Interview with Anne 36 year old strong Mother.

Interview with Anne.
Here is a woman who has 14years experience under her belt. Kudos to you for making sure your son has support in dealing with his anger.

    Would you please state your age, race, and religion?

I am a 36 years old. I am white. I don’t really affiliate with any particular religion. I was raised Catholic but over the years have studied many different religions. I feel the most emotional attachment to Islam but over the years have kind of let it go.

    Where/ how did you meet your Saudi? How long did the relationship last?

I met my Saudi, whom I will call B, in a nightclub in Denver, CO. He was 24 and I was 22. We hit it off right away. Within a few weeks we were living together and within a couple of months we moved out of town together to attend the university in a different city. He fully supported me the whole time we were together. I never worked and he helped with my tuition. How long the relationship lasted is a harder question. We were together for four years before I became pregnant and geographically together for two years after our son was born. At that point he returned to Saudi Arabia. The plan was for him to find a job in Dammam, close to his family, and for us to live in Bahrain. (Which in retrospect I don’t even know if that’s possible)He didn’t feel that I would be happy in Saudi and would have a better chance of acclimating in Bahrain. That was 8 years ago and I have pretty recently come to accept the fact that won’t be happening. However, we still have a relationship in the very broadest terms. He calls two or three times a month and we exchange emails and text messages frequently.

    What was your Saudi’s reaction to your pregnancy?

Quite honestly neither of our reactions were great. It was something that neither of us were prepared for. For quite a while he seemed lost and very confused about what we should do. We did a lot of talking and planning but in the end he told me the decision about whether to have a baby or not was ultimately mine but I had to realize there would probably be a time when he wouldn’t be with us. Shortly after he insisted that we get married so that our son would be recognized as his legitimate child.

    Were your family members accepting of the relationship? How do they currently view the situation?

My family loved him as they would love a son, and he them. My sisters and grandparents were especially close to him. My youngest sister was 14 when we met so he was most definitely an older brother figure in her life; I think she is probably the most disappointed in him. Also his younger brother came to live with us for the summer when he was 14 so our families were fairly enmeshed. Now my family feels hurt and abandoned. I think we all trusted he would do the right thing.

    Describe your current situation (your life, your child’s life, and current situation

Our life now is pretty good. Honestly I put my life on hold for about 7 years waiting for our little family to be reunited. It has only been within the last year that I finally decided to stop waiting and start living. I have started making plans and setting goals for the future that do not involve him. This has been really hard for me to face. Our son( whom I will call J) is a bit of a different story. J was two when B left and they were thick as thieves. At first our son was very angry. He refused to speak to B on the phone for at least a year. J is so hurt and confused that it breaks my heart. I sought counseling for him last year because I know that he is angry and sad but he refuses to work through it. He absolutely will not talk about his Dad at all to anyone. The counselor tried to get him to talk about his dad and the feelings he has but he refused. He told the counselor, “I don’t talk about my Dad to anyone. Ever. “We went to counseling once a week for three or four months and J never said a word about him. Finally the counselor said that until J is willing to talk about it there is nothing that can be done, and for me to call back if that starts to happen. Once in a while he makes comments in passing about how he wishes his Dad could be here so that he would be able to see what kind of boy he is turning out to be. This kills me because J is so smart and funny and kind. I worry so much about how his life will be affected. I’m very afraid that the emotional scars will be great. We are both very fortunate that we have an amazing support system and a very loving and close family.

    Will the Father be involved in any way in raising your child?

His father calls once every couple of weeks and talks to J for a few minutes. They have a hard time communicating because J has a hard time with his Dad’s accent, which is funny to me because when he was two he was pretty much bilingual. He doesn’t even remember that now. They exchange emails and he sends money for J’s birthday and Christmas. Other than that it does not appear he will be involved in any other capacity.
How are you dealing with the lack of support? (Financial/emotional)
The lack of financial support irritates me. I know that his family has money, whether he actually does or not. There was one time that I needed a fairly large sum of money to help with some medical needs for our son. The first thing out of his mouth was, “If you feel like you are not able to take care of our child then you should send him to me so I can.” I was flabbergasted and extremely irate that this person who had basically disappeared from our lives would have the audacity to even suggest such a thing. He sent the money but other than that the only other time we receive anything from him is on J’s birthday and Christmas. Emotionally is a harder thing. I fear we were both, in some ways, fundamentally broken by this man. To this day I love him. I am angry and hurt that he didn’t keep his word on so many things. I am furious that he seems so willing to be so far removed from our wonderful, beautiful child regardless of the consequences to him. But, I refuse to allow our son to see any of this. I have never spoken a word against his Dad nor will I allow anybody in my family to. I feel the day will come when J will have the opportunity to confront his Dad and form his own opinions.

    What are your hopes for the future?

My biggest hope for the future is that a very strong Mom and a loving family will be enough to make up for J not having his Dad present in his life. I hope that one day they will be able to know each other. I hope that our son will someday get the answers to the questions about his Dad that he is too afraid to ask.

