afghanistan, but it is limited to email and letters I believe he said. I don't know if he sends any money to them, I didn't ask if they are poor and need his financial help -probably need to have known him a little longer before I can ask that type of question without seeming rude.
Well, I doubt you would find any guy who would say he doesn’t love and miss his family. International calling has become very cheap over the years so I can’t see how he couldn’t call them at least occasionally. Like somebody else said, in countries like Afghanistan where infrastructure is non-existent or messed up, everyone has a cell phone because cell phones bypass the need for physical infrastructure on the ground. I don’t see how it would be rude to pose a simple question of “how do they get by… the condition of the country being what it is?”.

Quote:
He is the less strict of the type of muslim....I don't remember whether that is the shiite or sunni one, but being the less strict type is better for my situation not being muslim myself right?.
There are degrees of "strictness" in all sectarian groups. Sunni and Shiite are sectarian divisions with different theological understandings about some issues but they are not measures of strictness.

Quote:
He knows I was raised Christian, all my family are strict Christians, but he doesn't think that matters, he wants to meet my family whenever I am ready to introduce him to them...which is nice. Ofcourse I'm worried they will be forever angry with me for dating someone of a different religion, but that is my choice and I really think once they get to know him, his religion won't matter as they should hopefully like his personality as I do. Im quite pleased he has a religion, since I was raised in a religious family, sure it was 2 completely different religions, but imo it is better for me to find a religious man than an atheist etc. We have both been raised in religions.

We haven't talked about me converting to Islam. He hasn't brought it up, maybe I should ask him if he hopes that will happen in the future, because I definately would not want to. I also need to know how he feels about if he plan to have children someday, if he would want them to be raised as Muslims, because again I wouldn't want that.
Okay, this is the part where I went “stop right there!” You just said that he has at least a nominal connection to his religion but you flat-out admit that you would not only NEVER want to convert but that you never, ever want your kids raised in that religion. Now, aside from the fact that, as a Muslim myself I detect some major misconceptions/prejudice in that statement (you must really thing something is wrong with Islam and I’m sure you are basing that judgment on misinformation), how do you think your DP would feel about that? Are you also unwilling to raise the kids with at least a cultural understanding and participation in two religions? Would you never allow them to visit a mosque, learn to pray or read the Qur’an, celebrate Eid? Are you adamant that your children would be Christian and only that? Are you also deep-down holding out hope that your DP may become Christian himself? Especially if your family are “strict” Christians, there will be pressure from your family no doubt and maybe from you too. After all, he is “religious” but at present not particularly connected to his faith. This makes me wonder, then, do you value him in that sense because you feel like he has distanced himself from a religion against which you have some bad ideas?

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He has been living over here for 8 years.
Eh, that’s okay. But not in light of what you wrote below regarding his lack of accomplishments. My dh had been here for 10 years when we got married. He finished 2 Master’s degrees and was almost finished with his Ph.D. dissertation. So in 8 years that was 2 Master’s and all the coursework and exams for his Ph.D. He worked his you-know-what off and accomplished a lot. See more below…

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I don't think If I married him I would be marrying his family as someone said, because he only has a couple of siblings over here that he sees regularly, the rest of his siblings and parents are all in Afghanistan -so we wouldn't be seeing them unless they came over to visit.
Yes and no. There are three possible scenarios here:
1)He stays here, family stays there: There are unique stresses to this situation which I know because it is our situation. We do visit every so often, but his whole family is there. When life gets difficult for them, when there are disagreements and inter-family fights, much of it gets laid on dh in very difficult phone calls and emails. Relatives often blame the family’s problems on him having left. They also think that if you are in America you are rolling in money and they expect you to give it to them no matter how much you protest. They hear the stories of the guys who own 10 gas stations or are doctors and whatnot and forever accuse you of being stingy with them. You wish you could fix all their problems and sometimes you do blame yourself. And then there is always the “why didn’t you marry a good girl from back home” conversation.
2)There is pressure to return to the home country. Some can resist, some can’t. Many go back for a while, with family in tow, have a disastrous experience (in countries that are much better off at present than Afghanistan), and then come back to the US not always in great shape.
3)They come here. If he is not a citizen then he probably can’t bring his family members here but if he got citizenship through you then his family becomes possible to import. For sure they are going to live with you, even “temporarily”. (“My brother will only stay with us for 6 months until he gets a job” often turns into 5 years of freeloading brother…)


Quote:
He has mentioned he doesn't have any intention of going back to Afghanistan. I am unaware of his immigration status, I wouldn't know how to bring up that conversation? If he has been here for 8 years, he must be allowed to be here ? I don't worry about it being a case of him wanting to find a woman to marry so he can stay here, because if that was true surely he would have been married by now?
I cannot stress this enough. NEVER, EVER MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT IMMIGRATION. I am watching a dear friend going through HELL because she ASSUMED things and didn’t educate herself.

