Arab/American cultural challenges; what to expect.

I get a number of emails from American women asking advice about their Arab men. Each situation is unique and all very interesting. Some of the men are Arab but born and raised in America. Some of the women who write are working in Kuwait and dating a Kuwaiti. Some are living in their home country but having an online relationship with an Arab man living in his. I wish I had all the answers and could guide everyone off into a land of never ending bliss. But since that’s not reality I’ve decided to compile a list in hopes of answering some questions.

So what are some of the biggest cultural differences you should expect to encounter?

Casual relationships: This is the one where you, the American woman, think you’re dating this really nice Arab guy and it feels like it’s getting serious.

1. He says all the right things but his actions aren’t matching. This comes from not wanting to ‘bother’ a woman with things that might upset her… like the truth.

2. He still lives with his mom and dad and he’s almost 30. Perfectly normal, don’t stress. He’s not a loser.

3. Spends every night away from his home, doesn’t answer his phone, and finally calls at 6am claiming he was at dewaniya all night. Chances are he was. Get used to it, you’re always going to be less important than dewaniya.

4. Having intimate relations with you then either disappearing for a few days… or forever. This happens often and for a lot of reasons. Women in the Arab culture are highly respected and taught to respect themselves. Being intimate with a man before marriage is almost unheard of. So a woman who doesn’t abide by this rule is often seen a a woman who has no respect for herself by an Arab man’s standards. She’s certainly not marriage material. Keep your panties on, women!

5. Expressing dislike for certain outfits or style of clothing you’re wearing. He believes you should only look good for him, at home, behind closed doors.

6. Silent treatment. Not for a few hours or overnight but for days… weeks even. And during this time you’re expected to call him (though he’s not going to answer) and send endless text messages. If you don’t then he’s going to accuse you of talking to other men during this time.

7. Everything is always your fault. Don’t ask me how, but Arab men are masters at turning things around. Regardless of what he does and how bad it really is, you’re eventually going to find yourself doing the apologizing.

8. Your phone, computer, Ipad, etc. are his business. His are not your business. He will ask (or do it without asking) to look through your phone at any given moment. You’ll never have a sufficient warning. He, on the other hand, will more than likely have more mobile phones than you’re even aware of. And don’t ask to look through the one you DO know about… it’s ‘disrespectful’ and you’ll be accused of behaving like a man.

9. Checking in. My husband is guilty of this one, but also returns the favor. If you’re leaving the house without him you’ll be expected to notify him verbally, by text, or a phone call. You’ll need to tell him where you’re going, with whom, and approximately how long you expect to be gone. If he’s not comfortable with your answers he’ll simply drive you himself.

10. Bros before ho’s. Know it, accept it, and live with it. Regardless of how much fun you think the two of you are having together, he’ll choose spending time with his friends at the drop of a hat.

 

Serious relationship. This is the one where he’s mentioned marriage, or at least hinted at it. 1-9 above still apply and perhaps seem even more frequent.

1. Family member introduction. Don’t get excited, chances are you’re not off to meet mom anytime soon. You’re more than likely going to meet male cousins and maybe a brother or two.

2. Intimacy pressure. He’s going to do anything in his power to convince you that sharing a bed is perfectly natural since you’re going to be sharing your life together in the near future. Be patient. Wait for the ‘near future’. Refer to #4 above.

3. Living together. Since you’re ‘officially engaged’ according to him (you’re not, rest assured) then living together is OK. It’s not. Remember, you’re not in the typical American relationship where people meet, date, live together, share a bed, then decide if they want to get married. No no no.

4. He studied in America, he acts like an American. Yeah, he may have thrown those dishdashas in the closet and traded them in for a pair of jeans, but in no way has his mind changed. Certain Western behaviors trigger certain Eastern thoughts. Don’t agree? Throw on a bikini and tell him you want to spend the day at the beach.

5. You’re engaged! Eh, probably not. You might have a beautiful ring on your finger and a date marked on the calendar, but if you haven’t met mom and the sisters, chances are you’re being strung along. Arab engagements differ from country to country so I won’t go into great detail about the exact procedures. But rest assured, there ARE procedures. Not legal or required by law. But cultural. And if they’re not followed then in HIS mind he’s not engaged. Not to you at least.

Of course the bullet points above are from either personal experience or simply witnessing those around me for many years. I’m sure there are some out there with far more experience than me who could add numerous items to my lists.

The things above may make the Arab male seem unreasonable and make some wonder why a woman would even consider marrying one. But that’s not the case. There are reasons behind much of what they do. Not sure we’ll ever really understand their reasons, but with a lot of trust and mutual respect, the reasons don’t seem to matter.

On a positive note, when an Arab man does get married it’s almost as if he matures overnight. Yeah, he’s still protective but he’s also truly dedicated and loyal. His wife then becomes one of the women in his family. A very high honor since the women in his family are most important in his life. If a wife calls his husband and he’s in dewaniya he WILL take her call (probably step outside to do so). Unlike if a girlfriend calls. If the wife explains she really needs him to come home, or needs something from the store, he WILL leave dewaniya right then to keep her comfortable. This behavior is what keeps most of us wives from asking for very much. We know we’ll get it. And knowing a person will do pretty much anything in the world to make you happy prevents us from wanting to bother them with silly things.

Finally, all men from all cultures are completely different. So, please don’t read this and get offended. Don’t write to me telling me that I’m bashing Arab men or the culture. That’s not the case. And please, if you have more to add, feel free to email or comment. I would love to hear different perspectives.

155 thoughts on “Arab/American cultural challenges; what to expect.

  1. Hi AG. I’ve been with a Arabic man for 2 years. He is from U.A.E. I’m from Ohio and working in Dubai. I love him very much but my life is in turmoil because of everything you mentioned in this post. One minute we’re happy and the next something happened and we’re not even talking!! I can’t concentrate at work and scared I’ll lose my position if I continue to focus on him. I want to end it so I can have peace but I love him too much to live without him.

    • Hi Amanda. I believe you might have emailed me before. Some of your information is what prompted part of this post.

      I’m really sorry about what you’re going through and I do hope it gets better with time. However, for now, you need to focus on yourself. With ANY relationship, you must always maintain your self respect and self importance. Don’t allow anyone to cause you so much stress you’re at risk of losing your job.

      And… you lived just fine before he came along, you would be just fine afterwards as well.

      Keep me posted. Would love to know how things work out.

    • I emphasize with your situation. There is another blogsite which you might be able to relate to in your situation named ‘Expatinthecity’ Kuwait. She just broke off her engagement with a GCC national with conflicts between his culture and her culture. Sometimes you have to step out of the box, although it is difficult, and look into the future. Will you be happy with how he wants you to live? I love the UAE and like the UAE people, but in comparison to expatinthecity’s situation, you are dealing with a more conservative culture. Do you really want to wear a hijab? Sometimes love is not everything, but I understand how you could fall in love with a man from the UAE, they are gorgeous. By the way, are there more openings at your company for Americans? Just wondering. I live in the UAE and have my own housing and iqama etc.

      • Thank you for referring Expat’s blog. Her situation is probably one a lot of women can relate to and therefore very helpful to others. But I would say read her blog for more than just the recent breakup, which surely had to be a very difficult situation. Her blog offers a lot of great information on several topics throughout the GCC, with a focus on Kuwait.

        One other point; not all Muslim men require their wives to cover their head… or to even convert to Islam for that matter. I know many GCC nationals who do not wear hijab. And just as many Westerners who are married to Arabs that don’t cover their heads either.

    • they just aren’t worth it. all that turmoil for what?
      momma’s boys and double standards about woman . retarded if you ask me and most people now are coming to that conclusion about them as well
      .useless people! backwards culture
      nothing you want can ever grow from it
      its DEAD
      they believe sick things. how can you deal with that? respect yourself and stay away from them. they are starting to know what they are as well compared to us. and they are getting worse instead of evolving.
      its like a disease they have

    • I would strongly advise any American woman to avoid all Arab men visiting the U.S. because they will only use you and then return to their country to an arranged marriage (probably to a cousin). My wife and her cousin were both abandoned by their Saudi and Qatari fathers at birth in Tucson, AZ. This is how it happens . . . Arab men come to the U.S. for a college education and totally believe that it is acceptable in their warped minds to use as many American women as they can before they return home. They will not care if there are children and if it is a girl then there isn’t even a question regarding their commitment. It is still very true that Arab men do not value girls at all. I have multiple examples of women who have been used by these Saudi philanderers and are forced to raise these fatherless children alone.

      Let me make one thing clear, I am not a racist against Arabs or Muslims. In fact, I am a Muslim convert, but I could not be if I thought these men were a representation of Islam. They are total hypocrites and Satanic. Any real man would never behave this way, especially if they claim to be so religious. Just because they pray 5 times per day doesn’t mean anything because they turnaround and use American women (especially white women which is a prize for them), go to strip clubs, drink and do drugs. These Arab impostors need to be exposed for who and what they are, which is pure evil. These men also usually have all of their education and living expenses paid in-full by their governments. U.S. colleges want these foreigners to attend our schools because they can charge them double or triple what they would charge a U.S. student for out-of-state tuition.

      The children that are left behind grow up with relationship issues, substance abuse problems and cultural/religious identity issues. Please do not fall for the trap that these men will love you and take care of you. They will not. They will abandon you when they are done with you. Also, most are prolific cheaters and may have multiple children with multiple women in the U.S. and back home. They also will not tell their families back home of your existence or if any children are born. If they do, then they are immediately sent home for immediate marriage to a Muslim woman. Forewarned is forearmed. These men are whores and that is how they view American women, period. I have examples of women and children who have been exposed to these evil men going back to the 1970’s.

      • I absolutely believe this my arab bf likes to party alot with friends he gets upset when i do not want sex with him bcs we are not married. He ignores me when i talk to him sometimes. his friends desire to have sex with me absolutely insane.He has unloyal friends period he have not told his mother about us at all.And i ddnt tell my mom abt him.#ittakesonetoknowone

    • Amanda you are in the ‘honeymoon stage’ and he is on best behavior, the best you will ever see. It sounds like you are willing to go along with what he throws at you, for now. But love has a way of draining away as people get comfortable sometimes.
      Good luck.

    • Sorry, Fahad, these aren’t secrets to any woman who has ever been involved with an Arab. But you behave much better than this, right? 🙂

  2. Dear AG I’m a Kuwaiti woman and believe me Kuwaiti men treat us like this too. Even after we marry. This is the life.

    • Hi Sarah, this is only the life if women continue to accept certain negative behaviors. We do have the power to make changes 🙂

  3. Oh, I soooooo don’t miss the silent treatment or expecting to apologize for something he did wrong! I actually got pretty good at the ignore treatment myself.

  4. American Girls…..

    Well no offense intended at all but I’m just speaking my mind here

    I’m a Kuwaiti guy who lived in America (CA-LA) for multiple years as a student, lets just say i was not a fan of some parts of the culture (Wearing certain clothes/Drinking+Parties/smoking weed/having multiple sexual partners before marriage/etc

    It’s not really a special case since many Americans themselves do feel the same way but they are a minority

    So to me every girl that was interesting in me was rejected on the spot because i was suspicious that they might do the things i can’t stand anyway so why bother finding the 1% from the pool of people you dislike (I’m ok with people who do them as friends but not a wife), and there was plenty rejected,

    I’m an extremely good looking guy (Not bragging just saying my story) anyway one day a girl come to me during Ramadan and invited me to their house, she happened to be an American Muslim (Not wearing a hijab though and no accent/blonde with white skin etc she was a normal typical american girl i guess)

    Anyway I said OK even though it seemed bizarre and random to me since i don’t know the girl and she was just a class mate, so i went to their house 1 hour before food time and apparently the family was talking as if i was the one who invited myself? the girl told them that i was sick of fast food and would like family cooked stuff or so, i told the girl and she was embarrassed that she lied to them (and me) but she wanted me to come have dinner since she thought I’d like to meet american muslims

    Anyway i was like “ok” and left after the food, saw her next morning in the college, she came to speak with me and i told her simply i don’t like liars and thanks for the dinner but don’t talk with me again please, she was like ok, sorry then left me, stupid me days later felt i was rude? and apologized to her, then there was a gap in memory lol i don’t remember much but we started to hang out and stuff, then we started to like each other, i married her 9 months after we met

    She admit now though that she played me and tricked me and she was planning to date me all along from the very start, i was naive to fall for it haha

    From being told to please don’t ever talk with me and leave to i can’t live without her now.
    ———————————————-

    tl dr : American girls and sneaky, becarful men ! and don’t be close minded idiots like i was, not all American girls are the same, America got 300 million+ person you will find whatever you want their in a person.

    • Awww, Hassan, thank you so much for sharing your story. How cute of your wife to find a creative way to get your attention 🙂

      I agree with you that certain things which are totally acceptable in America are not acceptable in my life at all. But at the same time, I don’t judge others for the way they want to live. If anything I embrace it. I love to see the numerous differences here in America and how we’re all so tolerant of one another. So what might not work out well for me could be something one of my dearest friends really enjoys. But it doesn’t change who we are inside.

      I’m glad you found your love when you least expected it.

    • you sound retarded? where are your morals? American women usually learn to stay away from arab men BECAUSE they always end up mentioning bad morals BECAUSE they are always the ones hanging out with those people! and you even said you are OK with people who do that as friends
      so you sound hypocritical or mildly homo tendencies?
      or allah has you all mixed up or what?
      I haven’t met an arab yet that mentions all these sicks things that I as an American woman never came in contact with yet until I meet an arab!!!
      we are taught to avoid arabs for this reason.they ALWAYS FIRST CLING to any bad in any culture!
      their sick demented double standard
      they are the FIRST to go to the clubs hang out smoke weed and look for sex
      scumbags that allah made ?
      so strange!!!!!!!! arabs are now KNOWN for THIS..for what you said make us all sick!!! I guess maybe you can tell its you who are the problem and that you are not wanted here because of your low morality
      so you should go back home and FAKE MORALITY with marriage and covered up wives who are actually your own first cousins!!!!!
      gross life

      • Susan, the ignorance is killing me. Let me help you out.

        ig·no·rance
        ˈiɡnərəns/
        noun
        lack of knowledge or information.
        “he acted in ignorance of basic procedures”
        synonyms: incomprehension of, unawareness of, unconsciousness of, unfamiliarity with, inexperience with, lack of knowledge about, lack of information about; informalcluelessness about

        I believe that purpose of this blog is to allow people to understand and therefore have an acceptance for one another. This doesn’t mean anyone was expecting you to do a culture swap. And don’t worry they don’t think you have any values either they only disrespect the women that do not value themselves and are o.k. with it.

