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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 830
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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Thank you for your response. I think I feel overwhelmed that

Resolved Question:

Thank you for your response. I think I feel overwhelmed that everything is moving so quickly. Honestly I'm not sure if I plan to be in a serious relationship with this guy yet. After all we are still getting to know each other. I do have feelings for him but don't want to jump in and assume that we are just going to be a family.
When he was at my place the other day, he brought up the idea of having his mother come from Egypt for a few months and take care of our son. I started having anxiety even hearing this (but I didn't show it). He said to me, "it would be great because she can see the baby and take care of him while we are at work, and you can save money on daycare, etc)
In theory this is is a great thing. But once again, I start feeling like he's trying to take over everything (even though that's probably the furthest from what he is trying to do).
I think these are more personal issues for me that I need to sort thru. I feel so protective of my son. I just need to figure why I feel so defensive when it comes to all of these things.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Norman Brown : I've read your previous two questions, and even though Deardebra answered them, I want to add to what she has written. I've taught lots of Muslims from Arabian countries in my previous 23 yr experience as a college professor at a premier aviation university in Daytona Beach, FL.
Dr. Norman Brown : I think your worry that he'll take over everything is a valid one. NOT because I know that he will, but because he stands to shame himself and his family if he is NOT MARRIED TO YOU. So you need to try to balance the power between you and him, in order to make your marriage an Egyptian-American marriage. you'll need to say NO to much of what he wants--because he's "wanting" all these things because that's how he HAS TO RUN HIS FAMILY to be a good son of his parents. OR you'll need to decide that you set up your fate when you had sex with him, so you're going to be as good of an American wife of Egyptian husband as you can be.
Dr. Norman Brown : First, I'd advise you to NOT allow his mother to come, until you've worked out an arrangement that you can be satisfied with, not just now, but in the future. If you live in a metropolitan area, look for a group or a marriage in which Egyptians, or Arabians are together. Yet you'll have to be very careful who you ask about your prospects for living a life you'll want if you marry this Egyptian.
Dr. Norman Brown : You're also going to have to consider whether you want to keep living in USA, or move to Egypt, or be open to some time spent in each country.
Dr. Norman Brown : You're very justified in being nervous about giving in to being in love with him. Here are a few HEADLINES ABOUT LOVE: 1. the really romantic love period normally lasts up to 3 years, and then things normally simmer down. Well before then, however, there normally are some pretty difficult if not irreconcilable differences that arise, though couples that are madly in love and escalating their relationship towards engagement and then marriage can often ignore them--until later.
Dr. Norman Brown : 2. You're heading into an ARRANGED MARRIAGE, in effect, because the accident of getting pregnant has led him to decide he must arrange to be married to you to save face. That doesn't mean he can't really Love you now, for I have interviewed married Muslim young men, and they said it's normal to fall in love with a good muslim girl even if you've never actually seen her until you're getting married. So he can really love you. And he probably loves you MORE because of the emotional intensity that teetering on the edge of feeling publicly shamed and enduring the shame of his family--that's like a crowd of attacking bedouins circling his camp with you in the desert, and only the strength of his love for you shines brightly enough to keep them from overrunning the campsite: There are NO UNBELIEVERS IN THAT FOXHOLE (war metaphor) because believing in LOVE feels A LOT BETTER than FACING HIS SHAME.
Dr. Norman Brown : How old are you? How much FAMILY do YOU have that will support you and potentially help you build a balanced Egyptian-American relationship? Because you've had the baby on your own, you have the power to say NO to him, and I advise you to NOT LET GO OF THAT POWER.
Dr. Norman Brown : Another possible path for you to take since you don't want to jump into something that he's going to want to convert into MARRIAGE ASAP--as I said ARRANGED MARRIAGE. [In Egypt they might use an expert to read your astrological charts and advise on your level of natural compatibility. You could ask an American astrologer to do that--an American because you want her or him to tell you BOTH the truth as it stands on the charts. That's actually pretty easy to do with a Composite Chart for the relationship, which could be cast for both where you live now and for where he would want you to live in Egypt. If those chart readings came out "not so good" then HE'D have a reason to embrace HIS plan B, assuming he's had to figure out how to manage avoiding shame if he gives the child and you up. But even if it came out pretty good (and perhaps YOU &/or HE don't believe in astrology) you'll still have the cultural and geographical--and PATRIARCHAL differences that can wreck even a great marriage!
Dr. Norman Brown : I was going to point out a different path than that one. You seem to be interested in the adventurous option of getting deeply involved with him to see if your relationship works well or not. I suggest that if you do that you should insist that it has to happen on YOUR TURF and UNDER YOUR RULES, not his. I strongly suspect that if you let your son become a muslim, YOU WILL LOSE HIM if anything happens to crash your marriage. Or you'd have to use American divorce law against Islamic Shariya law, and your son would be caught in the crossfire.
Dr. Norman Brown : So what are your RULES? The relationship stays here, your boy does not visit Egypt. Your boyfriend's mother does not visit here. You BF is free to go to Mosque, but not with your son. Basically your BF has to continue what he was doing when he seduced you (or you him): He's having an adventure of being in America and living and loving like an American, except for practicing his faith as he sees fit. If he has many arab friends, that adds to the complexity. He's apparently told his family that he's married to you; but he has to tell them the two of you are living your first few years like Americans would, in order to find out if you're compatible enough to take the much bigger step of formalizing an Egyptian-American marriage system with an American-style balance of power between you.
Dr. Norman Brown : If this sounds pretty impossible to do, it could well be that impossible.
Dr. Norman Brown : I've asked you some important questions: How much family do you have to back you up? Do you have it in you to be as assertive with your Egyptian BF as I've suggested? Right now you do still have more power than he does, but that won't last unless you say NO to his mom, and NO to his making your boy into a muslim (AT THIS TIME, before you KNOW YOU WANT TO MARRY HIM AND EMBRACE a good cultural compromise for a life together.)
Dr. Norman Brown : Previously I've suggested inquiring among Egyptian/American relationships. Find out who the most liberal & American-friendly Imam (Mosque-priest) in your extended area is, then ask him yourself or get a male relative to ask him HOW a balanced American-Muslim relationship can succeed. Or inquire with an Islamic cultural center if they know any mixed-American/Egyptian or Am?Arab couples, and then interview those people. There's NO better way to find out if a happy (for you)long-term relationship is going to be possible.
