Happily Ever After – Chapter 10

All the good memories were empowered with the good the bad and the ugly. I am sitting here today trying to remember what good there was in my relationship at the time prior to my wedding day. I need to give myself some valid reasons for staying with MJ, any reasons as to why I would allow all this upon myself. I was someone who used to stand up for anyone who was miss treated, never allowing for the bad to happen to those I love. So what was happening to me today? Who am I and what are my values and beliefs? I was lost, I had no way to pull myself out of the situation I was in all in hope and beliefe that MJ’s promises will come true, that his love was true. Most importantly i was in love with him, or so i thought at the time, i had no idea the power of an abusive, manipulative man can hold over a woman. I didnt even understand what i was in love with, but i could not leave him anymore, i was bound by something stronger than what my logic was able to offer me. I was bound by self doubt.

Valentine’s day

This was going to be our second valentine’s day together but the first one we were actually gonna spend together. Since our prior plan was to have our wedding on Valentine’s day MJ decided to make this valentine’s day a very special one for us. We were gonna spend it in Dubai and he gave me several options to choose from. One was a romantic dinner in a restaurant, the other was a romantic dinner by the beach and the third was a lounge bar to have a few drinks as we listen and maybe dance to a few good songs. That day he drove down to Dubai full of excitement, phone calls and phone calls trying to make this a memorable day for us. MJ came and picked me up from my sisters home to take me to the mall since we both had not managed to get a valentines gift yet. We held hands throughout the whole drive as he was telling me about the great surprise he had waiting ahead for us. At the mall we decided to separate so that we could both get the gifts, I was given a time limit as to when to meet up with him, he didn’t want me to see what he was getting me and he had no clue that I was gonna get him something too. I went around the mall thinking of the best gift I could get him, something that would mean something and he could carry around with him everywhere. I found the gift and as I was paying for it he called me to ask where I was, I was late. I rushed back and stopped by a cards store to buy him a card that said everything I felt inside. I searched really quickly not wanting to anger him when at last he was in a good state of mind and he wanted to spend time with me away from his boys for the first time willingly. By then I had already developed a slight fear of not wanting to do the wrong thing so that I won’t get his verbal venom and coldness. So I started to panic a bit as I was late, knowing what the outcome would be but hoping after he sees my gift and card he would cool off and the day can continue with the same loving rhythm it had for the past few hours.

I find the perfect card, I mean it said every loving thing I truly felt, I didn’t have to add anything more to it, everything was perfectly there.  We meet up at our designated area at the mall as per plan, I see his face from a distance and my heart starts to throb….he was mad….i could tell by his body posture. I chose to make this a good day, I didn’t want to fight today, I really wanted a good day, one full good day with MJ for once yet I couldn’t help from putting up all my defense for the explosion that was awaiting me. I rush up to him and hand him over my gift with the card before he allows himself to open his mouth. His smile broadens as he takes the gift, unwraps it and then the frown comes directly after he sees what I got. “Why would you spend so much money on me? I only bought you flowers, why didn’t you tell me that this was a big gift day? We don’t have a budget and you are getting me a Mont Blanc pen? What is wrong with you, what a waste of your money.” I glared at him as I told him that it was MY money and I could do with it as I wish burn it if I wanted to. He then takes a look at the card, takes a look at me and tells me “This is why you were fifteen minutes late coming back to me? I told you I don’t like cards and they mean nothing to me. Why would you make me wait an extra fifteen minutes for you to get me something I didn’t want?” before he even got a chance to read it, I rip the card out of his hand, storm off to the nearest garbage can and rip it up and throw it in. He stands there staring at me “Why did you do that? I was gonna still read it even if I didn’t want it.” I looked at him with an abundance of hate and told him “Give me the pen back if you find it such a horrible gift. I will also throw it in the garbage as I did with the card.” He grabs on to the gift and starts to calm me down. He tells me that he loves it and he didn’t mean to offend me like that but he feels that he is not worthy of such a good gift. I stop wanting to listen to him, I want him to drop me off home. He then decides to tell me to pay more attention to what I buy him, that this Mont Blanc pen as the star of David on it and that was against his beliefs, if his father saw it he would also be offended by my ignorance.