        • well that’s a demented animal!! no faith in any God then… to disrespect someone because they don’t respect themselves (at the time) is not a cause for being evil!! wow what a sick belief
          when a GOOD person (oh God how many times have I had to explain this!!!???) when a GOOD PERSON sees someone, anyone,male or female DISRESPECT THEMSELVES that’s WHEN you are KIND TO THEM!!!!!
          but if you are an animal,obey LOWER nature etc… you will disrepesct those who disrespect themselves because YOU are the BAD person. you don’t bring them UP!!??? you lower yourself??? lol what??? that’s a useless person for a better world and it will come back to bite in the end!! (this is why some of those inbreds kill a woman if her veil falls off, what losers!!!) well at least I know that I no matter how another person acts , still acted towards THEM with dignity and respect because that’s ME
          many areb men disrespect themselves, or men in general.. I don’t then act like a PREDATOR who sees PREY
          well keep your sick sad society DESTROYING beliefs to your self then!!! you think youre nothing more than a TRAINED animal!!! and not a human!!
          if youre female you probably defend and ENABLE men who do that to women even if that woman is somehow in a bad sad place in her life and needs help…
          ewww
          I know many women like that. deep down they are jealous that a woman can change and be good inside/underneath while they have to live up to some standard by clothing etc when they know inside they are rotten and aso need to stay in line or be killed
          whereas a so called bad woman can be loved and transformed (not jumped on like prey by demented men) gross animals seriously. I blame the women who bred them.and who raised then to be this way. they are not without excuse for training their animals wrong.
          YOU are blaming the VICTIM by saying she deserved it.. that’s the underlying tone there… (her behavior means she deserves some jerk to bother her??) if youre female I bet you shave!!!!! (your face?) cuz If I have to chalk ill animal behavior up to excess testosterone in both sexes then I will.after all its science.

        • im am so tired of that retarded abuse!!! I have MORE VALUES than any arab man who ever approached me!!!! maybe you cant read (or weren’t made by allah to understand anything) I mean allah says as a reward in heaven to men women will have perky not inclined to sagging breasts and young.. my God doesn’t mention BOOBS! so you tell me why your men are disrespectful if allah uses his creation of girls (not) as a REWARD…
          youre all the same
          rejected by ME
          disgusting .
          that’s low morals right there!! just reading that
          EVERY DECENT PERSON AGREES
          you should stop breeding if you think some god uses female breasts that are not sagging as a reward
          its very sick

      • I have to say….I have met a group of Arab men while in college. They were very honest in saying “yes, we want to party, hang out, smoke weed, drink, etc. But we cannot do these things when we leave.” I got know a few of them well and still stay in contact via email,etc. They were very straight forward with the Americans they met and I liked the honesty.

    • Oh Mr. Saudi Guy, I wish I could give you some insight into us American women. But in my opinion, we’re all quite simple so it’s difficult to give away any big secrets since they just don’t exist.

      I would say, from experience and talking to friends, one thing most American women will NOT tolerate is a man who cheats. We are often great communicators, very good negotiators, and easy going… but cheating is a big no no. Cheat once and we’ll often not give you a chance to do it again. We believe we’re worthy of more than a man who isn’t willing to commit to us. So if you’re interested in being with an American woman, I suggest you know in your heart she’s the ONLY one you’re going to be with.

      Otherwise, ignore all that stuff you watch in movies. We DO NOT take our clothes off for any many who comes along.

  5. Very well said, AG. Also, we don’t tolerate dishonesty or disrespectful behavior. What may be acceptable to an Arab man can be insulting to an American woman. Time is important, and there is no “Ishallah” in the U.S. So you may think it’s not a big deal to not communicate with a woman for hours or days, but to us, that sends a message that you think your time isn’t as valuable as hours. And don’t even try the “ignore treatment”, because we will ignore you right back!

  6. Everything except my spelling and grammatical mistakes, on which I generally pride myself! I was in a hurry to outrun a rainstorm last night when I posted this!
    I misspelled “Inshallah” and I meant to say in my second to last sentence that you think your time is more valuable than ours, not hours. Nobody’s perfect, but I certainly try! 🙂

    • I know how you feel. I’m very particular about spelling and grammar. My best friend always says I’m not a racist, I’m a grammarist.

  7. I just want to say ur genious for this post. U made me realize things about myself that I didn’t know. I’m a 3rd generation Arab American and this stuff still applies to me. But the real question is, is it a bad thing? I disagree with u on one thing. A woman’s business is her business. When it comes to the phone, mail, pics etc. at least that’s what I thought. I live in a large Arab community and the nonarab American girls actually like these qualities of a man. So is it really that bad?

    • Thank you! I’ really glad you enjoyed it. But, I never said any of that was a bad thing at all. I’m perfectly happy being married to an Arab and really can’t imagine it any other way. Of course all people are different, no 2 men are alike, and my list is comprised of opinions and experiences of my friends and myself.

  8. Hi AG,

    I need your help. I have been dating a Kuwaiti guy for a year. We met while studying at school. Over the past year, I have learned a lot from him, and he has learned from me as well. I am a very global minded person, and we share a lot of passions. I’m not daydreaming when I say that we are soul mates, and he believes this as well.

    Two weeks ago, after we spent an amazing week together, he came to me and told me that he cannot be in this relationship anymore. I know that this is because he feels like he’s living a double life. His parents would not approve of me and, maybe I can’t understand the severity of the situation, but he is starting to feel insane because he is torn between the happiness he has found in me and his loyalty to his family. I would never, ever want to make him choose, but I know how much he loves me and how happy we are together. He is such a closed and private person, and over the past year I have learned to know and love everything about him.

    I didn’t get a full explanation, but I know the reason behind our breakup. We spoke for the first time yesterday and he was crying on the phone. I know how hard this is for him, and all I want to do is support him, but it seems like all I can do is walk away?

    Please help.

    • Hi Isabella,

      I’m really sorry to hear about the way things ended in your relationship. Surely you must have lots of unanswered questions and I wish I could fill in those blanks for you. Unfortunately, each situation is different and it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why he ended things. Family? Guilt? Shame?

      What I can say is that you’re fortunate it happened sooner rather than later. Not that it makes it any easier to understand, but at least it allows you the opportunity to find someone who is going to value you enough to either stick around or at least give you a reason as to why they can’t.

      Wishing you all the best.

  9. So I’ve been talking to this really sweet Arabic guy. but the thing is.. he’s not like a normal Arabians. he dresses like a normal American guy and doesn’t follow his culture but his parnets are really strict about him dating. I just want to know the dating culture..

    • Hi Gabriella, to answer your question I would need a lot more information and even then, it would only be an assumption based on my experience living in Kuwait.

      Just like any culture, dating can vary. There are many American parents who don’t allow their children to date until after High School. And some allow them to date without many restrictions. The same can be said for the Arab culture and has many more variables depending on which Arab culture you’re referring to. I would certainly venture to say a young man in Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be ‘permitted’ to date (in the eyes of his family) but surely manages to chat girls up one way or another. However, in Lebanon it could be completely different.

      Oh, and their clothing rarely has anything to do with their mindset. Don’t let the Nikes fool you.

    • don’t fall for that trap. I told myself the same exact thing
      oh he dresses normal like us..oh he seems so normalized etc,he can date,he doesn’t follow the religion etc….
      its just not true
      theyre made different..and usually have deeeeep inner complexes.that will come out in negative ways

  10. Thanks so much for this thread. I’m not able to articulate right now why it helps me so much, but it truly does. Have been suffering the silent treatment since 2010, then afterwards there is no discussion, no dialogue despite my attempts to communicate. We have had happy moments, but the anger and silent treatment can occur at any time. I am now throwing myself back into university life as a mature student and hopeful for the perspective this will give me.

    Just knowing there are people out there who have known similar times is a huge boost. Many thanks indeed.

  11. A guy from Bahrain inviteme to see him in a sort of competition. After that he ask me to go to Bahrain and work with his sister. What are his intentions ?

    • Hi Lola, before you go visit him please make sure you’re fully capable of financially taking care of yourself during the visit; own hotel room, rental car, flights, etc. Do NOT stay in an apartment he provides and it’s probably not advisable to take a taxi or a ride from him at first. Also, make sure your family knows where you are and how to contact you at all times. As for ‘work’, did he mention what the job is? Human trafficking is a worldwide epidemic. Please be VERY careful, do your research, and know exactly what type of ‘work’ it is before you agree to anything. Also, review the local labor laws and know your rights.

      Wishing you all the best.

  12. Hey ,hi AG just chanced upon your lovely blog..^_^…I wanted to explain my situation to u as I’m pretty confused and could use some advice even though im not American. ..im an indian woman (hindu) & met my arab man(jordanian but born n brought up in Kuwait)…I knew him from 1 year online & we were friends ,after which he came to india to see me & profess his love for me & his intention to marry..He actually always calls me his *wife* & is kinda public with his relationship in fromt of his friends n family or so he claims ..he was raised in a foster family & has 3 sisters from there, all of them married…he is not close to any of them so they don’t really play a major role in his life ,although he has shown them my photos & spoken about me(or so he tells me)…hes already come to India twice to visit me in d 4 months we have been together n plans to come again before the year ends..few of d above things apply like him having control over my phone n social networking sites ,although most things mentioned above r not true in his case at least..for eg,he is a very reclusive person & hardly socialises with his male buddies…has no female friends whatsoever ( I am not allowed male friends either) so basically all his free time is for me…he always treats me wit h nothing but respect & loves pampering me.

    I am very confused if I can trust him..hes going to the USA now to study & calls me to come there & has offered to fund my trip..should I take this risk??my indian community HEAVILY frowns upon relationships with muslim men n especially arabs & if I marry him ,i might get disowned by my family. .although after being with him , I have fallen in love with arab culture & don’t even mind converting to islam for his sake. .he has NEVER asked me to convert or to wear hijab ,although I know he would b happy if I did…Thanks a lot in advance for d advice :* :*
    .he never *dissappears* either & we talk for hours on d phone everyday. .he always keeps our photos together as his profile photos on things like bbm n what’s app & has basically never given me any reason to doubt him..hes even met my parents as a friend & my parents won’t stop praising him..he plans to approach my parents formally for my hand within 3 years though. .
    but d problem is I have never spoken to any of his friends except for 1 ,who spoke nicely though. .& as such I dunno if hes actually told his folks about me or not. .
    sorry for the novel ,but I just dunno

  13. Hello! I just stumbled upon your blog and felt the need to post, although I see you have ended it! Come back!

    Anyway, I have dated a Bahraini and all these cultural challenges are pretty spot on.

    In my situation, we were best friends in college which lead to more feelings and we even lived together for a little bit, without either of our parents knowing because mine nor his would approve due to the simple belief that you move in together once your married. Though at first we were just close friends, I didn’t expect to but I completely fell for him. His humor, knowledge of the world, his sincerity, willingness to help those in need, loyalty and just the way he surprised me of being everything I wouldn’t expect. Because I don’t know, growing up I didn’t have much exposure to Arabs, therefore I really only heard stereotypes about them. In college, so many Arabs attended my school and just were unlike what I ever expected, they aren’t what you hear about on Fox news, they’re people.

    The important thing to understand is, if Arab men are coming to the US for college or other schooling, there are a wide range of them who will likely want to enjoy their years in the US before they have to go back home and be a serious adult. By enjoy, this includes doing things that Muslims frown upon.

    A lot of Arabs have this idea that American women are crazy sexual beings who thrive off of money and don’t care about anything because it’s ‘Merica. It’s just how it is, because back in their countries the women are far more reserved. And generally I can see it being true, though its important to understand stereotypes are in fact just generalized and don’t apply to everyone.

    Now, I’m no crazy party girl, nor do I chase money like he expected me to be due to the stereotype. It was funny because he expected me to do all these things but when I didn’t, it made him respect me more. Regardless, we did move in together eventually, but it was his idea. It was almost as if he wanted to act like he was apart of our culture more than I did at times.

    But your point is exactly right- just because he acted like an American doesn’t mean he had lost his cultural values. From the outside- I’m sure we looked like another American interracial couple. But on the inside we faced so many cultural clashes.

    Obviously things like you mentioned- if we got into a fight, it was ALWAYS me apologizing somehow. At first he would like when I put on makeup and dressed nice when we would see his friends, like he was showing me off, but then further into the relationship he would force me to leave the house without makeup because I had no one to impress. The phone and computer thing- so accurate. He would go through my phone when I was sleeping and I would notice in the morning it wasn’t how I left it the night before.

    Another cultural challenge that I assume can come with any inter-cultural couple is that when we got into arguments we would use the other’s cultural stereotypes against each other out of spite; even though those stereotypes aren’t a proper representation of him nor I. Does that make sense? I don’t want to go into detail nor examples because stereotypes can get nasty.

    Regardless of cultural challenges, or just regular relationship challenges, my boyfriend and I really worked on compromising our issues. He was extremely possessive, which sometimes came off as disrespectful to me since he couldn’t trust me. He definitely toned it down, and was able to put more trust in me. I appeared to be disrespectful towards him because I don’t like doing little things like holding hands or even kissing in front of people. But if I denied kissing him in front of his friends, woah, it’s super disrespectful in his eyes. Therefore we really had to find compromise with our relationship values. Clearly, we wouldn’t have this problem in some places in the middle east, PDA isn’t something you’d normally see, but it was a lesson that things need to be compromised when it comes to building trust and respect.

    He would talk about how girls are in his country, how the men are, his maids, his royal family neighbors, loopholes to no pre-marital sex, to his parents wishes for him, the type of person his parents want him to marry and on. He was raised similar to me but at the same time completely different. I was raised with Christian parents who believed in no sex until marriage and wanted me to marry a Christian. He was raised by Muslim parents who wanted him to marry a Muslim and hopefully Bahraini girl. Him and I both were raised neighborhoods that are considered better off. But being “better off” in America and in Arabic countries are two completely different things.

    It was hilarious to me, not only with him, but when any Arab I met would start talking about his maid and things she does. He would start talking about how his maid makes him all this food and these amazing desserts and then I would just be like “Same! My mom…..”

    We grew up SO differently.

    It occurred to me that in our relationship that although our feelings towards each other were very real, is that enough to keep us together? What comes first? Love? Or instilled values? He could exist in my world until he graduated. But would I ever be able to exist in his?

    Since he had graduated we continued to be together until his parents forced him to go back to country and start doing something with his life. Nothing is different between us, though we do go through periods of little talking due to my busy schedule but every week we have at least one very long talk either over skype or phone. I personally, wouldn’t classify us as “together” anymore due to the distance and the little chances we have to see each other anymore, but we are just as close of friends as we have always been. We want to be together but due to his parent’s wishes for him to be in his country, and my loyalty to my family and being remotely close to them, it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. Not to mention, though we have compromised our views and values in the past, going forward would mean to compromise our family’s views and values which are individually very important to us both.

    He wants me to come to his country and see his world. I want to. When he was back in the states he would always touch on marriage and the idea of having children. But its an awkward subject for us considering our major differences. He would always point out that for Arabic parents, his were very accepting compared to others. I’ve never met his parents because when they came to the States I was traveling in Europe. But I have conversed with them on occasion when they would speak over the phone.

