Economics could be one. I don't know from the man's side, but I can tell you a little of what I know from the lives of friends. A lot of Muslim women don't have that education, they don't have job experience, they don't have money of their own where they can support the children and themselves. If they divorce, their kids will be in a precarious situation, financially. I don't know what it's like in the UK, but in the US, it's common for a lot of guys to not obey the support orders, to be delinquent, to withhold some or all of the money, to be in arrears, etc. What does that mean? That means the wife is shit outta luck, that's what. The court system is so backed up, they don't really have the resources or time to go after every guy who is delinquent on his support and make them pay, or if they do, it's after years and years of that.
I'm not sure how the welfare state plays out in the US, but in the UK financial fears need not be a worry. Times will be tough, true, but you are not left to starve in those situations.
I can't even afford a carpet for my house and we walk on bare concrete floors, inspite of us being here for a year, my finances are very very tight all of the time. Still I prefer this poverty of the finances to that poverty of the emotions that I would have in a loveless marriage.
My ex husband hasn't paid any child support since the day I left him, the courts won't enforce it. However my kids will know this about their father, not because I am malicious, but because they see my life is a struggle and put 2 and 2 together when they are older.
I just know for every wife who bites the bullet and takes the step to divorce, even with this financial uncertainty, there are a lot who don't. I don't say one is better than the other, one is making the smarter decision, just different ones. For me, I'm using this time to get myself ready. I do not envision growing old with this person. We don't live together, but we are still legally married and he supports us. Is it ideal - hell the fuck no. But even if we weren't at this point emotionally we still wouldn't be living together and *that's* not ideal and wonderful for them emotionally either. So I feel like it is a no-win situation where I just have to bide my time and make the best of it.
Don't get me wrong, I bided my time in confusion for awhile too, I know my situation was extreme in that there was violence and emotional abuse, but I froze in a stasis in which biding my time in the known, was safer than facing the unknown.
So I understand part of where you are coming from. Have you conciously acknowledged yourself as staying together for the sake of the children though, or is it that you are biding your time for other reasons?
I mean the "staying together for the sake of the children" mentality is geared towards the childrens best interests, and if I am reading you correctly that doesn't sound like your main concern.
Another reason: custodial interference. A lot of mothers fear that if they divorce while the kids are still young, it will be easier for the father to take them overseas. It is extremely difficult to get your child back once the father has landed in a Muslim country, esp. if he is a citizen of that country. So they wait until the kids are too old to be dragged overseas - if that means waiting until they are legal adults or teens big enough to not go along with going overseas. I had a friend ages ago whose ex-husband used his court-ordered weekend visitation to hop a plane to Egypt where he held the child for three years. In that time, she had to file papers against him, and she ended up moving to Egypt to see her son. The courts in Egypt wouldn't give her the time of day. She was finally able to re-abduct her son after she hired these guys who specialize in that, and get him back home, but there was a lot of psychological damage done to her and the boy (the father used those three years to tell him his mother was an evil whore who abandoned him). And I have heard of other mothers who have had to hire vigilante types to get their kids back and on a plane to get them out of the Muslim countries from their ex-husbands.
Again, I'm not sure how things are in the US, but the courts have alerted the passport office that no passports are to issued to the children without my face to face permission. He could techically get one from the moroccan embassy, but there is alot of red tape involved that he did not want to sort out whilst we were married, which would mean very substantial bribe sums would have to change hands to get past them. Still I am always aware that this is a risk.
However even then, even if it hadn't been violence driving me to leave, just being in a marriage where I have no passion, where I do not desire my partner more than life itself at times, I would still take that risk for the chance to find that passion with someone else eventually. But until then live the way that sits best with me.
Still, I am not criticising
I am just very interested in the thinkig process that leads to different choices under similiar situations.
I remember a few years ago, there was this spate of convert women who "suddenly up and divorced their husbands & quit Islam" as their kids graduated high school or reached their mid-teens, and some of my friends were deeply concerned and wondering why, when it was obvious they were going along with it for however many years until their kids were old enough not to be forced or coerced onto a plane by their fathers.
I know a few guys who are in it "for the kids." I guess they don't want to break up the family while the kids are still young or one guy I know is concerned that his wife won't be able to make it if they divorce (yes, she can get spousal support and child support if she gets custody but it is never enough to maintain the life you have and in most cases, is not even enough to live on). He's trying to encourage her to get a degree or some sort of professional training.
Also I am wondering if the element of shame is part of it? Because in some cultures or families, if you divorce then the parents, the siblings, everyone will be shamed, and it will be like, "Oh did you know so and so's daughter got divorced? What is wrong with her?" and all that pre-modern ignorant bullshit.
I agree unless it is one of those rare cases where the parents are able to maintain some sense of friendship and partnership. Which almost no one can do. I have to be very honest, I know of almost no Muslim marriages where the couple stays together which is happy and functional. But I don't want to get into that.
I just think every person has to do what they think is the best course of action - not the ideal, but the best - in a bad situation, for whatever that time period is.
I am so glad (in a sad at the reality of it kind of way) that someone else has noticed this, I certainly had but I thought it was purely my circle.
I agree about a person needing to do things in the way that they believe is best, of course, and shame could play a large part in it too. I was never really that concerned with shame, although my parents managed to guilt me into caring about it for their sake at times, they weren't worthy enough to make it a long term charade I could ever play out.
I think there is a gender divide on the understanding that goes with that choice though. It's easier to understand why a woman would choose to stay based on financial, honour based, or fear based values, but it's a bit tougher to understand it from a males perspective.