We walk out to the car, him acting like nothing happened, his excitement starts to blossom over the fact that he has a surprise for me in the car. I storm in without a word, ready to kill the kill joy himself. He bounces to the other side of the car and surprises me with a large bouquet of flowers that he hid for me to surprise me. I take them and thank him, telling him that he must learn the etiquette of politeness when it came to gifts. At the time, this became a part of our relationships, fights and then we would make up. I started to build an immunity to the fights. He was so excited for his grand surprise for our valentine’s dinner. We drove off onto the beach, he bought out all the subway sandwiches and the drinks, and surprisingly we had a very romantic evening. We walked on the beach hand in hand. We started to jump to play fight and run around, we sat and looked at the stars we talked (well he talked all the time about his work and his glory at work) I listened as it became a habit that I acquired with him, knowing that if I do venture into something that would interest me I would be reprehended for it with a need to end the night. I wanted to hold on to that evening for dear life, and I didn’t want to do anything wrong that would provoke the evening to go the end in the wrong way.

Honeymoon plans

I remember very clearly this day, I was standing in the balcony of my office in Dubai talking to MJ on the phone. We were talking about the new additions he wanted to put in the wedding, like camel meat on the buffet and strange other things he wanted to incorporate in our wedding to make a good image for the locals of Abu Dhabi who were also invited to HIS wedding. MJ was obsessed with the culture of the UAE, he wanted to talk like them, he loved the male /female segregation they lived by, he glowed in their presence and was able to always make a complete fool of himself in front of them, which I would hate to watch and be a part of. It was also one of our daily arguments, he would want to talk with their accent while discarding of the Palestinian ways, in return I was not allowed to speak in an Egyptian accent cause it would turn him off and he would start to mimic me in the most insulting of manners. I was always very confused as to where he stood in anything, he would speak so passionate about one thing, then contradict himself about it the next second, when I would need some clarification he would make me feel like I was the crazy one that didn’t understand him. He loved Palestine so much that he talked about their glory all the time, in parallel he hated Egyptians and spoke badly about them then he would talk about the UAE culture and ways with such admiration that he would wish he had the passport., admitting that he would let go of the American one for the sake of the UAE one. His idol was Samael, who held the local nationality and was his best friend, he was unable to breath without Samael and I was unable to see MJ happy without Samael around.

That day on the balcony he told me that he didn’t have enough money to pay for the honeymoon and that it won’t be a month cause he had a lot of work to do. He asked me to pay for the honeymoon myself, and when I refused upon principle he blamed me calling me selfish. Within the same breath he told me that if I wanted him to pay then I have to have a cheap honeymoon and to find it for myself then we can discuss it together. The confusion always came when he would tell me that he can’t do something giving me an elaborate reason then in the same breath tell me that he wants to buy his dad a seven series BMW car, which would cost more than our honeymoon ten times over. He would then elaborate about how much money he is making at work, and how he wants to buy a house here or there, telling me he has enough to do that for US. Regardless of what I could or could not understand I went all over the map to find a good place to spend my ten day vacation that I had been waiting to have for dear life. When we booked our tickets he saw how distraught I was about not going somewhere in Europe as per my dream honeymoon and promised me that in a month when the weather got better we would go to Italy for my dream honeymoon. I lived on that promise and started to look forward to our upcoming wedding to be over and done with so that we can travel, get out of UAE and become the couple I was longing to become. We never had a second honeymoon.

