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ZanAmu: Foreign Wives of Iranians - Issues & Experiences #1
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ZanAmu: Foreign Wifes of Iranians - Issues & Experiences
Taking the Best and Booting the Rest
The Iranian culture is rich in history, replete with beautiful customs, stories, and arts and a glorious heritage our children may all be proud of. The American culture, while rather young in comparison, offers a diversity, joi de vive and light of hope which energizes and challenges its citizens in the spirit of invention.

We, as parents, have the unique opportunity of picking and choosing the best from both cultures and incorporating them into the traditions of our own familiy units. We can reap from the macro-societies which are Iran and America and utilize these bountiful harvests in the micro sphere of our own homes. I have found the most successful Iranian-American families, are those who have blended the attentions and generosity of the Iranian family with the independence and perseverence of the American family. I have found the husbands,wives and children of Iranian -American families who have met the challenge of holding both languages (Farsi and English) dear, able to cross a bridge which often times seems uncrossable without the language links to culture.

I have found an acceptance of families by both sides to be of paramount importance in establishing the family as a whole. No one has to agree or relinquish all of their own beliefs to satisfy another. All of us MUST compromise and respect the beliefs of each other to be whole and healthy. If there are individuals among the group who make a harmonious family life impossible, they must be worked around. What is important is to always accept the spirit of compromise and look for the good.

Please give us your thoughts and experiences which have enabled or prevented you from being a whole and healthy Iranian-American family. Maybe, we can learn from each others victories and defeats.
Write us at zanamu@farsinet.com
(Please let us know if you don't want your email or name to be included in your posting.)

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Do Iranian Muslims Beat Their Wives? I am thinking Twice Marrying my Muslim Iranian Boy Friend!!

Dear zanamu, during a heated argument recently with my Iranian boy friend (finace) he raised his hand (but didn't hit me) - what he said made me think and do some research of my own.

He said, "If I wasn't an Iranian and If I was a Good Muslim, I beat the .... out of you!!!. I googled and found several vidoes on the topic of "How to beat You Wife", "Islam rules on beating wife, ... I am confused and I am scared. Can someone who has been married to an Iranian Muslim (culturally Muslim since he doesn't pray or fast or read koran) share their experience with me.
Thanks, Debbie

Visiting Iran to meet and marry an Iranian man - have some questions

I am really glad to have found your website as I have questions that I did not know how to get answered. I am an American teaching English in South Korea . When I am finished here in September I am planning on coming to Iran to visit an Iranian man whom I plan on marrying. I would like to stay in Iran for a few months or so and then return to America to live. He has a spacious 2 bedroom flat that he says I can stay in until we get married. Is this going to create problems? Also, would it be better to get engaged and then married in my country or in a neighboring country? Also he has property in Iran , will we be able to sell and transfer the funds to America ? I do not want to find myself in any trouble and want to be able to return to my country. Also, I was wondering if it possible for me to teach English in an ESL school while I am there? Can you please advise me on these issues? I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you very much. Sincerely, B.
B.,
I can answer some of your questions as well as I can. If you like I can forward your email to ZanAmu mailing list so you can hear from a dozen or so other ladies.
  1. You might have trouble getting a visa to visit Iran as a single American Woman. It won't be impossible but difficult. I had heard that if you were engaged, you could get a short term Visa. Check with Iran consulate near you.
  2. Teaching and Working in Iran might require special Visa/permission. But, there are many English teaching private/public institutes - specially in big cities such as Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad, ..
  3. Getting him to US after you get married might be the hardest part. I strongly suggest checking with US Embassey in Dubai or Kuwait ... you might be better off getting engaged, then go to Dubai to get him a tourist Visa to US, when in US to get married and then get a lawyer to get his green card/visa situation taken care of.
  4. Depending on his living situation - you might be able to stay with him - although not acceptable socially and could be reported to the police by neighbors. As far as selling his property in Iran - there shouldn't be any problem. Real Estate will take a while.
  5. Beryl - be very careful. Do take your time to get to know him before making any commitment. You do realize that once he is in US, he may decide to go his own way.
  6. You have not mentioned anything about religion. If you are a Christian, you have to convert to Islam to get married in Iran. You know that right? If you get married outside of Iran, if you ever want to go back to Iran, you have to convert to Islam to get a visa as husband & wife.
Good Luck, Linda

My persian experience... Married, Expecting a baby, X-boyfriends,...

Name = Georgina
Years Married = 2
Number of Children = 1
Country & City = UK
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = My persian experience...

I'm 23 and I met my persian husband, 26 in Cyprus, we fell in love very quickly and got married in Istanbul just 3 months later. We moved to UK and spent a year here and then a year back in Cyprus. Now we're back in UK and expecting a baby in Oct (07) We've had lots of ups and downs, mostly concerning money problems, but also differences in culture - a popular problem i think..i had boyfriends before i met him (only 2!!) and so no matter what i tell him i think he thinks i slept around (not true, i had v difficult time before i met him).

One thing we've not had is problems with his family, I haven't learnt farsi or been to iran and so haven't met them but from what he says they r very accepting and always asking after me.

Anyone else in UK with Persian partner please email, would love to chat with ppl like us!!! - Georgina
ps. Fantastic website, amazing to read others experiences :)

Native American Woman dating Iranian boyfriend for 2 years - Confused about Culture/Relationship

Name = Night Eagle
Years Married = 2
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = U.S., Holly
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = Confused about Culture/Relationship

Hello! I am seeking some advice. I am a Native American Woman, who has been living with an Iranian Boyfriend for 2 years. He, for the most part, can be a very thoughtful and caring person. I met him through his sister, who is a friend. To this day, she does not know if our relationship.........This is at HIS insistance!

Although I have met his co-workers, he has yet to introduce me to his family and friends, yet, he Constantly refers to "us" and "Our" in future tense, however, he says he doesn't want to introduce me to his Iranian friends because he thinks "I am too different" and that he doesn't want the chance of losing his "friends" because of the "gossip" that will occur.

He knows I want to be serious with him, but he does not make any commitments, Yet, we have an intimate relationship.

Although I pay for my expenses in the home, he wants me to basically give him all my money, because he is drowning in debt because of his last marriage.

He has been divorced from an Iranian woman for one year. He said she "took him to the cleaners-financially". He also speaks badly about his first wife, who is also Iranian.

He wants me to learn about his culture, learn his language and learn to cook his food, yet, doesn't want to eat the food of my culture or have anything to do with our holidays.

This has been very hurtful for me and I feel very disrespected to the point that I want to leave. Yet....when I make plans to go, (as in finding an apartment)he asks me to "wait and not be so quick in my decisions"...Is he playing games and using me or are there cultural differences at play here?

After what I have read and personally experienced, why do many people in Iranian culture appear to be so judgemental and always appear to look down on other cultures? ( or is this too another cultural assumption on my part?)

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated....I'm really trying to understand this........

Thank you, - Broken Hearted Night Eagle

Have a child with a Muslim man - he wants me to convert to Islam to get married

Name = Marilyn
Years Married =
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = South Africa, Cape Town

Subject = need advice

I have been in a relationship with a muslim man for more than 3years and we have a child together.He wants me to convert to the muslim religion before he we can get married . this places pressure on me as Im not sure if iam ready to make that decision yet.I read that it is permissable for a muslim man to get married to a christian or jewish wom an - is this allowed in South Africa.If yes then how would we get married according to muslim customs and processes, in court or how?

I would appreciate the advice as we really love each other, I have no problem raisin g my kids in the muslim religion Iam just personally not in a space to make that decisi n for myself.