    What advice would you give to another woman in your current situation?

Be strong and make decisions that are best for you and your child.

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15 thoughts on “Interview with Anne 36 year old strong Mother.

  1. While I was reading this interview, tears came out because I just saw myself in the exactly same situation of Anne (just that my son is just two months). My situation right now is quit similar that was her beginning and also i heard the exactly same words from my ex “If you feel like you are not able to take care of our child then you should send him to me so I can” just that he added “he will have everything he wants but he never gonna know who his mother is.”

    Anne you are an inspirational women and I admire you because either you or your family have never spoke bad things about J’s father. I’ll to do the same for my son, Inshaallah.

    • I agree her strength is inspiring.

      • Aziz Alhubail

        Morning!
        I just found out this Blog this morning. I’m a Saudi student in Texas and I would like to help. How? by translating all of these interviews, stories etc.
        I think that would help separating the words to the target there and share all of these stories to speak up strongly.

        I can start with this interview by translating if you give the green light for that.

        Thank you for this Blog

        Aziz

      • Anonymous

        Hello Aziz,
        It is fine with me if you would like to translate my interview. I appreciate your interest. Thank you.
        Anne

    • Anne

      Thank you very much for your supporting and kind words. I’m so sorry that you are in the same position, however, I am very thankful to find a group of women who can relate. Congratulations on your sweet baby. I think he is very lucky to have such a loving Mom.

  2. rei

    hi,
    i think your lucky that he married you. that says a lot right there, and you should take that as trust from him. he is a saudi and they are different culture than americans. you sound like you are not trusting him which is not good, because he will not trust you. but he did marry you, unlike a lot of saudi guys. i would like to know why you dont want to send j to live with his father, as you see this child very sad to be without him. if you dont trust your husband, what gives you clues for that. not following through on you moving to bahrain is not a clue, or him leaving and staying in his country. he and you can still raise j together by sending him there to live and he send j back for vacations. i believe B will agree to this arrangement of j going to school in saudi and living with his father during the school year, and then j come back in the summer to be with you and your family. it sounds hard and impossible, but it is a sacrifice on you, but in the end j will know and be with both of you ‘his parents’. j is getting older and you will reap the rewards latter trust in god for this. j will be able to learn arabic quickly because he will have all the family making sure he learns it. and when he is an adult, he will be able to bring you to saudi arabia since his dad didnt. but i know that you will be coming to ksa well before his adult age. you husband has kept in touch with you for a reason. share this child, and make him happy.

  3. rei

    continue..
    do you know if your husband has any intentions of getting married to another or if he is just living a single life, if so, let him know that it is ok, even if you feel it is not.. if you think he doesnt think about j, he really does.. but you are making sure that they dont have a bond. really it will be ok. i know it is none of my business, but sometimes we have to think a different way and you did get involve with a very different person. you are getting older, and need to focus on your career, and life so when j is older he will come to the states and go to college and have a mom able to care for him. if you bring the idea up to B, please let us know here. im curious to know i will be right. and dont forget to invite B on the summer vacations..highly recommended. it will happen god willing. you really are in a better situation than you think. just start thinking different than what you’re. if you have no intentions for any of these ideas, i would not talk to him and cut ties now. it is a waste of your time..but you have come this many years what do you have to lose. please let me know what you think.

  4. rei

    all so , i want to mention is if he doesnt have a green card, he might have a difficult time getting a visit visa to visit you. you should tell him he needs one and see if he can apply while he is living in saudi. i know many saudi males that cant get visit visas to the us, and the ones who can get one, are treated no good. two hour customs interviews, at least. i know many males wont even travel to the us just because of that.