Marriage Documents

The day of our Katb Kitab was set three days before our wedding day. Katb Kitab is the Islamic way of getting married religiously, and it usually happens a few days before the wedding or the day of the wedding. It is still not considered that a couple is fully married  cause there needs to be a wedding for two people to be officially married. Back in Cairo people were doing Katb Kitab as an engagement for religious purposes. Me and MJ had disclosed to one another about our past and he knew that I was engaged years ago to a man in Cairo which meant that I was married before on paper but it never happened for reason that will be mentioned in another story. So I was considered divorced without really having been married. As for MJ he was married in the states for 4 years which my parents knew nothing about still cause he told me never to tell anyone about it. I remember at some point I told him that I had to tell my dad and he had to tell his parents about me, which he adamantly refused saying its non of anyone’s business to know. SO I told my sister and my sister told my dad. My dad calls me up enraged at the notion of it, he was already having a hard time understanding MJ’s parents, cause my dad would call all the time to say hi or wish them glad tidings on any national or religious occasions. In return his parents never once called my parents even to just say hi. Which seemed strange to all of us since they were all into the right Arabic ways the proper thing to do, when our family was the more easy going type, so my dad was succumbing to their ways in doing their proper Arabic attitude? When my dad or mom would come into town, I would probe MJ all day to call so that my parents won’t feel that also MJ was as rude as his parents. I wanted him to be in the best light in front of my parents. My dad told me that if he knew that MJ was married before for the reasons he had married his first wife he would have NEVER agreed to this marriage. He was so mad at the notion that I never told me, he told me that a man is shown through how he achieves things in his life, and the way that MJ achieved becoming an American was an indication of his priorities in life and his ethical values. There was nothing to be done, in two weeks we were getting married, so he gave me the greatest advice, he told me to let MJ call him to tell him in person about his prior marriage, and he also told me to make sure MJ tells his parents that I had Katb Kitab before.

A nighmare, a bad omen into my future with this family


called MJ to tell him to call dad ASAP, MJ went into a frenzy putting my dad down saying he is marrying me not my parents and my father has no say in anything that it is none of his business. This went on for days as my dad was starting to lose his patience with MJ lack of desire to respect my dad’s wishes. At the same time I was telling MJ to tell his parents about my story, so that when the day comes where we have to write our Katb Kitab with the Sheikh present, it is known to all that I was formally engaged before. He promised me that he would, and every day that I asked he would tell me that he did and his parents were fine with it. Finally under a lot of pressure from my end he called my dad to tell him about his previous marriage and apologize for not having informed him earlier thinking it’s not a big deal.

My sister went completely out of her way with the catering of my official engagement day (katb kitab) the house was beautiful the food was wonderful and my parents were so happy that I had accepted to actually get married. His parents walked in with MJ at their heal, warm welcomes were bestowed to everyone in the room, we sat down and laughed as we waited for the Sheikh to come. A quick note about MJ he prided himself that his arabic was impeccable since his mom was a prominent arabic teacher. In return to his self praise he always made sure to make fun of my lack of arabic qualities and language.