Dr. Norman Brown : You've got a huge challenge ahead of you, if you don't want to get seduced and then surprised. I have done very serious counseling with some male and female muslims, and I've learned some things that Americans are unlikely to know. For example: Muslim men can be extremely good lovers, and can devote long periods of time to pleasuring their partner. But this loving is not the same as face-to-face emotional intimacy, or honest expression of his ideas, goals and values. I don't know how widespread this "good lover" treatment of women in the bedroom may be, so I can't presume to generalize from my informants to your Egyptian man. But this long-lasting pleasuring is not a substitute for verbal, mental and emotional intimacy, even though it may convince the woman that (as the James Bond themesong says) "Nobody does it better . . . . . darling you're the One."
Customer: After reading what you wrote, I think it makes sense to protect myself and my son. I do t know this man well yet, and at this point I don't want to think about a relationship with him. I don't have alot of family left, and the ones I do have don't live in this state. I do, however have lotsof great friends in my corner.
Customer: i think what is best is to file for sole custody of my son, offer a decent amount of vîsitation time with the father, and move on with my life. I don't feel comfortable with his mother coming later in the year, she can certainly come for a visit, but not for six months. Also, what's going to happen if I say I don't want to be in a relationship with him? He actually seems like a pretty liberal Muslim to me, doesn't pray 5 times per day, his roommates (who are also Arab) drink alcohol, etc. I feel that I have no problem bending on certain issues (adding another first name to my sons name, getting him circumcised), but as far as marrying him, and potentially converting my son to Muslim, I don't want to do this.
Customer: So if I need to go through the court system to protect myself then that's what I'm going to do. I mean, we only went on 3 dates, and had sex the last time we saw each other (a whole ten minutes)
Customer: I'm not going to bend over backwards to please him, especially when he was the one who committed the act against his religion, family, etc. on a side note though, he does often tell me to "take my time" when asking me for these things. I'm not sure if that's a bit of reverse psychology, but I'm a pretty intelligent woman so I'm wondering if there's something that. I don't want to be scared of the situation, but you're right, I do need to put my foot down. He always talks about "when we go to Egypt in a couple years to visit my family it will be great". But then later on he's added things like, "maybe he can go there for summers, learn alot of Arabic, etc". This is why I think it's important to file for custody and give him visitation.
Dr. Norman Brown : You're sounding pretty strong here, and I'm glad. I was moved when I read in your second question that deardebra answered that you basically have been doing without any older generation guardian figures for quite some time. I was dismayed when I read in DD's answers that you're supposed to figure out what feels right to you and not bend to your friends' well intentioned advice. For the vast majority of human history ALL marriages were arranged with the input of both sets of parents and the wise people of the village (if it was a village society). Only in the last 200 years or so have some people been marrying "for love." But then we have to figure out how Love can be "True-enough Love" to guarantee a durable and fulfilling marriage, without realizing (until some time 3-10 years later) that feelings change over time, by their own nature--even though the original love feelings can also persist along-side the new ones.
Dr. Norman Brown : So I've been nominating myself to be one of your "good fathers" that you've never met, in order to give you input from a scope of experience that neither you nor your same-generation friends have had a chance to have. I can tell you from my own experience, of a domineering and rigid father, that every tribe (and Jungian psychology's use of anthropological universal facts) knows we can have many fathers and mothers: For I've been deeply touched by an older math teacher (& modern-"beatnik" culture buff) in high school, an admiring (medieval French) professor in doctorl grad school at Stanford, one of my (female physical & psycho-)therapists, 3 slightly older doctoral profs at 2nd PhD in Psych, and finally by my father's younger brother, who understood as little about me as my father did, but who loved me without any preconditions about what I had to aspire to in my own life to be worthy of him.
Dr. Norman Brown : Because you've been without benevolent parents since so early in life, you can allow other older generation people who genuinely love you to touch those spots with healing care--without having to become a slavish follower of whatever such a person wants any of their own offspring to do.
Dr. Norman Brown : My reason for cautioning against letting his mother into your life is that she's probably very hooked in to his family's intention that you should be married to their son. IF she speaks English, she might make you feel like she's one of those "good mothers" you've been craving even without knowing it, so you'd slide into becoming family with both of them because of her effect on you. Last night I talked with my wife about you, and she ended up emphasizing that you really COULD lose your son if his father makes him a Muslim or if he ever visits Egypt, with or without you being along. Patriarchal power is very oppressive in Muslim societies, and I wanted to warn you about that. I'm still very interested to know your age & situation with regard to work & life goals, as well as his reasons for living in USA and his life goals. One thing you might not realize is that it's very common for Arab students (men always) to do things in America (like drink, date and have sex) that they would never do back home, and then to suppress what they experienced in order to get along in their native countries. The culture clash is very difficult for them, but they'll still knuckle under to get their father's money and social connections. But for young women it's really RADICAL because they are practically Prisoners back home--unless they go to college to be a doctor, nurse, teacher or lawyer (the only professions allowed to them) and then never marry or divorce their husbands and live as single women in an atmosphere where extramarital sex is a rampant unreported phenomenon.
Dr. Norman Brown : PS I guess the "great lover" section didn't pertain to your situation, since it was only once, and he was possibly a virgin himself. The "Love is the Answer" theme in America bothers me, because I found out through my own wounded heart in my early 30s after my first 9yr relationship broke up that "it's so easy to fall in love" For, I discovered later, that's how we're designed to work, less so women than men, though, because YOU have to give birth and nourish the child that men can sow in 10 min. SO I tried to get my students (1989-2010 Psych of Relationships course) to practice "safe-love" by developing prequalifications for "dating" someone, so they don't fall-in-love by falling-into-a-tarpit of problems. (Aka a "shopping list"). One "rule" for women: Don't get involved with a man who's not as educated (or high status) as you are: because men usually can't deal as well as women with the one-down position in a couple vis-a-vis public status and preferred activities. In your case the operative rule would be simply: Don't get deeply involved with a man whose culture normally subjugates women. Unless YOU make enough rules to insure that his culture can't take over in YOUR relationship.