Please help., Marilyn

Communication in Marriage

Name = Shabnam
Years Married = 6
Number of Children = 1
Country & City = USA
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = Communication in Marriage

I am been married for about 6 yrs really started from from the basics with my husband, when I met him he barely spoke english, over the years I learned a little farsi and he learned some english. There is still a language barrier but we understand eachother better. It is very difficult communiticating with him, he never wants to have a serious converisation. As time goes by, I find it very hard to deal with. His way of dealing with the problem is not anwsering me, just complete silent treatment. I get really fusterated with this. Any ideas would be helpful. Does anyone know of any online chats support groups for iranian culture? - Shabnam

Persian Divorces!

Name = Kristi
Years Married = 0
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = USA

Subject = Persian Divorces

I have been seeing a Persian man for over a year. When we first met he was up front with me and said he was "technically" married to his Persian wife, but they have lived apart for many years. And that he was working on a divorce. In the beginning, I really didn't think much about this because I didn't really expect the relationship to continue for long.

But as I am still here, in love with a very kind man, the wife situation truly disturbs me. I do know he hasn't lived with his wife for many years and the only contact he has with her involves their 2 children. He has also told me that divorcing his wife is difficult due to the fact he does not have in his possession, his birth certificate, which I am to understand has the marriage information on it. I am so confused as to what to believe. I can not find any information as to how a Persian divorce really happens, and if anyone could please tell me if one's birth certicate is needed or an official marriage certificate is needed to divorce 2 Persians living in America. Any information would be greatly appreciaited. - Kristi


Dear Kristi

My only experience related to your issue is Mahrieh. Mahrieh is a premarital agreement which has legal value in Iran.Before a couple is getting married the husband should agree to compensate his wife in case of a divorce.This is a real struggle for the two parts-i mean boy`s and girls`senior relatives and if they don`t agree on negotiations a marriage can break.If the amount is too big and cannot afford after a divorce the man may be sent to jail, because as i said it is a legal agreement.

Good luck - Christina


Kristi, yes the birth certificate is needed .

The iranian birth certificate is like your life history it has everything in there from birth, marridge ,divorce, children, parents, voting,etc........

But a duplicate is easily obtainable or her birth certificate would have his info in it to go ahead with the divorce but this sounds more like trying not to pay the dowry( the money .compensation. they aggread on before they were married for him to pay her on the event of divorce.)

Best of luck hope this info helps you, Emma


Kristi,

Your note doesn't give much of detailed information on the whereabouts of his wife and children. Is his wife living in US? in Iran? How old are the children?

I don't believe the story about his birth certificate. The Iran consulate in D.C. issues birth certificates no problem. The forms are online.

If his wife is in Iran, then he can go through the Iran consulate to get divorce. If she is in US, they have entered US as husband & wife and had to show proof of marriage and getting divorce is not a problem. I have a feeling there are other issues involved - such as dowry, child support or maybe he just wants a girlfriend on the side.

I have known other men (American & Persian) who didn't mind a girl friend on the side while working out their issues with their wives.

Best of luck to you and best wishes, Linda

Living in Iran????

Name = Tina
Country & City = USA, Portland

I am a 40 1/2 year old American woman. I live primarly in India and Thailand (not the USA). I am familiar with muslim religion and traditions being exposed to Indian muslims.

I met a 37 year old Iranian man, chemical engineer living in Kerman, over the internet some time ago. He is muslim but comes from a mixed religion family and is himself non-religious.

We have become very close with letters and now him calling me daily. He is willing to travel to India to meet with me and discuss our future.

My concerns are:

  1. My situation with him and his family if I cannot have children due to my age. How will I be treated?
  2. Living with his family in Iran. Specifically his mother and baby sister. His elder brothers live in their own homes.
  3. Dealing with mother-in-law issues. But from what he said his mother is not opposed to me and does not discourage him from me.
  4. Communication, language barriers, within Iran. Connecting to other "westerners" to keep from becoming isolated socially.
  5. Iranian laws concerning my freedom of travel in and out of Iran. I could not bear having to get my husbands persmission to leave the country. Especially if there was ever a situation where our marriage broke down. Can my freedom of movement, without husbands permission, be guarenteed if I have a nikah contract before marriage? (Ironically, muslims in India tend to be more conservative, but the Indian government is not muslim so their laws concerning entering and leaving the country are not an issue there.

Things that are NOT an issue: the headscarf and manteu, living outside the US (since I do that already), religion, work.

Please help as I am not sure how to proceed and I do not want to screw things up.

Thanks, Tina

Having The Same Faith Is Very Important

Name = Laila

Wow, I cannot believe the amount of people who willingly marry outside their faith. Even if your not "religious" this issue will come up, especially after you have children.

I was born and raised in Calif. an atheist, I became a Christian in 2000.

My husband was born and raised in Iran as a Muslim. He converted to Christianity in the 90's. He is a very devote follower of Christ and this has alot to do with the harmony in our relationship.

On the surface, we would appear not to have much in common, but the building block we have is Faith, and that is a solid base.

My husband believes fully in leaving the mother and father and cleaving to one's wife. I know I come first in his life, right after God. Then its the children, his work and his extended family.

When we become unequally yoked, as in Muslim/Christian marriage..this leads to some unintended consequences that may not be apparent in the beginning. Cultural issue become more of a focal point than they need to be as you search for common ground and beliefs. Same faith marriages build on a solid foundation...when you mix the religions, this foundation becomes shakey at best.

I love my husband dearly..yes there are cultural differences, but these are things I can easily live with and many are quite endearing.

My husband is my best friend and lover. He treats me with the utmost respect, more than any man I have ever known. I trust him in all regards and he truly admired by many in our community as a man of honor.

So for those of you having issues with your Persian Princes, first check out what you have in common, especially faith-wise. Find out if you can provide him with what he needs, such as respect and honor (and don't we all yearn to have that?) and can you live with his family involvement..Remember, this isn't necessarily an Iranian-only trait...I was previously married to a Midwestern man with a huge family that resembles many of the ones that have been negatively described here..

Anyway, life with my Persian Prince has been absolutely wonderful, perhaps not perfect, but still wonderful. I believe any relationship should have the common ground of faith to build upon.

Just my 2 cents, Laila


You are very right. I am a Christian and my husband is a Bahai. While these two religions can "get along," they are not the same. Issues do come up, especially at this time of the year. If I could have any wish, it would be that he was also a Christian - and he wishes the same of me. Our marriage is good, but would be even better if we could pray and worship together.

Denise

English Christian and Iranian Muslim!!

Name = JEM
Years Married = 0
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = UK, ENGLAND
Category of Submission = Issues

Hi everybody

I had been with my Iranian man for 2 years. we had some great times, his family love me and would do anything for me like i would do 4 them. we split about 6 months ago because he didn't trust me, and I couldn't take it anymore. he couldn't understand this.

we have been on and off for the past 6 months. i dare not go to his house as his family will think I'm crazy for coming and going. i am only 22 and he is 21, he still wants me but he cant trust me, and asks me silly little questions all of the time. about who I'm with and where I'm going,i like the fact that he cares, but wen I do say he does not believe me!

It is very embarrassing in front of my friends and they always say i should stay away from him, but i love the culture so much. I learnt a lot of Farsi whilst being with him and I miss all the do's we used to attend.

I don't know whether to risk it and go back or leave it alone??? - Thanks : )

Dating an Iranian

Name = Karen
Years Married = 0
Number of Children =
Country & City = USA, North Carolina
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = Dating an Iranian

Thank you for your wonderful site! I have learned a lot about the culture and it has been VERY helpful. I have been dating an Iranian male - he is divorcing his first wife (also American) and I am divorced from an American man and have one young daughter.

Now I know why his parents are visiting for nearly a year! He has not introduced me to them yet, nor have I to my family. It is too early at 5 months of dating. I care for him greatly and before I could let myself care more, I needed to know more about where he came from, even though he is 44 and hasn't lived in Iran since he was 17.

I understand how important family is to him, now. His first wife would not have children, yet he did. Maybe it's not to late for us! (I'm 37.) He is kind, protective, thoughtful, fun, educated, shy, helpful, courteous... but sometimes I feel as if he doesn't open up to me. I think I can better understand his hesitancy now.