    He always says his mom was set on him marrying a girl within the country but his father insists on that he could marry anyone as long as she is a Muslim, he would ALWAYS say this, hinting that I should become Muslim. Other evidence he was hinting at it, following the “as long as she’s Muslim” statement he would say “Then you would just have to get the tattoo on your foot removed and the one on your finger could pass as a scar if you put some make-up on it.” First of all- hilarious. Secondly, let me mention the tattoo on my finger is tiny, but its a Cross. Also let me mention that he is 100% serious.

    This is cliche, but I feel as if I’m in a modern day Romeo and Juliet story, due to the differences in religion, culture, and geography between families. I mean our families don’t hate each other. But my family would be terrified if I went alone to the Middle East being a 20 something blonde girl just because they haven’t shared the experiences with Middle Eastern people as I have, not even including the one romantic relationship I’ve had. His family understands American culture but insists on him staying true to where he came from and how he was raised, as they should. Therefore, I could never bring myself to ask him to move back here. Never. But I plan to go his country in the next year anyway for a visit. The only thing that scares me is that I’ll fall in love with it, in addition to have already have fallen for him, and put my feelings before my values. Or what if I go and love it and still can’t choose him because of my instilled values, resulting in me always longing but never allowing myself to have a life that I want.

    I don’t know, maybe this is more of a personal issue than a general cultural one. I’ve always been one to choose opportunities over relationships- maybe its because I’m young. But in committing yourself to an Arab man, like any man of a different culture, you’re committing to a lot more than just that man. You’re committing to a completely different way of living. Inter-cultural relationships, especially with Arabs, are so much more intense than most other kinds of relationships due to the number of differences. Not to mention, I know the basics Arab culture, and have multiple Arab friends but have only seen them in America. I’ve never experienced it firsthand, in their countries, therefore thats why I feel like I need to go see his country.

    Anyway, I would like to know- obviously you’re American, but are you Muslim? What are your views on inter-religious relationships?
    You clearly pointed out the surface of the cultural issues in Arab-American relationships- but what about the more complex ones? He has compromised his culture in our relationship in the past, however, if this relationship was to continue, I feel like as if its my turn to step up and compromise more of my values and way of living. But its a HUGE leap, how do you do it?
    It’s easy to say if you really love somebody you’d do anything for them, but I think one person submitting themselves completely to the other isn’t a real relationship. There needs to be balance- how do you find balancing your culture and your roots with his?
    What about family? How did your family respond with you marrying inter culturally? How did his? And do you live in the US or an Arab country?
    Any advice here?

    Apologies for the lengthiness!

  14. I LOVE your Blog please do more about the relationships with kuwaiti guys its interesting for both arab and non arab. Please tell us about the process of your wedding too 😉 xx

  15. I’m a American girl born and raised. I was dating a Kuwaiti guy for a year, he recently broke up with me because his parents didn’t t agree with out relationship. Which I don’t understand because his paternal grandmother is from Switzerland. I’m confused, feel rejected, and heart broken. Why does this happen???

  16. Ive been seeing this guy for almost a year now. We technically speaking have never dated but we have been physical at times. I am a virgin and plan to stay that way until marriage. (Yup an american/hispanic girl whos still a virgin at 24!) He owns a business and works all the time which was always tthe reason we never actually went out. Im confused though because its been a year of back and forth and the moment im over it he magically shows up again and says all the right things. He is really sexual with me (or tries to be) and i feel like maybe all he wants is sex, yet ive made clear i wont have sex before marriage. his intentions are so unclear to me . Ive met some of his cousins and hes jokingly asked me when were getting married. Hes much more Americanized business life of party kind of guy…yet sometimes i can see a huge culture difference in his mentality that reminds me of how different he views relationships. Sometimes he seems like i am genuinly special to him..othertimes it seems like hes playing me. I was very inexperienced in men,sex and well all things sexual when i first met him. Hes pressured me further than iv gone with anyone else. But then again after i complained he didnt ‘try’ enough with me (referring to his constant work schedule) he has always been the one to call me. He would come to my job and say hi ( forgot to mention we work close by) . Sooooo what does that mean for an Arabic mostly americanized man?? any advice or insight seriously would help. Im raised by a white momma and a hardly around mexican dad. This culture is seriously confusing.

    • but I did not sleep with him:)!
      he showed me how deeply sick his mind was. and I left.
      we have freedom here
      we do not have to tolerate bad treatment.i have no idea why they are such demons
      we have a right to reject them for moral reasons,the SAME moral reasons they say or pretend to believe in themselves…and then they get mad(form of mental disorder and proof of no relationship to any god or higher being)
      they have no clue how to be normal

  17. Could someone please add me so that I can read this blog? Or direct me on what I need to do to be able to. http://expatandthecity.blogspot.com/ Thank you in advance….. This is the message I get when I try to open the link now. It doesn’t look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation.

    • Hi Destiny, we are in no way affiliated with that blog. It’s my understanding she closed it when it was discovered she was a fraud.

  18. Dear all,

    I am North American, and I have been dating a Qatari man for 2 months now, since I am currently working in Qatar. I was apprehensive from the start and always told myself I would just walk away when my working contract finishes. But little did I know how much I would get sucked into an abusive relationship. Let me tell you…it does not need to be physical abuse..but threats of slapping me if I give too much attention to another man (even if I’m just being respectful/professional), public embarrassment if I don’t listen to his opinion or advice, etc… Our cultures DO NOT match. I am in the entertainment industry, and although I have a very respectable position, all my professional interactions are always questioned and I am always punished for ‘not obeying to his wish’ or ‘being disrespectful to his image’. Meanwhile, I am losing my free will, my image and my self-esteem. I want to walk away, but I am also aware of the possible consequences if I do, so I am trying to push through until I leave the country, which is in a few months. I hope he won’t completely destroy me until then…

  19. Can you please tell me more about the silent treatment, sometimes I call and text and he does not respond, sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t, in the beginning he would always be the one to initiate contact but now 4 months later and I am in love with him and him with I, I am the one calling and texting and he doesn’t always reply anymore, he says he loves me, but he is busy with his business. But when we do see each other and talk, he is so sweet to me and makes me feel special. So him not responding to my calls or texts, does this mean he is bothered by me or does he still like me to call or text him even if he doesn’t answer, or should I just wait for him to call me? I am rather shy and I want to make him happy, does he like me to keep calling or texting even if he doesn’t answer to let him know I love him and am thinking about him?

    • Short and sweet; the silent treatment is what takes place when he knows he ‘has you’. He doesn’t have to work to get you anymore so he turns the tables and makes you work to keep him. Easy fix; stop calling, texting, or responding to him. Ignore him for about 3-5 days. He’ll learn the silent treatment doesn’t work on you and hopefully it will stop. Yes, immature and childish but sadly that’s somewhat typical. I say if he does it again dump him and find someone who has an adult mind. Don’t let him play games with you.

  20. Thank you for posting this thread. I can relate to almost all of the first 10 points. Im 17 and currently seeing a Palestinian man who is 20, he drives me crazy!! Things have been kind of sexual since the second time we hung out and we’ve been seeing each other for 4 months. I really like him, and he’s extremely handsome, but he is very closed off at times. He gives me the silent treatment quite a few times and the longest it has gone on is 6 days, but I kept my pride and didn’t contact him, but he was the first to come back to me. I have become friends with all of his friends. I’m not sure what him and I are, but I’m guessing he hasn’t said anything to his friends because every time I hang out with them, and I end up alone with one of them, they try to do things with me so I don’t want to tell them that there’s something between me and _____ so I just say no and leave. But when it comes to his family, I’m nonexistent. If I’m with him at his house an one of his parents comes home, he tells me to hide, so I have to hide in the bathrooms, under beds, in closets etc. and I have to wait until they leave to run out the front door. I just don’t see why he can’t let me meet his parents?? But I’m friends with both of his brothers. Also I noticed he hasn’t saved my number in his phone, which that’s confusing to me too….? Also when him and I are alone, he’s really sweet and loving but if we’re in public or have someone else with us he acts like I am just an acquaintance of his… Ugh sorry for this being so long, I just have to get my feelings out

    • Hi M. Thanks for your comment. You’re a bit younger than the average reader so my reply might come across as harsh or judgy. Not meant to be so please forgive me in advance.

      As my mother always told me, pay close attention to how someone treats the waitress in a restaurant, because one day that’s how he’s going to treat you. And see how animals respond to him. If the dog hates him, dump him. And finally, the first 3 months of your relationship are the best it’s ever going to be. A person can only ‘pretend’ to be someone else for so long.

      That being said, I want you to envision the absolute worst he’s ever made you feel and now imagine living that way for the rest of your life. Is that the life you imagined for yourself when you were 5? 10? Even 15? Did you ever picture yourself with a boy who wouldn’t call you, or answer your calls? Or someone who wasn’t there for you when you really hoped they would be? Or did you vision yourself with the perfect guy who made you laugh and smile? A man should never be the cause of your tears… he should be the one to protect you from the reasons to cry in the first place.

      Finally, if your relationship isn’t public and his romantic side only seems to come out when you’re alone, you can be pretty confident he’s using you for sexual reasons. If he loved you he would be proud of you. He would gladly introduce you to his parents. And most of all… he wouldn’t be having sex with you. He would respect you and encourage you to respect yourself.

      Get out of this abusive relationship before it gets worse. Find yourself and respect the girl you are.

      Wishing you all the best.

      PS. Not sure how close you and your mom are… but bring her into the loop. Tell her how you’re feeling and let her help you through this.

  21. Hi,
    I really need some advice. I’ve been dating a man from Kuwait for about a month now. He takes a lot of snapchat photos of me but will never post them to “his story” only in a private snapchat to his friends back home. He refuses to post photos or anything else about us on Instagram, facebook or any other social media. He tells me that it’s something that would be frowned upon in Kuwait because we aren’t married. Recently we got into an argument because I wanted to post some vacation photos of us on my social media pages. Surely it’s easy to understand why this is an issue since I’m American and feel like I’m being kept a secret. I’m having a hard time trying to decide if I should let this issue go and just come to terms with it being a cultural difference or if he’s behaving this way because there’s something else going on. I really need advice and I need to figure this out before I develop stronger feelings for him.

    • Hi Lynn,

      It’s very common for women to refrain from posting their photos on social media in Kuwait and even more common for husbands NOT to post photos of their wives. It’s a respect/self respect kinda thing among much of the culture. Yet more recently young Kuwaitis are embracing open mindedness and freedom of expression. Especially via social media. Women are regularly posting photos of themselves and men are even happily posing in photos with their wives. It’s refreshing and so nice to see.

      On the other hand, having a ‘girlfriend’ or being a girlfriend can still be somewhat frowned upon among many. Especially in the bedu community where dating before marriage is often unacceptable for men, and almost always for women. But, the fact this guy is sharing your photos with his friends back home is a sign that he doesn’t have a lot of respect for you. It’s as if he’s saying, “Look what I’ve been doing”. A man who respects a woman (from any culture) isn’t going to send her pictures around for other men to stare at. Especially in a culture where men and women are still largely segregated.

      So, in this situation I think you have a few options: 1) Accept that this relationship is temporary and just enjoy your time with this guy, or 2) Be open and honest about your expectations of this relationship and ask him what his are, and 3) If he says he is in love with you and wants to marry one day then express to him the importance of his family knowing about you… NOW.

      Most importantly, remember the cultural differences are unavoidable, so it’s important to understand that ‘dating’ in his culture doesn’t resemble dating here in America. It’s not the first step to a long term relationship or marriage… especially when he’s just here studying.

  22. Shalom! It’s been nice reading your blog and how nice these relationships can be. On a chatting app I happened upon a man in Dubai. We started talking as friends and he head a few hints that he was interested in me. I wasn’t looking for anything. I’m in America and a divorced single mom. He did tell me that his parents were divorced as well and I think that might have been what helped bring us closer together. Ramadan I decided to tell him I adore him and see him as marriage material and he said he adored me too and to just go with it since we can’t change how we feel. We’re both in out 30’s. He’s a doctor and still studying to be a specialist. Honestly he barely has time for me. Once a week he’ll shoot me a message checking up on me. Our time difference doesn’t help much either. I know I’m practically in love with him and I always think ahead and can’t help but worry about our beliefs becoming an issue. We discussed our religious beliefs before we ever had feelings for each other. I am a Jewish believer that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah. I do know how similar our faith are at this point but I will never convert. I do wear a head covering and modesty is a must so that wouldn’t be too much of a problem. I am trying to teach myself arabic as I’ve done with many languages and I think he appreciates it. He speaks perfect english and has studied in America before. I don’t expect you to know everything but do you think this could go anywhere? We haven’t really made any promises to each other only to be exclusive. I don’t even know when he intends to come back to America just that he will to continue with his schooling for sure. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    • Hi and thank you for your comment and for sharing your story.

      A couple of things I think it’s important for you to pay close attention to;

      1) Religious differences. Though I’m sure Muslims and those of Jewish faith marrying isn’t unheard of, it’s also very far from being the norm. Or even being remotely accepted by family members of some. So before you get too very involved emotionally, please make sure he AND his family are fully aware of your faith.

      2) Being in Dubai doesn’t mean he’s an Emirati. Do you know his nationality? That plays a large role in his culture. It’s possible he’s Indian or Nepalese just living with his family in the UAE which would mean different culture, religion, etc. And something I wouldn’t be too familiar with at all.

      3) Let’s assume he is Emirati. You mention that you expressed your desire for one another during Ramadan and that you rarely hear from him because he’s so busy. Two major red flags. A practicing Muslim isn’t likely to communicate with a ‘girlfriend’ during Ramadan and especially express any real desire for her. Of course it’s not unheard of, and perhaps he’s not a practicing Muslim, but it is a bit odd. And the not hearing from him other than a text once a day — run as fast as you can. He’s more than likely married. In ANY culture, if a man wants to be in touch with you, he’ll make it happen.

      4) You mention you’re a single mother — hence not a virgin. In some cases this poses a problem as a lot of Muslim men will only marry a virgin. Of course this doesn’t apply to ALL, but it’s somewhat common for them to seek out virgins for marriage.

      5) He’s a Doctor and still studying to be a specialist? Where is he studying? Did he get his M.D. in the USA? Why not continue his residency and internship in the USA as well? Something about that part doesn’t add up either.

      What does his family think of you? Do they even know about you? Insist that he tell his mother about you and that you Skype with her before you carry on any longer with him.

      I’m sorry but it doesn’t sound like he’s being completely honest with you about a lot of things. Have you considered waiting until he returns to the US to continue any type of relationship with him? It all sounds a bit like a ‘Nigerian Internet Scam’ to me. But again, I only have a glimpse into the entire story.

      Please keep me posted. I would love to know how things work out and I certainly hope I’m wrong on all accounts.