Dr. Norman Brown : Your Egyptian seems like a very naive and not-yet too male-chauvinistic young man, from your story about him refusing to kiss & cuddle until he has a job to support you--but that's NOT a rule he followed when he took you on those early dates. So he's switched cultural rule-systems from "America's Fre-4-All, & nobody back home will ever know" to "Now I'm an Egyptian of good Moral Character"--so there's his culture clash. I'm dubious that he'll want to stay around and play by your rules if you won't let him think that if he's just good enough to you (AND you don't start dating anybody else!) you might fall in love and want to marry him after all. Sticky Tarpit!
Customer: Wow this has been so great communicating with you. Yes I love that I have a father figure from a distance. Actually I am one of those people that others tend to "adopt" into their family. I lost my mother at a very young age, didn't know my father (I met him at 22 years old) and was raised by grandparents who were rather tired of raising kids. So most times we had no money and my brother and I often felt like burdens in their care. I was lucky enough to be skilled in dance and singing and was offered the opportunity to travel starting at age 18 as a showgirl overseas. It was really exciting to me, and I learned so much about the world, different people, cultures, religions, etc. So, although not very educated in Arab matters, I'm pretty well traveled and pretty aware of what's going on in the world around me. In some ways I feel like the issues I'm having with this man, where he comes from, etc, may not necessarily have to do with h, but my need for love and companionship, since I had do very little of that as a child.
Customer: As far as he goes, he came to the US 6 years ago by accident really, a friend nominated him to be part of a "pool" of people to be chosen to receive temporary work visas and come to the US. So he's quite Americanized I would say by now, he really loves it here and plans on making the US his permanent home (although he plans to go to Egypt every couple of years). He is the oldest child in the family, and his mothers favorite, so she is so happy for this new grandson that is in you family. She has actually come to the US a couple of times the past couple years to see him for a few months at a time. I would definitely say he's a mommas boy. So in some ways I am nervous about taking my son to Egypt. But on the other hand, I think that they are so close and she would forbid something like that to happen because of the relationship they have. (Not to mention the very special relationship between a mother and child)
Customer: I did ask him point blank the first time I saw him "hey, do you know what people are saying? They are saying be careful, you don't what this mans intentions are, that he could take your son, etc). He was shocked actually and said "are you kidding? I would never, could NEVER do something like that. It's not right, and my son would hate me for it, and I couldn't deal with that. A child needs to be with his mother, and you will always be his momma". That did give me some relief, and you can't believe everything you read in the media or see on CNN. I choose to not live in fear. So anyway I think he is pretty Americanized, but he is so close with his mother and wants to share this beautiful child with her. By the way, he told his mom we were already married lol. On our first meeting, he asked if I would be willing to "make union with him in the mosque". I was VERY wide-eyed at that request and said I would think about it but I needed to know all details first. That was actually about 3 weeks ago and he hasn't brought it up since then.
Customer: All in all, I think it's going to work out well. Like I said, (and I think he knows by now) that I'm not planning on marrying him anytime in the near future, I will NOT be converting to Islam EVER (I don't care how good of a lover you are lol) and I plan on staying a smart independent American woman who can think for herself. Honestly he's already lied to his family about us, so I'd he wants to continue doing that it's up to him. I'm having mixed emotions now though, about pursuing custody in court. I just feel like why can't we just see how things go over the next few months? if I'm stern with him in my demands then maybe all will be good and we can just try and be a normal American type family. But I'm not the expert on that, lol. I just need to get to know him more and feel out situation. Also, not letting my emotions get the best of me. Right now I'm overly tired, overly worked, and still hormonal from having a baby. So all these emotions tend to take over and I'm on a roller coaster with all of this stuff.
Dr. Norman Brown : Thanks for giving me more background. I can't respond now. But it does sound possible that as long as he doesn't go back to Egypt with you and your son any time in the next year or two, his mother may have time to side with him on becoming further Americanized, and that's what you want. Then the issue would be for HIM to find a way of managing his Islam without taking over your son's spiritual development. In that context, if you live in a city with plenty of highly educated people, there may be a Unitarian Universalist Congregation that would welcome BOTH a Muslim (when he wants to come or even talk about his own faith) and an agnostic like yourself (Did I say I'm an agnostic too, though I'm sure there's a higher power than my ego-consciousness, because of what I've seen in thousands of my own and many hundreds of other clients' and students' dreams). And it's religious education program trains kids in ALL faiths as well as Humanism and Atheism.
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 830
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
Dr. Norman Brown and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Dear Tina, I'm going to the central Atlanta GA Unitarian Universalist Congregation, mostly because there are lots of interesting people from many faiths and non-faiths, and the music is wonderful every Sunday, including many church members playing and singing as well as 2 choirs, and I'm arranging my own music (and the Star Spangled Banner, that no other choir has ever been able to sing completely as I wrote it for 5-8 parts) for it, and I'm about to teach a course on dream interpretation "as a spiritual development practice" in June. My wife, who was raised Unitarian, because her father cofounded a Congregation in Morristown, NJ, is NOT going here in Atlanta, because she doesn't want to get up early, and doesn't like large groups. The downside of Unitarianism is that they avoid God language (because they don't want to offend anyone during the worship service--and instead of prayer they say "silent meditation") and don't sound spiritual enough for me or my wife--tho she and I aren't the same either--and spiritual means there's an interconnection of all humans and all animal and plant life and probably stars and asteroids and black holes too. But there are subgroups where particular concepts of nonmaterial reality are shared, and it's also a general presumption that many members may be developing and changing their ideas aboutlife's biggest unsolved mysteries as they go thru life. Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor once joked that Unitarians who are disliked in their towns don't get crosses burned into their lawn, they get QuestionMarks.But I tried Unity CHurch for a while, and they avoided the existence of evil, so they're what therapists in many areas call "White lighters" that think all you have to do is imagine white light around you and you're safe from all evil.
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 830
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
Dr. Norman Brown and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi dr brown,