I would love to learn Farsi, meet his family and even travel to Tehran. It helps knowing his family is of the more modern (vs. traditional) types and he is not muslim, though his mother is devout. They seem (from conversation with him) to be more westernized coming from a large city.

Maybe I can quiet any misgivings he may have of my leaving him since I left my first husband because of abuse. I don't feel that I would have the same problem with this man - in fact he cringed at some violent scenes between a man and woman at a movie we saw together.

Does anyone have any advice for me during this courtship phase? When to introduce my daughter (6 years old) or my parents? They are retired professionals as is his father so I think my family would meet his families standards. Any advice for when I finally meet his parents? They aren't going back to Tehran until after Nu Ruz so they will be around for a while!

Thank you! - Karen

Thank you ladies -- I have broken up with my Iranian Jewish Boyfriend of 18 months

Name = Violet
Country & City = USA, California
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = Thank you ladies -- I have broken up with my Iranian Jewish Boyfriend of 18 months

My boyfriend and I were together for about a year and a half. This site helped me see that I was not alone in my pain, confusion and frustration. The relationship has finally ended -- the issues could not be resolved, and I am relieved I did not marry him.

I do not think I would be happy coming "second" to his family. I do not think his family would ever accept me (my now ex-boyfriend told me as much). And I don't think I would have patience to try, try, beg and beg some more to be loved by him and his family.

In a year and a half, I never once met a family member or even a friend of his. He avoided taking me to places where we might bump into someone he knew. I was, of course, never invited to any of his family or friends' parties or social fuctions.

There was a time when I felt we could have a wonderful life together ... but as someone on this site said, blood is thicker than water, and I know that I would make myself miserable trying to live up to impossible expectations.

I wish I knew why these men bother to date women outside their culture to begin with, when they know the problems.

He pursued me, even knowing is family would NEVER accept anything less than an Iranian Jewish bride for him. He told me this is why he never included me in his life.

I have learned a painful lesson, but I hope I won't make the same mistake in the future.

Thank you again -- this is a wonderful site, has given me good insight, and has made me realize that I have made a good choice for myself. Maybe some love can conquer all, but ours wasn't strong enough. - Violet

BIG Decision- no actually, it's huuuuge!

Name = Jess
Country & City = Canada, Vancouver
Category of Submission = Issues
Subject = BIG Decision- no actually, it's huuuuge! - Part 1

I met my Iranian boyfriend two Christmas's ago... I'm 28, he's 36. I met him through a girlfriend of mine who is about 5 years younger than me who had met him online through an internet chat site. She introduced us because she said that she thought we had more in common.. ie: my parents live in the middle-east and I lived there with them for 3 years.

He really chased me- my girlfriend told him about me over the phone and apparently he became interested and tried to prod more information out of her. At that time, I lived on the island and my girlfriend told him where I lived, worked, and what kind of car I drove- he started catching the ferry and stayed at his friend's house who happened to coincidentally live across the road from me and could see my car parked in my driveway! One day he showed up at my work- this was before I ever met or talked to him! I remember seeing him too! He was sooooooo good looking! I got all hot and my heart started racing and I wondered who he was and wondered what he was doing there! He tried to not make eye contact with me- that morning he tried to put a note on my car in the employee parking lot- but there were too many people coming and going... so he snuck into my complex gate that night and put the note by my car. I still have it! I was very flattered and never found out it was h! im until after he gave me my first bouquet of flowers and saw the note and that it was the same hand writing!

We met and hit it off- he was very charming... although, we had a rocky start due to things that I would be more than happy to discuss with you one on one. He's very westernized, he's lived in Canada and France for over 25 years. He's very smart, sociable, funny, successful, charming, business savy, and sexy. The strengths and positives about him were much stronger than the weaknesses and negatives- so I decided to stick it out- and he decided the same about me as well.

He came over to the island every weekend while I was finishing up a college program and sometimes I would go over to Vancouver to visit him too. After 4 months, he talked me into moving over to Vancouver with him- and I did.

Now it's been a year and a half- and what a roller coaster ride it has been. I've met his entire enormous family! I met his sister and her husband and two teenage sons right away within the first month of dating. I also met his huge extended family of over 45 members- they always have huge family get togethers for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions and I have been invited to every one of them- sometimes 2-3 times a week, which was irritating to me in the beginning. They seemed to all be very accepting of me- I always felt welcomed. I was a bit threatened at first about how close he was to his family. I'm an only child and my parents live far away in the middle-east and the rest of my small family is scattered all over the place- but now I'm quite comfortable with his frequent gigantic family get togethers.

We lived together for about 7 months and he was selling his place and buying a bigger house so his dad and mom could live with him for a while. At that time, I decided to get my own place as I didn't feel comfortable in that situation, not being married. His dad moved here and has been here for over 6 months now living with him- I've spent quite a bit of time with him and like him very much and I feel that he likes me as well. ..and his mom recently moved over here too- and I've met her a couple times and I love her! She is soooooo sweet!

The problem? Well- it's very complex. We have trust issues- due to what happened in the beginning of our relationship. Both of us. Even though it sounds very flattering we had quite a rocky time- many ups and downs.

We are currently working on rebuilding the trust which is and has been quite difficult. Also, his parents want him to get married- I know that they've wanted him to get married for at least 5-6 years now. His dad makes jokes with me to give him a grand son and his mom and family have asked when we're getting married. I do want to get married- and I definately want two children, I'm just not sure if I want it with him. I'm not sure if I will be completely happy with him- but will I be completely happy with anyone? Am I being too picky? I'm not sure- he has so many good qualities that I'd be kicking my butt if I let him go.

I'm in the midst of a big career change right now and am stressed by that as well. I'm just not sure that he's the one for me- and I think he might be feeling the same although he tells me he's not. I've tried to end it on several occasions because I've always felt that you just 'know' if the person is right for you- and because I've never felt that he was completely right for me, then maybe it should end and I should be keeping my options open?

He is wonderful in many many ways- he's helped me with many of the big important things in my life even more so than my own family has- and I am very thankful for that and that maybe he is the one for me? Without him, I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today- and I appreciate that. He tells me that he loves me and wants to marry me and sees a good future together. I can't imagine life without him.

I guess until he proposes.. I do want to get married soon and will not be continuing the relationship much longer if this dilemma persists. -Jess


Name: Jess
Country & City of Residence: Canada, Vancouver
Category of Submission: Issues
Subject: The BIG "D"! - Part 2
Comments: Hey there again,

I've been extremely busy with my new career and am still contemplating this big 'DECISION' (actually no, it's huuuuge!) on whether or not my Iranian bf of almost two years is the one for me. I've talked about our trust problem that has been the main issue/hold back of this topic.

We've been working on rebuilding the trust and I have seen many improvements but it's been very challenging because there are still many times when the bad thoughts/memories pop into my mind and constantly haunt me and remind me of the bad things that did happen. I have nightmares of it too- it shows up in my dreams at least 2-4 times a week or more... which make me wake up thinking bad thoughts about him. The nightmares were reoccuring every night for quite a while but have substantially lessened since I began occupying my mind with my career and new learning events.

How have I been coping with it? It's tough, I sometimes even wake up in tears... but I've been so busy with my new career that when I wake up I don't have much time to even think about it- which I believe is good for right now. I've been meeting lots of new interesting people at my new work- including men that I feel I can trust more than my own bf!! Wow- that was a shocker!

At this point, I'm just taking it day by day... he hasn't proposed to me yet but he does talk about it quite a bit. He knows that I want to settle down- that is what I've wanted to do for over 5 years... only with the right one though. I'm not sure that he is the right one for me- the only thing that I can say is truly fantastic about our relationship is that he has helped me become a more successful and independant person- and I totally appreciate that from him. He's helped me with that more than my own family- he's also very financially able...he's very wealthy. My parents feel that he 'owes' me what he's helped me with at least... I don't agree with that, but I'm not complaining about that aspect of it.

