Relationships in Flux (Part 6): Somali Stories

This is the last part of a series of true stories of Somalis living in the U.S. and their relationships. The series is part of a book the author is working on titled, “Courtship and Marriage: The Somali Experience in America.” The author has interviewed three dozen people whose names and locations have been changed for privacy reasons. I will let each tell his or her own story.

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Honey: I am done

My dear husband,

Our eight-year marriage has been what Somalis call, “macaan iyo qaraar” (sweet and sour). We have had love, memorable friendship and companionship. We joked a lot, teased each other and participated in fun gatherings with relatives. Our love for each other was mostly on display for many to see.

Unfortunately, we have also had our moments of sadness and discord. We fought many times constantly, even in front of the children. We slept in separate rooms, and intentionally undermined each other. At times, we ignored each other through emails, phone calls and text messages. Out of arrogance — and perhaps stupidity, too — we failed to seek counseling because you viewed it as a futile exercise. Recently, we reached a point at which we stopped spending time together. You spend more time with your friends at Starbucks wasting time on political chatter. Oddly, it has been a long time since we went out for coffee or dinner together. When I ask you to come with me, your usual response is, “No, I do not want to go, but bring me some food.”

The crux of this letter is that I am leaving you effective immediately. I have had enough of you and your antics and I believe you feel the same. Simply put, I do not want to spend the rest of my life in a relationship where I have to constantly beg for love, attention, and friendship. I do not even consider you as my best friend anymore. I want a husband who is willing to work with me to improve our relationship and make it stronger and better. I want someone who is not opposed to seeking professional help when there is a need, and who is committed to making his spouse a top priority. I want a man who is motivated (alas, you don’t even have a job) and takes care of his weight, health, and well-being. I expect from him what he expects from me: Being a loving, engaging, supportive and loyal spouse. In essence, marriage should be a two-way street. Frankly, I am not going to miss your “low energy,” lack of family involvement, and your tendency to always act as the wronged one. You expect me to respect you when you do not even respect yourself. Look at yourself: you’ve become “wax ma tare” (a loser). Act like a man and be a provider. The government is supporting your family!

I have realized, after much deliberation that you and I are not a match for each other. In fact, I have married a man in turmoil, who has abdicated his family responsibilities and constantly talks about becoming a politician in Mogadishu. I have become a mother and a father for our children. Please go to Somalia and build your political career there while we raise our family here. In other words, you’re no use to us. Let us gracefully go our separate ways. I am sure I do not want to see you again. As Taylor Swift once sang, “We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.” I would rather be single than sorrowful.

Hassan M. Abukar is a freelance writer, Sahan Journal contributor, and the author of Mogadishu Memoir. He can be reached at

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