Just wanted to update you that things have been going well, my sons father had the flu for a few days, so I've had some time to think about things, and even recently sought out a counselor to process all of these emotions that I'm having. Right now I feel the best thing to do is to hold off on any court custody proceedings. This just isn't necessary right now. Othman is not a threat to us in any way. He simply wants to be in our lives and make it better. I think I have a pretty good gut instinct, and I will pursue something more if I feel compromised. But right now it's just too soon to start feeling that he has any alterior motive other than loving my son and just trying to be there for us.
Some more interesting tidbits about him, he was married once before to an American woman that already had a child. They were together about three years and it didn't work out. But he says they are still friends and talk on occasion. So this makes me more convinced that he is his own man, as something like this is looked down upon in the Arab world right? (Especially to be with someone that already had a child?)
We talked for a long time on Saturday, and it was the most candid conversation yet. To sum it up, he said "please don't be scared of all of this. If you are upset or afraid of something please come and talk to me about it. It doesn't matter how strange you think it is. I don't want you to be stressed. We just need to talk about it and I promise I will tell you the truth"
So I have been feeling ALOT better about everything. Also, I straight up said to him "Othman you know that I am never going to convert to Islam right? I respect your religion but I could never convert." His response? "Why would I want you to convert to something you don't believe in? If that's not what you want, I would never force that on anyone"
So all in all things are going in a good direction, I feel more positive and am hopeful about our future. I know alot of my issues are personal (losing my family as a child, feeling abandoned, etc) so I am meeting with someone to figure out those feelings. I don't want to ruin a potentially great relationship between us because I am being pulled back by my childhood.
Anyway it's week by week really but I would like to stay in contact and keep you informed.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Dear Tina, I agree with your direction, and like you, I'm very pleased with Othman. Interesting psychologically that he's managed to recreate the situation he had before in America, except that this time the child is his own biologically. I'd expect that he wants to make this relationship work out in ways that the other one did not--but it's also likely that he's replicating the other one unconsciously, since that's the way our brains work. The good side of that is that he has the opportunity to be much more aware of his own "natural" (that is brainwired from prior development) thoughts&feelings&actions: So this relationship for him is an opportunity to develop on the path of greater consciousness of himself and his relation to everyone around him. As such he would be very well served by any personal development work YOU do, as you're embarking on that now; and you will be very well served by any personal development work that HE does. My wife and I have each been involved online and by Skype in counseling young 20-30ish Muslims (in Saudi Arabia and UK) who've had to outgrow the limitations of their family situations and of some versions of their faith. One (in Jiddah) was a student of mine and now a client of my wife, is studying Jungian archetypal psychology and teaching it to others who come to him for counsel--and he was steered toward my wife by a liberal Imam who's locally famous in Jiddah. So it's possible that there is some activity where you live in an Islam/Psychology interface that Othman could become part of. You could ask him about that. Jung's is a psychological roadmap of psychospiritual development that does not deny any religious faith--but the faith-communities all end up being too narrow for the individual relation to higher power that Jung's psychology maps. My dream interpretations on JustAnswer frequently turn up implicit directions from higher power (or the collective unconscious of our entire race & cosmic connections) for present day progress on one's personal path -- so if you should have a dream or two that seems mysterious, wierd, scary or awe-inspiring, esp when you're involved in counseling to clear up your own feelings of rootlessness, feel free to ask for me in Dream Interpretation. If you're lucky, your counselor will understand that you'll need to trust and incorporate her symbolically as a "good parent," since we can all use all the good parents we can get--and you will benefit MORE and more quickly from such love connections than those who haven't been deprived as much as you have. I've had my share of good parents too, so I'm all happy with the roles of parents and heroic offspring, and mentors and explorers that we all are, once we realize that underneath our differences we are all one great tribe.
I'm grateful to continue as a proud father who watches over you.
Norman Brown
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dr. Brown,
Thank you for this great info. I have an interesting question to ask. We had a great day today, he made a feast for us, and my son and I came up to spend the day with him. We talked about a couple things that he really wants in the future (but told me to please take my time thinking about it)
One is, will I allow him to take my son to the mosque occasionally when he gets older, and would I be willing to not have my son eat pork? He told me "we are simply talking about this right now, it's not something you need to make a decision on now". So I said ok I would think about it. He talked also today about a marriage later on between us. We didn't talk in alot of detail, but he has brought this up a few times in subtle ways..."when we are married, if we get married" etc. I have told him that I need to be courted first, I'm not just going to jump into a marriage with him. I think he already knows this, but still throws alot of foreshadowing about our future.