We don't do anything together mainly because we're both so busy with our careers... but also because we might end up arguing about something so we keep very low key which I am extremely bored of. I feel we don't have much in common anymore and everything in our relationship is seemingly stale. We both work very hectic schedules and aren't able to see each other until quite late in the evenings and then we have to get going to work early the next morning again- so we're quite tired and usually just hang out at home... he usually comes over to my place at night because his parents are living at his house right now and by the time we are together I'm so tired that I just want to relax and go to sleep soon (and not have to entertain his folks) ,so I can get up on time in the morning to head back to work.

I just had a birthday two days ago- I'm now 29 and I want to have as much fun as I possibly can as I will never be 29 again. I feel young, sexy, and vibrant and I want to do lots of reasonably crazy stuff and feel fully alive! I feel like he's invisibly holding me back to a certain point because I can't do the fun things that we used to do because of all the issues from the past!

On my birthday, we didn't even do anything special really. He showed up at my work and took me out for lunch and gave me a BIG cheque (which was the work of a flick of the wrist) as my birthday present- which I guess was a nice gesture, I can't complain about money! My favorite thing though was the really nice card he gave me where he wrote a really nice personalized note expressing his love for me and how special I am to him- I was touched by what he wrote... I had to hold back the tears when I read it! Also, his older sister called me and wished me a happy birthday along with her 20 year old son which I had problems with a while back... and they will be taking me for lunch this coming week and have gifts for me etc. Also, tonight his parents are taking me and him out for a really nice dinner at my favorite restaurant- he told me that this is supposed to be a surprise but I guessed the restaurant, so he told me I was right! This should be interesting too!

What is my problem? The trust issue! He has many good qualities that I've touched on in the previous postings... and I do have feelings for him and I do love him. I have a difficult time imagining marrying someone that I feel that I can't trust- I can't imagine that. So many people say that love is not enough- and that love is only part of the marriage. I take marriage quite seriously and I would like it to last forever- I know that it is very hard and I will have to fight and overcome many challenges throughout it but it's that much more difficult with obstacles and problems that you have against each other beforehand- like us.

All I know is that right now I have to concentrate on my career and I believe that things will work out for the best, either way- they always have. I have a good head on my shoulders and I will know what to do when the time comes which will be fairly soon ladies! I will keep you posted!

People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Thanks for all of your feedback! - Regards, Jess


wow. that is quite a pickle. i dont know what ur trust issues are but i can tell u that if the man is worth the issues, keep him. u dont always "know" when u meet the person. i could be years after u have dated, or after you have been married and are tucking your 12yr old in bed that u realize he "is" the one for u. or it could be years after u let him go when your drinking a cup of coffee on a lonly winter morning. u have to set aside all disctractions and think to yourself, "do i want to wake up in HIS arms when im 55? can i see him holding my child and kissing my growing belly? when i laugh, is he the cause? when something wonderful or upsetting happens, do i want him there to share it with me? will i hold his hair out of his face when he's sick and hugging the toilet?"

If u answer yes to any of those...that is the man for u. u have to realize the love and marriage are two totally seperate things. its easy to love in a relationship......its infinate work to marry and make it work. u have to be willing to stick with it thru all the fights, and as u mentioned "trust issues'. love is only a part of marriage. he should be your bestfriend. the one u can confide in no matter what. ( granted we all need girl friends that we can bitch about him to) people who always hold out for that "right" one to come along, may very well miss him and not know it.

However, if there is truely that much doubt in your heart ( not your head, that will always doubt) then u should talk about it. has he proposed? or has the conversation just sortof come up? how does he feel about marriage? is this a forever relationship? can u dedicate yourself to this man and hold onto him and fight with and for him at all costs? will u struggle thru the rough patches and not give up? if u do give up, can u live with that choice or will the 'what if' plauge u into stomache ulsers and insomnia?

Only u can answer these questions to yourself. when u have made your desicion in your heart u have to take the time to acknowledge it. write me back if u need a sympathetic ear to vent your confussion and fustrations to. when i decieded to divorce my frist husband (2yrs after he walked out) and give up on ever fixing us, and to allow myself to love again....it was the most trying time of my life. i have never been so torn or confussed. honestly, there are days that i still feel doubt, but i know in my heart that i made the right choice. things will be scary and rough at times, there will be moments when u truely question the wisdom of your choice...all couples do that, but if he is someone that u can be happy with then take the chance...it will be worth it.

keep me posted, kathryn


Jess,

Run. That family will drive you crazy. Once you become the breeder for this man he will take you for granted and your voice will count for nothing. His family will have this relationship that you will never be a part of.. And from my experience, the closer the family the less and less you will be important to this guy. You will never win any battle when it comes to his family. And if you listen to him... he is probably telling you that. These Iranian guys never grow up when it comes to family. They can not have a separate and independent life. As long as you go along with the living together, endless visits, cooking and cleaning for these people it will work. But when you hit your 40's and decide to have some say in the life you live, when you have guests staying in your home, what kind of money you will give his family, or if you can take a vacation without them this guy will shut you out. This is true of most Iranian men. No matter how western, no matter how nice they can not say no to their family - ever.

Once you start complaining... he will say you nag too much. And the day you come home from working a long day and his sisters have cleaned out your kitchen drawers (putting many of your tupperware lids in the garage in bags because they don't know what they are for) you will wake up and realize that no matter how much money you make, how much you do for these people , no matter how much you ask your husband for boundaries - these things don't matter to them. They have no separation or boundaries. Your kitchen is their kitchen the minute you let them cook in it. The minute you say sure use my shoes... they are using them everyday. This is their culture.

Unless you like old fish (meaning guests and family that never leave) run. run and don't look back. Love will not conjure these problems. And I know after 20 years of marriage - run. This is not an easy road living by committee, in a clan that you are simply an outsider too. Also if this man is the oldest son.... you are required to support the parents until death, and all the brothers & sisters will expect you support them too if you live in the west. I work full time ... making more than my husband. Yet when I give $10,000 a year to his mother... I don't even hear a thank you from her or her kids. It will be expected of you too.

His sisters retire at 45 & 50 and then expect us to pay for their trips, shopping.... . It gets old. Working hard, coming home to no privacy and then having to entertain endlessly. These women even threw dinner parties for 28 people in my home when I was out of town on business. They have no boundaries. They take over and you can never change it because your boyfriend can not stand up to them. If you do marry .... put some rules in place now. Coz' these people only invade your life, your marriage, your finances, your everything.

Sorry to be so rude. But you don't have kids yet. Once you have kids... you can not leave for your sanity... you stay for the kids. Good Luck, Helen


Run. I was married to an Iranian for 22 years ... you have no idea what you are going to experience and how he is going to change once he has you. That internal feeling that you have is for a reason ... it is a red flag telling you to leave. If you disregard your intuition, you will pay for it forever. I don't care how westernized he seems, it is only a matter of time before he goes back to his Islamic roots and starts to try to force it upon you.

If you are not strong enough to resist him now, you'll never be able to get away down the road.

My ex husband was nominal for about 15 years and then got progressively back into Islam to where now it is scary and disgusting beyond belief. My boss is Iranian and she said that it has happened to so many people that she knows.

You will probably be thinking that I am sour grapes ... but it will happen to you. I didn't think it could happen to me and it did. When you have kids, then everything gets complicated. Leave ... there are more fish in the sea. - Jill

Trying To Understand My Iranian Boyfriend

Name = Yuki
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = Trying To Understand My Iranian Boyfriend

Dear Ladies,
I'm an American-Japanese girl and I've been with my Iranian boyfriend for almost 6 months. I have two questions and would like to know about the experience of you ladies here when it comes to the following matters:

1. Does virginity of a woman really matters to an Iranian man if he's looking for a wife?

2. I feel a strong connection with my boyfriend and there are intense moments where we gazed into each others' eyes. However, he never says 'I love you'. Is it him or has it anything to do with the culture?

