Things You Only Know When Your Boyfriend’s Muslim And You’re Not

Those 2-4-1 cocktail offers quickly become 2-4-YOU. Hellooo margaritas...

Things You Only Know When Your Boyfriend's Muslim And You're Not

by Jazmin Kopotsha |
Published on

If you asked me to tell you about my boyfriend, I’d spend hours going on about how he makes me laugh even when I’m trying to be stroppy, and how he brings me donuts when I’m stressed (He’s a keeper, right?). For some reason though, when I’m mid-way through my well-rehearsed story about how we met and how in luuurve we are, the bit that people get caught up on is the fact that he’s Muslim... and I’m not.

I was christened as a baby, my grandma still has the puffy white gown that I wore, and we go to church on Christmas morning, but like many girls in their 20s, I wouldn’t say that religion plays a significant part in my day to day life. On the other hand though, following Islam plays a more prominent role for my boyfriend’s.

We’ve been together for almost a year now, which in my mind does DEFINITELY not warrant wedding planners and cake tasting just yet. But I’ve realised that we have battled through our fair share of relationship drama, and some of the particularly tricky moments have been related to the fact that he’s Muslim.

Don’t get me wrong, every relationship comes with its own healthy dose of arguments and awkwardness. But there are still certain things that you’d only know if you’re not Muslim, and you’re in a relationship with someone who is...

You get used to drinking alone

Islam doesn’t permit drinking alcohol, so those 2-4-1 cocktails quickly become 2-4-YOU, which has its pros and cons. On the one hand: hellooo margaritas; on the other hand, there’s the question of whether I have a moral obligation not to drink in front of him because he’s not allowed to. Lucky for me, the answer is simply no. People have asked if it’s weird when we go out, and no, not it’s not. I’ve had some of my best nights out with him and his friends (some of them also don’t drink) because they’re just quite naturally party people. On a heavy night at a club, they’ll order Red Bull, while I’m licking my hand and reaching for salt, always too eager to jump on the tequila train. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

My boyfriend said quite early on that he’s comfortable with me drinking and wouldn’t want me to change any aspects of my life just to fit his (what a babe) which is of course mega important for any relationship.

Finding a nice restaurant is difficult

We celebrated his birthday last month, and I wanted to take him out to a nice restaurant for dinner. Simple task right? No. I’m always surprised by how few and far between Halal restaurants are in London. I found out that when you’re celebrating a special occasion, you’re sometimes quite limited with choice, especially if neither of you fancy Arabic food and your boyfriend doesn’t fancy being veggie for the night. Luckily, after some determined Google-ing, and calling restaurants to confirm their Halal status (definitely worth doing when in doubt), I found a lovely special occasion worthy restaurant in Covent Garden. The down side was that I’d left it quite late to book, and you had to pre-order some of the Halal steak cuts two days in advance. There were other steak dishes on the menu, and lots of other tempting meaty food. Added bonus: there was a martini bar downstairs that served the most amazing mocktails that were way more exciting than your average soda lime and mint no-hito combo.

Your friends might surprise you (and not in a good way)

When I first told two of my now not-so-close friends about our relationship, their reactions were not what I hoped for. I got a lot of ‘But Jaz, he’s a Muslim’, ‘Are you sure about this?’, and ‘Don’t do anything you don’t want to do’. What were they expecting?

My friends know that I am far too stubborn to be forced into anything I don’t want to do, no matter how many Krispy Kremes you bring to the table. Sadly, racism and prejudice is still very much a thing among some people, and too many are still taking warped ideas about Islam and images of a minority of Muslims doing awful things on the news, and applying them to the majority. Nope, I don’t see the logic there either, and it really is quite sad.

People ask fucking stupid questions

I’ve had things along the lines of, ‘But, like, what do you guys talk about?’ (Food, TV, who should go out in the rain to buy toilet roll, food) ‘Is he okay with you celebrating Christmas?’ (Yes. I love Christmas) ‘Has he made you wear a hijab?’ (Ermm, no.) ‘So are you going to convert now?’ (Again, no. Some people choose to later when the whole marriage thing happens, but it’s a choice) ‘Does he mind people knowing that you’re a couple?' (We’re no strangers to occasional PDA. Sorry not sorry).

Some people will just never like it

I’ll be honest, breaking the news of the relationship to family isn’t fun. Tradition is something that most families will want to hold on to, so reluctance toward accepting something like a relationship with someone outside of their faith is definitely going to take some time. Although it’s hard for people our age to get that once upon a time, gay, inter-race or inter-faith couples just weren’t a thing (at least publicly), and for some members of a more conventional, older generation, its still something that their getting their heads around.

It sucks. Especially when you’ve reached a point where you want to be involved in each other’s family lives. All I can say is be patient and persevere. It’s not going to be an easy ride but if you both want to make it work, you can.

It’s actually not that big a deal

It’s really not guys. Most of the drama comes from other people who just don’t get it. Why? I don’t know, maybe they missed that PSHE lesson in yeah 4 about not judging people before you get to know them. There will be hiccups, wobbles and minor cultural differences every now and again – that happens in every relationship.

My boyfriend’s faith is just another part of who he is, it’s not the whole shebang. The downside is, some people refuse to look past the Muslim part. But I bet their boyfriends don’t bring them donuts.

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Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazkopotsha

Picture: Li Hui

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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