Reader Questions: Dating an Algerian Man

Reader Questions: Dating an Algerian Man September 14, 2013
Hi. I’m recently divorced, mid-thirties, no kids, living at home with my parents because it’s rent free and we are very close. I was raised Protestant but never believed in god and am non-religious now.
I joined an online dating website and within 20 minutes was texting a few guys, one of them was “Jean, the Frenchman who teaches French children that live in the US”. I’m a sucker for an accent. He’s so sweet, kind, affectionate, doting, all of this in only 3 weeks. We text every day and talk most nights on the phone.
Last week, I showed a pic of us to a friend who gave me a look (I’ll admit, I’m a bit naive and too trusting of just about everyone). My friend asked his last name, I told him. My friend said I’m more Swedish than he is French. (I’m blond-haired, blue-eyed, fair skin). I poked around the internet to discover that yes, he lied to me. I was more upset that he lied than the fact that he’s Muslim or Algerian. But I digress.
I texted him, asking him to be honest about a question I have. He said sure. “Are you Muslim?” I asked. “you asked me to be honest, yes I am :)” “Are you really from France?”. This was last Thursday and we had a date on Friday night. “can we talk about this tomorrow please?” I told him yes, that I didn’t care that he was Muslim or isn’t French, I care that he lied about it. I told him I like him for how he treats me not because he’s a French schoolteacher. He said he would explain everything Friday but asked that I don’t judge him until he tells me. I said okay.
Friday night, our 3rd date, we were to go to Long Beach and just hang out and talk and stuff. I met him at the train station and before we left, I said “you have some explaining to do.” We talked for about 10 minutes in my car. I previously found out, and he confirmed, that his real name is Ahmed, he comes from Algeria, and is a cashier in a convenience store. (He speaks French because Algeria used to be a French colony, but Arabic is his first language.) He said I have to understand where he’s coming from, and I do, but some friends and family don’t. He said he first came here 5 years ago by himself not speaking any English. He learned on his own and speaks okay…sort of. When he would talk with people, they would ask where he comes from because of his accent. And they would only want to talk politics and religion, instead of sports, music, entertainment. So he made up “Jean” when he went on vacation. He said that people don’t question the intelligence of a school teacher, but they think very differently of a store clerk. And I agree with him.
We texted a lot this past Sunday and he confirmed that he’s not just dating to date. He’s looking to get married and start a family, that only time will tell if we are right for each other, but that he sees us together in the future. I told him flat-out that I would never convert to Islam, I would never visit or even live in Algeria, and any children I have with anyone would not be raised in a religious home. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it, except for visiting Algeria to eventually meet his family.
I’ve asked him if he prays. He says he wishes he did. I said if you wish to, why don’t you? His answer? Because he’s too lazy!!! I laughed and said good answer. I asked if he fasted for Ramadan. He said no, that he’s a bad Muslim.
I asked him if he’s disappointed that I won’t convert to Islam. He said that’s my choice, that “it’s not a big deal, trust me.” I asked him if he would ever consider marrying a non-Muslim. He said yes, Christian or Jewish. I asked if he would ever raise non religious children. He said yes, my children will have a choice. He said he doesn’t blame me for thinking the way that I do, that the media gives us bad pics of Muslims.
I’m so very confused. It’s only been 3 weeks but he has swept me of my feet. But I have my doubts. What if the man I see before me really doesn’t care about religion? What if this is his real personality showing? If it is, then I’m a fool for judging him wrongly. But if the media, friends, and some family are right, then I’m screwed.
As he says, only time will tell if we are right for each other, but from day 1, I’ve felt like I’ve known him for years and am so comfortable around him.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for any advice you might have for me. For now, I’m just going to take it one day at a time with him and have some fun while I’m doing it.


Browse Our Archives