Thanks! I look forward to hear from you. - Yuki

My Iranian-American Boyfriend...

Name = Catherine
Country & City = US, Columbus
Category of Submission = Issues
Subject = Iranian-American Boyfriend

I have been dating my Iranian-American boyfriend for 10 months. We have known eachother and been friends for the past 5 years. I also have been good friends with his brother for slightly longer. His family moved here 22 years ago and they are all american citizens, so needless to say the boys are extreemley americanized. I have met his parents on a few occasions over the years prior to our dating. Since we started dating....I have not met the parents as his girlfriend and never been invited to any family function. Although his parents do know that he has an american girlfriend and he spends a lot of time with me. His brother also has an american girlfriend for 1.5yrs now and she has not met the family either. His brother seems to love her very much, but I know there are family issues with him dating her and the family is worried about marriage. She has two strikes against her, she's not persian and she has a child (born out of wedlock)

His parents live in the same neighborhood and they have dinner at least once a week and breakfast nearly every Sunday without fail. After reading many of the posting here I am learning that it is not as strange as I thought to have not met the family, and I can see the importance of family in their culture. His family is not Muslim or any religion, they are atheist or perhaps agnostic, either way religion plays no role in their life.

My parents live out of state and have only met Bahman once, long before we were dating. It makes sense not to meet my parents because they live so far away, but if they lived in town as, his parents do, it would just be wierd not to invite him over occasionally. It hurts my feelings. We have a great relationship and I adore him, we have so much fun and he definately is the best man I have ever dated. We are not discussing marriage or talk about the future. I like to take it one day at a time and each day gets better. He is 9 years younger than me. I'm 36, he is 27. He is also very inexperienced in dating and I don't want to rush anything. Our relationship is so nice, I don't want to ruin it by talking about serious stuff before we are ready.

I don't really have a question, I just am feeling sad that he doesn't want me to meet his family (at least that is what I am perceiving) is he embarrassed of me? will they hate me? I mean, they seemed like lovely people when I have met them just as one of his many friends. How could people that raised such wonderful boys be so judgemental about their girlfriends? And how can you relocate your family to America 22 years ago and not expect your sons to fall in love with someone in the racial majority in America? - Catherine


Hi Catherine,
I have been with my husband for 18 years, we have 2 children. Let me tell you what I think.
  1. Meeting the parents in Persian culture is a BIG deal, and usually means marriage is the intention.
  2. Dating is not as common- remember its a 'traditional Islamic society' so all girls are "V's" and thus to date a guy you are inherently a bad girl. yadda yadda... My husband nor I agree with this philosophy but it exists even outside its religious roots
  3. Socioeconomic class - much easier if your family is on his families level i.e. university educated, professional $$$also helps
  4. Lucky for us religion is not an issue, that.s an impossible one to deal with.

Just my two cents. Hope it gives you some insight. - Take care - Michelle
P.S. Beware, many Persians date outside their culture- but still want a Persian girl when it comes time to marry.
Walk away now. Even if you think his family is not religious, they are. This is the ONLY thing that would cause them to not want to meet you. You are trying to buy a world of heartache - believe me I know. There is more than one man in the world that can make you happy. If you are not a part of his family now, you never will be. There will always be a rift. Sorry to be blunt but these are the realities. Wishing it were not so doesn't change what is. It will not get better, it will never be solved. You are buying a world of heartache. Walk away. Someone told me the same thing 22 years ago and I did not believe them. I should have listened. - Jill M.
MY HUSBAND HAS LIVED HERE (IN THE US) FOR NEARLY 32 YEARS AND YOU WOULD THINK HE IS EXTREMELY WESTERNIZED, RIGHT? NOT WHEN IT COMES TO HIS FAMILY. IF YOUR BOYFRIENDS' BROTHER HAS BEEN DATING SOMEONE FOR 15 YEARS AND SHE HAS NOT YET MET THE FAMILY SOMETHING IS WRONG. I CAN TELL YOU FROM MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE; THAT PERSIAN MEN WILL ALWAYS BE MORE LOYAL TO THEIR BIOLOGICAL FAMILY THAN THEY WILL BE TO THEIR WIFE OR GIRLFRIEND. PERSIANS ARE ALSO VERY CONSCIOUS OF THEIR AGE AND WILL OFTEN TAKE MANY YEARS OFF OF THEIR ACTUAL AGE, SO THIS MAY BE PLAYING A ROLE. MOST FAMILIES PREFER THEIR SONS TO MARRY SOMEONE AT LEAST TEN YEARS YOUNGER THAN THEY ARE. TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, THIS SITUATION DOESN'T SOUND GOOD. MOST MEN, NO MATTER HOW INDEPENDENT THEY MAY SEEM WILL NOT GO AGAINST THEIR FAMILY. THEIR FEELING IS WHAT THE FAMILY DOESN'T KNOW WON'T HURT THEM. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. I WISH I KNEW MY IN-LAWS PRIOR TO MY MARRIAGE (THEY LIVED IN IRAN, PRIOR TO THE WEDDING BUT ARE ALL HERE NOW) I COULD HAVE BEEN SPARED 19 YEARS OF PURE TORTURE. THIS COULD BE A BLESSING IN DISGUISE. GOOD LUCK. S. H.
I was in your position at one time. It is not up to his parents to invite you really. Your boyfriend needs to let his parents know that he wants to invite you to come with him to his family functions.

He probably is afraid that his parents won't love you, but they will be polite. They need to get to know you. Also, most Persian men are quite Mama's boys. They are kind and gentle and care for women because of the love their mothers gave them.

They put their mother's first and don't want to hurt their feelings. They don't want to disappoint mom. Perhaps you could invite them over first or go out to a friendly dinner. But maybe its too soon. The age difference might be bothering to them though. Usually older Persian men marry much younger women. My husband didn't even invite his parents to our wedding. Now they visit us twice a year. We have been married for almost 20 years and the relationship is fine. They actually like me better than their Persian daughter in laws. Good luck. - J. S.

I am a Pakistani girl dating an Iranian man...

Dear Zanamu,

I am a Pakistani girl dating an Iranian man. I know that our cultures are a bit different-but how different are they, I am also Muslim and do come from a pretty strict Muslim family.

I have been dating this guy for almost a year now, and the question about him wanting to be with a Iranian woman has been a major issue in our relationship. I don't understand why it would be so difficult for a Iranian man to marry a Pakistani girl who is also Muslim and would understand his culture and adapt it because I think that our cultures are pretty similar-or am I wrong? Are all Iranian families very strict about their sons marrying non-Iranians, even other middle easterner's and if so please make me understand why that is.

There are many times that I wonder if I should keep my hopes up about whether my bf (who comes from a very traditional Iranian family) would really consider being with a non Iranian woman, or would his family affect his decision? Please help me and give me some insight into this issue.

Thank you. SA


Dear SA - Are you sure your boy friend view your cultures very close? From the comments I have heard from my Iranian friends over the years, I think they consider Pakistani culture to be rather different from theirs.

As far as both being Muslim, again are you sure you have the same spiritual views of Islam? Have you talked about what Islam really means to each of you and what will its role be in your lives? Again from my own experience of several years of socializing with Iranians in Northern California, I see a big difference between an Iranian Muslim and an Arab or Pakistani Muslim. Iranians that I know are rather moderate and in most cases non-practicing Muslims.

It appears that your boy friend has said that he rather to marry an Iranian - right? hen I would suggest take that as a great hint.

If you like, I can forward your email to ZanAmu's mailing list - you might get interesting insight into your situation that you may share with the rest of us. - regards and best wishes, Linda

Honestly - if a man can't stand up for you against his family what kind of man is he?