My dh was here on a visa that is very easy to convert to permanent residency and eventually citizenship. On top of that he had a very strong case to stay here because of his high academic and professional achievement. He also had NEVER been in trouble with the law and had NEVER violated or worked unlawfully. He keeps all of his records, all of his work permits, etc. My friend, on the other hand, had a dh who had been divorced, dropped out of school (thereby violating his visa) and worked without a work permit. ICE are RUTHLESS with Muslim/Middle Eastern men these days on visa and citizenship applications these days.

So you need to know his past marriage, criminal, and immigration history. You need to know EXACTLY what kind of visa he is on and what the rules are. Go ask an immigration lawyer to explain it all to you if you need to. If you are considering marriage to this guy then he should not begrudge you this information for one second. If he has a problem with you asking, then that’s a red flag. You have the right to know. You need to know the likelihood that this guy would have a strong case for citizenship. In the world of immigrations, misdemeanors and more can be the deciding factor that will prevent somebody from being allowed to stay or get citizenship. They look for any and all excuses.

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Educationally, I think he finished high school in Afghanistan just before moving here. And since being here he has been in college studying the English Language -he hasn't progressed much in several years, but it must be really difficult having to learn another language, and when his friends mostly speak his native language as well. I think he said he has been doing the same 1 year course, for the last 3 years. So of course his employment opportunities are limited. He works minimum wage jobs. But at least he works and seems to have a good work ethic.
Wow…. Red flag central. I have seen sooooooooo many people with these kinds of stories/excuses. I know I’m being really negative here, but it’s as if I predicted it! My own dh has become somewhat prejudiced against his own people because of the huge numbers of people who come here who can’t make it work. They always have their “legitimate” excuses but when you are in a situation to hire them (as has been the case in my family) you find out that they in fact have no work ethic. They often think they can get by and strike it rich by using the traditional influence networks of people of their native culture to get jobs and opportunities without having to work. This is true of any country where dictatorships or non-governments have created environments where people get by not by honest work but by influence and bribery. And I have seen a TON of immigrants her with this attitude towards my dh. "Why should I have to actually do WORK for you, we'e both Arabs, you hired me, I'm getting paid because you like me and you gave me this job, right?" In my family, we have had to fire people after repeated interventions to explain to then that sleeping on the job was not OK and they still didn't get it. I have become like my grandfather, railing on about how "my great-grandparents came here and learned English and worked their butts off and these people think they're here for a free ride"... :

Red flag #1: 8 years and still hasn’t done well enough in English?! Seriously!? Yes, learning a new language is hard but not THAT hard. When my great-grandparents immigrated here (Ellis Island immigrants) they didn’t speak a word of English and yet they learned it all on their own. My next-door neighbor came from Lebanon 20 years ago and also learned English without a teacher, mostly from watching TV. Today, English is the most well-served language in terms of second language teaching programs, books, computer, tv, technology, etc., etc. There is really no excuse, IMO.

Red flag #2: Most of his friends are Afghans. I was actually going to ask you about this. So he has not learned English also because he has been hiding out in an ethnic enclave and avoiding interacting with Americans. He has not been trying to immerse himself and use the language. This makes me wonder how well he knows America/American culture and makes me seriously doubt his ability to support a marriage with an American. Which leads me to another question I had in my mind---why can’t he marry an Afghan girl? Doesn’t he have connections? Or does he have something in his background that concerns the parents of the girls?

Potential red flag #3: How well has he done in those minimum wage jobs? Has he been bouncing from job to job? Does he have excuses about always being at odds with his employers for some reason or other?

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From the way he treats me, he seems quite respectful of women. It is too early to say that for sure, but he doesn't demand anything or treat me bad etc.
Not really a determinant of future behavior, IMO for reasons I stated previously.

JSYK, also, since I’m obviously an observant religious person, you should know that I’m not prejudiced against a guy like this just because he’s not practicing. If he was an accomplished, stable, secular guy I wouldn’t be concerned. On the contrary, if he was a really secular guy and you being as anti-Islam as you seem to be, I wouldn’t have any opinion. I know quite a number of successful cross-cultural relationships like that.

But in all honesty, to me this feels like a textbook case of somebody who already has a bad idea about Islam/Muslims getting into a relationship with a guy who seems like a “reformed/reformable Muslim man" but who has all the signs of not being a suitable dependable partner. Later on when things go downhill, the “badness” of Islam/Muslim men gets blamed for everything. I have seen it over and over again. I am interested in putting a stop to this phenomenon. Not to mention protecting yet another family from a preventable heartache.

So if you decide to puruse things with this guy, don't say you weren't warned, you didn't know, and for God's sake, don't become one of those "ex-wives of a Muz-lehm guy" going around telling everyone how bad Muslims are because of whatever happened to you.
post #19 of 40
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Originally Posted by UmmZaynab View Post
You just said that he has at least a nominal connection to his religion but you flat-out admit that you would not only NEVER want to convert but that you never, ever want your kids raised in that religion.
Missed that part. Yeah ... backing away now would probably be a good idea.
post #20 of 40
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Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
A shared culture can smooth a lot of edges where beliefs differ; shared beliefs can smooth a lot of edges where cultures differ. Lacking either ... I would be wary.
I just wanted to say, this is a really succinct, yet brilliant, way to put things. I have to remember this one. Thanks.
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