      • Thank you for getting back to me. I do know he’s a scam because we have video messaged each other. He even did during Ramadan with others around. I couldn’t see them but I could hear them. He has said he intends on continuing his studies here before. He decided being a specialist would give him more time for family. He told me he was single and was wild before but is finished with those ways.

        I will ask those questions and get some answers. I haven’t given my whole heart and couldn’t without those answers. I will get back to you for sure.

  23. so there’s this Saudi guy he is from Riyadh, and I’ve known him for a few months. and at first I didn’t really have feelings for him just considered him a really good funny friend. I could tell that he liked me and he told me continuously that he loved me and he wanted to take me shopping and do all these things. I decided to give him a chance not because his money but because he was a down to earth guy so I thought. Well couple month talking I started to hangout with more of my guy friends from Saudi. my boyfriend didn’t like that. He told me he didn’t want me hanging out with other Saudi guys. I was fine with it at first. But then he started to become more distant he was always busy even on my birthday he said he had to study so he couldn’t see me. I was heartbroken I fell I love with him and didnt realize it until he started acting this way. I started showing him that I cared and he started showing me how much he didn’t. I cry myself to sleep knowing that I wasn’t good enough for him I blocked him on everything Facebook , Instagram , snapchat the whole 9 yards. Although I did unblock him on Facebook just to tell him fuck you. He responded thanks so sent a thumbs up he responded with what do you want. and that was the last time I communicated with him. it feels like it hurts worse and worse everyday. Just not knowing what I did wrong to him kills me inside. I need some suggestions on what to do? How should I feel?

  24. The descriptions you have given of the Arab male herein fits the clinical description of borderline personality disorder in the western world. Long live Arab male abuse of women!

    If these guys were so superior they would have intellectual accomplishments of the Jewish males they so despise, but they don’t.

    Moreover, Islam is a rip off of the Jewish holy books, which is further hilarious. Arab men hate their women and hate Jews yet they are bound them both as the reason for their existence. Quite pathetic, since they think they are god’s gift.

  25. Hello,

    I have been dating a Saudi man for 3 years, and he is on a student scholarship. He claims he wants to live in America when he finishes school. I met his mother and she knows we live together, and after some time she understood. His father is very strict though, and though we have talked about being married one day I am scared he will go back to his country. I know especially in Arab culture family is over everything. However, my boyfriend is very stubborn and went against his parent’s wishes with getting a motorcycle, living with me, etc. What do you think I should do to prove he truely wants to stay here? He even tells his close friends he wants to stay in America, and currently manages a motorcyle business with his counsin. He looks for bikes and ships them back to Saudi. I guess to me that means since it is difficult to get a school job he is trying to get experience that way. He also has tried twice to get a social security. I may be rationalizing but to me it means he does try. Overall our relationship is amazing we have problems sometimes but we match well.

    • For him to stay in America he would have to legally immigrate. He can’t just say, “Hey, I like it here, I’m staying” especially since he’s on an F1 student visa. The process of immigration can be lengthy. At the time he finds a path to immigration he can then apply for a green card and get a social security number. Not before then.

      As for his desire to stay in America, it really doesn’t matter how badly he wants to if he’s just not allowed to. So, before you become emotionally invested and attempt to determine how long this can last, determine first if he’s even legally allowed to be here.

  26. i really love what you wrote about the Arab culture, but to be honest some part are very exaggerating. moreover, what really makes this complicatied is not only different culture but the culture itself for ex. not every kuwaiti can marry a kuwaiti women/men first they have to get the familly approvel even if he want her so bad and the relatiionship between them is perfectly fine but the parents or the family did not approve it because of whatever believe about the culture (there financial level is not semilar, or because they come from different race, or diferent religion shiaa/sunna, even though both are kuwaiti). then it will be over. which is unfortunate. thats why the culture itself becomes stronger than religion sometime for ex. some girls wear scarf not for a religion perpose but because they are forced by the family or because of people, again which is a culture thing, even when it comes to marrige or finding the ONE its really super hard, because there is no place to find a girls/guys unless you want to chace them in the streets which is the most popular way for douch or by asking the family members to hook you up with one. and even if they find one, you only have a period like 3 to 6 month to get to know her and you cant date her alone, her brother or her mom must be with her. i didnt want this post to be comletly negative but thats the reality here, which make me give up the idea of marriage sometime. thats why its very easy here to have a gay relationship lool, you can date him whenever wherever you want, not to say that i am a guy, but thats whats the comunity is driving us to do. forget to mention about the cost of the marrige and the wedding and the rent, even though the wife will not be a part of the man financial life which is unfare. for ex, he will pay for everything littrely everything which makes marrige nowaday very hard. now i rateher have a secret marrige than a marrige that been aprove by the family. because in the end you want to live a life that you want, not that life of how others want you to live. thats why trying to please everyone but yourself is a failure. but anyway, somehow marrige is still successful here but it still gives me the feeling of sickness as you mantiones they cant share feeling or emotion in public which make them by time became really emotionless and you feel that the relationship between them is DEAD!

    • youre gay? I heard a lo of arab men are gay as part of the culture.. (no dating no sex no emotions.. marrying cousins by force etc all women must stay virgins and whats left for you are men to have sex with) I think its a sick animalistic abomination…
      to treat women so bad you become gay
      im sure god didn’t create that

  27. Hi AG, i need some serious help.
    My boyfriend is from Saudi Arabia. He is exactly what you mentioned above. He used to go through my phone and stuff but I stopped it. Its been two years and he doesnt do it anymore. However, he still ignored me for days and it really tears me apart. I try to communicate with him and be honest and tell him how im feeling and what I want and he never talks. He just looks at his iphone or ipad until he gets mad and then i leave because I get really upset (borderline crazy.)

    Yesterday he came into my work (we arent talking) and goes up to my friends and chats friendly. He asks where I am but when I go to take his order he acts as if he doesnt know me. Eventually I get mad because its so busy and Im the only server I just ignore him. He never goes in to eat at my work but lately he has. He comes in look so cute with a fresh haircut and everything and ends up leaving stiffing me. I refuse to message him because Im tired of running back and taking the blame for everything. I just dont know what to do…any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Sometimes I doubt he really loves me and when I ask him what he wants from me or what will make him happy he never tells me. In fact, he will rarely say anything good about me. In the past two years he has only said I love you twice and you are beautiful twice. Did I get a bad egg? 😭😭😭

    • Hi Lilly. You didn’t get a bad egg, you got an abusive man. The purpose of him coming into your work is a way of him still checking on you and making sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing so he can go out and do what he wants to do. You’re far too young to bother yourself with this type of controlling, manipulating, ‘boyfriend’. Not that an older woman should tolerate it either. What I mean is let this guy go and don’t look back. The moment he think you’ve moved on he’s going to come running back begging you to be with him again. And if you agree, he’s going to use your previous behavior (of leaving him) against you and make you miserable. Cut your losses and run.

  28. Ah, it’s been so long since this was written I have no idea if you will read this.

    I consider myself a highly intelligent, independent woman. I have an 8 year old and a great job. There is a man from the Dubai that works at a convenienice store near me and every week for the last 4 months I’ve gone there waiting for him to ask me out (a girl can always tell when a guy likes her.) He finally did and he says that he has never actually been on a date before. A few years younger than me, and a student, seems to be very devout. He almost immediately asks to marry me, I am of course very apprehensive. He is always trying to kiss my hands and buy me things (even if they’re just small things.) However, I just still have a feeling I can’t shake. He’s always at least an hour late when he comes by and sometimes doesn’t show up until 9-10 pm, his phone is constantly going off, he won’t eat my food- he will go to mcdonalds before coming by!
    I’m just very confused by the situation.

    • First I would have to question if he’s really from Dubai. Working in a convenient store here in the US? Is it possible he’s moved from Dubai after working there for a period of time but isn’t Emirati? You may want to confirm his nationality before you go any further. Not because one’s nationality really means a lot, but it does if someone is being dishonest out of a desire to gain something.

      He’s not eating the food you cook because you’re not Muslim I would suspect. But it’s odd he’s eating at McDonalds. Are you sure he’s not going to the local Mosque or someone else’s home to eat? Very odd. Perhaps he just doesn’t like your cooking?

      Nothing about this situation sounds ‘right’. I would do a lot more research on him before you go any further.

      Good luck!

    • be careful. don’t ruin your life
      theyre so sneaky and controlling
      he may need you for your job,money,status… greencard anything
      never been on a date means socially inept too and he may feel so weird about dating that he lashes out on you…blames you for his failures (he perceives dating as wrong) he cant accept that you are good.. or can turn dating into “good” while he feels bad.. its so complicated but its a disease.
      they really have issues.
      a culture that different… marriage??? you just met… its not love he feels its a strange duty like feeling based off of REPRESSED beliefs that everything is a sin
      why give yourself that?
      itll keep playing out daily in every little thing til nothing of you is left and you have a child too.

      • Susan, you sound very bitter and hurt. I’m not really sure what the story is or why you’re so against Arab men, but rest assured not all are the same. Just as all American men, Chinese men, etc. are not the same. People are people. Sure, there are differences in cultures which can play a huge role in how people behave. But a cultural belief doesn’t make a person depraved or socially inept. On that same note, some people just aren’t comfortable with any cultural difference and should avoid being involved with someone from another culture.

        It sounds to me as if you were involved with an Arab man and expected him to behave the way you wanted him to behave. You even said ‘he dressed normal, like us’ — why is it you consider how we dress to be normal? And do you consider his traditional attire to be abnormal? With that mindset you would never have a successful relationship with a man from another part of the world. It’s clear you see your way as the only way and the right way. It’s a very immature way to think and view the rest of the world.

        I’m very sorry for any hurt you’ve endured but please don’t spew hatred towards an entire race of men because of it.

  29. Hello,

    We’ll, I’m currently getting the “silent treatment” from my Kuwaiti guy. Even up until the day prior to home leaving to see his brother and friends in Cali, he was generous, sweet, loving and affecrionate. He kept in touch for the first few days and then the night before last he tells me that we need to talk about us when he arrives home. Now, let me add that I believe he thought I’d sit home and mope around about him being gone. I’ve been to ATL, I’ve not sat still and he sees the photos and videos that I’m posting to social media. So, I start to freak out and bit and ask him to please just speak about it now, not wanting to live in fear the next 4 days til he arrives home. He continues to control the situation and reassures me it’s not about breaking up. He specifically says “it’s good for both of us”, which could mean ANYTHING really.

    Last night after not having heard from him all day (he does check all of my snapchats), I lashed out and told him he’s being terrible to me and I’m done. I meanthink done with the behavior, but he said; “You said you’re done so why are you still here.?” Of course that hurt me a lot!! He did this same thing when he went to Kuwait for two months in January and promised he’d be back to normal once he came back and that exactly what happened. Actually, he’s been so loving since he arrived back.

    I don’t feel there’s any cheating going on and he’s posting his brother and friends a lot. Again, he told me it was time for me to have a key to his place. I realize after reading above that doesn’t mean a damn thing. I was to the point whete I wanted to tell him I loved him bexfore he left and decided not to until he arrived back. However, is this typical behavior? It sure seems like it. Is this all part of the “silent treatment”? I mean…it’s as if he’s two different people when he leaves. He’d NEVER do this to me when he’s here. It angers me on such a deep level. Please help!

    • Ask yourself if this is really how you want to live the rest of your life; always being unsure of what his next mood is going to be or how he’s going to treat you tomorrow. Do you really want to accept this level of instability in your life? His culture, religion, etc. play no role in how he’s treating you. It’s abusive, period. I can assure you that if your behavior was the same as his he would be gone so fast you wouldn’t even remember seeing him leave. So why can’t you show the same level of self respect for yourself?

      You deserve better. Move on.

  30. Hi American Girl, I know this probably sounds stupid, but 2 days ago I was contacted by an Arab guy from Jordan. We have been chatting quite a bit, he says he reached out to me because I had a nice honest look about me.

    I am christian. My family is all pastors, he says my Christianity is OK with him.

    Get this it’s only been 2 days, but he says he already is in love with me, wants to marry me right now, and has besides us already video chatting ( which can I say he has the sweetest cutest smile ever) he wanted me to meet his mother and him meet mine on video chat!

    Today he had to get off to go to sleep as it was 11pm his time, he asked me to get off of fb. He said because he was jealous of me taliking to other guys, because he said he loves me, he Evendors told me he is all mine.

    I said you can’t lover me it has only been 2 days! And I well only not talk to men if he promises not to talk to any other girls. Which he totally agreed with ( as he has numerous times told me he’s single and only believes in having a monogamous relationship.

    So what’s the deal is he for real? He knows I don’t have any money, he has asked me to come to jordan. I told him each time I have to money to come.

    Wyatt are your thoughts on this?

    Thank you

    Is this crazy? I’m a very independent, and hard headed girl

    • Hi Stephanie, thank you for sharing your story and don’t worry about your spelling. Typing from a phone is never easy 🙂

      To answer your question, yes, this is crazy. I get numerous comments on the blog every single day of men asking how to meet American women to marry as a way to come to America. I explain to them that’s fraud and punishable by deportation and being banned from the US permanently — they don’t seem to care.

      Be very cautious with your new found friend and take it for what it is — a guy on the internet. If he wants this to become more serious let him apply for a visit visa to the US, let him pay for a flight and hotel, and let him make the effort to come here to meet you. Don’t you, for one moment, alter anything about your life for this man — including signing off of Facebook because he’s jealous. If he were a guy living next door to you who moved in 2 days ago and started saying he loves you and wants you to be only his wouldn’t you think he was a complete nut? Of course you would. Don’t treat this situation any differently. Want to get to know him? Not a problem. But let him make the effort.

      Please keep me posted. Wishing you all the best.

    • Thank you AG! I thought it was crazy too! I keep telling him. You dunt love me we just met. And your right, that’s what I said to if he does want to be apart of my life physically here in america, he has to take all the steps and pay his own way completely.

      Thank you for this reality check, it’s amazing how quick these things can start to cloud your judgements.

  31. Hi AG,
    I am a woman and I live in a large city in the US. My neighbors are from Saudi Arabia, they are 3 men that live together. One of them introduced himself to my 5 year old daughter and was very sweet, but I’ve noticed that they barely make eye contact with me and ignore me most of the time when we cross each other while walking.

    I would like to get to know them better and learn about their culture and who they are, as they seem like interesting people, but I don’t know how to talk to them or approach them. What is appropriate? I do not want to be rude or disrespectful.

    Thanks and I love your blog!!

    • Thank you so much for your comment and kind words.

      I’m going to assume the 3 men are perhaps students and maybe somewhat young (early 20’s)? If this is the case, keep in mind they don’t interact with females in their country in public. The most communication they have with a woman in their culture is more than likely through social media apps on their phones. The only women they can comfortably go out in public with are their immediate relatives (mom and sisters) or their wives and daughters. Dating and/or just hanging out with female friends is primarily prohibited but definitely frowned upon.