Name = M.S
Years Married = 7
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = Canada, Toronto
Category of Submission = Issues

Subject = Wake Up Girls! - Honestly - if a man can't stand up for you against his family what kind of man is he?

I met my husband 17 years ago, I've visited Iran, my in-laws now live with us, we have 2 beautiful children and my husband set the tone with his family- in actions and words - he RESPECTS and Loves me and treats me as an equal - he insists his parents respect me as well he puts up with no negative talk.

I think many Iranian Mother in-laws power trip on their daughter in-laws (American/Canadian or Iranian) Their husbands/families have treated them this way and they can't do a thing about it so now it's their turn to have power and control over you Don't stand for it!

Respect yourself, your values, your instincts follow them don't loose yourself in your desire to please him.

On a lighter side I cook great Iranian food, love Persian dancing and my husband truly looks forward to Christmas at my parents house and Iranian Omelet is now a tradition on Christmas morning :-)

Take the best from Iranian culture, and make sure he takes the best from yours

Finally, a man's perspective on how to deal with your Persian Mother-in-law

Name = E Vazeery
Email = vazeery@yahoo.com
Years Married = 8
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = California
Category of Submission = Issues

My friend just referred me to this website and I can't wait to show my wife! I find the various challenges that you face very interesting and some are SO similar to ones we have experienced, it's downright Spooky! Now my poor wife not only has to deal with an Iranian mother...but has to LIVE with her! Like many of you, my wife and I fell in love very fast but were also very quickly beleaguered by the challenges of dealing with my pesky mother (the Mother of all Persian Mother-In-Laws!). My Parents moved to Europe and then American when they were quite young, and though I was born in England in the 60s, I still consider myself an American, having lived here most of my life. What's most intriguing though is that NOW- after all these years of being "white-washed" or "Americanized" or whatever it's called these days, I have a very strong desire to learn about my Persian roots. But that hasn't stopped me from experiencing all these years the angst and madness of having a Persian Mother that makes my wife's life unnecessarily difficult! Although many of you allude that your husband flat-out tells you how it's going to "go down" with his mother, I am sure many of your husbands struggle as I do in the position of the Mediator. Show this to your husband if the two of you are still battling this needlessly painful situation!

The thankless job of trying to keep both sides happy (at bay, more like) is not only emotionally exhausting, it ultimately impedes your and your mother-in-law's potential progress. Finally, when I decided I have had enough of the hushed disapprovals from both sides, I stepped aside. Without my mediation, the two gals slowly started going after each other. First little jabs here and there, then more protracted "discussions"...finally, WW3. They said things to each other that I am sure still linger in the recess of their memories...BUT after it all came out (and after many weeks of my mother's "threats" to leave), they get along better now than my mother and I do! So stop waiting for something to change all by itself; it wont! Communication is King! Stop having these conversations with only yourself and anyone and everyone BUT your mother-in-law. Talk to her. Call her; write her. And if your husband says "you better not" or "... not a good idea", just tell him to stop being such a ninny Momma's Boy..and direct him to the grill to instead make some kabobs. In the long run, you will be doing yourself, your spouse, and your "sweet" little old Madar Shohar" a HUGE favor.

Live long in Peace and Love! - E. Vazeery

He wants to set me free. I want to Marry Him

Name = Lisa
Country & City = USA,
Category of Submission = Issues

Salam ZanAmu Joon,

I am writing in the deepest and sadest point of my life. The man whom I've shared my entire adult life with, four years, has decided that now he needs a Persian Wife. Somehow, being able to cook Persian food, keep the house spotless like his mother and ex-wife and being able to understand the langueage and the culture have taken a higher role in his life than our love. We love each other dearly. He still wants me, still wants to be my friend, and I'm sure, my lover. But I am all alone.

I am 23, he is 42. I am American, he has lived in America since he was 14. I love Maman, and get along well with his family. One nephew doesn't really remember my boyfirends Ex wife, and I consider tham all to be my nieces and nephews. All my friends are through him. My life is intertwined with his and I had thought my future would be with him.

Of course we have some "in-law" type problems, but I think that can be expected in any relationship. There is jealousy, and snobbery, and sometimes they make me feel not good enough. But its not so bad. They are also very kind to me!

I have learned a lot of Farsi and am still learning. I Know a lot about the culture, although I dont understand the jokes. But I do love Persian Music for the most part. I think we need a compromise.

He thinks he needs to set me free to find an American man and have children. I don't want an American Man. I want my man. I dont want fried chicken, I want joo-gee kabbaab. I don't want to eat soup, I want Maman's oasch. I can't eat sticky rice anymore. He doesn't understand. By being with him, by sharing every experiance together, I have become partly Persian. It is instilled upon me. I will alway love the Persian Culture and the man who tought me to live.

Kreali Motashakiram. Lisa

What's the best way to learn Farsi?

Name = Karen
Subject: What's the best way to learn Farsi?

I have recently started dating a wonderful Iranian man. Before meeting him, I never even heard of the Farsi language. Now I am intrigued and would like to learn Farsi, especially if we stay together. He helps me occassionally and I use websites to teach myself, however, it doesn't seem to be working. I don't know what it is, but I don't feel confident to use what I'm learning with my boyfriend yet, so I'm not using the language. But I'm slowing learning by listening to him and his friends. I guess I'm impatient and want to learn quicker. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?? Thanks for your help!!! Karen


Hello Karen,

The best way to learn conversational Persian (Farsi) is to take some formal Classes and practice, practice, ....

The Iranian Cultural centers in most major cities offer Farsi classes for children and adults.

Since 911, farsi (Persian) and Arabic have become very popular and many universities teach it now. But you have to practice it with your boy friend and others, that's the only way. Good luck, Linda

How to make my Iranian man to marry me?

Name = Dorri
Email = happygirl_0516@yahoo.com
Years Married = 0
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = NZ, Auckland

Subject = How to make my Iranian man to marry me ?

Salam , Hi all.

I am Dorri 23, Malaysian chinese , non -Muslim religion, looking forward to marry him but .....

I got a Bahai Iranian boy friend. Before we began our relationship, he had told me franky about his problem. He couldn't marry me because firstly, his mum used to unhappy with he is looking for non Iranian woman to be marry with because she needs accompanion can talk farsi with her.( in my opinion, once I learned well the language, shouldn't be a problem.)Secondly i was not bahai born.(But I can baptism to be the one , right) Besides, he wish to speak farsi to his future wife because he felt not sactify enough with his English. His English speaking is better than me . However, I just accepted his words because I like him much and he is type of Mr. right I was looking for long.I believe love is stronger than anything and also the miracle may happen with time consuming. I am being patient and understanding person because this .

I had read the forum discussing the relationship problems in zamamu web. I knew the most of the problems is all came from Iranian mother.His mum used to come to overseas here was living with my b/f and his sister and now she went back to Iran taking care her own mother . His father had past away two years ago. Then it can say she is quite lonely and needed someone to talk with sometimes.

We have been together for six months now but his family seem don't know about our affair. He introduced his sister to me few months ago. We are quite closer friends now . However, I guess she doesn't know our relationship is going on secrectly. I tried to be the best person for her to accept me one day to be her brother in law.My parents knew our relationship and they wish I would get marry soon .

By the way , his Bahaiee best friend had just married with a Canadian chinese girl recently . I don't know how long they had been dating for . Most of his friends who are in overseas married with non -Iranian.He can be the same, I reckon. Why not.

I haven't met his mum yet and if one day she comes back to here, I would meet her . I really wish I will give her the best impression about me. I can change anything to be better except my nationality . I believed , his mum loves him much more than his one elder brother and another younger sister. He is only the person who is talkactive and good of making jokes. I heard from him and also from his sister, he is the only can make his mum happy when she got upset with somethings.

I am learning farsi now .I like his culture lots and wanted to know more about Iran life and anything I need to know.

I got some questions here. How can I make his mom believe that I really love his son and also Iranian culture??