So when we were in the process of getting married on paper he asked if anyone of us were married before. MJ was first to answer, saying that he was but he was divorced now, his paretns look at him with pride at his statement and turn to me with a look of joy. Then my turn came to answer that question and I said yes I was, but now divorced having to mention to the sheikh the type of marriage it really was so that it is recorded that MJ was officially my first real marriage (this is all for documentation purposes). His parents faces turn grey, they look at me, and look at MJ, utter shock is written all over their face and the disappointment was making the air hard to breath. The sheikh left, and MJ parents stopped talking to me, they wanted to leave right then and there, my parents had no idea what was going on. I took MJ to kitchen and asked him if he told his parents as he had promised he had. He said he did tell them why would he lie and that his parents probably forgot they were old people. I didn’t believe a word he said, so I kept asking over and over again why they wanted to leave before the dinner was served, and he said that they were not happy about this marriage but how he has made them accept it. I had no idea that they didn’t want us to get married, this was new information to me and I knew without a doubt that MJ was lying to me. The rest of the evening was a disaster, my aunt and uncle who flew in from the states to attending my wedding were in town and walked in to the Katb Kitab party a bit late, after it was all done and I was MJ wife. They were smiling expecting to find a happy home full of life and celebrations. As they entered they went around the room to congratulate everyone, at the time I was standing next to MJ’s parents trying to be polite and break the ice. My uncle goes up to his father and shakes his hand as he tells him congratulations followed my my uncles wife, I smile to them and we hug. My uncle looks at MJ’s father and tells me “ Congratulations they are both luck of any to have one another, they are both great people” to that his father retorts with all the arrogance of an aristocratic man and says “thank you, but my son is a GREAT man” in return my uncle smiles back and says “yes he is a great man, and Rain is a great woman” his fathers face turns bitter and he looks at my uncle again and says “no, I siad my Son is a great man” as this conversation takes place for the third time, I stand there burning up with anger inside hoping my dad is nowhere in the vicinity, I take a quick look around the room, and find my dad standing on his way to the kitchen to re-fill his drink, his eyes glaring with fire, the glass about to break in his hand, as he storms over to our little group and tells MJ’s father “what do you mean but what you are saying? That my daughter is not a great woman?” MJ’s father panics then (a very fearful man, only big with his words but has no strength in himself, very much like his son in that aspect) he looks at my dad and starts to smile “oh I didn’t mean that, I meant that my son is a great man” so my dad contains his voice and his anger as his face starts to turn red “my brother told you three times that he agrees with your son being great, but was also telling you that my daughter is great too. Is there something you were not understanding in that sentence? “ he just looks at my dad and starts to defend himself by saying yes he thinks I am great too but his son is really great. At that my dad walks off to the garden and leaves the party. I am running between everyone to fix the situation, MJ is panicking knowing my dad’s temper. I rush out into the garden to console my dad to sit next to my dad and calm him down. He looks at me and asks me “does MJ treat you in anyway the way his paretns have so obviously just treated you?” I tell him that MJ is a sweetheart with me. He then tells me that he wants to me divorce him right now cause I was going to live in the same country with his parents and they are already treating me like a second citizen. I convince my dad that MJ is nothing like that, that he will take care of me well and for him not to worry about me I am a strong girl I can defend my ground. In the midst of all this MJ’s parents are refusing to eat or talk to anyone, my mom is hovering all over the place trying to lighten up the atmosphere, dad is asking me to leave MJ. It was a mess. I left dad to go check on what was taking place in the house, I ignored his parents, walking past them like they didn’t exist (its not like they even wanted to talk to me to begin with). I am looking for MJ to tell him he needs to talk to my dad this very instant, lucky for me as I walk back into the garden to sit with my dad, I find MJ there talking as my dad is waving his hand up in the air in violent manners to express his disgust at his parents improper behavior. Telling MJ all the past events leading up to this was unacceptable and his daughter will not live this way. Bless MJ’s manipulative skills and abilities he told my dad that his parents will never interfere in our lives again, that he loves me more than his own life and I am in safe hands, a man to man promise. His parents leave the house without giving me another look, they only bid my uncle and aunt farewell and walk out of the house telling MJ to go back home with them to Abu Dhabi. MJ naturally refused and tells them that I am his wife today, and wherever I am he will be and they have to accept it.

That night my parents were really worried about me they didn’t want me to be with MJ but my dad was pleased with all the wonderful things MJ promised him in hopes that MJ was up to his promises. My dad gave me pointers as to how to act around MJ’s parents, telling me to wear all my brand name outfits whenever I go visit them in the future, to talk to them briefly and with arrogance and to really show them what family their lucky son married into. He basically said “people like that who only respect others who show off their wealth should have nothing but our wealth and arrogance thrown in their face”.

The larger than life attitude

It is of vital importance for you to know that I became obsessed with spending time with MJ. I wanted to prove to him on a very subconscious level that I was worthy of his time. He had a lot of new ideas about men and women time together that were never there to begin with. I had gone to Samael at some point to understand what was happening and who this person I was with was. He started to swear all the time in front of me regardless of if I liked it or not (as for his friends they always respected my presence and contained their bad language around me), he would check out girls as he would point them out to me then he would look at Samael so he can check her out too. I used to be fine with doing this, me and MJ used to sit in coffee shops in Montreal and check out all the passersby and he would make fun of them and we would joke around about it. But in Abu Dhabi it became more than that, he was acting like a hormonal teenage boy, throwing it in my face all the time to check out this woman’s body or that woman’s boobs (always in the  by giving a bad comment like look one boob looks a bit smaller than the other or her ass is too large or too small, her head is not in proportion to her body but her face is beautiful) this was a daily thing, and at some point I was getting sick of it. Him and Samael would laugh out loud to something they would say to one another about a girl passing by and when I would ask he would give me one of the reasons he mentioned above. I later understood that this was his way of really looking at things that interested him without arousing my anger at his disrespectful mannerism. Also this gave him all reason to stare at every body part as he included me in his diagnosis of the female passerby. I remember one day I made a comment about a guy passing by, just to see how he would feel if I did the same thing. His reaction was of a cold calm person but with piercing hurtful words “so you think he is hot? Why are you looking at other men? I am not handsome enough, see you don’t love me enough….its because I fell in love with you first from the moment I saw you, but you fell in love with me a few days later.” Then the cold attitude would follow for days. When I would argue and tell him that he does the same so why shouldn’t i? His response would be because I am a man and I have no control over it, it’s in my DNA. I always felt that he was marrying Samael not me, and at some point I told him that he has to make a choice in life, either stay single and enjoy his return to the Arab world or for us to mature up and be responsible adults.