      If they are a bit older and perhaps just sent to the US for work temporarily with their company (ARAMCO or other oil company), then they are showing you respect by avoiding eye contact and conversation. It’s possible they have a wife back in their home country and choose to respect than relationship rather than risk doing or saying something that could result in cheating.

      You could always introduce yourself to them and explain you’re very curious about their culture and would like to learn more from them if they have time to teach you. I wouldn’t offer a hand shake as even that can be misconstrued (depending on the depth of their religious beliefs and cultural upbringing). But you can certainly attempt a conversation with them — unless of course they don’t speak English 🙂

      • First of all thank you so much for this blog it’s so helpful to see I’m not the only one experiencing these challeneges!!! I’m an American woman dating a man who is Palestinian ( he was born and raised here in America). The cultural challeneges have been hard ,but I have met his brothers and their wives and children. I have also met his mother seeing as though she is divorced from the father and therefore would not let him know about the relationship. Somehow I have managed to meet almost everyone BUT him. All the times we have had dinner though it has been in a small group not the whole family and now I have plans to go with him (I was nervous to but I was invited and no it rude not to accept) and his brother to see his new wife arrived from out of the country and her family. I’m beyond nervous seeing as though I will be the only white person there and I know the men will separate into their group and the women into theirs and that is the bane of my nervousness. I have no probably carrying on conversations with his brothers and cousins and himself when we are all at dinner or coffee but I find myself at a total loss of what to say to the other women. Whats an appropriate conversation topic I can bring up? Is there anything particular mannerwise I should do or say, or not do or say? Also this may sound downright silly but is it less offensive if I wear my hair up in bun or just wear it down? Is it okay if I wear sandals? What should I say when someone says salaam alykum as a non Muslim, would it be more appropriate for me to say peace be upon u in English or just say hello or walakyum salam back???? I just have so many questions and am so nervous, any bit of advice would help thank you so very much in advance!!

        • I apologize for the delay in my response. Be yourself. Wear your hair and clothing the way you normally do. It sounds like they’re accepting of you and you see to be a respectable woman. Be yourself, I’m sure they’ll adore you.

  32. Hello,

    I came across your post after trying to find out more information and it was really helpful, thank you. Especially the part about the silent treatment! I am a Danish girl who’s from Australia and have been engaged to an Egyptian man. He was brought up in Australia so some of this doesn’t apply so much I think but, some has been so spot on. Its been a tough relationship.. In Denmark and even Australia like the USA, men and woman are taught to be equal, and that’s how I grew up all my life. Hell in Denmark- even woman are the bread winners while men stay at home with the babies! Not in my partners culture (I didn’t realise this so much when we got together). I work full time, come home to all the cleaning, pick up socks and undies off the floor, candy wrappers and a pile of dishes just as I used to see his poor mother doing! I am expected to do this not only well, but with a smile and without a complaint either! And when I do complain, I get treats of breaking up (or real break ups) combined with silent treatment until I end up apologising and promising to work harder and be a “better person”. The double standard has been so strong, he can do whatever he wants but I get it for making the smallest mistake. And heaven forbid I put on a few kilos! I realised after a few years that the break ups were not even always true but just threats. After packing my bags one day I found him crying by himself in the spare room. I asked him why he was crying and he told me he didn’t actually know if he meant for me to leave, and was just trying to teach me a lesson! Exhausting. It has been a big cultural shock for both of us. I am stepping away as it was not how I was brought up and too hard for me to live like this. I have been told I am expected to work hard, do all cleaning and always be in control of my emotions at all times, always know the right thing to say and most importantly, ALWAYS be a happy person. A robot perhaps!! I don’t think he understands woman at all. Its been hard to leave as most of the time he’s been the most wonderful partner and best friend I could have asked for. But, the relationship is all about him and if its not, he creates drama to make sure it is. Its kind of Jeckyl and hyde behaviour as its only good when im being “perfect” and living up to his unrealistic expectations of what he expects me to be. When questioned recently he admitted to me that he did not see men and woman equal. What more can I say? Big learning lesson for me 😉

  33. I’ve been with my Iraqi boyfriend for three months now… He studied and primarily resided in Amman, Jordan for his childhood and most of his adolescence and early adulthood before moving to Dubai for a couple of years. He’s freshly in the U.S. As of December due to his VISA and he just finalized his paperwork with his lawyer filing for Asylum(Reaidency).

    I find that most of what you said applies to him, with certain exceptions of course. Especially the part concerning my wardrobe, he’s not exactly placing me in a hijab, but still verbalizes when he’s unhappy with my ensemble when we go out for a dinner-date or a club night with my dress being too tight, skirt hem too low, top too see-through or tank too low-cut etc. which is understandable. Also the part pertaining to my cell, he loves loves loves when my phone dies on me (which means more undivided att to him) or he loves to simply ‘hold’ it for me whether it’s in his pant/coat pocket throughout the night while we’re out.

    Here’s the thing. Our relationship has been difficult from the start… Not because of one another but because of our surroundings. I was born in the United States but raised and brought up all my life in Mexico. And he’s an Iraqi ultra handsome guy who still has his apt at the Burj K. Waiting for him back home even though he’s living here in Cali for at least two more years until he fulfills his residency req and can travel internationally again. A Mexican and an Arabic guy seems like a combo I defentirely personally haven’t heard of, I’m sure there are more out there, but strangely enough we find so many similarities with our customs and cultures!! From our closeness to our large families, moral obligations, extremely strict self-respect values inflicted upon is by our parents, not leaving the house until marriage(generally), no moving in without marriage etc.

    He and I are both extremely traditional and a bit conservative when it comes to our relationship views YET we don’t look it. (LooksDeceive) He and I are both early 20s fashionistas who travel the world and commonly get confused for flirts who have a bit ‘too much fun’ in the cities we travel to. When it’s not like that at all, which is what first sparked our first conversation when meeting. Since we both have rather large ‘images’ in our hometowns that are reputable there will always be talk. Anyways, I’ve never brought a BF home to meet my parents(I’ve only had 1) and neither has he(he’s only had 2). But we have fallen so deeply in love in such a short amount of time and through everything that we’ve shared that we are planning to meet each other’s parents very bery soon. He’s so sure about marrying me and bringing me back home to Amman and Dubai to meet his extended family being that I’ve already met his brothers and sisters(all 8) with the exception of one sister for the reason being that she was breaking down to him downstairs at his beach house so I hid in his bedroom while I heard her cry to him for emotional support and comfort…(it was a complete private moment I wasn’t going to intrude). I’ve also met every single friend he has here in the U.S. and each time with each meet I’m introduced as his GF, major points since he is generally private. We have traveled to Vegas a number of times, New York, and all through Cali in just this short time. We can’t get enough of each other despite living in different states. He’s in Cali, I’m in Texas. Thankfully he and I both have the means to travel to each other or vacation as often as we like since having our businesses gives us quite the freedom regarding scheduling. The only culture shock I must say we have is, back home for him (in Dubai and Amman) there are so many Arabic women(some are even his cousins) that are out to get me. They’re obsessed with my social media accounts since I post our romantic travel pictures up etc. and they’re reluctant to screengrab them and show them to his mother before I even have the chance to meet her myself as a way of sabotaging my relationship with him through her eyes. The thing is, he’s a very eligible bachelor particularly from Amman because he’s known everywhere for his estate in Dubai and exotic car collection which brings him a lot of attention from women. He never officially posts with me in his FB, IG, or Snapchat because he doesn’t have one picture up with a woman, he tells me it’s seen as disrespectful since he is supposed to be ‘shy’ about his partner. He explains to me how if he were to share my images or our images it would be seen by his friends and followers as him gloating me in a negative manner and he would never disrespect me like that. He takes a plethora of photos/videos of us though!

    I’ve had conversations with his best friends over how they’re weirded out by his behavior towards me because where ever we go he introduces us as together or his GF and he has this need to always hold me, grab me, and never have me apart not even for a little bit. He’s very affectionate and they’ve never seen him like that before not even with his two prior Arabic GFs back home. Although he holds me always, he’s not big with PDA as far as kissing and grinding, anything of that sort is way too vulgar for the both of us.

    As far as the silent treatment goes, that’s actually what I’m going through right now with him. He has just been reading my texts and ignoring my calls for 6 days now. Friends and acquaintances have been notifying me that it’s particularly common with Arabic men and to get used to it but it really worries me whether he wants me to be persistent as to continue texting him and calling him every once in a while until he decides to snap out of it and call me back or just to leave him be. As a Mexican I am VERY prideful so I feel as if I’m dying inside since I’ve texted a total of three times (which were just left on Read) and called twice but was sent to voicemail in a total of 6 days and I’m not sure what to do, would really help if you advised me on some insight you may have!

    **Sorry for the long read, felt the need to explain our grounds first being that every relationship is different

    • Hi Costa,

      I am literally in such a similar situation as you and I know this was posted 7 months ago but did you guys end up working out if you don’t mind me asking? I’m feeling my boyfriend who is from Dubai is pushing away from me because of family influence (similar to how his cousins tried sabotaging you) and thinking I should let go.

      • Sadly, we didn’t.

        3-4months after the silent treatement which was, by the way, strategically commenced the weekend I got back from his place in SD to TX to pack for my Spain trip with a friend which I ended up cancelling because I was too upset to travel and vacation not knowing where my relationship stood with the love of my life. I couldn’t take anymore and decided to fly to California and post about my check-ins knowing he would see it to find out what he would do with knowing I’m in SD/LA… I suppose I just hoped he broke the silence and reached out. Which he didn’t. He simply only became more reserved with his insta check-ins and geofilters on snapchat. I guess he thought I’d be crazy enough to hunt him down and make it a point to cross his path(lol i wouldn’t) although I was deeply upset though.

        I ended up just posting that I’m deliriously happy in Hollywood hills and going to exclusive pacific beach clubs etc. since I didn’t want him to know I was dying inside. Anyways, my plan to go over there and be there in his city faking to be having the time of my life failed when I had too much to drink and drunk texted him that I was in town and he can’t even message me letting me know where we stand and if he still feels the same way. I was blinded with anger at that moment because I couldn’t understand why he would be treating me like this (ignoring me/preserving his silence) so I did something I knew would provoke a reaction out of him.
        When we were together he would always have my phone he liked to block/unfriendnso many guys off my social media accounts and his cousins so that they cannot have new material to show his mother about us thus further sabotaging us, with that he had also made all my accounts private along with all our pictures/videos. (I’m a publicist and a fashion/travel blogger) so I literally took a big hit in my upcoming projects and work making my img private which was ultimately me regresing in my field since I am req to be so public about my life and ventures.

        In that rage I made everything public and unblocked his cousins in particular knowing that they would see I was there and assume we’re together again which would stir up a lot of unwanted drama for him. It also didn’t help that I sent all his cousins who played part in sabotaging me with his family direct messages holding all our content of he and I in every city/state we vacationed(couple photos/videos/selfies in NYC penthouse suites with him sleeping etc.) I was at a low point, and I wanted to provoke a reaction out of him out of fear I would never hear from him again if I didn’t do this. An Arab mans reputation is everything to him, so I broke it. That same night he reached out to me calling incessantly but I wouldn’t answer or open his messages. He then began messaging my friend(who I was in LA with) that I had destroyed his life and that he and I are no longer together anymore because his mother didn’t wish it and promised his hand in marriage to his cousin in Jordan. I was so devastated/adrenaline-filled and angry telling my friend to relay messages to him in my part. Saying why didn’t he just tell me instead of stringing me along, of course his justification was to turn it around as if it were my fault that it was obvious we broke up since we weren’t speaking anymore and that I have to forget him since he is now promised to someone else with it not mattering that he’s not marrying for love.

        We never spoke again after that, i never even went back to Cali since and I was practically living there… that place is filled with so much heartache. It’s been 7 months and I’ve been empty-heartedly traveling the world, dating the most elite eligible of men, and I still can’t let him go. That last things he told me was “thank you” “you destroyed me” “thank you so much for destroying my life”. I never lingered around and kept calling or messaging. But I do always carry him everywhere I go. Even in every relationship or romantic distraction. I can’t commit to any man or take him seriously because inside I have some blind hope that he will just reach out for things to go back to how they were between us.

        I really don’t wish to advice you to let go or not. It’s just something you individually will know whether you feel it’s worth it to keep trying and waiting or being mindful that enough time has passed and you’ve simply reached your limit.

  34. Hey AG

    I met this arab boy and we have an online relationship, we have seen each others before. He always tells me he want to marry me but his family won’t accept at the same time he demand so many things about me but dont give me anything of what demand. I’m afraid i’m losing my time. what do you think? how did get with your husband? do you follow his rules?

    • My husband and I met through a work thing. He never had rules for me and I never had any for him. From the beginning to now. We simply respect one another and always have each other’s best interest at heart. If your boyfriend has ‘rules’ you need to get away from him as fast as you can. If his family doesn’t accept you then move on. Otherwise you’re only setting yourself up for hurt and disappointment. There are plenty of people out there, dedicate yourself to one who meshes more with your lifestyle.

  35. **WARNING** TO ALL OF THOSE IN A ‘SERIOUS’ RELATIONSHIP WITH AN ARAB MAN

    As soon as I got into my relationship with an American yemeni/qatari man, I googled “dating an arab man” and your blog came up and I read your top 10 list of what to expect and totally ignored it and told myself ‘he’s different’ ‘they’re not all the same’. I WAS WRONG. That was almost 3 years ago. If you’re still reading this- DO NOT IGNORE AG’s ADVICE. I feel like an idiot. Girls, don’t be in denial. Unless you meet the parents, it’s not going to happen. Love is not strong enough. *Especially if they’re muslim, because then they believe in predestination and read ‘istakhara’ and let God (Allah) take control*

    If he belongs to a tribe, forget about it. If you’re not arab, you’re 2nd class. If he has his own place, you move in. If you move in, you cook for him. If you cook for him, you sleep with him. If you get pregnant, you get an abortion. If he moves, you get ‘engaged’ with him. If his parents tell him to get married, he listens-and you end.
    That’s my story.

    I met all of his close male cousins, lived with him and his brother for a year. Went on family trips. Got an ‘engagement ring’. Talked about marriage almost everyday. If you’re dating an Arab, don’t expect to get married to him if his mother wishes for him to marry someone else. Muslim men believe that the gates of heaven are under their mother’s feet. So if you disobey your mother, you’re going to hell. But dating, living together, premarital sex, an abortion- that’s all fine, as long as your family doesn’t know. DOUBLE STANDARDS-DOUBLE LIFE. That is the American Muslim way of life. Just save yourself the heart ache and end it if you start to get serious, it’s not going anywhere.

    I am deeply depressed, my happiest days were with him. He’s getting married next month, to his first cousin. No female in their family will ever know about us. Including his wife. This relationship never happened. 2 1/2 years of our lives together were meaningless. We went through college together, entered the work force together. The next step would have been to get married and raise a family together. Whoever you are, and whatever you think you’ve got, no matter how strong your love is, it’s nothing. Your relationship is a lie. After all is done, you will be kicked to the curb and will be expected to pick up the pieces all by yourself. And when that happens, you have to be ready for it and remember and know that it was coming.