I really envy those foreign women who have been married to Iranian man just been dated for 6 months. I wondered how they made it . If anyone hears my problems, please share it and give me some advices, ideas or opinion. Thank you . Motshakeram!

khodahafez - Dorri

Battling the culture differences

Name = D.D.
Years Married = 18
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = USA, Minneapolis

Subject: = Battling the culture differences

I have been married to my husband (only son) for 18 years. Add another 6 years of dating before his mother told him to marry me. This was only the beginning...I love my husband dearly, but to any of you American women married to Iranian men...you have to know by now that there is certain criteria that you have to own up to. First, you must reproduce! Second, you are secondary to your husband's mother and family. Third, when it comes down to the wire, money is no object when it comes to their families.

I have to admit that I have a jaded opinion of Iranian culture. I speak fluent farsi. I have studied, but not excepted the Moslem belief. I am the main bread winner of the family.

My inlaws are able to control our entire lives while living 24 hours (plane ride) away from us! However, not being able to reproduce has caused a major problem for an only son. Also when I am forced into a corner I will fight my way out. These two things are not appreciated in an Iranian wife. Blood is thicker than water you know. Marriage contracts are pieces of paper that are easily disregarded. I have been told to my face that I am dispensable and that his mother comes first.

Sorry to stir the pot!! D.D.


The ever continuing battle of cultures! Please read!

Name = D.D.
Years Married = 18
Country & City = U.S., Minneapolis
Category of Submission = Issues
Subject: = The ever continuing battle of cultures! Please read!

Salam, che tor hastee shoma. Man esme D.D.

I previously wrote to ZanAmu earlier (above), with cultural problems. I thank all of you that responded, my heart goes out to all of you.

To recap, I dated my husband for six years wondering if he would ever ask me to marry him. He seemed to be waiting for something...then upon his parents 3rd visit, it happened. His mother proposed to me!! It may seem like an odd thing, but the parent's approval is very important. Nonetheless, she has always been center stage in our 18 year marriage. She had even walked up the aisle to my grand march!!

I am completely fluent in farsi, studied the Moslem belief, but never converted and adapted to his culture. I love to serve Persian dinners and parties. I have melded myself around the Persian culture and have enjoyed every minute of it. I am also a successful business woman living in the US.

If you are planning on getting married, watch his mother closely and pray that you get along with her alright. I can't say anything about your situation, but mine was very tense because he is the only son with 3 older sisters. After the first 9 years of marriage, I realized that I had never been accepted by his family, nor am I good enough for their baby boy. He has told me repeatedly that I am not as important as his family. In addition, we were not able to have children and I was blamed and cursed for it.

Each relationship is unique, but you have to accept that their lives are like a big spider web. Each life is intricately woven together and you will feel the shock or wave of each up and down of his entire family. As Americans we are individuals doing our own thing. When we marry, we leave our parents and join with a husband, creating a new family, separate from the parents. This is not true of Iranian culture. Please make sure you have a discussion about this before you make the big step. Where do you fit in the scheme of things. Nine years from now will he be telling you that his family's needs are more important than you?

I truly believe that my husband and I are soul mates. We compliment each other immensely, and I love him so much it hurts. I have done everything I can to adapt to his culture. We have done everything possible to help his family, although he has never held a job, other than working for me. This week we divorced...due to irreconcilable differences. I felt that I was an important human being and he felt that his family came first and I was not important, nor was my opinion wanted or needed. I was to continue working and building a business to fund any and all of his family's needs. (I don't object to this, as they do need help.) However, I don't need to be told that what I want is not important and that his family will always come first.

If you are planning on marrying an Iranian man, please discuss the scenario. I know that all situations are different. Within our group of Iranian and American friends that married out of college (totalling 8 couples) We are the last to divorce due to direct involvement of their Iranian families.

D.D.

P.S. It breaks my heart to talk about this, as I am now a single woman with alot of knowledge of the Iranian culture that has made my life so full of meaning. I by no means think that this will happen to you, but I beg you to talk about this.

After Nine Years....

Name = April
Years Married = 14
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = Iran, Karaj

Subject: = After nine years....

Hi everyone! I've lived in Iran for nine years now. My children were three and five when I came. I've experienced it all, the weddings, the funerals, Ashura, Now Rooz, you name it, I've seen it! I play basketball on the Karaj city team. My Turkish in-laws don't really think it seemly for a married woman to be out of the home so much, but well, I'm foriegn so I'm different. I teach English. I speak Farsee fluently and I read fairly well.

On the other hand, I haven't left the country for nine years because I'm not allowed to take the kids out. (Don't be scared or feel sorry, it's my personal story and won't necessarily be yours, but on the other hand, he will definitely have a large advantage over here if he gets you here with the kids. ) I'm not unhappy though, I have many friends from many different countries, I have a nice home, and very polite, innocent children. My fourteen year old son has never had a girlfriend and plays chess at recess at his junior high school. I don't know if I made the right decision or not but life is definitely not boring here!

Please feel free to write and ask questions. Thanks for the site! I like the name: I can't even begin to count the times that I've opened the door and a parade of children came through, sing-songing, " zan amu, salaam, zan daee, salaam. Thanks! Love, April

How to be accepted with your persian jewish family!

I am 23 years old and have been dating a persian jewish guy for 7 years now. He is jewish and I , catholic. I have come to the point where I feel that after 7 years it is time to make some sort of commitment. At first his excuse was that I wasnt persian. Well can speak and understand the basics. Now his excuse is i am not jewish. Well, just enrolled in judaism conversion classes. But as I am taking these classes I am asking him to talk to his parents about this whole situation. His excuse is that he doesnt know how to approach his family and that he is afraid that they might not approve and that they may disown him. If anyone knows anything about middle-eastern cultures is , that no matter what your parents will always be there to help you. They may be a little upset at first but in the long run they will get over it.

So he says that the best thing he can tell me (after 7 years) is that he is happy the way things are and that he doesnt want to mess them up by making a commitment. He is hoping for a miracle (by that he means, he is waiting for mother to just say.. Please marry that girl) Which will never happen. She has told me that if i convert she will still nt accept and approve of me. Because i am not a born jew.

Im so lost. I love this man dearly. But isnt it true when they say "If you love something so deeply youll do whatever it takes to keep it?" He tell me that i can leave him because he will not make a commitment. I do not want to leave. I keep thinking that I can just keep telling him to talk to his family, but then that jsut ends up in a big stormingout of the room fight. His mother is coming between us. Ineed some insight on this whole issue. I do not know where to begin or think.

Please any comments will help. Sincerely,Candyce

Please help my Iranian fiancee and I to win a free wedding on Valentine's Day.

Name = Sarah
Years Married = 0
Number of Children = 1
Country & City = America, Cleveland

I am an American woman who was working in Japan for a year when I met my fiancee. He had been working in Japan for years, and while he was fluent in Japanese I was not and he could not speak English. Luckily for us, we both had enough of a background in spanish to communicate and we began dating. I love him more than I could ever imagine loving another man and I think that we have really helped each other to grow. I fell in love with the way he lives, his love of God, and the way he cooks, in addition to his great sense of humor and charming personality. Of course his gorgeous eyes and killer smile didn't hurt! We decided that we wanted to get married and be together and finally he agreed to come with me to America. With the excitement of those decisions, we let our emotions get the best of us and I became pregnant. We then faced a lot of problems with immigration and were told by several lawyers that they would need thousands of dollars to begin our case and that we had very slim chances. We were told that at least we would have to stay in Japan two years before we had a chance. With me being pregnant, however, we decided that I should not re-new my work contract and that it was best for the health of the baby and the support of being new parents that I return to America. So, at more than 7 months pregnant I flew home and Reza and to stay in Japan. We spoke every day and worked very hard to get his visa. Finally, three weeks ago Reza and I were re-united and he got to hold our 5 month old baby girl for the first time. We are a family and we are very blessed with love, health, and happiness.

