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Dating in Saudi Arabia is challenging, but not impossible, and this helpful article will walk you through the basics of how to go about it discreetly. Dating in Saudi Arabia is a secretive affair and looking for romance in this highly conservative Kingdom is difficult, but not impossible.
This helpful article will walk you through the basics of how people meet, socialize, and date in Saudi Arabia. However, do keep in mind that dating is technically illegal, therefore you should aim to be as subtle as possible. Are you looking to meet single expats and potentially find 'the one'? Finding love as an expat can be challenging, but that's where an online dating site can help.
Expatica Dating will help you meet eligible singles in Saudi Arabia and find the perfect match. Register for free today and begin your quest! The first and most important thing that expats need to know is that Saudis do not date.
Once it is time for a person to get married, their parents will decide on an appropriate match and, depending on how traditional the family is, that person may have the final say on the matter. Furthermore, it is considered both immoral and illegal for two people who are unrelated and unmarried to spend time together; therefore, if you are looking for someone to be more-than-friends with, you will need to be both careful and creative.
Although the Kingdom is opening up in many ways — for example allowing music, movies, and theaters, which enables more public mixing than before — dating, sex, and romance remain taboo. Despite the cultural limitations, it is not impossible to meet new people in Saudi Arabia. In fact, you have a few options if you are on the lookout for romance. Here are some of them.
Dating apps like OkCupid, Match. Just make sure that you are cautious about meeting up with strangers since you are technically breaking the law. Of course, you should take the same safety precautions that you would at home, too. For example, be careful not to share too much personal information, such as your address, and if you do meet, do so in a public place, and be discreet. Expat friendsget-togethers, and compounds are good options for potential romance and for finding people with similar interests. Compound living mirrors life in your home country, offering housing, activities, and gender mixing.
It might feel monotonous to constantly go on dates within the compound, but it is your safest bet. Although many public restaurants and coffee shops are gender-separated, more and more are beginning to allow mixing. Places like this offer opportunities to go out and socialize in a pseudo-normal way.
Read our article on The best restaurants in Riyadh for some inspiration. A solid option to meet friends and interesting people are the myriad Meetup groups that unite people with similar interests, such as fencing, dancing, painting, running, and so on. This is also a safe bet if you are looking for a way to get to know people before diving into a potential romance.
Because of the taboo nature of dating in Saudi Arabia, first dates must be low-key affairs. Some restaurants in big cities also offer private cabins and are lax about letting genders mix within their establishment. Asking around in your expat circles is a great way to discover date spots as most expats know a place or two with relaxed attitudes.
As mentioned before, dating in Saudi Arabia must be subtle. Depending on whether you brave the public gaze, or if you live in a compound or in a home, your risks and behavior will be different. As in any space in the Kingdom, be sure to dress conservatively and avoid being publicly affectionate. It is also risky to follow the more Western rituals of dating, such as bringing gifts, hugging, and so on.
At the end of the date, if there is a bill, the man will usually pay it and they may even get offended if you offer to contribute. Whether or not you choose to wear an abaya or hecarf, it is wise to dress as conservatively as possible; especially if you are technically breaking the law by going on a date.
Long, loose-fitting skirts paired with long-sleeved tops are a good option. Similarly, men should cover their shoulders and legs at all times. It is still incredibly rare for Saudis to marry non-Saudis. If you are a woman dating a Saudi man, you should know that stories abound of married Saudi men hiding their marital status while dating. You should also know that it is uncommon for Saudi men to introduce foreign women to their families because that demonstrates an intent to marry. If you are a foreign man dating a Saudi woman without the consent of her family, you should be extremely careful.
On her part, she is risking both her honor and that of her family; on yours, you are risking jail time and even possible deportation. Moving into a relationship can take various forms in Saudi Arabia, depending on the cultures of the people involved. Some couples continue to subtly date for months and years within the confines of Saudi society.
Others will get married quickly so they can be more public with their relationship — while they continue to date. The time for families to become involved depends on the couple. Some expat couples date, become engaged, and marry without the families meeting before the wedding day.
For almost all expat couples, however, meeting the family involves traveling to their respective home countries and reaching a certain level of commitment. This usually means that you two are expected to get married and that the time and place of that marriage are a formality. Saudi families, like most Gulf families, practice extended family living; where parents, grandparents, and siblings — along with their spouses — all live together in one huge villa. Have a cookie Expatica uses technology such as cookies and scripts to personalize content andprovide social media features, and analyze our traffic.
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