So these are my concerns. I'm concerned that he may only be with me because we have a son together, because this way it would be alot easier to get his way on what he wants when it comes to my son. (Not eating pork, circumcision, etc). Do you think this is a possibility? I don't think I can be involved in a long term relationship with someone unless I truly love them.
Also, I have noticed that, although there are plenty of times when we cuddle, etc, he hasn't kissed me in a couple weeks. We did sleep together a couple weeks ago, but it seems like all of that has gone in the opposite direction now. He is affectionate towards me, hugs me hello and goodbye, kisses me on the neck. But we haven't had a full on kiss in a couple weeks now. Is this some sort of respect thing? Sort of like a premarital courtship? I don't know how strict they are in their religion. I try not to think too much about it, but I am a girl, after all. I need to be kissed, touched, feel like a woman, etc.
so I'm just curious what your view is on all of this from a muslin point of view.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ps. I am thankful to you as a father figure. It's nice, especially since my own father doesn't seem to care much lol
Tina
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Dear Tina, I'll have to respond to your questions tomorrow, because it's too late now. I recognize that you're in a bit of a bind now, because you know that the outcome of this encounter is supposed to be marriage, and that makes "premarital courtship" a loaded concept. That seems to me to mess with your feelings, and his too.

 

And I'll guess that Othman is also aiming to "live down" or "get beyond" the failure of his previous 3 yr relationship by making this one work out--which could also have some bearing on his insisting on taking all the time you need. And I do have some acquaintance with Muslim courtship behavior.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I know that when a muslim bride is too uncomfortable with sex to get physical, her new husband can be very careful to not come on too fast, yet also feel frustrated inside himself, while he's trying to get her ready to become his own physically. Who initiated the sex you had that got you pregnant?

 

Perhaps he really wants to do it right this time, and he's really worried that he'll mess things up and this hoped-for marriage will turn out badly like the other one he had. (Did he get a green card through that marriage? Did he marry her partly to get the green card, but then really want it to work out?)

 

Now if he's really going (too) slow to make sure you want him before he moves too much toward you, I notice that he's nourishing you, feeding and honoring you. It's possible that he's waiting to see you blossom like a flower that he's giving water and sunshine (admiration) to. And you've been a show girl before, so you could blossom by making yourself pretty and alluring (though not blatantly sexy but modestly beautiful) so he feels erotically how his nurturing and respectful caring are filling you with feminine pride.

 

But that brings me to a key question I have to address. I'm convinced that if you want him to desire you and go into an erotic trance when he's with you, you will succeed. (Don't you know that a woman -- or also a man -- can bring about such an erotic state by just imagining it, that is visualizing erotic-beautiful scenes, such as the two of you leaning together on a wide bed that's overflowing in sensuous aromatic flowers. The only thing I'd caution you about using psychic influence like this is that such imaginings work even more strongly on the person who's imagining them than on the person they're aimed at.