    IF YOU ARE AMERICAN. YOU HAVE FREEDOM. YOU CAN LIVE YOUR LIFE HOW YOU WANT. WITH NO JUDGMENTAL TRIBAL RULES. JUST END IT

    • I am so terribly sorry this has happened to you. I can’t even imagine your level of pain. But sadly, it’s true; the meeting of the mother, the tribe, etc. In most cases at least. If he implies he wants a relationship then meeting the mother is imperative — that’s always my first bit of advice. Of course this doesn’t apply to every single Arab Muslim male out there. But it certainly applies to a number of them.

      Please don’t allow yourself to be deeply depressed. Sure, it hurts, and of course it sucks. But you’re strong and intelligent. You see the mistakes, you’ve learned from them, you’ve mourned the loss of this relationship. Now take a sense of pleasure in knowing he’s not going to love his first cousin the way he loves you and he’s being forced to live a life he didn’t even choose for himself. You’re free to be yourself and to find a new love. He’s never going to know that feeling.

      Take care of yourself. You deserve it.

  36. I read your initial blog and I laughed so much (sorry) partly because it’s true but not at the same time. Most of it is apparently based on dating one person from one country; most likely gulf region, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE

    The following replies to your comments are unfortunately based on personal experiences, mostly negative with “The gulf men”

    I have to say, as an Arab American man, the differences in culture between countries and many times even within the same country are immense! Having grew up in 4 countries in the middle east, with cousins men and women growing up in other countries, you would not believe the extreme difference in childhood and ingrained culture.

    I am currently in NYC area, dating an American as well from a polish background. Her family were intensely nervous and intimidated when they heard she was dating a middle eastern. We’ve been dating for for years, and in the first big dinner with her family I was able to relate every member of her family to one of mine overseas. our family and culture is so alike at home (except for the excessive Vodka drinking)

    My point of all of this is simple:
    Depending on the country, village, city you would be dealing with a very different background. From religious, to agnostic; extremely embedded in the culture and “procedures” to modern , free thinker and really don’t really care.

    I’d advice all women of the following when dating an Arab man, observe!:
    1- How fair/hypocritical is he ? would he try to uphold you to things he wouldn’t uphold him self to ? would he treat you well, and expect from you what he is willing to do and give.
    2- How well he treats/treated his family, would you want to be his family one day, would you want your kids to carry on that treatment ?
    3- How independent is he from his family? Loving family, caring for them, caring about their input is very different from being a complete dependent (money, thought process, approval) on them. Can he stand up to his family when they are in the wrong ? (when he thinks they are in the wrong, not you) or completely be washed away into their ways.
    4- How balanced are his views towards everything in life, it goes to #1, does he try to be fair even in his thoughts / positions.

    there is more but I got too sleep to finish… say tuned 🙂

    • Thank you SO much for your comment. I love that it’s from the perspective of an Arab/American man. I’m sure many will find this helpful.

  37. If you can contact me through email I would be forever grateful I’m in a relationship now with an Arabian and I’ve turned to converting but he still can’t see himself displease his parents. Even though all of the other family members love me.

      • Hello AG,

        So, there is this guy who is Arabic. We have been friends since HS and have known each other for about 12 years. Just a few weeks ago, we linked up and we ended up kissing. A week before we met up we were messaging each other and I asked how he was and if he was married etc.

        He instantly told me he was still at home with family because he can’t leave until he’s married. He did mention at this time he doesn’t want any type of commitment and how first he wants to be completely established. He said we can see where it goes. I told him I just don’t want to be sex for him and he said he wouldn’t do that to me because we’ve been friends for too long. However, my problem is that I am a Hispanic women with a child (single parent).

        What do you think the chances of that working out are? I do like this man. As I mentioned we have been friends for a long time and never had kissed until a few weeks back. He did always like me in HS but we never acted on it. I already told him I am not ready to get into anything sexual. So, should I give it a try but keep my panties on as you said. Or is me having a child going to be a problem with his family. I am not quite sure if Arabic men are allow to marry women with kids. Please advise before I attempt to give this man a chance and get my feelings too involved. I asked him if he has to marry someone an arabic/Muslim women and he said No! He says he a man and can marry who he wants. But, I am afraid to get too involved. There has been nothing much then a kiss. He did say we will see each other much more often after Ramadan.

        (In HS we were good friends. He was not a player and did not have many girlfriends.) I am sending this from my phone… Please pardon any errors or misspelling.

        • Hi Gabby and thank you for sharing your story.

          Few questions; was this man born and raised in America? Does his family live in America? Where is he from originally?

          I would say it’s not out of the question for him to marry a non-muslim single mother. However, there are a lot of variables there.

          1. You’re not a virgin — will he eventually use this against you?
          2. If you have your own children he will expect them to be raised Muslim — what about the one you have now?
          3. How will his family accept you and your child? Will your child be treated differently than children you have with him?

          A lot depends on how religious and traditional his family is. Perhaps his mother feels she still has the right to choose his wife and he feels obligated to go along with that. Or, maybe his family is very Westernized and no longer feels a need to follow those traditions any longer. Or, maybe he’s from a country where that wasn’t a tradition to begin with.

          I really wish I had more definitive answers for you, but without knowing his cultural background and deeply rooted in religion his family is, it’s difficult to make a realistic assumption.

          As for you, I would say there are risks with every relationship. Every couple has ups and downs. So, add to that the cultural differences and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

  38. Hello American girl. I need your input on my situation right now more then ever because im at a point i could save myself from a heartache…
    Ive been seeing this arabic boy i met at school for about 4 months.
    Neither one expected to be where we are whats so ever. We have exactly the same ways of thinking and behaving. We use to study together most of the time at the library and hanged out at the park and so when we had a class together which is how we met and now we are hanging out at all times. I love him for who he is but hes the type to go buy a new shirt just to impress me and i hate it because i really fell in love with the person thats wearing that shirt i could care less how he looks at this point.
    Our relationship is full of sizzling chemistry that anyone could feel it!! Aside of us of course. This man found a way into my heart so fast so easy that I felt i was under some spell.
    It wasnt till last week i finally gave him the talk where i told him i wasnt going to be the one making the first call and that I loved him (mutual feeling was already there for sure) Even though he didnt say it i knew. He never opened up to much at that time.
    I am aware of Arabic boys and their form of dating as an american girl would girl says. I also believe that they move on within the next day so cause of that i decided to let him go and not even tell him, the time was perfect i wasnt to deep in I could have moved on, i still can.
    HE didn”t even last 1 day without calling me (he ended up making the call as I used his famous silent treatment recipe back on him) We see eachother on the daily base and yet spend hours talking on the phone that second we separate. He finely made the call after a few hours into the next day of not talking cause i had told him the day before “Are you one of those guys that expect to be called first” well he said; not at all. Yet no call the next morning no good mornings, nothing. By the end of the night, he called me asking what i wanted to know and talk about? “He would answer anything”..Also that HE LOVED ME AND WOULD NEVER FORGET SOME1 LIKE ME. We went on a small trip yesterday where things got a little tense we had the greatest time together as usual but the ride back was full of sexual tenstion we yet have not shared the same bed! He invited me to his house but i came home because i was to tired to go over after being out all day. I know its not a part of cultural thibg to but I thought him being born and raised in the untied states would make him a little more American thinking he has never had a girlfriend before but he tells me that HE loves me.. Im so confused isnt that what u tell girlfriend\bf?? He also tells me how im his one and only hoping for the same answer! We have fallen in love already not to do so? I dont want to ruin it though. What should i do? He said that “he dosnt want me for only sex”. 0

    OUR REALTIONSHIP IS A FRIENDSHIP ON FIRE!!

    He always leaves me marks like if he owns me and im obviously im ok with it cause i love him and i dont have anyone to hide them for but yesterday when we spent the day together i felt like he was hiding something on his phone. Yet i was the one posting pictures of us not him. I post a picture of us from his phone which got deleted right away behind my back. He is the nicest arabic ive ever met and he is not afraid to treat me like a queen in public he sweaps me off my feet all the time and swears how diffrent he is. Im scared of getting more deep into this whatever we are and being that girl left because of not meeting some arabic standard.

    • Hi Mary,

      It sounds to me like you’re both very interested in one another and have a close connection. However, considering you’re both students and he’ll eventually go back to his country and marry someone from there (more than likely), you might want to keep your distance emotionally. Perhaps learn about his culture, get to know him as a person, and maintain a good friendship. Otherwise, you’re probably just setting yourself up for a lot of hurt.

      I’m not sure where he’s from but based on your location I’m assuming he’s a foreign student. If I’m wrong please correct me. Knowing more about his background, etc. would help me to have a better understanding of your situation and hopefully offer more relevant advice.

      Wishing you all the best.

  39. Hi ,
    I live with a 3rd Generation American Lebanese man. Although born and raised in the states he very much has traits you have mentioned . While reading all the posts and your replies , I know I am much older than most of these women . I have found myself in a situation that I would not want others to fall into.
    I have been with this man for 6 years and have been living with him for over 4 years. Last year , I was informed he is married but only on paper . Supposed to get divorced , uh yeah we have all heard that. He has admitted affairs that he will not end and is a complete womanizer , which he seems proud of .
    I know , why am I with this man , your asking yourself. I’m attractive and educated . I had a job and family . Unfortunately I put my trust in this man, I no longer work and I am completely financially dependent on him . In other words I am stuck.
    I am not new to relationships I have been married before. My situation is my fault and his . Promises , lies , threats all rolled into one hot mess. I created a fake name and email adress just to write this to you . He reads all my emails , FB , which I’m not allowed to mention him in at all. Has access to everything . I nothing .
    So as I am sure NOT all Arab men are like this . I am hoping the younger generations are getting it right . I just wanted to tell my story .

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. While I understand how you might feel you’re stuck, you really aren’t. Take away the fact he’s Lebanese and just realize regardless of his ethnic background it’s an abusive relationship. There are ways out of this situation and you can get out. Please do. You deserve better.

  40. Hi Name is H, I have talking with his guy from Egypt and it has been about almost six years that we have talking. and his is acting the same why as you have posted. but then there is times that he is all caring and loving. Like: I work nights for my work a fitness place and I leave my phone in my purse and i tell him ahead of time that i am going to work out of respect i have for him but some night he blows up my phone and others he does not. i don’t understand.

    • It seems as though he’s attempting to emotionally manipulate you which is a form of abuse. Explain to him how this bothers you, see if he changes. If not — leave.

  41. Hi, I have read your article and it is so true. I met my perfect match but did everything wrong. His cousin said he liked me and that was my fault because I advised my guy and he left me. Just like that….supposedly he was in love with me only online now…we have never met. I tried to reach him and call him he never answered. I really did nothing but tell him about that situation.

  42. Hello,
    My name is Ahmed , I am Arab man , 26 years old from middle east .
    I wanna say that not all Arab people are bad , bad persons are every where even in every house in this world you could find bad and good persons , so its not about there is idea in some heads that Arabs are bad or its not good for Americans girls should be in relationship with Arab man ,, I know some people from there and I have good times with them, and so they are .. and its hurt because someone like me cant or its very very hard to be with them ” in USA ” I always want help getting there . by the way I am from Palestine , Gaza Strip . and this is why I cant leave .. I take life as simple as it is , and I am glad that every one know me glad to know me ,, so why most of people dont like Arab or being with Arab ?
    why I cant be with the people that I love and like to be with them ? why there is no any kind of way getting with them ? I am so angry .. distance is very hard and hurt . maybe few people can feel and understand my point .
    Thank you.

    • There is no limit to the stupidity of American women. Derp, let me go over to the desert. Derp, lookie there it’s a sandman. Derp. Deeeeeeeeerp. Sandman! Derp-derp-derp. I just realized I’m the dumbest person alive, derp. OIL! derp derp derp derp derp derp derp derp derp derp.

  43. Hello, My name is Ana, I’m married, by religion only (Muslim) not by anything else, coz my Jordanian/Palestinian ”husband” refuse to marry me by law, why? he wouldn’t say, got married 3 years, ago, to all his friends & , I don’t exist, much less to his family, (i’m not giving him paper’s, he keeps refusing to have them, I don’t know why. he left his pregnant ex wife back home with 2 kids, (he sword to GOD) a zillion times that hs is divorced, never seen any papers, (they are coming ”tomorrow” that never ends) I support the house, he gives whatever he want’s whenever he likes, he comes and goes as he pleases, he doesn’t sleep home already like 5 times, whenever we fight, he leaves, If I ask him for money, he threats me to leave me, his beautiful words, doesn’t much his actions, I’m catholic, I didn’t and WON’T change my religion, despite of how many times he asked to do so, I WON’T! I must admit that he is extremely ”charming and loving” whenever he wants, he doesn’t smoke or drink like me and I love that, I’m sick, but I still work and I produce money, he works too but I never know how much he makes, ALL his life is a ”mystery” and if I ask him, I get insults and yelling. I don’t want to loose him, but also , I would like for him to be fair. any advice, will be appreciated. thank you dear! Peace!

    • Hi Ana.

      It sounds to me like you’re in a temporary marriage in which case you’re not really married. Nor do you have any rights legally. More importantly, it sounds like you’re in an abusive relationship and need to get out of it as soon as possible. Chances are he’s still legally married to his real wife and is using you for ‘fun’ on the side. He can get money and sex from you without having to feel guilty because you’re ‘married’. Dump this loser and move on with your life.

  44. Hi I need some advice I’m seeing an Arabic man in the USA he has his own place and business here. I was just looking for some fun but he asked me to not see other men that when ever I need him he will come, we go out to bars he tells me what ever you want to drink I pay or where ever I want to go he pays; while I’m with him he pays for the fun but made it clear he won’t pay for my bills which is ok with me since I’m not looking for a serious relationship but he does seem controlling and I’m not even his gf he wants to know too much about me he does call me first when he wants to see me or he says I’ll call you later he does. I just don’t want to get too involve as I just divorced a year ago don’t want to jump into it again specially with a controlling man. as I read here and from his comments looks like I’m his personal hooker. but I do want to eventually meet a nice guy to be in a serious relationship with and I won’t find him if my hook up treats me like a GF

    • Hi Mary, I have the utmost respect for your lifestyle and personal choices. However, you should know that ‘hooking up with men who pay for the fun’ is kinda like being a personal hooker. I understand it’s not your intention and I certainly don’t mean to be offensive. But people will only view you the way you present yourself. And by allowing a man who isn’t your boyfriend to pay for things and then ‘hook up’ you might as well be accepting cash. He’s not treating you like a girlfriend, he’s treating you like someone he wants to have sex with but making sure she’s not having sex with anyone else — for obvious reasons. If he were treating you like a girlfriend he wouldn’t be ‘hooking up’ with you for sex and he would be more willing to allow your lives to mesh (sharing expenses, etc). Again, I do respect your lifestyle, but I can’t imagine random hook ups in return for free drinks is going to lead to a serious relationship with any man.

