What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on? Kuwait City What is your current status? Are you single, dating, in a long-term relationship, married or divorced? If you're single, how do you meet other people? Do English-speaking people tend to gravitate to certain parts of your city? Meeting men in Kuwait is no problem for a Western or really any other nationality woman: What follows can be confusing.
There are common dating rules to follow in the West and almost everyone plays by them: You meet someone you like, you fall in love, you meet his friends, you meet his family, you might move in together, you get engaged, you get married and have kids. Kuwait isn'Xt as easy for a Western woman dating Kuwaiti men. You meet someone you like, you fall in love, you may or may not ever meet his friends; depending on weather his family is open minded or not, you may or may not ever date in public, you may or may not meet the family until if you get this far the man announces to them that he plans to marry you.
Then, what happens if the family doesn't agree or worse: World War III erupts and potential-mother-in-law suddenly develops a "near" fatal heart condition?
Some men may opt to marry first, then announce; but then probably at the loss of the big wedding with the beautiful gown and all the flowers and with no guarantee of a smooth transition into the family.
Dating is complicated in the Moslem world by the fact that Moslems aren't supposed to date. The reality is that many do and many marry people they have fallen in love with.
Overall, it is still the exception and not the rule, yet visit any Starbucks or mall in the country and you can see that Western style dating is happening in Kuwait. Internet dating services and chat rooms have allowed people in Kuwait to get to know each other before meeting as well.
People here see the potential to find love through getting to know someone prior to marriage. Westerners dating Kuwaitis face additional layers of confusion brought about by stereotypes and prejudice: Yes, even if he is 45 and has already been married twice in the States, this person is known as a "mama's boy" and it is meant as an insult. Arranged marriages between Kuwaitis are the norm here, even in upper class, educated families. The man's mother usually has the right to make the final selection of an appropriate daughter-in-law.
My American friend, Chris, is married to a Kuwaiti. The culture here wants the men to marry one of their own. His mother was disappointed. Hasan, a 40 year old Kuwaiti friend, was on an elevator with his British wife and a Kuwaiti woman actually turned to him in Arabic and said, "What is wrong with Kuwaiti women? Why do you have to marry a foreigner?
Although the perception is changing, Western women in this part of the world have been considered "easy" by traditional Arab standards from what is perceived as too much freedom in the West or perhaps because best or majority of the black market movies come from the West. In the States, we saw movies about Arabs with camels and tents; in Kuwait they watched movies about cowboys and loose women. Preconceived notions are hard to detect until problems arise.
For example, if you are a single woman living alone in Kuwait, you may not want a man you only recently met to invite himself to your home under the assumption that it is "okay" because you are "open minded". Most Western women living alone anywhere will tell you that they won't allow anyone into their homes without determining that he is not an axe murderer first; or at least that he won't show up at your door drunk at 3 am and wake the neighbors as happened when I first moved into a non-secure building in Salwa years ago.
Wouldn't it be easier if you could just find out from the beginning? Sitting a man down in any culture only adds additional confusion because men tend to be commitment-phobics who will run from serious conversation.
A marriage-related question-and-answer session with a member of the male species only serves to free up a single girl's schedule for other males of the species. Perhaps arranged marriages allow for an "up front" look of what the man is thinking, but it is no guarantee.
Kuwaiti women face their own problems: Criteria such as determining if a man is from a suitable family; if he has a suitable job; if he has been married before; bedu or hather, Shiite or Sunni, inside or outside the gate. Kuwaiti women are intelligent and likely want to find out if her mate is intellectually compatible and if it will be a suitable love match. What happens if he isn't the "right one" and a divorce ensues?
It is much more difficult for a divorced Kuwaiti woman than for a divorced Kuwaiti man to find another partner. Western women's complaints are similar to other women everywhere in the world: Many men just don't want to get married, leaving the single girl to wonder if she should invest time and effort in the relationship, or to get out and look for another that might be more "serious".
The grass always seems to be greener on the other side of the fence, no matter which direction you choose. Dating someone outside of your own culture has pros and cons. On the upside, it is interesting and there is always something to talk about.
Cultural difference, appearance, and varied outlook always make another culture very attractive. Sometimes language is a problem and sometimes finding someone from your own socio-economic background is difficult although the same could be said anywhere.
If you do not have children, do you generally spend your social time with other expat couples? If not, what else do you like to do as a couple? I have both expat friends and Kuwaiti friends. We spend most of our time at restaurants or cafes. The desert in the winter; the islands in the summer What would be the best advice you could give someone with your relationship status that lives in your country of residence?
Don't be afraid to get out there and meet people! There are a lot of myths that you shouldn't try to mingle with Kuwaitis Arabs for that matter. The key is to be more discreet than you would be in the US. Things are not done openly here. Write a Comment about this Expat Report.