 

So if you want him to come to you, he will. BUT I'm more concerned about your prospects for a durable long-term relationship or marriage than about whether you can fall into love together or not. And one way to predict that is to look at astrological charts. I've done that a few dozen times, and my wife has many more times than that, using a different method than I have. A chart comparison will not MAKE or BREAK a relationship, but it will show where there are aspects that are so strongly star-crossed to be compelling--such as a pretty common combination of Sun&Venus (though less than 50% present) that indicates it will always be easy for both partners to be aware of Love between them, some central positions that point to the overall purpose or central area of effectiveness of the relationship; persistent difficulties with adjustment between one's preferences and the other's preferences, areas of stubborn conflict, etc. What a chart comparison can tell you is whether the relationshikp will

1. be a natural love which would then give the areas of difficulty the rewards for coping that can help a couple keep it going long-term fairly easily, or

2. be loaded with many major areas of conflict and NOT a lot of rewarding or easy aspects, so it would be a struggle to make it work--tho even a struggle helps us build our character, or

3. not strongly tilted towards either good magnetism OR persistent difficulties, so the relationship can be up to the partners to make of it what they are willing to work for.

 

Since your son's life will be much influenced by this relationship, I think it would be wise to find out if your astro-comparisons are types 1 or 3, rather than type 2, before you commit yourself, as you now seem to be sliding forward, to allowing Love to carry you both away, since it appears to me that Othman does want that to happen. And IF he's really committed to staying in America, AND being a modernized, Westernized muslim, then you do have a chance of creating the fair& balanced relationship you want.

 

I lent out the calculation program I used for over 20 years and the person lost it. But I found out tonight that I could download what may be an adequate program for free, so I did it. If you both would be willing to give me your birth times and places, I could do that, and it would only take me an hour or so, once I've mastered the new program.

 

Well, I didn't let these plans sit around over night.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dr Brown,
Thanks again for this wonderful insight. Othman is actually a citizen by choice, came here almost 7 years ago in a pool of people that were selected, made his way to the country, and eventually took the test for citizenship. At least that's the story I've been told. He did tell me once before about his previous relationship, but it was in the early stages of us dating so I didn't remember.
Also from what I remember we both initiated sex, although the first couple times we went out it seemed like he was VERY turned on by me. Almost to the point that I was annoyed by him lol....he wanted to be very touchy feely with me and I didn't want that. But eventually my physical attraction got the best of me and we ended up sleeping together. But to be honest this wasn't a long enjoyable experience. It was a very quick five minutes, no four play and then it was over. Amazing now to think that I have a child from that one very quick encounter.
My birthday is XXXXX 20th, 1974. I was born at 6:11 pm I believe.
Othman was born November 26th, 1976. Not sure on the time but I can ask him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also I did decide to write him a letter about what I was feeling in regards XXXXX XXXXX and what I believe that I needed to be in a happy marriage with someone (live, trust, intimacy, respect,etc). I basically said that I wasn't planning on marrying him if he was only doing it to satisfy his cultural/family obligations. I said I needed to be in love with someone, and know that I felt safe and protected in this relationship. It was definitely from the heart, and it's been hard to explain how I truly feel when a 4 month is always in between us, so I felt a letter from the heart might be beneficial
He read it and said he was glad I could be honest with him, but didn't say much more after that. We have plans to go out this week on our first official date since having the baby. I'm excited to see how he will react to me. I admit I am VERY sexually attracted to him. Even something as simple as a kiss on my neck drives me crazy.
But we might be getting more into my own personal history with sex. I am not "innocent Annie" by any means, I have had my fair share of lovers and sexual partners in my life, and at certain times in my life have wondered if I may go a little overboard with it (meaning that I sleep with men way too quickly, so a relationship never ends up developing because I gave up the milk for free so early on)
I think this could be some of the reason I'm having some issue with what's going on. I've always used my sexuality to get what I want, and now that there's a child and a possible future husband involved, I can't get away with doing that anymore. I think sleeping with a guy early on may be a defense mechanism in a sense....sleep with him now so this will lead him to think of me as easy, leave, and then I don't have to deal with actually being vulnerable with someone and showing them who I really am. It's been a problem for me for most of my life, and I'm going back to counseling this week to start trying to process some of these feelings. I've been in counseling off and on for a few months here and there, but I really want to explore some of the personal issues with self esteem, sex, etc.
anyway just wanted to throw that part in there. I definitely don't want to ruin a potentially great love story with Othman because I can't seem to get past some of my own insecurities.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Letters are definitely beneficial, because one thinks before writing and before responding. And the other isn't looking at you to make you too awkward to write what you really think. It's great that you want to delve deeper into yourself. (Hey, I would guess without knowing you in person that your lack of "hands-on" parents led you to trade your adolescent heat ("she's hot") for some hands-on, but no substitute for parenting.

 

Wow! almost 40! Maybe you really needed this accident to get you into the next stage of your own adulthood! I'll need the PLACE of your birth and of Othman's too, AND the place where this relationship is happening, because that affects the composite relationship chart. I can get latitude & longitude off of the Internet. I used relationship charts in my couple counseling in Florida, often without telling the clients, because MEN typically assume astrology MUST be bunk, because Western science is sophisticated but hugely flawed in its narrow assumptions and statistical methods. Carl Jung (who stood on Freud's shoulders as the greatest psychologist of the unconscious, but saw cosmic unity where Freud saw godlessness) was once given 500 pairs of charts and guessed which ones were married couples with 96% accuracy. A French statistician tested astrological predictions on thousands of charts to disprove it "once and for all." But his astrological prediction results were correct to less than 5% probability of occurrence by "chance," (as were Jung's) so he insisted there had to be some OTHER theoretical explanation instead of 4,000 years of astrological knowledge to account for its accuracy.