Now we have the chance to win a wedding. We are one of 4 couples. And in order to win we need enough internet votes. Every vote is important. Neither of us have been able to work yet and we have not yet built up a community around us - we are starting from scratch. I was unable to work because of the baby, who I am nursing, and Reza does not have his work permit yet. If any of you have a minute or two, we would really appreciate you taking the time to vote for us and help us win what we do not have the time or money to plan - a gorgeous, completely free wedding!!!

The website is www.wdok.com and it is the third item on the front page (where it says "cast your vote"). We are couple #1 - The GreenCard Couple! Thank you for any of you who have read this and are willing to take the time!!

I am thrilled to have found your site!

Sincerely,Sarah M. Paulett

In for the long run - Fear of future Maadar Shohar!!

Name = Amy J.
Years Married = 0
Number of Children = 0
Country & City = USA, Los Angeles

Dear Zanamu,

I am an American women, educated and come from a good family.
I am deeply in love with an Iranian man, whom I have been committed to for 3 years. we talk about our future, and getting married. He treats me with the upmost respect, and we truly have a lot in common, and share the same outlook on life, (ie. values, beliefs, etc.) The only issue that I have, is not one of religion or culture, because I feel he has prepared me so to speak of our differences, and I have seen first hand. However, we are not engaged yet, and we have been together for quite some time. He continues to tell me, there is a lot to be ready for, and when the time is right we will. His parents are in Iran and haven't been here. They are supposed to come to the states soon. I truly feel as though, he is waiting... to see if his mother approves, and if she does not... my future husband, love, and best friend, will be compromised. Anyone to help alleviate my fears of my future maadar shohar?

- Amy J.

My Persian man doesn't know American Traditions

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years, and it can still be difficult when it comes to beliefs and such. I am an American-born woman who has lived in the US all of my life. He really doesn't care/know about Valentine's Day and Christmas and other holidays. I'm struggling with the idea that my traditional beliefs will slowly fade away. Does anyone else have these issues? I love him but we are still very different. He has been here for over 10 years but he is still somewhat traditional in his thinking, and I sometimes feel like an outsider. Don't get me wrong...he is very Americanized compared to some of his other friends and family. Do couples of our nature have a real chance at true happiness? Or is it just how much one is willing to adjust to the other's culture. Anyone have any comments? - Yvonne
Name = C. Bashiri
Years Married = 17
Number of Children = 2
Country & City = USA, San Francisco

Hi Yvonne...

I understand your situation. When I met my husband, he had only been in the US for about 4 years. Although he knew about the American traditions...he did not appreciate or participated much in them. Here's how I would suggest for you to approach this:

Talk to him and invite him for the "non-religious" traditions first. Explain what they celebrate..ex. Thanksgiving(giving thanks), 4th of July (freedom), Valentine (love), Easter (universal celebration of re-birth/spring) etc and why they are important to you. In return, find out about Iraninan "non-religious" traditions that he celebrates and partake in them too like Siz-de-bedar and Aide Nowruz.

If you are not very religious, I suggest to celebrate Christmas as a time to spread peace and goodwill. Focus on the spirit of giving, showing appreciation of others through gifts. Again, explain what they mean to you and reciprocate this with interest in the birthday/death of Mohammad and other imams.

In time, as he partakes with you in some of your traditions, he will find the comfort in them as well. Again, reciprocate with partaking in his traditions. After 17 years with my husband, we do a little of everything...think of all the new traditions you will create together. - C. Bashiri

Dealing with Iranian in-Laws

I have been married to an Iranian man for 8 years and we have four beautiful children. I love my husband very much but I have to say that I really dislike his family, especially his mother, who is extremely selfish and controlling. She has never accepted our marriage and still tries to create problems at every occasion she gets. Even though I am the mother of her four grandchildren, she disrespect me at every occasion she gets and she talks badly about me in front of my kids! What I have noticed is that most Iranian mother-in-laws are unbearable and very hypocritical, they are controlling, disrespectful, dishonest, cruel, and trouble-makers. Unfortunately, I have not met any Iranian women who have been genuine and nice to me. I have come to really dislike all of them and to be on my guards, eveytime I meet one of them. The women in my husband's family are al like my mother-in-law and it seems that it is an Iranian trait of character, as far as the women are concerned. I am really trying to stay objective and not to have stereotypes, but it is really hard when all your experiences with Iranian women have been bad and painful experiences. I have two boys and I would certainly not encourage them to marry an Iranian woman. I know that they are dedicated to their families and that's great, but that is not enough. They need to be sincere and caring individuals and I do not see that in them Unfortunately, my husband has three sisters and I feel as if I have four mothers-in-law. I love mu husband but I have to admit that sometimes, my life turns into hell because of the iranian women' involved in my life. The problems do not stop there, my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law's female friends are also part of the problem: they are brainwashed by my in-laws and make sure to create problems in my life. At this point, I have stopped talking to my in-laws and refuse to socialize with them in any way. It is very hard for my husband and sometimes, we fight about it but I refuse to have any relationships with them any more. They have hurt me enough! I would like to know if anyone ou there shares my opinion about Iranian women and if anyone out there is having the same difficulties as I am having. - yasmeen

An African American married to an Iranian

Hi my name is Pam, I have been married to my husband for 21 years. I met my husband while I attended college in the 70's We fell in love immediately, I knew nothing about Iran . Well, we fell in love and he went back home during the hostage crisis. After 2 months. being in Iran he left to go to Spain, he sent for me at this time and I went to Spain, we didn't get married in Spain, he came back to the States 2 months after I returned home, then we got married. 3 years later I had a year old daughter by him and his parents decided to come to the states, Oh God it was devastating in the beginning, his father wanted me to convert to Islam and I didn't agree with this, I had a very hard time, but now after 21 years of marriage I am extremely close to my in-laws.

it didn't happen over night, but if you love your husband or boyfriend you will have to accept his family and the culture. I am a strong black African queen and Iranian princess, yes I am very comfortable with my Iranian side, I feel more comfortable with Iranians than I do some Americans. I live in Georgia, and I have embraced the Iranian culture and way of life. My in-laws live here now and I LOVE them they are GREAT PEOPLE. I have my in-laws over 2-3 times a week, we eat DELICIOUS KEBABS, GHORMEH SABZIE,ZERRESHK POLO, DUKE, etc, I have 2 beautiful daughters Soya, 18, and Sima 9. I LOVE MY IRANIAN KING, I could not have married a better guy. We trust one another and I would die defending him, his culture, and everything he stands for. We make a perfect couple. I am living happily ever after down South, with my lover, best friend and mentor, MAKE IT WORK, ESPECIALLY IF HE'S GOOD TO YOU. GOOD LUCK !!!! To you. FROM BUBBA JUNE, MAMMA JUNE, SOYA, SIMA, SAID AND PAM GOOD LUCK TO YOU. MAY ALLAH BE WITH YOU ALWAYS.Any one who wants to respond and become our friends, please do so, I would love to hear from all of you, we have so much in common. Peace and good living. - Pamela

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What are the Challenges & Rewards of being married to an Iranian? (ZanAmu, ShoharKhaleh)
 Language - Learning Persian (Farsi)
 Persian Poetry, History, Literature & Culture
 Culture - Cultural differences, Value systems
 Jokes - I don't get the Persian Jokes
 I know he loves me, why can't he say it??
 My spouse is Continually testing my love & loyalty
 Great husband/wife - Devoted father/mother, Generous
 My spouse is very controlling
 In Laws' control and lack of approval
 NEVER disagree/confront in public
 Food - Learning & cooking Persian food
 Long family visits - live in in-laws, Persian Hospitality?
 Religion - Different religions, Raising Children Muslim!
 Children - Raising children according to two different cultures
 Travel to Iran, Visa issues, Remarry as a muslim!
 Different standards and expectations from boys vs. girls
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