      • Hi!

        Thank you so much for all the thoughtful advice. I started dating a Moroccan man who has a high stress job that takes him around the world all spring and summer. He’s been gone most of our relationship, but we talk via Whatapp or video a few times a week. He will just disappear for days though. I can see he’s online or has read my messages, but no reply. Then he will pop up as if he had just talked to me yesterday. I’ve met a bunch of his friends, brother, sister, bosses, and even talked to his mom on the phone. He said after his contract is up in August we’d travel to Morocco and Europe, but now he said the contract is over at the end of September. At least four trips to see each other this spring and summer were cancelled because is manager changed the schedule last minute. We’ve both been married before, and he’s a non-practicing Muslim. We love each other – he’s everything I want in a man, and we’ve talked about building a life together (he’s lived in the US for two years for work). I’m 35 and he’s 32. His friends say I’m all he talks about. He told me this spring that I had to be patient because his schedule is so crazy. I’ve been patiently waiting…even when he disappears for 6-12 days (yes… TWELVE), but it’s now been five months since I’ve seen him in person. Am I being strung along?!?

        • Hi there and thank you for sharing your story. I don’t think you’re necessarily being strung along. As you said, it’s a long distance relationship for the most part but you have both made the effort to see one another when it’s possible. Give it a little time. If he fails to meet the most recent deadlines he’s set forth then perhaps reconsider things.

  45. Hi guys,
    I’m an iranian(not muslim not conservative) who has dated an arab guy.I just want to warn you to run away from them as fast as you can or it will probably end in a broken heart.
    1.He was a sweet talker but I noticed he was sweet talking ten girls at a time, or even more
    2.On the very first date he demanded sex which was rejected.All I remember of him was how he was eager to get into my pants.At the same time he claimed he was a strict believer!and you know sex is prohibited in Islam before marriage
    3.He blamed me if I talked to my male friends, or if I attended parties,even my friend’s wreddin, if I wore certain clothes…Meanwhile he was having sex with multiple girls
    4.There were intervals of him totally disappearing for days and even weeks and not answering my phone or even sending a text.When I later complained he would totally deny everything and it ended up in my appologize because I was so cold that I did not keep in touch
    5.He would fix a date with me then ignore it while I was waiting.All the time ended up in stupid excuses
    Women,pleaseeeee respect your feelings and your personality. I am not a racist but believe me the cultures affects everyone’s behavior. Arab men are double standard hypocrites who only want the never ending sex and will not even fulfill you in bed.They never recognize you as an official companion in their heart and they leave you as soon as their mother finds them the perfect virgin girl for the arranged marriage. They never even try to be loyal to you but at the same time control your life.Just respect yourself and run

  46. Hi,

    I’ve been dating a Jordanian/Lebanese man for a little while. He is sweet, romantic loving and caring. He very persistent with having children and getting married soon. But I have not met him parents or he has not mentioned me yet. He is the eldest of 4 children. And He says he loves me and wants to care for me. He says he must following Christian Jordanian Arab culture on marriage. Father must have coffee with girls father and go from there.
    Will this work? It seems he’s cares more about his family then about mine or making an effort to be with mine.

    • He does care more about his family than yours. They are his family. Explain that he will need to meet your family, understand their culture, respect they’re also important, and go from there.

  47. maybe not all Arab guys are like that. I mean I am dating a Saudi guy now and he’s not different from any other guys (well on most things). he was raised in the US and got his degree there too. you are right about the silent treatment but when he gets a chance to text or call me he will do that asap. he explains the reasons which I understand because that is his culture. I even stopped posting pictures on instagram because that will be a start of a fight. they’re possessive which is fine to me because he just wants me for himself. they might insult how you dress because they’re idea of being “decently” clothe differs from us. he’s straightforward and don’t want guessing games which I like. if he’s mad he’ll tell you why. Arab guys are romantic. they just don’t want to talk their private matters to other people even with their male cousins. I was hesitant to date him before but I mean who wouldn’t fall for someone who is so wonderful? they are just so jealous that will make you understand later that is how they value the women in their lives. we fight like any other relationships but it’s how you wanna talk things out to them. you just have to adjust and accept that their culture is far different from us.

  48. I met a married Iraqi man and I am a divorced American woman. He came to my home the day we met and told me a few rules. I can not call or text him. I have to wait for his call. He said he did not bring a dowry, but if I want it he would provide. I’m very confused by this and what it means. He also said something about a 3 month commitment to him. He said something in his language before we were able to touch. Can someone explain the situation to me?

    • Hi Brie,

      I’m a bit confused. You say this man is married… are you dating him? Is he asking you to be his second wife? Are you located in the US? Does he realize his marriage to you would not be legally recognized here if he’s still married to someone else?

      Next, why can’t you call your text him? Because he’s afraid his current wife will see it?

      Sounds to me like he’s asking to have a temporary marriage with you so he can have the benefits of a sexual relationship without the responsibility or commitment of a real marriage.

      • We both live in the US. I met him one day and that night he came to my home. First he said he did not bring a dowry. He said he would give it to me if I’d like, it was up to me. First of all I don’t even know his real name.
        I’ve only seen him that one night and he said something about three months, which I am very confused. He said in his culture he can have more then one wife. I would never marry him and I don’t feel like we are dating. He also said before we touched there was something we were to say to one another but since I didn’t know his language he would say my part. He never told me what was said, only that it was very romantic. He said I could not call or text him. I only know where he works. He said I could tell people about him, but what is there to tell?
        Then he asked if I wanted to touch him or he touch me. I leaned in for a kiss. He only stayed for about 30 minutes and I haven’t heard from him since.
        I guess I can not talk to him because of his wife.

        • Your answers only make it all that much more confusing. You don’t know his name but leaned in to kiss him? You met him one day and the same day he came to your house talking about a dowry and marriage?

          I’m not really sure what’s going on. Not just with him, but on your side as well. Very confusing.

  49. He never called me after that night. I felt ashamed for what I did, I committed a sin. I wanted answers on what he said that night, so I gave in and called him yesterday to be told don’t worry about anything he said. I got put in the friend zone. I don’t care if he wants to be friends. I don’t and I am walking away from his confusion.

    • I’m not really sure what you feel ashamed for. It doesn’t seem to me you and he really knew one another. You met him once, he visited your house with some crazy talk about marriage, you didn’t know his name, and he tried to kiss you. I’m not getting the sense there was anything to walk away from. However, probably best that you do.

  50. I’ve been with mine for 3.5 years, he is from iraq is now a us citizen and lives, here we don’t live together, he says he loves me only when i say it first, might have said it first twice but i want sure i heard right and asked him what so never says it unless i do. I see some of this is true, but it actually makes me feel much better about my relationship. He doesn’t say all the right things anymore, but he does show in actions. I do see somethings he didn’t tell me or whatnot so I don’t get mad. I’m lucky he has never ignored me if he misses a call I generally hear back from him right away or with in 30mins, unless he’s sleeping. Even if he out of the country visiting his family. Yes I’ve never met his Sister, I have over his phone talked to a cousin and 2 of his brothers added me to Facebook. He is not happy when I check his phone, he stands there annoyed, was very mad the first time I looked through his phone and email, but he got Over it and I have trust issues I still do it occasionally to keep him in line, so to speak. Question is I have been married before, divorced for 5 years with him for 3.5. I have 2 kids 6 and 8, and dogs that he isn’t fond of but helps me take care of them. We don’t live together he does stay with me about 2-3 nights a week and I also work 3 nights. He doesn’t want to live together now. I’ve tried to bring up marriage he says we are happy now and doesn’t really want to talk about it, he does say maybe eventuality, we have talked about kids in the far future he said it’s up to me he would like to have kids some day but if I don’t want any more that he is a man and will be ok with it. he does treat me good. Cooks for me on days I wOrkney or when the kids are at their dad’s. I realized and Told him I don’t want anyone else. Is there much of a chance that he will marry me, I hear some times that they won’t marry american or someone that has kids. To be honest I’m not ready yet but I know eventually as long as,he always treats me good how he has for over 3.5 yrs I want to eventually have marriage.

  51. Thank you for the insight. I have a better understanding of the culture and look forward to meeting and marrying an Arab inshallah.

  52. I know a man from the UAE (Dubai) who is studying here in Boston. We have a very warm texting and calling relationship that has been completely chaste. He calls me his best friend. Is his conception of best friend different than an American concept – for instance, does that mean he may be interested in me as more than a friend? Thank you

  53. I love everything about my Arab man.
    But I don’t understand why hi is so territorial.
    He makes me feel frustrated because I feel like he doesn’t trust me.
    I’m loyal and like you mention he does everything for me so I won’t do anything to hurt him.

    • It might not be that he doesn’t trust you, but that he doesn’t trust other men who are around you. Sometimes, men seem to think a woman doesn’t know when other men are flirting with her. Not that they assume we’re stupid… just too kind perhaps.

  54. My relationship with an Iraqi man recently ended after 2 years. I read such blogs when I first started dating him and they scared me a little but I was convinced my man would be different.
    I have only read some of the comments above but some hit home for me.
    the reasons we ended was some of the very key things you mention on your list. But before I dive into that I do have to say, he did have a huge loving heart and I still love him though we are not a match for each other after all.
    My list:
    1) The getting angry and not talking for days. It would be the smallest of comments that I would say “don’t give me attitude honey” that would set him off as it was “disrespectful” I would apologies immediately and as usual beg for his forgiveness but be soon told that he would take me home and I would hear from him anywhere from 1- 5days time. I never understood the amount of time it took him to move on from such small things that I would have taken minutes to get over, if they had upset me at all. This tore me up inside, I could not stop thinking of him, calling, texting, sending love notes. As that was expected of me or I did not care or I was not sorry. I was always told to just accept it.

    2) Everything was always my fault, he never did a single thing wrong, in 2 years I think I heard maybe 4 apologies from him but he later took them all back. He was convinced he was perfect I was the one that needed to change. In the end I believed him.

    3) I was always told “yeh it was a good day but would have been better with more arabs at least 6”. My company never felt like enough. He would always want to be with his friends and the times he wasnt was seen as a favour to me.

    4) He introduced me to his Brother early on and after a year his father. I was told never his mother before a ring was on my finger. This made me feel un easy but I accepted his traditions. His brother 2 months before we ended though had told him to break up with me because I am not a Arab (not pure) and I have different values. He had defended me and his brother had stopped speaking to him for that. (I truely believe this was the thing that truely broke us). He could not recover from his family not accepting me, it haunted him.

    I moved countries for my habibi but in the end he ended things with me by blocking me from every form of communication (fb, phone, email etc). I no longer existed.
    I will never date an Arab again, I do not regret loving mine but I became addicted to him, his control over me, he became every single thought I ever had. I lost myself completely to his will in the end and then I lost him. None of the joy was worth loosing myself in the process, love is about finding someone who brings out the best version of you not someone you loose yourself to.

    • Hi Fattoush.

      Sounds like you learned very valuable lessons but sadly also got hurt. I’m truly sorry that happened to you. Please don’t rule out any person because of what another one did to you. Wishing you all the best.

  55. Well ladies as a woman who loves latinos I’m about to embark on a sexual adventure with an Iraqi Australian guy. Very interested in all your stories, although this is not going to relate to me as I’m older and definitely not looking for a relationship. But I will let you know how it goes, must say though when you look into an Arab’s eyes, they really do have that come to bed with me look about them. Can’t wait.

  56. Some of these are overgeberalizations. My boyfriend is from Saudi Arabia and I can personally say that my boyfriend shows me mutual respect. He takes my calls, he doesn’t ignore me, he doesn’t leave without telling me where, in fact he doesn’t go anywhere overnight and has always allowed me access to his phone, computer, etc. if I ask, though I haven’t felt the need to. I hate wearing bikinis but he has encouraged me to! And of course he wishes I was Muslim but I’m pretty much atheist and he accepts me that way and it never becomes a real talking point. He is literally the most attentive, kind, respectful, humorous, generous person I have ever dated and actually my all-American dad loves him. I’m emotional some times and he doesn’t freak out, in fact he thinks it’s cute. He’s actually quite a feminist and doesn’t let religion dominate his day to day. The only caveat is that of course, after a year and half of dating and plans to get married here in the states, his parents know nothing of my existence. Sure, I’ve met his brother and a cousin but otherwise his parents think he’s busy studying and praying while he stays in the US. I think he doesn’t quite know how to approach the situation and frankly, I don’t blame him. My only fear is that they will literally die never knowing I exist. Not sure what to do in this situation.

  57. Hi there. I’m not sure if this is where I can ask for advice if not please let me know.
    I met and fell in love with an Omani guy through university, we only met 3 months ago but decided to be boyfriend/girlfriend after a few dinner dates. I understand somewhat about arab culture and he is also passionate to share his culture with me. I’m 28 and he is 29. I know it seems soon but I am a girl who always dreamed of getting married and he seems perfect. He is caring and sweet and intelligent and treats me well. He told his mom about me but just as a ‘friend’ cause I am interested in Islam and she bought books for me (havent met her). I’m also not wanting to waste time in meaningless or non serious relationships so I thought I would ask him about marriage. When I asked he replied that he didnt really think about it but wouldnt want to marry for at least another 5 years because financial stability is really important to him (my vision is more like 2 years for me getting married.. I asked if it was 5 years from now would he marry me and he said yes). He also said that his scholarship may end after this year and that he might not be able to stay on longer, meaning we would only have one year together, that the rest is uncertain and we would be long distance after this (I am not sure if long distance is realistic.. Ive never done it) I suggested getting engaged after the 1 year and then waiting til hes financially stable to actually marry, but he explained that in arabic culture, engagement is the same as marriage and that it would be kind of offensive to his family if we got engaged so long before marriage, or didnt tell them, and thats especially bad cause we said we would both live in his country if we got married, with his family close by. He also said he wouldnt want to ask me to wait 5 years knowing I wanted to get married sooner and doesnt want the pressure of asking me to wait in case we end up not marrying and ‘he wasted my time’..but he also doesnt want to leave me. I guess this isnt totally a question about arab/american cultural differences, but more general relationship advice. What are your thoughts on this situation? Am I being unreasonable trying to push everything so soon? Should I forget my desires of being married sooner, if its for the right guy? Do you put the right guy before anything else? Is the ‘long distance’ idea just to lead me on? I dont want anyone else and I feel sick when I think of leaving him.. but should I end this and move on before we get more attached? I am trying to be sensible but also listen to my heart. Thanks for any notes or advice you or anyone has. <3

    • At the end of the day, I always feel it’s important that we follow our heart and do what’s most important to our own dreams. So while I can’t tell you what you should do, I would certainly say do what brings you the most happiness. If you end up brokenhearted let it be a lesson. If you end up married and happy together you’ll know it was meant to be. If you walk away and meet someone else, then that’s what you were supposed to do. Just do what brings you happiness today — you might not have tomorrow.