 

But astrology does not RULE our lives. I had a client around 20 years ago from my college in Daytona Beach who was an airplane mechanic dating a Vietnamese-American lawyer, and they fought horribly. His girlfriend went to a female psychologist who eventually refused to treat her if she wouldn't break up with my client. They got married in spite of my efforts too, and she lost her engagement ring in a waterfall on their honeymoon in Hawaii. I finally ran their charts and found a very difficult aspect with Pluto, suggesting they would be fighting forever because only ONE of them could be on top--no balance of power was possible (Pluto was the god of the underworld, like the headguy of the Mafia). I told him that issue would never go away--but the basic Venus/Sun conjunction was present also. Last time I heard from him there was a picture of his half-Vietnamese child, now living in Atlanta (where I'm now living too). So maybe there's some way that a long life together can harmonize incessant conflict on a higher level too.

 

If you're getting warmed up already then you don't need the advice I've given. (I'm a Scorpio too, and I avoided women with beauty-power unless I didn't realize initially how alluring they were, because I didn't know how to manage my sexuality except by dampening it by choosing women I wasn't TOO attracted to). And back to astrology: My wife (who was TOO beautiful for me, but I didn't know it because she didn't dress to show off "what she's got") is a Sagittarius like Othman- so it's very possible that you'll have Sun/Venus conjunct (as we do) and also that you'll either have Mars and/or Mercury very close together in your birth charts (which makes relating Intense and instinctually natural) OR around 30degrees apart (which makes relating difficult, because your natural preferences on many things will CLASH, as mine do with my wife's). But if your Mars, Venus and Mercury positions are more than 6-8degrees apart but NOT close to 25-35degrees apart, then NEITHER the EASY nor the CONSTANT ADJUSTMENT characteristic will be present. In my case with my wife, we like VERY LITTLE of the same music, art, leisure activities, competitive activities, ways of doing therapy or ways of thinking (except politics, where we thrive as we do on ANYTHING we can really come together & see eye to eye on).

 

So get me Othman's birth time & city and your city, and your present living area, so I can use those coordinates to do the first charts on my new program. But no rush. With your birthdays being 6 days apart, your chances are quite good of having more easy predictive astrology than difficult, and overall good prognostication -- if you can manage the cultural discrepancies. If you're lucky, you might also find out thru this relationship that you also have higher power in your celestial choir-loft, and there's no blame in having agnostic reservations about naming or describing it. I myself have no way of deciding whether my own version is a cosmic soul-doctor that works through me or an unconscious choir of human energies that carves out exquisite artworks in everyone's dreams.

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dr. Brown,
I found out that Othman was born in Zagazig City in Egypt. He said he's not sure of the time. We are both in Phoenix AZ. Oh yeah and I was born in St. Paul, MN.
Hope that's still enough information.
Thank you for all the help you're giving me right now, it's been very eye opening to say the least.
Yes, I'll be 39 this year!! Crazy!! Although I don't think I look or feel 39, time sure is going by fast. Actually, scratch that statement. I do feel older now that I've had a child. Tired all the time and need to drop 25 pounds. I was a Zumba teacher for a few years before I got pregnant, and ended up gaining 65 pounds in my pregnancy. So to say the least I am excited when I can get back in the gym and start my workouts again, and eventually start teaching. Teaching Zumba is everything to me, it is really my passion, and I receive so many benefits doing it (exercise, stress reliever, helping others, etc). Right now I feel overweight and just not as young as I'd like to feel. But i know soon enough that I will get back in shape and feel almost back to my old self lol.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I tried Zumba at my new YMCA NE of Atlanta, and decided it's a little too fast for me (at 70, "I like to reggae, but you dance too fast for me"). I didn't lose my breath, and I'm a good dancer, but I figured it would take me 3 or 4 repeated hours before I'd get both the top moves and the bottom moves down at that speed--and I'd rather do yoga instead, where I might have some meditative time in my hour. (But the American yoga teachers don't seem to have ANY CLUE that yoga is supposed to be a spiritual practice, and that's really disappointing. At least ZUmba is fun and the music is lively.

 

Othman's birth time is going to matter, because his rising sign is very important an d will also determine where the central focus of your relationship chart will be: Ego-development-my first love and my only marriage of 28 yrs); security; friendship; home/family; romance/creativity; health/service; partnership; death&rebirth/personal-Transformation/psychotherapy; higher consciousness/philosophy; career; creating a better world (my own personal center); or spiritual-life. I'll get to it soon, but not tonight, since I have to make sure I know how to use the free program.

Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 830
Experience: Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
Dr. Norman Brown and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dr. Brown,
Just wanted to update you. Things seem to be going good, I wouldn't say great, but we are making progress. I have seen Othman a few times in the past couple weeks. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like there are so many unanswered questions between us, and I never can seem to get a straight answer (or at least the answer I'm looking for). One important question to me is, why has he not been physically more affectionate with me. When we are alone together, (if the baby is sleeping) then we will cuddle a bit, he will rub my arm, put his arm around me, caress my hair, maybe kiss me on the forehead, those kind of gestures. But he will rarely hold my hand, and he hasn't kissed me at all in a few weeks. Not even a quick kiss on the lips to say hello or goodbye. It's pretty frustrating for me, I'm a very affectionate person, and him doing this makes me think he isn't even interested in my physically. I know I'm probably reaching, but that's the way I feel. So I asked him via text message (prob not the best way to do it, but it was in the moment. I just came right out and said it...why are you not affectionate with me? Is it your culture? Is it out of respect? Or are you just not interested? ) his response was, it has nothing to do with me, his head is all over the place right now because he doesn't have a job, and he is so used to being the provider. So he really can't focus on anything else right now, and it has nothing to do with me.
I suppose I am ok with that answer, but not sure he's being truthful. I guess I will just have to wait and see. But if there's no attraction there then I just want him to be honest. I'm a big girl and I can certainly handle the rejection, but we will just have to see what happens over the next few months once he starts working and making a regular paycheck. I do know that this is how many men define themselves. Women are more emotional, and I am DEFINITELY a woman!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, he just doesn't seem to be interested in asking me anything about myself. Like who I am as a person, what I like, what I want I life, etc. the conversations we have are very easy going, nothing all that serious (except maybe when we talk about the baby) but sometimes I feel like he could really care less about me as a person. I don't know, this is all so overwhelming for me. It's like I'm supposed to play the dating game with someone that I have a kid with. But if you're dating then you're still getting to know someone. I am always asking him questions about himself , but honesty I don't remember the last time he asked me anything about me as a person. So the question is, should it matter that it's NOT important to him to get to know me?
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I appreciate your update. I wonder if Othman will ask his mother for his birth time? If he won't then I'll learn how to use my new program and just run his chart for birthtime = dawn, though it'll miss a lot of significant information. I do believe that he's hung up on getting a job so he can feel right about being your partner. And when I put that together with his failure to ask anything about you, it suggests this:

 

He's very culturally confined in his perspective on life and marriage. You will probably NOT get much of the American style marriage you're expecting if you marry him. He won't expect to be best-friends with you, because MOST other cultures world-wide think that's ridiculous for men and women to think their interests should be that similar. He'll probably spend most of his time with his muslim male friends and expect you to stay home with the baby almost always and do all your socializing with other women, who are preferably also mothers tending to their children. If it doesn't occur to him that love for Americans "should" have a very passionate side to it, because Muslim men only expect to keep their wives happy with gifts and giving lengthy sexual pleasure but not with intimate&quality time together, then it's not surprising that his other American marriage went south. If he doesn't realize that he's got a lot to learn that's not in his Egyptian playbook to make a marriage be worth maintaining for you, then you're probably headed for defeat, since I doubt that you'll want to restrain yourself into the dutiful and separate-spheres mold that's expected of muslim wives.

 

So I'd suggest you write him again. I think that texting may shorted your messages too much, but basically I'd ask him this: "If you want to make our parent relationship into a marriage that will be worth keeping for an American woman who does not want to act like a muslim wife, ARE YOU WILLING TO LEARN FOR YOURSELF WHAT AMERICAN WOMEN WANT IN MARRIAGE? And that would probably mean either interviewing a few American women in their 30s who are married, perhaps also 1-2 American single mothers, perhaps also speaking with a male and/or female American pastor (not conservative christianity but liberal, like episcopalian or unitarian) and interviewing an American female marriage counselor--as well as asking your Imam what he thinks the differences between muslim marriages and American marriages are. There are a few books he could read in order to understand more about American marriages: The Good Marriage, Judith Wallerstein (interviews with Americans in long long marriages with focus on particular strengths of those marriages--would be an eye opener for anybody, and certainly him--you could even both read it and do some discussing. Of the 3 main types of American marriages, Traditional (conservatives), Modern (Rich working husband, romantic, sexy wife does volunteer work or a bit of Zumba teaching) and Egalitarian (flexible work & domestic roles, shifts based on earning power & equal decision making power--I'd expect the only one you 2 could likely agree to pursue is Modern, from which you might lean toward Egalitarion and he would lean toward Traditional. I have 4+ pages in my textbook that I could scan for that, but I don't know how to combine PDFs into one file for attaching.

 

It seems to me that you'd be most dissatisfied about him not caring who you are beyond your role to be a good mother, be compliant and be pretty--because you really need your man to be very interested in what your life means to you, because you haven't had enough of what self-psychology calls "Mirroring" in childhood to be used to seeing how much you mean in intimate other people's eyes. Mirroring means showing interest & excitement about who you are, not as a physical beauty (tho everybody likes that) but as a real personality; it means "admiration"--because that literally (in Latin) means "turning the mirror-gaze towards" one's partner. And that's what a child is supposed to get from her mother from day one, and also from her father, with father-admiration being especially important during her teenage budding young womanhood.

 

Since you didn't get much of that admiration, you might have become a showgirl because you got some admiration--except that it was just for your bodily beauty and your "act." So you'll really WANT that admiring interest from Othman, and that's something he obviously needs to LEARN how to give. Of course I think he could learn that if he knows he needs to in order to win your heart. But I'm an American man, and I'm naturally enthusiastic about admiring women; I had many interesting and beautiful daughter- and son-substitutes as student assistants in my 23 years of steady college teaching. I can't be sure if he could learn it or not, but he deserves the chance to learn that he'll need to enjoy doing that, so at least he'll have a chance to change his ways if that'll be necessary. I think a female counselor, or even female "life coach" could understand what that means and literally teach him what to do and guide him in practicing so he can habituate it.

 

Bedtime for Bonzo.

Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
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