  5. Anne

    Rei,
    Hello. You have so many ideas. I will try to respond to all of them. First, I would like to say that I absolutely agree with you that I am the person who decided to get involved with somebody from a completely different culture. However, I don’t believe the two cultures are mutually exclusive. I think in the most important things we are the same. In your suggestions you mentioned that if J were to go live with B for the school year I should invite B here for the summer when J came back. B is my husband for all intents and purposes and has been asked repeatedly to return on many occasions. You also mentioned that Saudi males do not get treated very well in customs. I agree that customs can be pretty harrowing. B traveled back and forth pretty frequently when he was going to school here. I have waited for B on the other side of the door, for sometimes four hours past the time his flight arrived, while he was interviewed by customs. Especially right after 9/11. That being said; I would move heaven and earth to be with my child and if I had to be interviewed by customs for a year I would happily do so. So I don’t think that is a very good reason to not spend time with his child. As far as taking another wife. That is a very touchy subject with American women. I understand that Islam does allow for four wives, if each wife is treated exactly equal. There is an argument that says that since it is impossible to treat all wives exactly equal it is better to stick with only one. I am not opposed to a man having more than one wife if all parties involved agree. However, that is not something that I am comfortable with in my own life so I would never be able to tell him to take another wife without divorcing me first. You mentioned that I was lucky that he married me. I agree. When two people fall in love and plan to spend their lives together I think they are BOTH extremely lucky. Your suggestion to share custody of our son is something that happens everyday in the US. The difference is since we are speaking of two countries 8,000 miles apart the logistics are a lot more complicated. When you add in the fact that both countries have fairly strict policies on visas and immigration it gets even more complicated. Yes, we could meet in the middle and exchange our son twice a year. It would be very expensive and disruptive for our son but he would be able to see us both. If B had been a more involved parent up until now and if our son actually knew him from more than phone calls, emails, and pictures then it would be a possibility. But to suggest that I send my child to live with somebody he hasn’t seen since he was two so that they may get to know each other is quite possibly the most asinine idea I have ever heard of in my entire life. I don’t believe it has anything to do with whether or not I trust B. It has to do with if our son would be able to trust him. How can you trust somebody you don’t even know? I love his Dad but frankly to our son he is a stranger. Can you imagine for just a moment the psychological ramifications of taking a 10 year old who has been raised in the US and depositing him in Saudi Arabia? Far away from the family he knows and loves. He cannot speak Arabic. He knows very little about Islam. He absolutely cannot stand Middle Eastern food. He knows nothing about the societal and cultural norms that the other kids his age would know. Like avoiding eye contact with non related women. Eye contact is something that American children give to others as a sign of respect. How many people would be offended by this child who was trying to be polite? All the while being told what to do by somebody he knows as a father, but only in name. Certainly not by deed. How are kids in Saudia treated by the other kids when they are half American and cannot speak Arabic? If J and B were close and spent time together on a frequent, regular basis AND if J expressed a desire to live with his Dad than I would absolutely do whatever I could to make sure that happened. That is not the case. Even though we may not agree I appreciate your suggestions and insight. Thank you.

  6. rei

    hi Anne
    thanks for responding. i understand your thoughts, but i still think he is young enough to build a bond with his dad, and still survive the culture shock. my kids hated the spicy foods and only ate what i liked. they are older and love the arabic foods, and choose it over the foods i make now..meatloaf, no way anymore..lol. the eye contact example i dont really know. my boys eye balled everyone, and when we came to the us, i had to tell them to stop it. and in school my kids being half american were treated normal. and if you son went to school there he would have to go to a private school. and he will learn arabic and islamic studies. so that is a cost to think about if there is no funds for it. most of the kids when they grow up like your son, do want to go looking for there parent they didnt grow up with, whether american kids or from foreigners. but you dont talk negative about your husband (that is a kindness) so he very well, may try to seek him out. but this is not my life, im only giving my personal opinion, without offending, i hope.
    your son is 10. that is an age to learn still and adapt quickly. but you are the mom, and knows what is best. i live in jeddah back and forth. i have a house in the states also. i can tell i know the saudi male how he thinks, and some of your thoughts on your husband not caring because he doesnt come to see his son may not be the reason. i dont know him or you to really understand, but there could be another reason. when he said you wont like living in saudi, he was very right in a sense. it is a very hard place for us americans to live. you have to adapt to restrictions that we are not used to. your husband knows his country and yours, but you dont know his. i know both, and i know your son will succeed with his father. just wondering does your husband want j to come to him. and did you ever think about working over there through an agency as an expatriate?

  7. Anne, you are such a strong woman and I hope for the best for you and your son.

    Your husband is making just enough contact to keep your son stringing along but its not enough to be a truly meaningful father-son relationship. In fact he has done the exact same to you.

    It’s almost like those father-children relationships where the parents are divorced and the father makes lots of promises he doesn’t keep so his children are constantly disappointed and hurt by him. They keep hoping their father will finally come through only for those hopes to be shattered again and again.

    I hope your son is able to speak about his feelings about his father someday. I hope he is not blaming himself and wondering what is wrong with him that his father won’t be more of a father. Sadly lots of children blame themselves.

  8. mohammed

    It was very sad story if it is tru.
    But my point of view, you me not be able to live in saudi if your not muslim and try to be patiant about the difficult enviroment you will face. I hope you can contact with him and try confince him to bring both of you to saudi to take care of your son together.
    Finally, i hope you will not think of this matter as a muslim behavior. I am muslim and i feel very sory for this, but i think this happned for you because of your white clear heart.

    good luck, i hope better life for all of you.

    mohammed

  9. Bridget Al-Qublan

    Hi Anne,
    Be strong, raise your son and when he reaches adult age, he can decide if he wants to go see his Father. After living in Jeddah for many years and knowing how that society is, sending J there would not be a good idea. Also, you DO NOT have to be Muslim to live in Saudi or to be married to a Saudi man. Good luck and stay strong!

  10. Name

    You are such a wonderfull woman who mixed with a valued man and maintained that great values for years. All I can say is I wish if there is another woman like you who I can marry and live with her in KSA.

    I truely respect your high values and admire it.

    Please try to live with him in KSA

  11. Sat

    I am a Saudi Student ‘not in USA though’ but ready o do my best to support you. This behaviour is not acceptable in Islam at all.

    I also hope that you increase the awareness level among other girls, and make it clear that the consequences of any relationship with a man are serious

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