The stories would never end, me and the boys did this or me and the boys did that, we saw a beautiful woman and me and the boys thought this or thought that. Me and the boys have to go out together to spend time with one another, me and Samael have to go shopping for Samael, me and Samael have to do this and that together. Everything that he found an excuse not to do with me he would do with Samael. So my fights for his time were stronger and stronger and stronger, and my anger towards Samael was getting harsher and harsher especially that I had already spoken to him two times regarding all the things that were happening to me, begging for his help.

Not able to furnish our apartment I came up with a plan to add a wedding gift vouchers to the invitations. He was beyond embarrassed by doing that but I was not gonna allow it any other way. We went around to stores and chose the things we liked, electronics, some decor items etc.. This was a great time for us, we really bonded and spent good time dreaming of what to put in our house, these were the rare times that when we shopped together he was willing to spend time with me on. All other times he wanted to spend time shopping with Samael. I was trying to plan out our expenses since he was broke (the lie I fell for every time I wanted us to do something that he didn’t want). My father knowing what I told him about MJ’s situation was completely available to help in any way he even offered to pay for half the wedding so that I can get the honeymoon I wanted. MJ refused saying it was his manly duty to take care of me in every way possible. Therefore the only thing my dad could help with was the furniture purchase, anything I wanted within a large sum that he gave me. On the other hand his parents offered us nothing, if anything they were always asking for things knowing very well that we had a tone of expenses and that MJ was trying to make everything work out. I didn’t care about what he gave his parents, what I really cared about was how they would react to seeing me, telling me that I should take care of MJ’s money not keep spending it. As though I  was the one who wanted the lavish wedding, or spending all my money on expensive dinners with friends, or the one buying a brand new car, or shopping like a shopaholic whenever the opportunity arouse. That is when i started to pay attention to the reality of the matter at hand and I refused to take blame for his incompetence in knowing how to manage his own money properly. As a note you need to know that MJ made a tone of money in the company he worked in, enough to support two families easily and lavishly, so I never understood his constant sadness over no money for anything I wanted.

The day of my wedding arrived and I was beyond stressed, him and Samael were useless in helping out with anything. I had a ton of bridal things to finish, friends from out of town, the hall to check up on. I was running around like a bumble bee and I was extremely sad inside my heart. Naturally we got in a huge argument that day, I was running out of credit and needed it to be able to make a bundle of calls. I asked him to get me some credit and hand it to me as I was doing my nails. He never showed up, my best friend was there and she got me one so that she can contain the upcoming argument. Regardless of what she did, the argument occurred. I was in the lobby later on that day to find him and Samael joking around at the lobby like little boys. I walked up to him, told him thanks for getting my credit and walked off as he ran behind me to tell me he forgot. I went mad then “you forget everything that has to do outside of Samael, what is he your mistress?” and I stormed off to finish off the rest of my wedding plans.

I remember clearly all my friends around me in the bride’s room that is located downstairs next to the wedding hall. There was a whole practiced event as to how we were going to do the whole entrance into the hall. We were directed by the wedding planners to walk and smile easily, look up and not look down on the floor, to hold hands and be relaxed. MJ of course started to boast in front of his buddies about how secure he was in himself, the peacock of confidence that he was. In reality when the time came, his had was gripping my so hard, I tried to play around with him to get him out of his fear of the “spot light” he was shaking, and he was unable to speak. I laugh so hard when I think of that moment.

Back in the brides room, the girls were all laughing and having  blast. At some point my soul sister came to ask me if I was sure I wanted to do this that I can walk out of this right this minute. As per her story she tells me that I told her “I know this man is not my soul mate, and I know i will get a divorce” I put the veil down on my face and walk straight out into the crowd that is awaiting for my arrival.


About Rana Zaben
I help people feel their best and create a solid second income to enjoy the best things in life.

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