  58. I dated an Arab and this is so true.
    The struggle is real coming from a western culture….
    8 months of sufferening and feeling miserable…. indeed this men are meant to be with Arab women that can handle or are used to this stuff..
    I’ll leave a piece of my story;

    For all those who think they are the most handsome… that’s super Arab. Literally they think they are the best, most handsome and most intelligent people in the world yet they lack a lot of other things.
    There are handsome men and gorgeous women everywhere you go. It just depends on your taste.
    You like arabs and that’s your taste but let me tell you something girl… you better watch your back with this men. They are hardcore when committed to a relationship. I always tell people you are okay to date an Arab if you can be the most submissive and comprehensive woman in the world. That’s a fact and that’s what they want.
    Nowadays social media is so big that Arab women find that submission is not everything that’s why they want to run away from their countries.
    I am European living in the USA.
    I dated an Arab before and at the beginning it was wonderful. I was delighted with him. We connected right away and right away he wanted me all for himself. No problem with that. I didn’t want to be with anyone else but him.
    As the months were passing.. I found my self changed completely.
    My make up was completely different, my hair was different and the way I was dressing was different. To the point that my mom told me: is way too hot outside, are you sure you want to wear long sleeve and jeans? I stopped for a second and started to remember all the mean comments that my boyfriend at the time was doing towards everything about me.
    He would tell me: baby, I don’t like the way you do your eyebrows. Look! (He would show me a bitch in ig) do them like this I think you will look good. (So I did to please him).
    Another day: baby!!!!!!! (Screaming) why?!?!?! (I was confused idk why he was screaming at me) why are you wearing yoga pants? (Well hello you told me to wear things that wouldn’t show my body….) look, turn around and look in the mirror. (So I went to the mirror) (okay, what?…) can’t you see? Everybody can see your asss!!!!!! (Omg now everybody can see through clothes) I want you to throw them away and buy new clothes that are loose. (Mind you, those yoga pants cost me $100 at lulu lemons) (fuxk off).
    All this were episodes that I would go through every day. Even he told me that i have to cook for him every morning when he wakes up to show him that I love him even if I was at school and had a break I had to come make him breakfast and leave back to school….
    He would call me stupid whenever he would tell me something and I wouldn’t understand because of his accent…. (which was most of the time)
    This was all happening after 5 months in the relationship.
    I told him plenty of times that I didn’t like to wear long sleeves all day. That sometimes I didn’t want to put make up on and that sometimes I wouldn’t straighten my hair because I was feeling lazy…. and of course he would get furious and tell me his super famous sentence: “dress like people like” “eat what you like” meaning, wear clothes that he likes and eat whatever I would like to eat.
    I’m not even going to start with what I felt in that relationship but miserable, stupid and retarded is only the beginning of my terrible experience psychologically….. I hope it helps people realize that each culture and religion are different and that if you really love someone and can vow to their perspective and their way of looking at life then go ahead but I personally can’t.
    Hope it was helpful.

  59. My husband is from Palestine, I’m American. We have been married for 1 1/2 years now. He contantly has temper tantrums, loves woman friends and swears to Allah he’s not cheating on me. We might have sex once a month, he hides his phone from me and yes, he has several. I’ve caught him in several lies and when questioned he calls me names and goes into rages. Still denying his wrong doings. Recently I became aware of his gambling habit which is haram. I’ve begged him to stop but he just will not or can not. His family is beautiful, they love me and I love them as well. I’m 10 years older than him and feel really insecure at times. I was told he had several girlfriends that visit him in the work place. I’m not so sure if all this is normal for most Arab men. I love him dearly but am scared he does not love me the same. Any advice?

    • Remove the fact that he’s Arab. Would you tolerate this behavior from an American man? Would you think this is normal? Absolutely not. There are numerous differences between the East and West’ bathrooms, holidays, food, family values, etc. But being disrespectful, cheating, and lying aren’t cultural. Nor are they behaviors anyone should tolerate in a relationship, friendship, etc. I’m older than my husband as well, but it doesn’t mean I should feel insecure about it. And my husband has never once even reminded me of our age difference, nor does he treat me as if he doesn’t love me. You may want to ask yourself why you allow someone to treat you like this. Work towards feeling better about yourself and realize you absolutely do not deserve someone to treat you this way.

  60. Its crazy how much I can relate to everything that has been said. I have gone through a similar situation. I have been dating my Yemen best friend since the summer we graduated. It has been a roller coaster of emotions since I’m the one that has to compromise the most to be with him. I am hispanic and when I told my parents that I was dating an arabic man it almost tore our relationship apart. My dad did not want to speak to me. We managed to work things out and after months accepted us being a couple. I still always feel like I’m the one fighting for our relationship. I would have his back when people told me not to get into a relationship with him and even when it came to my family disapproving but the thing is I don’t think he will ever do the same for me when it comes to family. He tells me his dad would accept me when the time comes but it’s almost three years of the same thing and I don’t believe him. I’m scared to keep giving my heart to someone that might leave me. He tells me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and start a family yet he won’t even let his family know about me. I really want to believe that he’s being honest about that but after reading this the signs are there. I still love this man. But I know he respects his family and I would never want to be the reason he loses his family. I just wish things were different because what we had could’ve been great. I recently called it off to protect my heart because I just have this feeling like nothing will change. Actions are much louder than words. I now have to erase the thought of us being together and it might be a little hard since I know he won’t just let me go. I just wanted to let this out because it hurts to know you would give your all to someone and be okay with getting less than what you deserve because you have faith in him and hope he would fight for you like you fight for him. I hope that people understand that arabic men are great men. They would do anything for the people they love. But I’d advise to be careful with your heart. Don’t ignore the signs. Try not to keep having hope that things will change and be different because sometimes thats not the case. If you give your heart to him make sure he does the same for you. Also if you meet his family then that man is serious about you. I had to learn the hard way words are just words and actions will always prove how much someone genuinely cares about you. I just don’t want to keep fighting when his family probably won’t accept me.

  61. WOW and OMG!!! You said it perfectly! I have been with an Iraqi Muslim man for over 3 years and going on 4 (also dated another one prior to the current) and everything you said is exactly right and TRUE!!! I wish I knew what I was getting myself in to however I don’t regret what I’ve been thru with him although it’s a “never ending story”. They will keep beating you around the bush (a.k.a. strung along) with commitment promises that will NEVER be fulfilled…get used to it or end it!

    By the way, he might have been raised here (US) and have been here for many and many years but he will ALWAYS have a Middle Eastern mentality! That will never change so don’t even bother (even if he says that he’s “Americanized”!!).

    I wish I could type more or add more to your list but I don’t have time but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I primarily appreciate the young lady that posted the main post so that we can open the eyes of other women while there is still time!

    And by the way, ladies…yes they are extremely charming and very hot in bed (sensual as well as sexual) but don’t ever expect true and honest commitment!!! Have sex, eat their food (which by the way is delicious), enjoy their gifts (which will often times be expensive), enjoy him as a person (they are extremely respectful, they usually don’t drink alcohol or smoke, they usually don’t do any drugs and often don’t cheat), enjoy the moment but don’t ever expect him to marry you and have an honest commitment with you.

    For people like me that I’m reaching my mid 30’s, I don’t have time for little games or to be strung along so it’s either serious OR I’m going to let him go! And I know I will miss him so much because he grew into me (they grow into you) BUT I have to respect myself enough to say ENOUGH!

    Good luck ladies!

    Floridian

  62. I stumbled across this post because I’m curious to know if a Palestinian man can marry an American girl or not. I was dating this guy for about 2 years and things got serious between us until he broke my heart: it’s been 6 months since the break up and I still can’t manage to accept the fact that we’re actually over. Honestly, everything was fine we were perfect and he treated me like a princess! Just as your post said though, I never did get to meet his mother but she knew about me. I wasn’t a secret to his family because I have met all 5 of his brothers, his cousins, his uncles, and his father. Everyone except the women. He claimed that he didn’t want to get married their way though and that he didn’t care what his mother thought about him being with a non Palestinian. He asked for my parents permission for my hand in marriage but there wasn’t a ring or anything, he did end up giving me the traditional gold coin necklace though. He also went with my mom to our country Trinidad to meet the family for their approval as well. But as soon as 2017 hit, his business had some issues and they had to sell. He’s 25 going on 26 and I know he wasn’t happy with his life because he felt behind and felt like he was struggling. The entire family relocated to Virginia and he left me here in Florida. They ending up getting some deal on some gas stations there and doing better I guess financially. But he left me and he’s already seeing other women. How does one go from being in love telling me I was the best thing that ever happened to him and that he was scared to lose me to this? We barely even talk anymore and when we do all he does is tell me to move on and forget him. But when he drinks he’d call me and tell me how he can’t get over me and no one can compare. I was willing to do the distance and I was even willing to relocate for him as well but he never gave me the option. I’m just confused as to if he really did want out of the relationship or is he just afraid of commitment due to his mother…

    • Hi Nisha, thank you for sharing your story. In your case, it doesn’t sound as much like a cultural issue as it does an unfortunate break-up. It seems as though he’s expected to work for the family business which would require him to make decisions based on those expectations. If their work took them to Virginia and you’re still in Florida, he probably felt it was just too difficult being apart and felt it was in his best interest to start dating other people. Also, not sure if he was born and raised in the US, but if so, I doubt his mother plays as much of a role in his marriage as she would like. However, I have known Palestinian Americans who do still marry a girl from their country and bring her here to live.

      • That’s what he somewhat told me. That it has nothing to do with his family just that he wanted to get his life together because he IS tied to them, he’s the backbone in that family he’s the eldest and he’s been taking care of them financially. Although, when we were together his mom did send me a nasty message on Facebook and he actually defended me. He’s told me that when he’s ready and time is right he will come back for me but he also tells me that it’s over there is no coming back. I think he genuinely did have real feelings for me because your post was so relatable. He doesn’t do “relationships” and didn’t believe in “love”. I was actually his first gf! He’s been with other women but he’s kinda a dog about it if you know what I mean? But he stopped all that haram once we started dating because he used to gamble with the guys and go to strip clubs too and blow money like it was nothing. I honestly thought it would of ended because I’d end up getting cheated on or something. I was so wrong. We never had an issue with trust and he’s told me that any other girl he would of slept with them right away and then dropped them after a month. He waited months for me. He did take me on a number of actual dates and introduced me to his dad first before anything too. So maybe he isn’t all that bad? And yes, he was born and raised here in the US.

  63. I am an American woman been dating an Arabic man for a year and a half and have found much of what you have said is very true. He ask for my phone but refuses to let me see his. He leaves for days and no return although we do not live together. But also will not allow me to call him , if I do he never answers unless he has asked me to call him. Intimacy is all about him he expects it all but other than intercourse I get nothing, no passion holding me when he has released its over . Never wants to talk about ‘us’ it’s always his work religion or friends. I don’t understand why I put up with this . I know what to do but can’t make that move.

    • You can make that move. This is an abusive relationship regardless of his ethnic background or religion. Leave this loser and find someone who deserves you.

  64. Hi American Girl,
    I just started dating a Arabic or muslin (he won’t tell me) and he told a week into dating that he loved and didn’t want me to leave him ( he said that to me when i caught him telling a another girl she was pretty) he also said that she was old and i am young and beautiful (i am 20 years old) ( he is 26)….Isn’t it to early for him to say those words to me…how do i know he means it?…He also leaves across the street from me…when he is out work (out of town) he shares his house with his friends and every time i am outside they wave and stare at me in till i go in my house..it’s weird because they stop what they are doing and look at me..is that normal? But recently he been ignoring me …he will just read the message and doesn’t respond so i wait two hours and nothing ..but he responds when i say his name and why are you ignoring me and he will replay with i am not shel….is that normal to?…He wants to see me all they time but i can’t because my parents don’t know about us and they wouldn’t approve….I don’t know what to do..i sneak out of my house in the morning to see him but that’s it or he come to see me when i am in school….should i still be with him…. or should i not…please let me know what you think ..thanks

    • Hi Shelby,

      The most important part of what you’ve said is that your family doesn’t approve of him… for whatever reason. You’re only 20. That’s really young to have so much drama. Especially when it involves your family. If you and he were older, had been together for a while, and knew for certain this was the man you wanted to spend your life with I would encourage it. However, right now things are new. You’re confused about how he feels, what his intentions are, and if he even cares about you the way he says he does. Do you really want to risk contention with your family over something so unstable? I say back up, be his friend, get to know him as a person a little better, introduce him to your family as your friend, and see what happens.

  65. Hi American Girl,

    Thank you so much! I will try that out and let him know that we are going to fast and we need to slow down. I feel like he’s making our relationship speed up and he shows it in his emotions …like they way I don’t respond to him right away or if I go anywhere with out him knowing. What if he doesn’t like that? What do I say to him? Lol I am sacred on how he’s going to react to us taking it slow. Do you think he see’s me a lucky guy who got himself a young american girl …that’s what my friends are telling me and that I should leave him. Do you think he tells his buddies about me because they stare at me weird in a way that feels like “baby don’t worry we got you too” kind of way… Should I just ignore them?

  66. Hi all,

    I’m an American 24 year old woman who has been dating a Saudi man for 2 1/2 years now. We first met in undergraduate college, and things have been nothing but wonderful. We both wish to get married, but he has not told his parents yet and fear the worst. He has met my family and they adore him and support my decision to move to KSA if it’s our only option (we both prefer to stay in the USA though). I should also mention I’m a Muslim and have gone on to complete a Masters degree since we have met and now have a stable career making my own money. I have met several of his very close cousins and closest brother with no trouble at all, but my Saudi man is extremely scared to tell his mother first since he assumes she will want him to end this immediately. However, we don’t want to continue things for a longer time if she will say the same thing in the future. Sort of just ripping the band aid off sort of thing if you will.

    Any advice on how he should approach the conversation and convince her that this isn’t just a fling?

    • Hi, Jps! Unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell his mother other than to just say it. I can’t imagine anything he’s going to say is going to change her mind on anything. Culture runs very deep on that side of the world — especially in Saudi. It’s possible that the moment she finds out about you she’ll insist he come home right away and have a fiance waiting and a wedding planned. They often believe when a man starts ‘dating’ he must need sex and therefore, it’s time to find him a wife. I know many Saudis who chose to just marry their American girlfriend, have a child, and THEN tell their family. It’s almost like, “Well, here’s your grandchild, like it or not” — a child often changes how the mother will view the wife she didn’t choose. Then again, just as many Saudis have married their American girlfriend, had a child, and disappeared, leaving the wife and child. Never to be heard from again. I say be cautious. Tell him she’s going to have to know about you if this relationship is ever going to progress. Until it becomes a marriage it really is just a ‘fling’… maybe even in his mind. Make him take this seriously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *