Saudi Arabia: How do YOU know if YOUR Saudi is Serious?


As more Saudi students travel abroad for university education there is an increase in bi-cultural relationships between predominantly Saudi men and foreign women.  Ironically the Saudi women who travel abroad for university usually do not have the same interest or drive towards getting to know the opposite sex as the young Saudi men.  The Saudi women whom I have known that are receiving their education abroad are more interested and enjoying the freedoms of learning how to drive and simply explore their new local area.  Most of the Saudi women have not had the exposure interacting with non-related men and choose to avoid them for the most part.

 

Young Saudi men, on the other hand, are gregarious, charming and quickly have a wide variety of friends, to include foreign women. The Saudi man who travels outside of the Kingdom for education is made fully aware that he is prohibited from having a relationship with a foreign woman while abroad.  However, in spite of this advanced knowledge, few if any men, will tell a foreign woman with whom he has become involved the details behind his scholarship.

 

The young Saudi man will generally tell the foreign woman that she is the love of his life and he’s never met anyone like her.  She is going to be his wife.  He will talk about how he loves her and woo her.  He will be exceedingly polite with her family.  The foreign woman and the family will find him very thoughtful and caring.  He’ll take the time to sit with Grandmother or Grandfather even if they are hard of hearing and have a grand time with them.  He will be good and at ease around young children.  He will court the woman and her family with an old world charm and respect that is generally not seen among young American men.

 

As the relationship develops between a young Saudi man and woman, he’ll talk more that she will be his wife.  He may very well talk about his family and assure the young woman they will love her.  He’ll talk with passion about his home country.  For the young woman who has never met a Saudi before, she will likely be overwhelmed and feel like she’s been picked up off of her feet and set upon a magic carpet ride.  The young Saudi man with his dark hair and eyes and accent is exotic and ever so handsome.

 

He may attempt to sweet talk the young woman into an intimate relationship. That’s a warning sign.  Such a relationship in Saudi Arabia is prohibited.  A young woman may interpret a deeper and intimate relationship as a sign of commitment.  The young Saudi man may view it as “what he can get away with.”

 

If a Saudi man alludes that he wants to marry the foreign woman she needs to learn about him and his family.  When a woman marries a Saudi she marries his family.  Marriages in Saudi remain arranged for the most part.  If a Saudi talks about marriage to a foreign woman but she has not met or spoken to his mother and sisters via Skype then that is not a good sign.  He may have introduced her to other male friends or male relatives but that is not the same.  It is ingrained in a Saudi that the female family members and especially his mother should know of his choice if he is intent on marrying a woman.

 

A Saudi man should also be upfront and candid with a young woman about the Saudi scholarship program and Saudi marriage restrictions.  Saudi students on scholarships are prohibited from marriage to a foreigner.  Saudi men under the age of 35 are not to marry foreigners (non-Arabs).  A Saudi student may try to make light of the requirements saying they do not apply to him or he has influence (WASTA) so that he can circumvent the requirements.  He may try to persuade a foreign woman to marry while they are still students but keep it a quiet secret marriage.  RED ALERT!!!!

 

It’s not that a Saudi isn’t free to marry.  He is…in a sense.  But once his scholarship is completed he is to return to Saudi Arabia.  Or if it is discovered that he secretly married a foreigner while a student his scholarship would be revoked and he would return to the Kingdom.  A Saudi can marry whom he wants but the Saudi government must approve the marriage in order for he and his foreign wife to live together in the Kingdom (legally) as husband and wife.

 

As a result many Saudi students do marry a foreigner while they are a student, keep it quiet and then return to Saudi Arabia promising to get to the approval.  In too many cases, that is the last the woman has heard from him.  In some cases he may return and try to get the approval but find himself embroiled in a mass of bureaucracy.  Not to sound discouraging but the approval process can take years.  It is complicated and more so if the young man’s Saudi family were not aware of his marriage or intention to marry a foreigner.

 

Every young woman in love with a Saudi will say that her Saudi is different.  That’s true…each Saudi is different.  But whether each one is truly honorable when it comes to a relationship with a foreign woman is the question.

 

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200 Responses

  1. good information!

  2. Thank you for all of this information American Bedu!

    But what about if the Saudi male decides to stay in the US with his new American wife? Then is it necessary to get permission from the Kingdom? Shukran!

  3. What if they just decided to stay in the woman’s home country?

  4. oh my goodness, Grace, I guess we were typing at the same time. lol

  5. If a couple decided to marry and remain in the wife’s home country there would not be as pressing as a reason to get the marraige approval. The marriage approval is to live legally in the Kingdom as husband and wife. However it would men that he would be relieant on getting visas for his own travel home. It’s doubtful a Saudi will stay out of the Kingdom without at least returning for some visits. If the Saudi is on a scholarship though he is prohibited from marriage while on the scholarship.

    Children from a Sadui couple would be recognized as Saudi’s so eventually the hubby and children could travel to Saudi without the wife.

  6. I agree with a lot of what has been said above based on what I have heard and my own personal experiences.

    I have a lot more respect for a man if he is upfront about the kind of relationship he is truly after. There are plenty of women that are not looking for something serious. Why play around with the ones that are?!

    If both of the people like living in the woman’s home country, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t consider making a home there generally speaking. I honestly think living somewhere like the UAE/Qatar would be a good compromise, though it can take a little more work and planning to get jobs there. It would be safe for her family to travel to, good standard of living, and close enough for his family to visit regularly. But of course, I also say this because I would love to travel and work in other countries. ;)

    I honestly wouldn’t recommend a relationship with A Saudi unless you know without a doubt you are both after the same type of relationship, whether that’s serious or casual. If you want a serious thing, take it slow. If he says, “I hope we can be together forever” or “I’ll never leave you alone” then ask him when he plans to introduce you to his family. If he’s not up for that or not willing to talk to you about it, that’s a red flag right there!

  7. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that if a Saudi student breaks the contract agreement stating the student will not marry a foreigner and will return home to Saudi Arabia after finishing at university, etc., the student would be required to pay a fine?

  8. HI carol great advice, i think this will indeed help other girls out there who are thinking or are in a relationship to go through this check list. One more thing i think is VERY important to mention is religion. It plays a huge part of saudi’s day to day life, wether or not the saudi is a devout muslim or not, Islam will sooner or later be a part of the relationship in someway or another.

  9. Good advice – and not only for those falling for a Saudi student, but someone from the GCC as well (although the same laws for scholarship don’t apply).

    In my experience (personally and with friends), if ANY Arab man is serious about a woman, he’ll discuss his intent to marry her within 2-6 months. After 6 months, it seems that the suitor is not serious about the relationship.

  10. Before an American women commits herself to a “serious relationship” with a Saudi man, it behooves her to do some “serious research” about living in the so-called “magic kingdom”. Here are some first person horror narratives (Los Angeles Times) of American women married to Saudi men and living in Saudi Arabia:

    http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/american-wives-balance-values-find-place-in-islamic-society?page=0,0

    Here’s an excerpt from the article ….

    “For American women married to Saudi men, such is life in this exotic, repressive and often beguiling society where tribal customs and religious fervor rub against oil wealth and the tinted-glass skyscrapers that rise Oz-like in the blurry desert heat. This is not a land of the First Amendment and voting rights; it is a kingdom run by the strict interpretation of Wahhabi Islam, where abayas hang in foyers, servants linger like ghosts, minarets glow in green neon and, as a recent court case showed, a woman who is raped can also be sentenced to 200 lashes for un-Islamic behavior”.

  11. Carol,

    I was warned by one of my relatives that my ‘Saudi husband to be’ might eventually leave and never come back. I was told to prepare my heart just in case. Happily, I can say that in my case these warnings were unfounded.

    Unhappiness and/or divorce can happen between any couple (no matter where they’re from) even after 30 years of marriage.

    But, an additional factor that Western women fail to see is the other side of the Saudi. While getting to know him in the West, she may see him in mixed company (not allowed in Saudi), or she may see him going to movies (there are no movie theaters in Saudi). She may drive him around town to help him find his way. (Women may not drive in Saudi and they are not supposed to be alone with them)

    My own husband’s friends invited me over for dinner and we all played volleyball together in America. But, when they came to visit us at our house in Saudi, they looked at me strangely and asked why I was still sitting with them. I thought they were just joking. And, THAT was the first time I learned that mixed company was not permitted in Saudi Arabia. The subject never came up while we were in the States. We did not have internet or blogs in America to check what the customs were like (for the majority of Saudis) here in the Kingdom.

    Saudis, and other muslim men in the same family, can be as different as night and day. One may be open to letting his wife work or travel, while another may want his wife to stay at home and give up her career.

    Just as the American Women’s Movement did not happen overnight, so too is this true for the Saudi women’s movement. The culture and the religion are vastly different as a whole. They are not such a melting pot as we are in the USA.

    Women are becoming more educated and are beginning to speak up about the changes that they want to have in their lives. It will happen, but it may take longer than our women’s movement in the states. We need to be patient. Remember, 75% of the country is under the age of 25.

  12. obviously, due to my experiences, my opinion is to avoid saudi and other arab men.
    if it’s not the religion (and that’s a biggie!), it’s the family. if it’s not the family or its honour, it’s the society. what you feel/think doesn’t matter at all. it’s the woman who always has to adjust herself, make compromises.
    women should run at the sound of “convert so that we can be together”.
    who would willingly decide to lead such life where your voice means nothing?

  13. Kasia, I hear ya! I have a very hard time understanding how these men can be soooo wonderful yet subject their wives to such a life. Yes, I know, I’ve heard all the ‘stand by your man’ scenarios but what about standing by your woman and ensuring HER happiness? Or, how about part ways so that each will have a chance at a good, happy life? It WILL hurt but you WILL get over it. I know this for a fact. I think it takes a mature and strong person to understand that and to act accordingly. I’m SO thankful that my Yemeni boyfriend of 5 years got it, I was too young and stupid. LOL Not that I would have followed him back home but I would probably have married him thinking he would have been happy here. What can I say? I was young. LOL

  14. wow Lynn! i think it worked out for the best for you in the end :)
    do you think he wouldn’t have been happy in States?

    i found out a lot of things when i already invested a lot in the relationship with my ex. i felt as if someone cheated on me when i discovered all those rules, family dynamics etc that i knew i can never win with unless i give up everything i stand for and who i am.
    i think a lot of people don’t realize how different the culture, family dynamics is that they think it’s gonna be alright. it WON’T if one side has to give up pretty much everything to be with the other. that’s not love and respect!

    when push comes to shove, the will of the family WILL override wife’s feelings/thoughts, religion WILL take precedence because that’s how it works. you just can’t win… you just can’t win..

  15. No, I don’t think he would have been happy here. If I wouldn’t be happy living so far from my family what makes me think that HE could be happy living so far from his? Right? Also, he felt an obligation to his family (brothers, as his parents were deceased) for sending him to school here so he would probably not have liked himself if he had reneged on his agreement and those kinds of feelings tend to cause problems eventually. My girlfriend did marry a friend of his and they lived here for a while but then he got bullied and guilted into going back to Yemen to take his turn at taking care of mom and ‘old maid’ sister. It worked well for a while because my friend is OVERLY nice and accommodating as well as adventurous but even SHE got worn down and they are now divorced and she is back home and she has been cured of her adventurous personality. She says that she will NEVER set foot outside this country again! LOL

    Then there are the others that are very eager to marry you and they DO want to stay here, or rather they DO want an American Green Card. ;-) but as soon as they get that they divorce you and go home to marry a ‘real’ wife. Yes, I have another girlfriend that fell for that one. No lie, the divorce happened the minute he got his green card. Oh well, it’s not like I didn’t warn her. lol

  16. oh dear! you do have stories to tell, don’t you? :D
    i read stories like the ones you told before and it always made my heart sink. because the odds in favour of such relationships working out are pretty much next to nothing, even when great love is involved. not worth the heartache. i learned it the hard way.

    i’m glad that Carol is writing about it but i also think that maybe female students should be somehow informed as well.

  17. Harry posted an interesting link to read but I feel like the author wrote a slanted and biased piece.

    For the record, a woman is NOT required to convert to Islam in order to marry a Saudi (or any Muslim). That alone indicated to me that the author was biased and did not research or choose to omit facts to present a slanted story.

    I like to think that people do meet their perfect life partner and do live happily ever after. I am not against or biased against Saudis and non-Saudis who choose to marry. If they believe they are the ones for each other – go for it! Because the culture and traditions between East and West (USA and KSA especially) are so diverse, each partner needs to deeply investigate and know as much as possible before making these life changing decisions which impact on each other, future children and extended families!

    okay….Mother Hen hat/rave mode is now off!

  18. I don’t know, Carol. The article certainly didn’t make the marriages sound wonderful but there WAS that one that seems to have fully embraced the anti-American sentiment with the whole blaming of the US for her kid learning about oral sex! LOL

    But regarding what they said about ‘Most non-Muslim women convert to Islam as a prerequisite for marrying a Saudi and living in the kingdom’
    Did you know many non-Muslims married to Muslim Saudis? While it may not be a requirement to become Muslim in order to marry a Saudi perhaps the Saudi lets her know that it would be easier for her and for the marriage approval process, if she was, even if it was on paper only. No?

  19. I do know a fair number of non-Muslims who have married Saudis and that is only within my limited realm.

    A Saudi consular officer should also inform any woman subject to an interview for a family (marriage) visa know that she was not obligated to convert to Islam for marriage.

  20. How do you know? I think that that answer can be given after about 15 to 20 years, if he stood up for you, supported you, gave you your rights as a free human being, and your marriage was a fair, equal, loving partnership, with no secret (or in plain-sight) other wives etc. Then you would know.
    So how do you know? Keep a diary for 20 years.

  21. ‘A Saudi consular officer should also inform any woman subject to an interview for a family (marriage) visa know that she was not obligated to convert to Islam for marriage.’

    Wouldn’t it likely be too late by then? Also, wouldn’t she be sufficiently afraid to tell the truth at an interview just in case it impeded her entry into KSA?

  22. For some, Lynn, of course it would. We know not all women (and their backbones) are alike! (smile)

  23. I am with AA on this. There are no rules for a ‘successful’ marriage. I have seen it both ways, the ones that shouldn’t work out but do and the ones that everybody says are a ‘perfect match made in heaven’ but end up in hell.

    Yeah, after 20 years one has an idea if the marriage is going to work, after 30 he/she can almost be sure. Even so I would say the big thing, after 20+ years, is when the kids move out. If it lasts 20 years beyond the children leaving, it is a good marriage and probably will work out. But then again I know a couple that divorced after 52 years marriage…. why?

    Saudi males are just like other men, mostly. Ladies, we are basically dogs. I hate to say that but most men are easily turned by a pretty face and sweet words, IF OTHER UNSPECIFIED CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT.

    Anybody that changes their religion to please their spouse or get married is on shaky ground already.

  24. “Anybody that changes their religion to please their spouse or get married is on shaky ground already.”

    Amen!

  25. @Lynn
    “No lie, the divorce happened the minute he got his green card. Oh well, it’s not like I didn’t warn her. lol”

    That’s a load of bull. There’s a two year period after the green card issuance, where if a divorce does occur they’ll actually revoke your green card. US immigration officers take their job very seriously, and for the most part they can tell if a guy/girl is being duped. They usually request evidence of you two living together, pictures with family, etc.

  26. BTW

    Even if a woman becomes or is already a Muslim, usually the family of any Musilm man (especially saudi) dont accept her if they didnt pick her, its just a fact.

  27. Rather than blame saudi men i’d say it’s a eastern Vs western culture incompatibility and an unwillingness for either party to adjust. By adjust i don’t mean change religion etc.,

    As for divorce after green card, there’s no time limit, they just need to be married for a certain amount oftime, as far as i know once you have the green card , you have it, you could divorce and go your way adn Immigration is too busy to do anything, unless the wife complains of the fake marriage :-)

    Saudi students are out to have a good time, like any other student, their families are far away and they have a decent amount of privacy and no stories get back home, hence they play :-) My son has quite a bit of international friends, incl a few saudi’s they all play !!!! incl the saudi’s that is till they came home one day and met F :-) and realized he’s one of their kind and then they simply dissapeared on us and i’m sure continued their merry ways…

    There are ofcourse mature saudis who are in in for the long run and my advise would be settle for a few yrs in a place away from both sets of parents . maybe a neutral 3rd country ? perhaps

  28. I think everyone needs to listen closely to Radha’s advice and experiences!!

  29. Uorig, Sorry but what I said was NOT a load of bull. Well, it was, BUT it WAS true, 100%. This was 30 years ago so perhaps things are more strict now? I CERTAINLY hope so! I think it was her 18th birthday that they got married. She was even STILL in High School for God’s SAKE and he rented a room in the home of an elderly woman (stranger) and that was their home. He was going to school and working at a 7-11 or something. I swear, I too was just a kid then but I knew it was ridiculous!!! My girl friend did NOT think this was just a ‘Green Card’ marriage when she married him (well, as far as she told me anyway and we were BEST friends)

  30. I think there are a lot of Saudi men that date women and don’t pretend it’s serious and that they’re going to marry her when they’re not. This pretending to be serious is something any guy can do. Women have to wise-up a bit. It isn’t enough that murmurs sweet nothings all day and is charming as hell- that is not enough to make a good husband. Frankly the above description sounds a bit smarmy to me. I’d be suspicious. Also, I would NEVER consent to any sort of engagement while not being able to meet the family. I don’t care what culture some one is from. That is just common sense. And regardless of my own values- many young American women are intimate with boyfriends they are not serious about- so why should they take that as a sign a guy is serious?

    I don’t know. I’ve known marriages that worked and those that went wrong. But this post is more about relationships than actual marriages. And these “relationships” seem to be full of all the same nonsense as can happen with any charming young man not ready to settle down for whatever reason and any woman with stars in her eyes, who isn’t paying attention. Being Saudi doesn’t seem like much a factor here.

  31. I agree Sandy, being Saudi doesn’t have anything to do with it. Girls just need to be smart. But also, I don’t think that 18 – 20 year old college students really have marriage on their minds anyway and if marriage isn’t what they are looking for then no problem, date who ever you want.

    By the way, that guy that my friend married was not a
    Saudi and he wasn’t Muslim either. He was a Lebanese Christian. The situation WAS smarmy and I told her so and guess what, just a few months after she got married her father, yes, her FATHER told her that since she was now a married woman it was probably best she did not hang with single people (she didn’t know any married people lol, she was in high school!!). When she told me that ‘dilemma’ of hers I figured she’d lost her mind completely so I was done with her from that minute on. I guess I never had much patience for stupidity, even way back then! Met up with her a few months after graduation and learned that he’d divorced her and she felt like an idiot.

  32. While I agree that there are many consistences in ‘relationship issues’ regardless of nationality or location, I do believe there are distinctions with a relationship with a Saudi. I’ll try to explain as best as the brain will work today… When a Saudi male comes to another country where his culture and customs are different then it can open up a door to misunderstandings and perceptions. I think a Saudi guy will say words which imply more of a permanency to a relationship even though he may not mean it or know it to be that way. The foreign woman in turn can be dazzled by the Saudi guy who is very different with his words, accent and mannerisms than the guys she may have grown up knowing. For example in Western countries it is not as surprising if a young man or woman is very independent and making decisions without necessarily consulting a family member. A woman may not think twice hearing a Saudi speak of marriage and accepting that she would not speak or meet any family members right away due to distance and/or language barriers.

  33. I hear what you’re saying Carol- but still feel that unless he’s lying- then all this stuff is pretty much the norm. Most people don’t introduce a boyfriend/girlfriend to their families right away- but if the talk turns to marriage, they usually do. And while a girl may be dazzled by a foriegn guy, if she lets herself get carried away because he has an exotic accent- well then she’s not mature enough to be thinking marriage anyway.

    If the Saudi guy is talking marriage and “forever” love- when he knows it’s not going to happen he’s just a player. Like all the other players. Now maybe Saudi guys lie more than others- I don’t know. But there are a lot of young women out their with broken hearts who never met a Saudi.

    I do understand this to be a description of the form it takes when a Saudi is involved however. I just think mostly girls need to wise up.

  34. This post brings on a serious case of deja vu…haven’t we already done the…dont trust Saudi men outside the kingdom…or inside for that matter?

  35. Yes Coolred- but I just know too many nice, honorable Saudi men to completely go with it.

  36. @Coolred: With increasing number of scholarships awarded for Saudi students to come to the USA, I think it is important to readdress. Not everyone has followed the blog for several years or searches the archives.

    @Sandy: I do want to believe that young women will not allow themselves to be “bedazzled” by any thing as simple as a foreign accent. Yet how many times have you heard or seen a starry eyed woman say “Oh, how I love that British accent!” (smile)

  37. I know of a number of honorable and lovely young Saudi men too who would not think of misleading a woman.

  38. uorig…

    Having been an american who has gone through the green card procedure with my husband (whom I am still married to) I can tell you what Lynn says is very true. When we got our green card we were at the American embassy in India staffed by Americans. After more than a year and a half of waiting and filling out paperwork and all the mickey mouse red tape that is required, it boiled down to this: They called our name. We approached the window: “papers please” which we shoved through bullet proof glass. The man took a silver stamp and WITHOUT even looking up or asking a single question about what type of shampoo I use or my husbands favorite food, he stamped several pieces of paper and that was it! There were no green card moments to be had. Not one single question asked to prove we were married. However, just to hedge our bets in case they didn’t believe we were really married we brought our 8 month old daughter with us as proof!

  39. Oby, it didn’t take anything like that for my friend. I’m pretty sure she was only married for 6 months but they were living here so that could make a difference, I suppose.

  40. Based on my experiences, it seems to me that a lot of Saudi guys (as well as men in general) tend to have different expectations for a girlfriend than they have for a wife. Many times, the girlfriend is given more freedom to do as she pleases, but when you hear them talking about getting married and what they will and will not allow their wife to do it’s as if everything magically changes. This is why I may never marry. This is also why I can’t decide whether or not it is better to be a a non-”serious”, non-committal relationship or if it is better to be in a “serious” one with/without a marriage contract.

    I trust some Saudi men, and others I don’t. More often, I trust them to be honest with me about certain things and possibly not with other things. I think the trust thing really depends on the individual and how they act.

    @Sandy, AB:
    I think a phrases like those I mentioned above (i.e. “I hope we can be together forever” and “I’ll never leave you alone”) may be understood differently by the Saudi/non-Saudi in the relationship. At least, this is what supposedly happened to me previously.

    I don’t think a nice accent would be enough. Besides, what accent is hotter than a latino/spanish one (particularly Mexican)? ;) j/k j/k Seriously, though, I find being open-minded, intelligent, and adventurous men to be exceedingly sexy. This has nothing to do with accent or nationality. Can’t speak for other women and why they “fall” for a Saudi, though.

    @Uorig, Lynn.
    Based on what I researched recently, Uorig is right about the marriage needing to last 2 years after green card approval in order for it to remain valid. I think this is to prevent people from committing fraud and/or being used, etc.

  41. hi Lynn…

    We lived in the usa but were told by lour lawyer sometimes the process moves faster in the home country,,,I guess less cases to handle. Were they married while he was here on a tourist visit? I was told the type of visa one enters the usa on has a great deal of influence on how easy or hard it is to get a green card… evidently coming here on a tourist visa makes it easier than as a student…go figure.

  42. Oh, I don’t know what kind of Visa he came on. I believe he was a student but he also worked (may have been under the table though) But, again, this was 30 years ago.

  43. salaams,

    first, i’d like to say that i love your blog. i only recently discovered it, and i’m sure i could spend hrs upn hrs reading everything. ;)

    i’ve decided to comment on to this post bcuz it i have my own experience to share. i am an american married to a saudi guy, and living in riyadh. we met in america, while we were in college.

    while i would most definitely advise girls on this topic, not all stories are bad ones. my hubby and i met while we were very young and i don’t believe at the time either one of us were thinking of marriage. but something happen. ;) 13 yrs after meeting, 7 1/2 of those yrs living in saudi, here we are, still together, with our own family.

    i don’t believe that these relationships will work for just anybody. the saudi guy must be upfront and forthcoming. and the girl has to be one tough cookie. ;) not to bore you but these are, what i feel, important points…

    religion…although i married before converting to islam i do believe that it would’ve been very tough had i never converted. understanding islam helps you understand some of the culture here in saudi. it also helps you to understand that islam is not always being practiced correctly here, and thereby gives you the right to stand up for islam (like women driving is not unislamic…lol…sorry, had to throw that in). i did not change my religion or “believe” in something for someone else. religion is a very personal choice. i studied islam for 2 yrs, on my own, and chose it for me. i love my husband, but changing my religion was not a way to measure my love. it is something that even i was surprised to find. but i now thank God for that. being parents, i think we can make better parenting decisions because our faiths are the same. also, many things that i may have found shocking as a non-muslim, i see as part of a normal islamic life (praying 5 times a day, fasting in ramadan, etc, etc,) so any couple thinking about marriage should greatly consider this part of it all.

    culture…i’ve always been very open to other cultures. they fascinate me actually. i think it was no surprise to family and friends that i married someone from another country. but even the most open-minded person will find struggles outside their comfort zone. if saudis themselves have struggles with their society (and believe me, they do), then certainly non-saudis will too. a girl would need a strong understanding on saudi culture before coming here. i did my own research. i talked to ppl who came here b4 me (i had friends in my local mosque in the U.S. who were able to help with this). and my hubby is a great guy. he told me the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly. he never painted a picture perfect view. he was very fair.

    family…it is true that a woman marries her husband and his family. and the husband’s family can truly affect her life here. i am so fortunate that i was not only accepted by hubby’s family, but welcomed into all aspects of family life. they had a wedding for us right after i moved here. they took care of me after delivering my son. my mil checks on me when i’m sick. i know that if i need anything, anything at all, all i need to do is ask. did they like the idea of their son marrying from outside? i’m sure at first not. but they accepted that this is what their son wanted. and once they met me, i was no longer a stereotype or an idea, i was me. and thankfully, they like me. :) i have friends who can say the same, and i have friends who deal with a lot of issues. so it really depends on the family. each one is different. i must also add that as important as his family will be, so should yours. we visit my family every summer in the U.S. it’s not even a question. and we go together, as a family. i have friends whose husbands don’t travel with them when they visit their famililes. for me, i don’t like this. my hubby is a part of my family. he married me, so they are part of the deal, just like his family. and i keep in constant contact with my family. i feel so sad when i meet women who have moved here and lost touch with their families back home. actually, in islam, one must keep ties with their family.

    patience…marrying a saudi guy is not easy. we had to endure 3 1/2 yrs of long distance. even though my family loved my hubby, i’m sure there were doubts. it was not easy to understand why paperwork should take so long. but we talked every single day, never gave up, and made it through. it depends on how much you’re willing handle.

    yourself…the key to it all. NEVER lose yourself. i remember my 1st visit home to the U.S. after moving here. my mom told me that i was still me. and i was thinking “of course i’m still me”. what she meant was that i hadn’t changed. i adapted to a different culture, but i didn’t lose myself in the process. there are certain things that hubby and i must do for cultural reasons in the U.S. and here in saudi (ex: in the U.S. we are in mixed company with my family, it’d be rude not to. in Saudi, i sit with his mom and sisters while he’s with his dad and brothers for the weekly gathering bcuz that’s how it’s done here). it’s called adapting. but we are still ourselves. there’s a difference between respecting traditions and putting on different faces.

    so with all that being said (and i know i said a lot…lol), it can work. but proceed with caution, educate yoursef, and respect yourself so that you will be respected by others. ;)

  44. Oby,
    I didn’t see your first comment until after I had posted yesterday, otherwise I would have taken into consideration what you had said about immigration and green card status. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    All,
    When a couple of people from the Middle Eastern region had figured out I’d been in/am in a relationship with a Saudi, they had the opinion of “Why would [I] do that?!…Saudi men don’t treat their women very well…The laws do not protect women there.” I wasn’t that surprised to hear this, just surprised to hear them be so adamant about it. Any thoughts or opinions on this?

  45. I would agree that Saudi laws do not protect women. But some Saudi men treat their women well and some do not- just like everyone/everywhere else.

  46. @ Sandy
    i do agree with what you said but i have a question.
    probably it might be perceived as very judgemental but here it comes…

    do you think that maybe because the way saudi men are brought up, in a country where laws do not support women, where women are limited in so many ways, with the way family dynamics works etc, they are the way they are? of course there will be men who will not subscribe to the way of thinking they were brought up with but wouldn’t they be in minority?

    thanks :)

  47. @Kasia,
    I would say that the laws/culture etc do affect the way some men are. I don’t know that I could say majority etc. It gets tricky to generalize. I am often suprised at how some men in the west behave. But yes, I think a bad system sometimes spoils those that would be otherwise good men. Like parents can spoil children. Sometimes they stay damaged and sometimes they change as adults.

    Sometimes what looks awful isn’t necessrily. I know MANY American women- if they divorced their husbands because of incompatibility (i’m not talking abuse etc) and their husbands wanted to take the children “home” to another country would use whatever laws they could to keep the children with them. Sometimes a problem has no good fair solution- and in Saudi the advantage is always to the man.

  48. I would also like to add- and think everyone should know- that I spell better than I type!!

  49. Sandy, thanks for your reply.
    i was thinking about it cause i know of many men who were brought up in very traditional families where a woman was a full-time mother and was taking care of the house. those men, more often than not, want their future wives to be stay-at-home mothers and housewives. and this is just an influence of a small family unit!

    as you always rightly point out – in saudi the advantage is always to the man, law-wise.

  50. When it comes to Saudis and men, choosing the right guy can be a choice between heaven and hell. The problem is that neither apparent until it is too late (or it never becomes a problem).

    Chiara has a case in point. Once again a young woman’s dream turned into a nightmare. As bad as it is to her, she has to live with her choices and the outcomes that affect her children. Her Saudi is serious – about making life miserable for her and her children. Here is the link:
    http://www.chezchiara.com/2011/06/saudi-activists-wajeha-al-huwaider-and.html

    This should not happen, this may not happen but it can happen. Of course, not all Saudi men are like this and I have seen a few cases of them letting the wife AND CHILDREN go. Too often, however, the woman is bound to a false idol by the chains of children. I suspect the father’s family is a big factor in these cases. Even if a man is serious today, and truly loves his wife, that doesn’t men he cant/wont change or that other factors, including cultural or religious, will not aggravate any problem.

    Marriage is complicated enough even in the best circumstances. When dealing with Arabia and Saudi men, I think a young woman has to ask herself if her love is such that she will risk a ?? percent chance of losing her children and even suffering prolonged emotional or physical abuse, with no hope for justice or remedy.

  51. Random comment but I seriously hate the phrase ‘full time mom”.

    Another random comment…my lord, Jay, really trying to stir the hornets nest by making reference to Chiara on this blog…yet another brilliant commentor that was hounded due to her unwillingness to conform and bow to the concensus on this blog. You are a brave man indeed. :)

  52. lol sorry coolred! i didn’t know how else to put it :)

  53. I don’t know, Red. I think irritating and a bit ‘touched’ is a more apt description of that commenter. At least as far as I remember. ;-)

  54. Lynn…. I think irritating and a bit ‘touched’ is a more apt description”…lol …that could describe just about any of us on this blog. :)

  55. I came across your Alarabiya interview and it got me interested in googling your blog. I read this article first and I laughed in joy really hard.. you really do know saudis. I have been in the u.s. since 2008 and I met a lot of saudis who have had almost the same scenarios you told.
    I had lovely time reading your blog Carol. Hope to see you in Saudi Arabia one day. Good Luck!

  56. @Coolred, I don’t think Jay was around here to know of Chiara or was he? (I’m not sure.) I remember her posts but missed the reason why she left the blog. I know a lot of people complained about the length of her posts though I do remember she often left very thought provoking posts so it was worth the effort in reading them! I agree this blog has lost many valuable commenters. I have become more brave to leave my own comments after years of reading this blog and have not enjoyed the negative feedback for sharing my opinions. This blog can be brutally negative and divisive and I have noticed over the years that a lot of commenters take the “you’re either with us or against us” approach and are not willing to accept other people’s points of view in a diplomatic manner. I find this really sad and agree with your previous post in that for some unknown reason this blog seems to bring out the beast in a lot of us. Many of us, myself included, have stepped on some toes here but we can improve things by remembering to temper our ardor with more compassion and understanding for other people’s opinions. We don’t have to agree but should be willing to accept that other people think differently and that is ok.

    Sorry to go off topic AB. I do not have much to add for your above post about Saudi’s relationships but very much enjoyed the info. I also found Jay’s link to Natalie’s story very sad and hope she has sorted things now. :(

  57. Sure, Red, it very likely could ;-) but I’m pretty darn sure that her point of view on things was NOT the issue.

  58. A Saudi man is looking, for marriage, a college educated, preferably graduate education, tall, blond, curvaceous US woman. If you are interested and find yourself suitable, please hular at me.

    Saudi Bedu.

  59. @km,
    For some reason I didn’t notice your comment before. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    @Sandy,
    I want to be clear that I don’t personally believe all Saudi guys are bad or anything like that. I was honestly just surprised at others’ reactions. To be personally honest, the Saudis I’ve been in a relationship with aren’t bad guys even though we may not always see eye to eye on everything. I agree the laws there do not favor women, especially when compared to the US.

    And if you happen to spell better than you type, then your spelling must be really good!

    @Coolred,
    If you don’t mind me asking, why does the statement “full-time mom” bother you? I don’t mean any disrespect, just for me it is an acknowledgement of how hard good mothers work to be there for their children (please notice I said “good mothers”).

  60. Rose, I was her when the Chiara Wars happened but didn’t get too involved. When women get out knives, any man with a lick of sense will run and take cover. I have/had problems with her regarding censorship, real or imagined, and her political correctness and kumbayah attitude drive me nuts, but the link was relevant as a “worst case scenario” for this topic.

    I still have no idea what makes a marriage work, except love and lots of love, and realistic love. I guess something has to “click” (now how is that for a scientific explanation???). I think my wife said it best – that separation, being single or alone is bad/sad because you have to one to share your emotional pain and suffering when death and sickness come knocking.

    The fact is that young men and women are rarely rational. They are too easily moved by infatuations, emotions, and sexual urges. Most (?) young men will do almost anything to get some booty (I think that is the proper term but not sure).

    Back to blogging and bloggers. The reason for the success of AmBedu is the brutality (as you put it) of the subject matter and the freedom we who comment have to express ourselves without fear of the blogger hitting the ‘delete, offensive material’ button. I don’t know Carol personally, but she has my total respect. She is a strange mixture of tenderness, frankness and honesty. I am sure she drives some Muslims crazy for being so tolerant of some views here and allowing or posting subject matter that many find offensive or would rather ignore.

    I think we have a pretty good mix of posters here that represent a balanced, informed variety of opinions, with the possible exception of Harry who is obviously a few cans short in his six-pack.

    Rose, You know my position, at least on some religious dogma and those who practice it. Even so, after 8-9 years of this, I can say that this blog is one of the few places in about 1,000,000,000 domains where ideas are exchanged freely between equals. You may be surprise to know that it has even improved my opinion of Muslims, some Muslims. Whatever my difference in opinion with them, the fact that some of our Muslim friends here will read the comments and take a stand, disagree with me, contradict my position, and point out fallacies – well, to me, that elevates them, morally and intellectually. They don’t have to agree with me, but if they listen to what I have to say, that is enough for respect. Too often Muslims cannot, will not take any criticism, and will call for censorship or repression to shield them from new or uncomfortable ideas, particularly regarding their religion and prophet. This is their loss, I believe, and this is responsible for many of the problems they have. Freedom of speech, even offensive speech, is fundamental.

    Rose, you take care. Harry I was joking, kind of.

  61. @Rosemary – ‘I agree this blog has lost many valuable commenters’

    My memory is shot! Could you perhaps list a few and remind me what was valuable about them? I for one do NOT miss the one that called out everyone who disagreed with him as ‘profoundly ignorant’. ;-)

  62. I miss Maggie and Inal!

  63. I think I know who you mean Lynn. I don’t miss them either. I also don’t miss Daisy- but I think many others probably do. I do miss Maggie. I don’t remember the Chiara wars..hmmmm..

  64. Maggie?

    Chiara ‘wars’? Weren’t her issues more with the blog owner and her desire to BE the blog owner? Creepy LOL

  65. I appreciate the exchange of views. I believe all blogs go through phases. Some commentors come and go and new commentors participate. I like hearing all the views even when we (tastefully/diplomatically/respectfully) agree to disagree.

    I will probably have this is in a separate upcoming post but I’ve gone back into aggressive treatment with 18 chemo sessions ahead of me (God Willing). I will do all I can to keep up with comments, welcomes and enjoying the dialogues. If I can’t….I am placing faith and trust in all of you to keep the comments going. I write my posts in advance so on my downest days (if there is such a word) I can give ya’ll a topic or issue to discuss.

  66. Maggie was great! i was going through the posts from the latest to older ones and came across her comments. I also emailed her and she helped me a lot to understand certain things for which I will be forever grateful to her.

  67. ” (tastefully/diplomatically/respectfully) agree to disagree” …hmmmm.

  68. What happened to NN and the the lady with Thai heritage who had been a Mormon at one time? I remember she was having lung trouble. Hope she is OK!

  69. I must be getting old as I can’t remember all the commenters..I missed the “Chiara Wars” and don’t remember her on this blog at all. Maggie was great and I actually enjoyed OnigiriFB. She and I went back and forth on a couple of topics but I never felt disrespected. also What was the name of the Muslim lady, who recently commented on some topics and most of us found her very refreshing due to the honest way she tackled islam and the separation between culture…if I remember right she had issues with hadith and it’s veracity.

  70. oby…if you enjoyed Onigiri it’s only because she didnt target you for character assassination. That girl needs lessons on civility and how to make a point without spitting poison all over the damn place.

  71. you are right…she didn’t attack me but it did get hot…I admit toward the end of her tenure she was getting a bit hostile. I had forgotten that and thanks for reminding me. …still the debate she and I had really made me think about some of her points strongly. Sorry she was so ugly to you.

  72. I think we are analyzing this too much. Any blog or site that dares to be interesting by taking on pertinent topics, risks that there will be heated discussions. What happens at Bedu is mild compared to other sites.

    I think all arguments are valid as long as they do not turn personal. Commentators that step over the line and get personal usually lose, as others see through the ad hominem.

    @Coolred38, I know you have been attacked in a very unpleasant way before. However, if you really think about it, it reflected badly on the other person than you (personal opinion, that I think others agree with).

  73. Moq…heated discussions are great…who needs or wants boring same ole same ole…I have no issues with what people say on this blog or any other…but considering we are all adults (I believe) it seems simple civility shouldnt have to be the exception and not the norm.

    As for the rest of your comment…i agree.

  74. I think there is something in the nature of the space the internet creates. I’m definately snappier online than I would be in person. Working on that- but out it comes!

  75. I think that is a common trait about use of the internet and online forums where anonymity is the norm.

  76. I’m an american woman into her fourth year of college. I have met many saudi men that attend my university and befriended them. I have read through the many comments and have decided that yes, everyone has a story that is as different as each person is. What I’ve come to find is that there is going to be many successful relationships and MANY unsuccessful ones. Its going to be hard to make a relationships work WITHOUT the added pressure of it being with a saudi man because there are so many barriers between you and him. The things that I have learned from them is that their family, religion, and country is everything. I’m in a relationship with one and we’ve had our many ups and downs that have nothing to do with us being from completely opposite sides of the planet literally and figuratively. Both of our families would probably not tolerate us even knowing each other let alone dating, so we keep it a secret besides our friends. We’re both really young and not thinking anything serious, but I have met his sisters on skype and will meet his parents this fall when they come to the states. The key is to take everything slow and if God wants us together then he will let it happen, enshallah. I don’t know where it is going to go, but I know him through to his core and he is an amazing man full of a love that I have not found in american men. He cares more deeply for me than I do for myself. I’m not going to say he is so different and would never break my heart because any human is capable of that whether they are muslim or christian or hindu or atheist. My advice for any woman interested had better know what she is getting into and know the religion, the language, the customs, and that it is closer to impossible than they think. But go with your gut instinct. Don’t listen to the fluff anyone, including him, feeds you. Know there are many other girls going through the same thing and reach out to them. Know one guy is not holding your world up, but you are.

  77. @AbuChubta,
    It is true that each case is individual- HOWEVER they are all the same when it comes to the legal situation. If you live in Saudi you essentially have no rights- except those your husband gives you. And if things go badly further down the line, you are out of luck, and no real recourse. Law determines inheritance, child custody, alimony and whether you can legally reside in the kingdom.

    God lets a lot of things happen. He will let it happen even when it’s a bad idea. So use the brain God gave you. God gave us free will. God helps those who help themselves.

  78. I have an intimate question regarding Saudi men and their foreign girlfriends. I have always wondered about those in serious relationships (where sex is involved). Can the use of contraceptives determine whether he is serious or not?

    This may be a bit too intimate for some, and I respect those who would like to avoid the topic.

    I heard about a couple where a woman (non-Saudi) became pregnant by her Saudi boyfriend. She was also an international student, and returned to her country (South America). He ended up following her and marrying her.

    I ask this, because my Saudi and I risk getting pregnant, and I assume he’s either uneducated about conception, or doesn’t mind taking the risk.

  79. Sex does not mean it is a serious relationship. If you became pregnant it won’t be his problem unless he wants it to be. He can just leave. Happens all the time. Are you uneducated about contraception? Do you mind taking the risk? You’re both also risking STD’s. I feel sorry for any child that may come of this situation.

  80. In fact I would add- it is more likely to be a serious relationship if sex is NOT involved.

  81. I may have you mixed up with someone else- but if you are the young woman with the young rich Saudi “clients” if would take a miracle for him to be serious. How would even introduce you to his family? Explain how you met? What would he do when your former “clients” talk about your former profession? And, if as it sounds, he is one of these students with too much time and money on his hands- all they have to do is cut off his finances.

    You might try asking him…what do you plan on doing if I become pregnant? You might get a truthful answer. Or is not discussing these importent things part of your “serious” relationship? I don’t mean to be harsh but you sound very young.

  82. escortdiary…why are u leaving all precautions to him anyhow? It takes two people to be ignorant about sex…not just one. And Saudi men are just like any other men…they can run for the hills at the announcement of pregnancy…or offer marriage as a “suitable” recourse for the mistake that happened….or offer marriage as a true sign of devotion. Are you willing to find out which category he will fall in?

  83. I’m willing to bet that he assumes that she is on birth control like all those other ‘loose’ women in the ‘West’ ;-)

  84. @Sandy

    I appreciate your insight and advice on the subject, but I’d like to know where you’re getting your information from and how much experience do you have with men from saudi arabia? No disrespect at any level, I just want to know why your tone is so authoratative, are you saudi or were married to a saudi man? I am simply curious.

  85. @AbuChubta,
    It’s a good question- I don’t take any disrespect at all, I’ve been married to a Saudi for more than 20 years and most of those have been in Saudi where I currently live.

  86. That is a very sensitive subject but one which is important to bring up. I know that there are many in the Kingdom who do not support birth control and for a lot of young women (and men) it is not a subject which is discussed.

    Personally I think that when physical intimacy enters into the equation between a Saudi man and a woman prior to marriage then the relationship is not as strong or serious as the woman may hope or like to believe. The man will take what is offered. He may also have encouraged her – no denying that either. But once a woman gives in, the relationship is no longer the same.

    A woman who gives herself prior to the Saudi man may lose immediate respect in his eyes…in other words, she had no pride in herself and sold herself cheap. That -can- be the mindset of a young Saudi man.

    Bottom line is do not take chances for an unplanned pregnancy or some kind of STD.

    That is my view as an American woman married to a Saudi man. I’d like to hear the views from some of American Bedu’s Saudi and Arab audience.

  87. No, we have spoke about the risks…we are fully aware. When I told him I may get pregnant, he said that would be great, and often says he would like to see me pregnant. We are both in the mindset of: If it happens, it happens. We are in love, and sex is an expression of love. I really cannot understand those who say a serious relationship does NOT involve sex? Of course, the act is often misused, but what is real love without true intimacy?

    My Grandmother used to say: In the old days, children were the result of two people deeply in love, and it wasn’t something that was planned (as it is today).

    Yes, he was my “client,” but we’ve become more serious. I am normal woman, who just happens to do something that defies social “norms”….however, my profession is not a barrier to him marrying me (all I have to do is stop, and that’s all most men really care about). What will stop him from marrying me is Saudi law, and family pressures.

  88. Serious relationships with Saudi men involve planning real commitment. Not having sex. Understand it or not that is it. A relationship is about far more than sex. He was a client. So he no longer pays you? What will he say to his family when they ask how you met? Does he know your other Saudi clients? He doesn’t mind that you have other clients? You only have to stop if you marry him? So how is he showing seriousness to wanting to marry you? Wishing to see you pregnant is not what I mean. What are the plans for meeting his parents? Are you engaged? Will you stop seeing other men when you are engaged? Have you discussed a timeline?

    You are both of the mindset “if it happens, it happens” regarding a pregnancy. How extraordinarily selfish. How can you risk bringing a chid into such an unstable situation? And you think this is an expression of true love? True lasting love is about commitment and responsibility as well. Intimacy is about more than sex. I can’t even begin to imagine how he would approach his family with an already pregnant “girlfriend” who is a high end prostitute. You are in dreamland. I think he is living out some weird fantasy that he figures he has bought and paid for and will be gone at his own convenience.

  89. Here is my view based on my experiences as an American woman who studied abroad and has been in 2 very different relationships with 2 very different Saudi students:

    I think that how a Saudi male views sex and physical intimacy in a relationship depends on how he was raised. I would say that the majority expect their future wife to remain chaste irregardless of what they themselves may do, but there are exceptions to every rule. I have met some of these exceptions. I also believe that the first Saudi guy I was in a relationship with was one of these exceptions, and (most likely) the second one as well. Some others seem to have been brought up with the idea their brides should be virgins even while they sleep around with various other women, but are a bit confused at the same time. I have seen men struggle with inner conflict on this matter. At least, this is what I inferred based on their comments and actions.As a whole, they also seemed to be more accepting of Western women sleeping around before marriage than Saudi women. Perhaps it’s not fair, but it’s what seemed to be the case.

    That said, I believe that for whatever reason, a lot of the ones who choose to (seriously) date women from other places want to take things slowly, no matter how fast or slow physical intimacy takes place, in order to make sure the woman is worth all the extra trouble and effort associated with marrying a foreigner. If they are seriously interested in you then they are probably looking for a love match, so they want to make sure it’s the real thing. At least, this is my POV on the matter.

    @escortdiary,
    I mean no disrespect, but I would like to point out that sexual intimacy is just one of the many ways to show love for another person. If two people care for and love each other, then they love each other. I really think when and where sex enters into the relationship is up to the individuals involved and it’s really no one else’s business.

    My personal opinion is that sex within the confines of a committed relationship is the best option, whether or not it is called a marriage and/or has been approved by courts or a religious group. However, I also understand that there are many reasons people have sex and I’m not here to judge.

  90. I’d also like to add that I’m among the minority who wouldn’t mind getting pregnant and being a single parent. In some ways, I find it preferable though a bit controversial. That said, the thought of getting pregnant by a guy who could possibly be allowed take your child back to his country where you’d have little to no rights in the realm of child custody is a very nerve-wracking thought. If I was ever to get knocked up by a Saudi I didn’t trust, I’d simply break up with him and never tell him about his child. Well, at least not for 18 years. Perhaps it’s “not right” or “fair”, but if I thought it was best for the child, I’d do it. Just something to think about.

  91. @Strangeone, I really appreciate that you share your views and experiences so candidly. You do have a unique perspective as an American woman and recent student who had been studying abroad so you were a foreigner among other foreigners! (smile)

  92. Thanks Sandy and StrangeOne for your views.

    Sandy I understand your skepticism, and perhaps you’re right.

    What changes my mind is my experience before. I have been engaged before, to a reserved Muslim man who was also a former client, and we crossed all these barriers. He didn’t view me as a prostitute, and realized that I was a human with the same longings as him. I stoppe working, and we were like any other normal couple. Our families met, and everything was fine (we just had to formulate a story on how we met each other).

    My current relation with the Saudi started out sexual, but then once we became a couple (doing other things, which was his idea)..then sex just became one form of our love. Many times I’ve felt that he needs me for sex only, but he says that if I stopped sleeping with him it wouldn’t make a difference. I tried leaving him many times, and he says that if I don’t want to sleep with him he is okay with that as long as he can still be with me. I feel he is one that does not view me as a commodity despite the irony in how we met each other. Like my ex, my Saudi realizes I’m a person, and tries to understand why I got in the industry to begin with (rather than outright judging me for going against social norms).

    I don’t know what will happen between us, and I’ve accepted whatever happens between us is fate. I’m at the point where I can leave him (which I’ve tried too), but since he insists on being together I just tread along…(but for how long, I’m not sure). He still pays me, which is a bit awkward, but for me it justifies (or attempts to) being with him with the chance we can’t get married.

    It sounds naive, and perhaps selfish, but I feel if I fall pregnant, he will take care of me/us (even if we cannot be married).

  93. @escortdiary,

    As one who married into a Saudi family and as a mom and grandmother, please think through very carefully all the implications of bringing a child into a bi-cultural relationship and especially if it were one without the benefit of marriage. A man can change immediately when a child and especially one of his own blood is brought into the equation. His family may only view a child as his child without ever acknowledging you and life could become too complicated and difficult.

    I can not imagine a responsible and respectable Saudi man being so nonchalant on the topic of pregnancy. It does not sound right at all.

    There are many kinds of love including addictive love. You may know that the relationship does not have a rosy future but rather than risk change and heartache now feel that you must accept what is available.

    My words are written in concern and compassion. They are not meant to be judgemental.

  94. @AB,
    If it’ll help someone else, I’m more than willing to share my experiences. All this reminiscing though is really giving me a chance to reminisce about my relationship with the first Saudi. I am really missing him today, but life goes on. (teary-eyed smile) Although occasionally I may really miss him, I am content with our break-up. As much as we may have cared for each other, it just wasn’t working out for a myriad of reasons. Life may not always be fair, but at least it’s an adventure! :)

  95. @escortdiary,
    It sounds like he cares for you, just be careful. Please make sure you are thinking clearly and being reasonable about everything. Would you really be willing to give up your occupation for him? Where do you expect to live? How will he expect you to change for him once he begins to consider you as his wife? How do you feel about it? What will you tell your families? These are the kinds of things you’d have to talk over with him; discussing them with anyone else isn’t really going to accomplish anything. That said, I wish you the best in life.

  96. ‘Life may not always be fair, but at least it’s an adventure!’

    I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been there and it does hurt but I think well worth it. Just be careful with your future adventures ;-) Especially that crazy talk about having kids! Haven’t you learned ANYthing from what I’ve said about those creatures??!! Those cute little darlings DO turn into teenagers one day, you know.

  97. @Lynn,
    “Just be careful with your future adventures Especially that crazy talk about having kids! Haven’t you learned ANYthing from what I’ve said about those creatures??!! Those cute little darlings DO turn into teenagers one day, you know.”

    LOL. Very true!!! Thanks for the kind words of wisdom. :) Parenting is not something I’d consider easy, but well worth the experience. I’m planning to wait until I’m a bit more financially stable and have experienced a little more of the world on my own before I have a child.

  98. @escortdiary,
    If he is still paying you I can’t see how this is serious. I read some of your blog- it sounds like some fantasy of his to see you with bigger boobs that are dripping milk. Pregnancy is about alot more than that- It also sounds like you are fantasising about someone else- so this is really not sounding like a relationship headed for marriage. In fact I would say, in general, for a prostitute to be looking for a husband through work is not likely. Even less likely with a wealthy Saudi client who knows you’ve had/have many other Saudi clients.

    Saudi men desert pregnant women a lot. The gov’t is now trying to find these children and give them their citizenship. If these children make it to Saudi there is no reason to let the mothers come- nor is there any reason not to kick the mothers out without their child if that is what suits the Saudi family. You are playing with fire and it is not just about you- the primary victim with be your child. Please start being responsible. Love your CHILD enough to be responsible if you can’t love yourself enough. Give him his milk-dripping boob fantasy AFTER you are married.

  99. I don’t believe escortdiary is real. There is a limit to naiveté and considering she has been working as a prostitute for some time we surely can’t possibly consider her an ingenue.
    Maybe she’s hoping to catch new clients by showing off her pliability here.

  100. @Strange One I see nothing to indicate he cares about her. As for her profession, it’s not even legal in most of the US. If they move to Saudi it carries the death penalty so I wouldn’t recommend continuing. Especially if one also has children.

    @Escort Diary,
    I don’t mean to be mean. Personally I don’t care what goes on between consenting adults. But he is living some great romantic, unrealistic fantasy life and relationship that bears little resemblance to what his real life will be like. He has the money to create this – and to make his life wonderful and fun while he spends time here. He hasn’t done anything that indicates any kind of relationship commitment. Yes, he has a business commitment with you. That is very different. If you get pregnant he may, or may not chose to create a business commitment regarding that as well. But I wouldn’t count on it. I wouldn’t even tell you what to do- but it really distresses me that you are risking preganancy in this situation. A child deserves so much more. Emotionally stable and committed parents. Responsible parents. Raising kids is not an easy thing.

  101. Strange One, in my country many women choose to be single mothers. The deliberately choose have a baby without a man. They want a baby but not a man. But a lot of those women do plan ahead.

    I am not prejudiced about sex-workers, in my country it is allowed and generally considered a job, although maybe not a very desirable job.
    If escortdiary is not making this up, which I consider unlikely, then she is extraordinarily irresponsible towards her child. She has no future plans lined up, she has not a rosy future anyway if she continues her current occupation. She might be a well paid high end prostitute now, but that won;t last beyond a few years, when she either has to start from scratch in a new profession, with the stigma of being a prostitute won;t be easy in America, or she will slowly sink down the prostitution line until she ends up as a low-paid streetwalker.
    And how is she going to provide for her child then? What future and prospects will that child have?

  102. I am not flaunting my lifestyle here, as there is nothing to flaunt. If anything, I would like to get out of this work, but what many people don’t realize is that it is an addiction. I am trying to educate myself so I can get away from the industry. I don’t embrace all the choices I’ve made, but rather than demonize women for doing this job I want to understand it and how a society can lead some women down this path.

    I am also not looking for a husband in my clients, but fate has it that I’ve come across clients who want a relationship. I am human, so I have emotions…which leads sometimes to love.

    My blog is not made up, and it’s meant to be what it is. It may seem naive, but that may be due to the fact I’m 25. I am gearing it towards other women in the industry, who are trying to relate in a sea of people who act just as some have acted in this thread: intolerant. But I do not blame women with those opinions, because it’s expected in a society that marginalizes people for their failures to conform. I guess it’s one of those hidden realities that nobody wants to acknowledge. Perhaps I made a bad choice for commenting on here in hopes to relate to women who are conflicted with their Saudi.

    Aafke-Art, I respect your comments, but your attitude seems that people who make “wrong” choices do not deserve the rights of those who do “good.” I do have a plan for myself, which is why I’m studying. But even if I didn’t, is right to just let me sink down and end up as a low-paid streetwalker as you claim? It seems that would also justify saying that being a prostitute means I don’t have the right to love or be loved, right?

    Anyway, I suppose it’s my place to leave here now, as this has gotten off topic.

    Best wishes

  103. @escortdiary,
    This is not about your right to be loved. And no one has demonized you. I am assessing the likelihood that this relationship with your Saudi is going anywhere- which is, I thought, what you asked about. Apparently you don’t like what you are hearing. That doesn’t make you a victim on this blog. And if you are as unsettled as YOU claim to be- my only judgement is you have no right to recklessly “see what happens” with regard to pregnancy. So sue me. Honestly- he sounds like a nightmare and poor marriage material. I get this impression from reading what YOU have written about him. It seems like every other one of your posts (on your blog) you know it too. Be nicer to yourself. Have children when you’re ready. I can tell you from years of observation- having a child NEVER helps an uncertain, unstable, stressful situation. It makes it worse.

    It may be an addiction- so get help. Educating yourself will not cure your addiction. Having a baby will not cure your addiction. You have to address the addiction. If you’re in school they probably have a counseling center. Maybe they can help you. I say this because YOU indicated you’d like out. Not because I am demonizing you. Really do want you want. But you don’t sound that happy- and it doesn’t seem to be getting you what you want.

  104. Thanks Sandy…I appreciate and respect your thoughts.

  105. escortdiary – Just acknowledging that you have an addiction is HUGE and a step forward. Now is the time to act with a plan. Even if your plan is small baby steps, do what it takes. There are so many options and opportunities to have a different kind of life. I do not know what are in which you are located but there are always organizations which provide assistance, counseling and lead to programs where you gain new confidence in yourself and ready to make a change to new opportunities. Your outlook and perspective on yourself will improve and you will find the man with whom you are ready to make a lifetime comittment without any doubts or fears.

    It takes a brave person to share the deepest thoughts and conflicts you have shared.

  106. @American Bedu

    Thank you kindly :)

  107. I would like to say “Thank you ” for this web site and all the good information you provide. I wish it was available for me before I married my Saudi husband. I do not consider myself stupid or naive, but I believed my husband when he gave reasons to keep our marriage secret / and why I could not meet his parents. I met him while I was working as a nurse in Riyadh, I believed him – why shouldn’t I believe him? It has been about 15 years since he left me – and the pain hurts as if it happened yesterday! Please keep informing others so that God willing nobody else will feel the pain I do daily! For everything you said – to watch out for – occurred to me . I am sure there are exceptions, but that Saudi would be a rare jewell! I just wish I had known these things before, my life would have been totally different. But after reading your articles, a lot of things make sense, but too late to help me. Maybe they can prevent some other young lady from making the same mistakes!

  108. [...] hear often from young women around the world who believe that the Saudi whom they met is the love of their lives.  These women share how he makes them feel emotions they have never felt before.  He understands [...]

  109. I’m a Saudi girl here in the USA. Bottom line if he tells his family and propose you he is Serious. Plus if he did not sleep with you before marry you he really loves you and want you a wife.

  110. Thank you Neno, It’s always best to hear it from those who are really in the know.

  111. @Escortdiary:
    No one denies that prostitutes are of course people and shouldn’t be judged only on their choice of work but the reality is most of the time an unfortunately they are judged. The fact that your saudi acknowledges that fact does not mean he accepts it for himself. I think you know the answers within yourself you seem to be doubting many things and also questioning why he would still be paying you if he was serious which is a big ?. I really hope that one day instead of needing a man to tell you that you are a worthy besides being an escort; that you believe it for yourself.
    it seems that you are trying to justify why you do what you do, and you don’t need to as its between you and your creator (thats if you believe in God or whatever), no one needs to approve of it if thats what you want to do but if you don’t, like you said then definately begin the steps out.
    I wouldn’t advise being in a relationship with a client as it may cause many problems down the track especially from the Saudi side, he may resent you for your past, and not be able to get over the fact that you had this lifestyle. Or even for yourself you may not trust him in the future knowing that he used your services and could always do it again with another escort.
    I hope i didn’t offend you in any way, just giving you some small advice.
    Hope the best for the future in what ever you choose to do. :)

  112. An advise from a Saudi girl who witnessed many Saudi Marriages . Saudi Men are messed up if you fall in love with a guy who is Saudi and you are foreigner then remember to things : he is either really different and you should keep him cause he love you , or he is screwing with you until he gets back to his family then he will marry his cousin because his parents said so and he didn’t have the guts to tell them that he is already married . Don’t fall into that trap !

  113. [...] have written multiple posts in the past about Saudi students who are studying abroad on a scholarship.  I feel compelled to address this topic again due to the [...]

  114. Hi, Salam everyone!

    Loved reading the topic and all the comments !! I dont live in the US but in the UK where many saudi student are too (scholarship, work…)

    I am myself with a saudi but it’s a new relationship he fail in love with me months before we started to date! now we are getting closer and are together.

    I am an arab girl and he told me about being with me forever and that he knows he loves me for real and will never let me down and I will understand this in few years as I told him about the fact he is saudi… But he didn’t talk about marriage yet we only together since a month…

    After reading your topic I am so confused !! and I just want to ovoid him before I get hurt or anything (no sex between us btw and I will never sleep with him before as I am muslim)

    I think all saudis are different but it’s hard to make the difference and also the fact it’s can be complicated fr them to marry a foreigner arab or not may be such a long procedure !! So even if he loves you it can demotivate any guy on this world saudi or not!!

    Im so afraid to loose my time with him and at the end he get back to his country and me staying here as an idiot!!

    Good luck to you all girls and thank you again american bdu for the topic and the blog :)

  115. I think you guys should totally leave the SAUDI man by himself..move on

  116. Why can’t they marry non-Arabs? sounds racist to me.

  117. hey this article is soo mean to the saudi man,, there are bad and good people everywhere even the American boys they left their children behind, and not asking about them, there are good saudi man and bad,

    I want to talk about the saudi girls if you have chance just go to Washington, Dc and see all the nightclubs you’ll find many saudi girls on there and some of them have relationship with a rich American boy

    they likes money more then anything, believe me i met some of them, and i knew them very well, even the saudi women can’t marry an American guy,

    just look around you’ll find the good and bad people,

  118. Where can one find information on how to apply for marriage in Saudi Arabia? I am a female from the United States.

  119. Hi,
    Well if you are marrying a Saudi then he should take care of that by going the ministry of foreign affairs who will direct him from there.

  120. well I am in love with a saudi and he has let me meet all of his sisters and his mother I have talked with and his dad and his brothers I have talked with his whole family. does anyone think he will marry me?
    I hope he does because he is my one true love.

  121. Maybe someone can help me out with my Saudi questions? I’m an American woman in college and I think I have an interesting story I would like some perspective to…

  122. DeerB – post your questions, people will reply inshallah.

    I’m an American girl who is considering marriage with a Saudi – I very much appreciate all of the dialogue here.

  123. I am from Saudi Arabia and I really do not understand
    you American hate Arabs and occupy their land and kill them in Iraq ..
    And justify your crimes ..
    Then you would expect that the relationship with the Arabs will be normal …
    Well, let me ask you a question …
    If I married an American woman ..and then U.S. attack on the country of Saudi Arabia
    Is my American wife will stand with me against the U.S.???
    it She going to help me to raise my children on the Arab and Islamic traditions ..
    I think that the marriage of American women is a bad idea

  124. Hi i am a western woman living in saudi arabia, and i know how charming the saudi men can be.
    my friend dated a saudi guy for 6 months who persued her day and night until she gave in to him and went on a date.
    After a couple of months they were inseparable and seeing each other regualrly.
    The relationship became passionate and intense very quickly, she fell in love with him, he saw a vunerabilty in her and played on it.
    After months of indulging in a risky and illegal relationship with the saudi guy, she couldnt be without him.
    Then one day out of the blue he announced he was getting married to a girl he didnt even know.
    My friend was heart broken she invested so much of her heart and time into him, and now he will not even acknowledge her in the corridor.
    Now he will live a marriage of lies, because he knows this is not the woman he TRUELY loves.
    On the basis that my friend is western, and not muslim and this kind of relationship is forbidden and could of never truely progressed to anything serious, he knew this she didnt.
    My advice to western women, stick with what you know you are only setting your heart up to be broken.
    In the light of day these men are not emotionally available to western women.

  125. @ western girl,
    i felt sad for you friend and i can relate with her traumatic lovelife.. :( but life must go on..

  126. Unfortunately it is so true. Most of these men are NOT emotionally available to Western women. At first glance they appear to be because they are so sweet, romantic, kind, pay for everything, spoil you and they SAY things American men often don’t say…but as time passes the reality sinks in…you are kept a secret from any female members of their family, if family visits you are not invited and you are put on the back burner the whole time the family is there, they have their facebook on lock down, you can’t tag photos of them or put in a relationship…you start to feel like their mistress because you are the secret. The fact that their male friends know about you does not count at all. In the end ACTIONS speak louder than WORDS and these men are fantastic with their WORDS…if he really loves you he will SHOW it and in the end majority (not all) will not show it to anyone but a woman from their same culture/religion. The culture is embedded in them.

    Even if you do have a Saudi who is willing to stand for you…make sure he is sincerely open minded and “secular”…if not it will be a life of sacrifice and misery on the western woman’s end. His culture, religion, and to please the family are number 1 in his eyes, so there is no such thing as compromise on his end. Also, please oh please don’t convert to please him. I see soo many women do this and it saddens me. If he really loves you he will marry you if you are Christian, Jewish, Atheist, or Hindu (yes I’ve seen a Muslim male Saudi marry a Hindu Indian woman, very beautiful interreligious ceremony!!) Don’t lose your identity or sacrifice your CULTURE for these men! A sincere man will love YOU and not want to change you!

    I can relate, I was with a Sudanese man for 2 years that had been born and raised in Saudi Arabia-so culturally he was Saudi. In some ways I’m happy the relationship was long because it opened my eyes to the fact that my life would be miserable if we did marry and all the sacrifices would be coming from my end.

    If your Saudi/Arab really loves you he will NOT keep you a secret from his female family members past 6 months. If he has a sexual relationship with you and you’ve been together past a year and are still a secret…forget it! He’s not serious and he will not face the music for you. He might try to manipulate you and say “I need more time” or “I have doubts and need to be certain…”…it’s all a manipulation! I feel like 6 months is the lucky number because my ex DID in fact go to his mother at around 4/5 months into our relationship and she was hysterical, crying, and being dramatic. If you do get this far with a Saudi-yes, they are sincere about you (so at least feel good about that and he respects you enough to tell mom about you), but if the family is opposing it and causing trouble…in MOST cases the man will side with his family and not stand for you! If the family is causing trouble and he’s apprehensive to stand for you…RUN! It’s not worth it in the end!

  127. Most Saudis prefer to marry Arab women … this is the reality
    They want women to understand their religion and their language and their culture, they want a woman who educates their children to Islam and Arab culture.
    Western women can not do this ,and there are a lot of Western women agree to do sex before marriage …
    This thing makes Saudis men believe she would not be a good wife …
    maybe he attracted to her in the beginning, But he later he realizes that woman does not suit them … That’s why he leave her

  128. Hi i can’t stop reading your blog , few years agos i lived in Dubai
    And i fall in Love with an Emirati it was for me so Romantic but he never talk about me to his family we were 5 month together then one Day same thing happen to me he said my Mom found for me a nice girl to get Married with at this Moment i feel my heart broken and he was rude he said dont call me again never ! Dont tell anyone i dated with you ! I was crying buthe doesnt care he plus tell me how she was petite and pretty I believe he just use me like they use foreigners. Im from Paris France et had asian background i was converted to Islam i cant understand the way they use us . Its not about Beauty ( i was Model also before) also i discovered on FB her Future wife she was not beautiful . I date another Emirati later on and it was the same thing i can have watever mens i want usually but no one likes me they just like my appearance and its reavolting . Sorry for my spealing mistakes. Usually girls are attracted by the Money ….me i wasnt i wa with them and never ask somthing in return and im sure he use me for that too he kbew than another foreigner might ask him some help . I was looking for only a serious relationship and end by Marriage but i think right now and more than men always want change they are attracted to any new girl even they have a wife and love some of them they will always cheating or change wife when she got older. I have a question for you do you believe that can man can still attracted to us even we getting old ? There is always a temptation for them specially with Facebook and all social network

  129. In response to saleh, who discusses how western women sleep with Saudi men before they are married.
    You say that most Muslim men do not want to marry a western woman who sleeps with them before marriage.
    Because they will not make good wives.
    Unfortunately saleh this is untrue and it is a closed minded comment.
    What you are saying here is that it is ok for the man to have sex before the marriage but not the woman.
    How for you does this come…. In your views. It is a very sexist way to view a female, she is not only here for reproductive services for the man.
    She too like the man enjoys sex. This does not devalue the woman, if she wants to sleep with her beau out of feelings of love and desire for her man this is natural.
    I don’t think a woman’s pre marriage sexual habits are going to be indicator or judgement of how she behaves as a wife or mother.
    A woman who is a strict Muslim before marriage, and does not agree to premarital sex can be lazy in the home, lazy in the bedroom, lazy in thought a lazy mother and a horrible person.
    Don’t be to quick to judge saleh your views are very dated.
    And it’s this kind of narrow mindedness that causes western women to become hurt emotional and physically by lies from men willing to take advantage of their naivety.

  130. @mixed girl
    Am sorry for your disappointments but you have to understand that this is the middle eastern culture.
    And it will stay like this for the rest of time.
    You are in a way exempt, you must respect that.
    The way these men treat you is not a reflection of how beautiful you are how nice your personality is. Is life in the Middle East and it’s the culture.
    My advice to you is move on and find someone who will not lie to you or deceive as this is in effect abuse.
    Yes these men are are charming and romantic but they are also fake, they hide everything from you and then you are not being treated as a person. You are being treated like an accessorie a hand bag or a pet.
    Move on find a French guy and only ever change your self for your own gain not that of a man.

  131. @mixed girl in response to can a man be attracted to a woman even when she grows old
    The response is yes he certainly can
    Ok we age and our beauty fades but our spirit And personality live fresh I side is even if our body grows old.
    If a man will love you only for your beauty then he is not a man you should marry because as soon as you grow old he will leave you.
    You need to look for a man who has integrity and values and will love and cherish you because you are a unique person.
    But to find a man like this you must respect and value your self first. Remember beauty is transient but your sprit and soul go on forever even after you die.

  132. And what about all these Saudi male sluts who sleep with western women? They are far more to blame, for they are sinning against their religion and repressive culture.

    Real good, worthwhile men are rare, and will either not sleep around, or if they are open to normal healthy human relations they will not be hypocritical about it. Men like saleh are just a waste of space. And a waste of any woman’s time.

    Mixed girl, I am sorry you met a man who lied to you, don’t forget, he is the ugly one, you were the one who loved, who was honest and who are the shining light to his murky darkness, such a man is too far below you to be a proper companion for you anyway.
    Forget him, you probably projected a much better man onto him than he really is. You made a mistake, he is just a louse.
    Go and find one those really worthwhile men. (And look for him in another gene pool! Middle eastern men are too much damaged by their unhealthy, unnatural cultures where faking and lying and disdain for women are the norm, all supported by their misogynist religion)

  133. HGP, excellent comment and advice!

  134. Referring to Middle Eastern cultures as “repressive” and “unhealthy” is part of typical Islamaphobic discourse. It is not surprising. This is the view shared by uncritical observers, whom absorb their information from the easier to absorb media outlets.

  135. Saudi Arabia is the proof of how unhealthy total segregation of the sexes is.
    Nothing to do with any kinf of fobia: just plain fact.
    Women are not safe to walk on the streets, a lot more homosexuality than normally, practised both by men and women, the bad treatment of women, rapes, the list is endless. In the past decades Saudi Arabia’s indigenous culture has been replaced by an artificial experiment in social engineering based on a puritanical interpretation of Islam and it has a very bad effect on the people who have to live in this society.

    The disdain for women and hypocritical lying behaviors are typical results.
    And yes, other cultures do the same, blah, blah, blah, but not in to this extent, it isn’t ingrained in the culture, it isn’t the norm like it is the Middle East, hence the term ”unhealthy” is appropriate.

  136. Aafke.

    I do agree that the current dynamics just do not work in the current global contexts. Gender segregation played out vastly different in premodern times compared to today’s global capitalistic context. There will never be any perfect model, yet it doesn’t mean people do not have any personal agency.

    There is no such thing as a ‘healthy’ relationship. The pseudo-scientists try to promote this idea of what’s normal/abnormal, healthy/unhealthy, but these are mere constructions. Any norm that exists is a particular construction of that society. While I agree that current dynamics in KSA are problematic, I DO NOT agree that assimilating into the Western norms for relations is the solution. There are just as many problems here in the West.

    Even the term ‘homosexual’ is a constructed idea, which was noted by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. Any academic who specializes in the history of sexuality knows that sexual orientation is fluid and heavily constructed along cultural norms. What is wrong with same-sex desire? Why does one have to be strictly monogamous? Perhaps you cannot understand this, because you adhere to the discourse that a person is either strictly heterosexual or homosexual.

    As for women being vulnerable to danger: I felt more safe in the Middle East than here. And I have felt more respected by Middle Eastern men. The culture, in essence, is very protective of women — sadly Western feminists think any form of male protection is a form of bondage. The corruption and sexism that exists cannot be generalized for the whole society, and furthermore these problems are the outcome of STATE emergence, and the resulting politics (a lot of social problems arose when States reconfigured their economies towards a Western model). Saudi Arabia is a capitalistic economy, just like any other state.

    Anyway,

  137. Escort diary you mention some valid comments here.
    However I do not believe that forced marriage or marrying your cousins is either normal or healthy.
    This is not a normal practice in the west. And even nature will tell you that your so called relationships are dangerous for your health your childrens health and the race of Middle East.
    There is more than sufficient scientific evidence to support my point.
    Sorry but you can not tell me at any point that this practice of marriage is normal or healthy.
    In fact it is far from healthy.

  138. Aafke, I nearly spat my coffee when I read your remark about the “Saudi male sluts”. You are soooooo right to call them “sluts” as I’ve never understood the men who sleep with women they regard as “dirty”. If you think we are “dirty”, find somebody “clean” to sleep with. The problem is she won’t be clean after you’ve slept with her, but that’s much more logic than the Saudi mind can bear. In any case, feeling drawn to “dirty women”, despite your contempt for them, says a lot more about you than the women in question. If you feel invariably attracted to dirt, you are dirt yourself – it’s that simple.

  139. There are things I really love about Arab culture, and other things I don’t. I feel the same way about American culture. I would not lump all “middle eastern” countries in together although there are similarities; they each are unique to an extent. That’s like saying America, Canada, and Mexico are identical.(I actually expect there to be more difference in the middle east between countries than I do between these.) Each family is different, too.

    My husband is from the region, and his family loves me. I met them within two weeks of meeting my husband and was introduced as his wife. They are more conservative, but still are supportive and accepting of my American upbringing. Of course, my husband isn’t all that different from a rural American, and neither is his family for that matter! :D They just happen to be Muslim instead of Christian. That’s why I say it really depends on the family.

    We have had some complications in our relationship due to cultural and religious differences, but we are really good for each other. We stick around for each other where others would have taken off a long time ago. LOL. (We are both stubborn and crazy…)

    So Arab-American relationships can work out; they just require a little more work in the beginning. That said, if you CAN live without him/her, go find someone from your same culture. It’ll make life a lot easier in some respects.

    Saudi, as Aafke pointed out, is a bit different from other countries in the region. With the current situation there, I think it’s better to live outside KSA if marrying a Saudi, even if you’re in the UAE or Qatar (which is what I’d recommend). My husband and I have talked about eventually moving to one of those countries to be closer to family after we’re both done with university.

    @Reality Check, Western Girl, et al.,
    An interesting historical fact is that Darwin married his cousin.

    @escortdiary,
    Supposedly women are more likely to have a mix of homosexual/heterosexual traits (see both men and women in a sexual way), according to various studies.

  140. @ Western Girl

    Did you not understand that the very notion of ‘healthy’ is a subjective and constructed concept? What you consider ‘healthy’ only shows the discourse that you subscribe too. It’s not an objective fact.

    Forced marriages is NOT Islamic, and furthermore it’s not common nor accepted. It happens in extreme cases, just like there are extreme cases of cruelty in the West.

    Sadly, many people read Orientalist depictions of the Middle East and South Asia, and then they actually start to believe that forced marriages, rape, and other violence is the norm in these countries. What these people don’t realize is that these Orientalist fantasies exist for a political purpose (ie: support of unjust wars/imperialism, or the spread of so-called ‘democracy’).

  141. Healthy is not a pre construed concept.
    It is something that is factual from years of medical research on congenital disorders in the Middle East.
    This is factual empirical evidence how can you say it’s a concept.
    I think you will find that the hardcore scientific evidence out weighs views, opinions and word of mouth.
    Sorry!!!!!

  142. many southerners married cousins. they have to take a blood test before they file for marriage. its an old tradition if you want to call it that. and escort you never lived with a saudi family and get your info from books or the slutty men you sleep with for money. your an indian with a witty mind. this site doesnt have enough real saudi commentators to defend itself.

  143. As a whole I really believe the girls that are coming to this blog looking for answers know in their heart something is wrong and not right, yet they keep wanting to justify it….I’ve been there ladies and after my ordeal I’ve learned the following:

    I’m sorry-Saudi/Arab men are like men anywhere. If you have been with a western male for a month or two months and he hasn’t introduced you to his family or hid you on facebook/social media, you would think something is wrong…it’s the same with Arab men!!!! The ONLY difference is that Western men will date you longer before marriage usually, but at the same time…Western families will include you in family dinners, holidays, and social events without being married/engaged. Arab men-it’s expected he will marry you within a certain period of time after you are introduced. With that being said, I’ve seen Arab engagements last 6 months to a year but they usually get the “nikkah” (religious marriage) done way before then.

    I’m with an Indian man now, and even though it’s a different culture, the whole marriage process is very similar to Arab men. His entire family is back in India. My boyfriend’s SISTER knew about me by our first date. HE was discussing the future/marriage by our first date.His mother knew about me within 2 weeks after our first date. After a few more weeks he was sending pictures of me to his sister on whatsapp. By a month, I was talking on the phone with his sister. After two months I was skyping with his mom and sister. If they are serious about you there are no “buts” or “we will see”…these men KNOW what they want and if they WANT YOU they WILL inform their family IMMEDIATELY.

    All and all-my relationship now is like night and day when I compare it to my ex. No social media secrets. No family secrets. Everyone is so supportive. It felt so good-the first picture he posted of us got 100 likes from his friends and family!

    Ladies please remember-these men were RAISED to behave a certain way with women and marriage their whole life! If he loves you and is serious about you-it doesn’t matter if you are American or Arab, he will try to go about the marriage/courting process the same way he would for an Arab-if there are any waivers it will be because YOU REQUEST these waivers not him! (for example, more time would be your request, if he’s serious he won’t be asking for time, their marriage process is much faster so more time would be your decision)

    Ladies please don’t let what these men say in this blog let you down. All the comments that say western women are easier or what not. Nothing is wrong with us, we are just different cultures…but once again…if he loves you…he will marry you even if you did sleep together. So the men that come on here and say he doesn’t see the western woman as wife material because he slept with her…that’s dependent on the man and his values…personally that’s just an excuse. I have a Saudi friend who proposed to his American girlfriend and they definitely had an intimate relationship.

    I do think some of the men that study here view western women as “sluts” while others do genuinely fall in love…but they are so tied down by the culture, religion, family, and scholarship requirements they can’t defend you or do anything. It’s their fault for not being honest with you from the beginning though…but once again if it’s true love…he will do what it takes to be with you.

    My Arab ex is devastated I moved on-but let me tell you, it’s better to be the one who leaves than be left. Be strong and DEMAND what you deserve and don’t settle!

  144. @HGP,
    I disagree about “-it doesn’t matter if you are American or Arab, he will try to go about the marriage/courting process the same way he would for an Arab-if there are any waivers it will be because YOU REQUEST these waivers not him!” as sometimes more leniency is given to the Western/American woman because she isn’t expected to know or understand certain cultural/religious things (generally speaking) unless she is from that culture/religion. However, she will usually be expected to change afterwards to suit family/religious expectations. The guy will usually do his best to introduce her to his family in the best way possible AS SOON AS he becomes serious about her AND feels confident she’ll stick around (as there’s a stigma that divorce is easy for “Western” women). It may not happen right away, but he will begin making arrangements for it. For my husband it was the moment he saw me, so he introduced me to his family a couple weeks later. Of course, it may take a guy longer to introduce a woman as his wife depending on the situation and the man. My husband has told me he’s the exception and not the rule in terms of how fast he introduced me to his family. From what I can gather, usually they will introduce you to one family member first, such as his father or a cousin. Then, they will introduce you to others slowly. I was introduced to everyone all at once, though, which I’m told is a bit odd.

  145. I see so many people talking back and forward to each other about who is or is not correct about which ever subject. Ultimately, there are many answers and many solutions. Each country, culture, religious belief, and even individual will respond to situations in different ways.

    How can you tell if your American boyfriend is serious? Well, it depends. How can you tell if your British boyfriend is serious? Well, it depends. Saudis aren’t much different than the rest of the world. They have their belief as do we; something that has been engrained in them since birth.

  146. @h I think your right about escort diary she seems to have no real experience of Saudi culture…. Either that or she is just totally naive about everything involved in stable, loving caring relationships.

  147. @StrangeOne-I feel like you just supported my statement rather than give a rebuttal….lol-unless my statement was confusing to you, if so, I apologize. I said waivers would be made because the western woman requests it (not the Arab man)-the waivers are on behalf of her because of her culture…or because her family is here and the two families can’t meet. Things can’t be done the traditional Arab way if the couple is here and his family is there. Basically-as a whole, it doesn’t matter if she is Arab or American-the guy will TRY to go about the marriage process the same or the best way possible for the “Western” or “American” woman in accordance with her culture, but it will still fall into the guidelines of his culture. When I said it doesn’t matter if she’s Arab or American…I meant that he will take her seriously and go about it the best way possible (which is still much faster than most western relationships)…not string her along for months and years with a bunch of BS excuses.

    Many women here dating Saudis/Arabs will hear “I need more time” or “I have to be certain”…after months and months or even YEARS of dating…If these are the excuses a woman is hearing as to why she is a family secret (particularly the women of his family) after 6 months I’d say run.

  148. @HGP,
    I agreed with most of what you said.

    I was just saying that sometimes, it may take longer for an Arab guy to introduce you to his family simply due to cultural differences. Some Arab men also prefer to do things the “Western” culture way. I’d say it could take up to a year, but it really depends on the individuals involved. In the case where the guy wasn’t serious in the beginning but becomes serious later, it could take years. I was just pointing out that it’s still possible for Arab men to ask a woman to marry him after years of dating (though it is not as likely). I think women, in their hearts, know if the guy is serious or not. And also whether or not they are serious about him.

    I also agree if he is saying, “I need more time” after 6 months to a year, then he’s probably not serious about you. That could change, but isn’t likely. And there are exceptions to every rule, but you’ll know if you are.

    So, women, what are you comfortable with? Don’t assume a passive role in the relationship you’re half of. That’s my advice.

    In some cases, the woman may not be friends with his family on facebook for cultural reasons. In my case, there are pictures of my family that we don’t want to be shared with people (in case I’m tagged in something) that may not understand Western culture and we don’t want his friends to see pictures of me due to cultural reasons. There is enough hype about us being together as it is because I’m American (raised Christian) and he’s Arab (Muslim), which we’re both sick of. However, I have met his close friends and talk with his family nearly every week as time allows.

  149. Well, interesting topic, but all too theoretical…..
    In my opinion there are no clear ‘hints’, ‘ signs’ or ‘timelines’ to judge a relationship whether with a Saudi or non-Saudi if you like….
    Here is a true story:
    a western woman met and married a saudi in saudi Arabia….Which were the ‘signs’ he would marry her? None really. She never converted- even after marriage- she was not ready to marry him without really getting to know the person and did not play by any traditional/arab rules- she did not mind whether his family accepted or not at any point and never worried about it for a second.
    The most important factor is that she was very frank, sincere, gave him and her the time to get to know each other and set down the rules that would make a relationship/marriage acceptable to her.
    It seems that he agreed, thus these principles and values brought them together.
    They are happily married after years, and their relationship has remained unaltered.
    What were the ‘signs’ if you like: mutual respect and understanding as well as sincere love for the other person and their wellbeing.
    Aren’t these the signs in every relationship that matter? independent of the man or woman’s nationality?

  150. Well said, Gigi!!! It doesn’t matter what culture or religion it is mutual respect that leads to lasting love. The original story could be any girl/ and boy/ anywhere in the world. Just because this is a Saudi man and western woman has no bearing on how it turned out. I see the same kind of relationship problems with American girls and guys. Culture being different could be a deterrent but only if you let it be. Equal understanding of the differences and mutual tolerance of each other leads to lasting relationships.

  151. @Kat, “Culture being different could be a deterrent but only if you let it be”. True, but what I have noticed is that many people aren’t willing to or can’t change. Plus, different cultures have different values so if the two people in the relationship have different values (per their culture), then it will cause problems. I’ve seen it happen between two people with the same nationality (but different cultural upbringings). That said, the two people can learn to compromise, but at what extent would they be giving up a piece of him/herself in order to “fit” within the relationship? Which is why I say it’s easier to marry someone from the same cultural and religious background. Not necessarily better, but easier.

  152. I am an American dating a Saudi man, and he told me from the beginning that he can not marry me. but I have talked to his whole family mother dad sisters brothers all of them they seem very fond of me. I am just hoping that things will change between me and him and we will get married. ladies I need some advise

  153. @Angel-how is he introducing you to them? That’s really what it comes down to. I’ve met my Saudi friends family over here when they come visit…but they introduce me as someone they went to university with or a friend (which is the truth). I had one Saudi friend introduce his girlfriend as a tutor even though she was in fact his girlfriend and he made it clear that they couldn’t marry. Is he introducing you as a marriage perspective? Is he claiming you are the woman he loves to his family? I mean it’s possible things can change…anything can change…but don’t rely on that at all. Find out how you are introduced. It’s not a good sign he’s saying he can’t marry you…not a good sign at all. You want someone who is with you and KNOWS he wants to be with you and make it work from the beginning…not see if he can find “better” and then when he’s determined you are the best, then be with you…you want someone who thinks you are the best from the get go and treats you as such…this goes for ALL races of men.

  154. Why not take this man at his word? If he says he ”will not marry you”, and marriage is your object, you should look for a bloke who does not say he ”will not marry you”.

  155. @HGP I am pretty sure he introduced me as his girl friend to his family his sister knows we are dating, and we are like friends me and his sister. there was a time when he told his sister that he loved me his family loves me they always ask about me. I really do love him and he says he loves me to so much. even though he says he can not marry me I am in denial about it. I just want us to have some sort of future together.

  156. @angel tread with caution. Every man is different and I don’t know your boyfriend or relationship, but if he is a student studying here and his family is back in Saudi Arabia, he is expected to go back home and as per the scholarship regulations, he is not allowed to marry a foreigner. Also, dating is not allowed in Islam …ESPECIALLY Saudis…because they are so devout. So unless his family is EXTREMELY secular and they are in a western country, I highly doubt they know the extent/reality of your relationship…I don’t even know for that matter…but be careful if it is a western style relationship (meaning sexual)…I don’t want to speculate or judge-that’s between you two. Lastly, if they do in fact know about your relationship and he’s still saying “I can’t marry you”, then they know most likely know he isn’t taking you seriously, hence why they are nice to you-you aren’t a family threat marriage wise. I say “threat” because Saudis still practice arranged marriages for family security/gain/connections. I’m REALLY trying not to be harsh, I’m so sorry if it’s being conveyed that way via writing and I can only imagine your insecurity/concerns. I’ve just seen it numerous times where the family knows the son is in America and having fun with western women…they know it isn’t right but it’s kind of swept under the rug for saving face reasons. They will turn a blind eye towards what the son is doing until he actually looks like he might marry her…then it’s often (not always) crying, panic attacks, and threat of disowning. Most families know/expect he will come home and marry a “good traditional Saudi women”. Having an American woman who is a “friend” or “girlfriend” for fun is one thing-marrying her and bringing her into the family is often (no always) completely different.

  157. Angel,

    If somebody wants to marry you, they will. If your boyfriend said he would not marry you, he will not. I think you should be grateful to him for his honesty and move on. Honesty is a very rare commodity in the Gulf and while people from that area are generally truthful to each other, they don’t exactly see themselves as obligated to be honest to the women from completely different cultures. We are generally regarded as a sport and, given his origins, his honesty is very impressive, indeed.

    You were lucky enough to meet a genuine person who will not play with your feelings and waste your time and I’m sure that his sincerity will paradoxically make you admire him and fall in love with him even more, but I think the right course for you is to turn a new page.

    As for his family showing how fond of you they are, what are the odds that they are fond of you exactly because they don’t see you as a potential daughter-in-law? Think about that because the reason for their friendliness might be that they still don’t see you as a threat.

    RC

  158. @HGP
    Saudi’s are not especially “devout” – they are especially tribal and patriarchal- a generalization of course, not all.

    And a “western-style” relationship has nothing to do with how sexual it is. Sometimes they are- sometimes they aren’t the same as everywhere.

    Angel- why would you want to marry someone who says they don’t want to marry you? If you are thinking to live in Saudi- it usually does not work out happily even if you manage it.

  159. @Angel,
    Does he refer to you as his girlfriend or his wife or his friend when talking to his family? I believe that I mentioned that my husband referred to me as his wife when I met his family. One time, a family member referred to me as his girlfriend and he got mad, making it clear I was his wife (as that denotes more respect). I think that’s about the time his family realized he was really serious about me, although I’m not sure. Still, I haven’t had any problems. His family has always been super-nice to me because they know I have my husband’s best interests at heart. I was blessed with a good set of in-laws, what can I say? Your situation may or may not be similar. Use your judgement.

    If your boyfriend refers to you as his girlfriend, that’s not quite as serious as a wife and it could be that they aren’t sure whether or not he’s serious about you. Of course, every family will be a little different. If your boyfriend is serious about you, how his family will take it once they find out totally depends on the family.

    If he says he can’t marry you, what are his reasons? It is perfectly acceptable for you to ask him since it is about your future. I would recommend treading with caution and taking your time in the relationship if you really are in love with him. If you’re not sure if you’re in love with him, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for someone who is willing to marry you.

  160. @Angel, HGP,
    I think it has less to do with marrying “good traditional Saudi women” and more to do with marrying in such a way as to have perceived sociopolitical benefit to the tribe. Sometimes, Saudi men have Saudi women as girlfriends, but then it doesn’t work out because they aren’t from the same socioeconomic class and/or they are already expected to marry someone else. I am not talking about “loose Saudi women”, either.

  161. @Angel – I really like what Reality Check said…respect this man’s honesty…he could have been like many men and deceived you with big dreams and hopes only to disappoint you, but he’s been honest from the beginning…with that being said you need to expect that you two won’t marry…you can’t go into something knowing how someone is and expecting you will change them. You accepted the terms when you decided to start a relationship with a man who said he can’t marry you. It sucks, but I’ve learned the hard way-that if someone is a certain way at the beginning and you decide to continue the relationship…they most likely won’t change. You usually get what you accept at the beginning.

  162. Hi everyone
    I was having American and Canadian friends work together and I meet them families and friends
    I like the strength of western girl and knowledge of life, how she is standing with her partner supporting and loyalty.
    One of my friend I work with him more than a year and after finishing my project in United States I was taking too much about many ladies I work with and how much I appreciate and admire them as leadership and support and very high performance truly more than men in the team.
    He try to let me meet one of his wife friend which is neighbor at same compound
    I was scared from that and I refuse that chance
    After afew weeks I was in his house with only guys no ladies there she came in and enjoying talking with all the guys and I like her style of course my friend did allot of research to find a future wife for me :)
    After that I visit him in his house when his wife came from US and I meet that girl again
    She is very nice but I feel something like she willing not to stay in Saudi Arabia .she wants to meet my family and stay with my sisters I
    Accept and take her to my family home to meet them and enjoying ladies party .
    My sisters wandering if she can handle the different types of life or not so I didn’t go deep in that relationship because its not going to work with her and I believe what she said about not staying in the kingdom.
    By the way I have American citizenship and Saudi Arabian citizenship as well which well shortcut many government paperwork
    I hope she find a better than me

  163. @HGP I am pretty sure he introduced me as his girl friend to his family his sister knows we are dating, and we are like friends me and his sister. there was a time when he told his sister that he loved me his family loves me they always ask about me. I really do love him and he says he loves me to so much. even though he says he can not marry me I am in denial about it. I just want us to have some sort of future together.

    ok. question #1 do you speak arabic?

    they love you because you are making his son happy. and they only know what he tells them about you. if you are really excepted by them the way you describe the situation, then he has no reason to not marry you. even with a scholarship. so, he could be one of those boys that wont marry a girl he slept with before marriage and his family thinks you are virginal friend. like the other comments, he said the truth to you,-he is not going to marry you. leave and dont have contact and if he was really in love with you he will marry you. it’s a man thing. men dont leave women they love. period.

  164. Please listen when I say this.
    LOVE is not enough. LOVE does not conquer all. Year in and year out the stress of life requires compatible values, mutual respect and enough self knowledge to know what living conditions you can really tolerate “till death do us part” and possibly beyond.

    Without those life will kill love.

    With those it will nourish love. With those love could even develop and grow.

  165. Wonderfully put, Sandy. I wish more people could grasp the profound depth and truth of what you are saying. Without love, a good marriage has nowhere to start from but love alone is not enough to hold two people up, especially in intercultural marriages where the respective values are so different. I’m saying this as someone who decided to give up a truly magic love with someone from another culture 12 years ago because of the extreme difference between our worlds’ values. Next time I’ll go for someone from my world but even if I don’t meet anyone special anymore, I will console myself with the thought that I will always be living the peaceful life after avoiding the misery of ending up in a situation and place which would have had no respect for me. That is happiness in itself. Romantic love is definitely not the be-all and end-all of life.

  166. Perhaps I am in the minority here, but to me love encompasses respect, including values. Compatibility is also important.

    I am a bit of a romantic, and I gave up a lot to be with my husband, but I gained more in my eyes. I gained unconditional love and support from another individual. It meant, for me, giving up (temporarily) on world travel and immediate “success” in a career but I’m happier now with him. We are good balances for each other, and my husband even encouraged me to go back to school for the career I really wanted- medicine. Without him, I’d probably be in England with a fashion career (or maybe back in school for writing or physiotherapy) or travelling the world teaching English.

    Perhaps that sounds glamorous, but I’d never have the sense of family and belonging that my husband gives me. Since it’s rare to come across a person like my husband (and vice versa), we weren’t about to let each other go so we made compromises for each other. That said, the compromises took place over almost daily fighting, with the amount of fighting slowly lessening with time. If we didn’t love each other so deeply we would have both given each other up quickly. Part of loving each other is that we wouldn’t want the other one to move somewhere that would be difficult for him/her. Perhaps we’re really lucky to have found each other as it sounds like we are in the minority.

  167. @Strange One,
    Many people assume their “love” encompasses respect” etc. But they don’t really consider it. It’s a dangerous assumption to make. And many people in “love” don’t bother to accurately access their own capabilities.

    I say the vast majority of people who get married are “in love”. And yet more than half will end up out of love.

    I’d say you are in somewhat of a minority. But you’ll have a much better idea after another 10 years or so.

  168. @Sandy,
    I understand your point. I have thought I was in love before, but it wasn’t the same as now in terms of respect and understanding. When I met my husband, we had some communication issues due to language barriers (google translate was a blessing), but luckily our intuition paid off.

    Some of the things that make a difference is that we have strong family support on his side, moderate support on mine, and we are planning to stay in the US for the forseeable future. While we have talked about moving to other countries, it would have to be somewhere we both felt comfortable or we wouldn’t do it. Safety and freedom are both important issues for us, so that eliminates countries like KSA. I guess we’ll see where we’re at in 10 years. But honestly, I feel like if we could stay together through the last two years with everything we encountered, we could stay together through almost anything. But love and regular communication are choices that are made daily so I guess we’ll see what happens. :) Hopefully, it’s just going to get better for us, though.

  169. @strange one How did you two meet? I’d love to hear your love story :)

  170. It’s a long story. Let’s just say we met through a series of people. Through some of my friends in England, I met one of their friends in the US near where I live, then met their friend. She happened to be having a going away party, and her fiancé was friends with my husband. It was love at first sight for him, and so he singled me out and started talking to me. I had recently sworn off men (especially Arab men due to cultural differences), and was planning to go back to England. My husband was really sweet and respectful in how he talked to me, and within two weeks of that meeting, I was skyping with his family. To be honest, I was a little surprised that he was so straightforward about me to his family. It was more like, “This is my wife and I want you to meet her. I love her,” though I’m not sure exactly what he told them, other than that I was his wife. And I didn’t just meet one member of his family; I think I talked to two or three different households within that first week of skyping with them (maybe the first day, but I don’t remember). Around that time, I had already decided to stay in the US due to meeting him. However, this is not really the norm for any relationship in American OR Arab culture, but it is my story. :)

  171. StrangeOne. I think you made my point that love ISN’T enough. You’ve been in love before (I witnessed that here- you were!) – and this was different because the other things were there.

  172. @Sandy,
    I would say that at that time, I thought I was in love. But the Saudi I dated didn’t really value me, which to me means that he didn’t really love me. He made promises to me he knew he wouldn’t be able to fulfill because he wanted a romance with me. And that, I think is the difference: he wanted a temporary romance while I wanted a permanent love relationship. We had major communication issues and weren’t very compatible, which are two other major parts (along with love) in a relationship.

    Around the same time I had problems in my relationship with the Saudi because I realized he wasn’t looking for anything permanent with me, I ended up with a good flatmate (a British guy) who loved me and wanted me to be happy. He put my needs above his, and was a great listener and friend. He also understood me better than almost anyone else. Even though he wasn’t the settling down type, he offered to settle down with me. Had he not been a drug addict (which as he put it “wasn’t a true addiction because it didn’t interfere with his work” so obviously he was in denial), I would have pursued a relationship with him.

    It was hard to walk away from the British guy because there was something between us and he truly loved me. It was hard to walk away from the Saudi because I didn’t want to be wrong about him. I thought it was possible to force a relationship because that’s basically what I watched others do.

    So in a way, I was left to wonder at that time- which of them did I really love? Or rather, which was I really compatible with? And to be honest, I’m much happier now with my husband. I am more compatible with him than anyone I’ve met before. We have similar values and goals even though we come from different cultures. He’s just as supportive and loving as the British guy was, but he doesn’t do drugs (obviously) and he understands me even better. Hope my experiences are a lesson for someone else out there!

  173. Nothing you’ve written indicates you weren’t in love. But that love clearly wasn’t enough. Now that you have the whole thing it’s completely better. Congratulations!

  174. @Sandy, I guess we define love differently. Thanks. :)

  175. Well some topic that has not really been mentioned is about saudi men that had to give up on some of their norms to be with a western woman and agreeing to live outside KSA with them.

  176. It has been mentioned many times, on other topics, and I am sure on this one too. It is an important point though, if a Saudi man really loves a woman brought up free he should be willing to live with her outside of Saudi Arabia, as he would be giving up very little compared to what the woman would. In fact a woman gives up too much moving to SA, it’s unreasonable to expect it of any woman, and if a man does expect it he must be very deluded or very selfish, and his love isn’t worth much.

  177. Do you define love differently? Maybe the difference is that which is to be expected as the difference of the definition given by a very young starry eyed person and a wise insightful person. I agree, for a lasting relationship you need the complete package; love, friendship, true respect, honesty, loyalty, trust, a similarity in thinking and opinions and most importantly: agreement whether the window should be open or shut at night.

    Feelings, love, will always go up and down, have highs and lows. It is the other qualities of your relationship which will make it easy to navigate the lows, which make it enduring.

  178. Aafke,
    My point was that love encompasses respect, honesty, loyalty, and trust to me. It is different than a romantic feeling. Maybe that was not clear? I am a bit of a dreamer, but I am wiser than most think. My British friend once explained it best when he said, “You see everything going on; the crime in the streets, etc. but you have this optimistic bubble around you so most people think you aren’t aware of it.” Obviously, this is paraphrased since it’s been a couple years since I lived there. I am a bit empathic but I keep a lot of it inside. My husband is a bit the same way in this respect. I had to use optimism as a way to overcome emotional pain in the past; it’s my defense mechanism much in the way sarcasm is yours.

    I have also been lied to, used, emotionally abused, and sexually assaulted by people who professed to love me. This is why I choose to define love not as an emotion but as an action; a way of treating other people. I have watched many people- friends, family, my Saudi ex- put their selfish desires and needs above others rather than equal to those they professed to love. I do not say, “They loved me, but didn’t respect me.” No. For me, respect is a part of love, and if they don’t respect me then they don’t love me. It’s that simple for me. And if they don’t love me then why do I bother having them in my life? Life’s too short to allow someone else to use me or another loved one (or another person) if I can prevent it.

    Carol understood, which is one of the things I miss most about her- being accepted without having to explain myself because she just got it. And being judged for who I am, not by demographics such as age, ethnicity, religion, etc.

  179. @StrangeOne,
    What seems to have happened is that you changed your definition of love. You came on here a long time ago trumpeting your love, etc. etc. and I believed you. I still believe you were in love. You seem to want to rewrite your own history so that this all encompassing more experienced definition of love is what love REALLY is. And then say “It’s that simple for me.”. Well it’s that simple NOW. And you’re using your new definition to disagree with my statement that “love is not enough”. Your examples completely support my point and we -historically do not define love differently. You just changed your definition.

  180. @Sandy- I personally get her. People change their definitions of things as they grow and learn. I’ve done the same thing…even multiple times! It’s not rewriting your history—it’s her being out of that relationship and having clarity to think rationally about the situation! When you are in the relationship high and infatuated or manipulated—you think it’s wonderful or a certain way, that’s why often people who are not bias perhaps notice things we don’t. When I was enamored with an Arab, I couldn’t think clearly and now as time passes I see things for what they were. For me as time passed there were people who I thought I didn’t love that I realized I did, people who I thought I loved and I realized I didn’t, and people I said I loved….and even when I am in a rational state I realized I did in fact love them.

    Love in some ways (not all) is dependent on the circumstance, just like human behavior. For example, I was convinced I was crazy because of my behavior in previous relationships, and one day my mother said “why do you make yourself sound crazy? You are my daughter, I know your flaws, and I think it’s the men you pick make you crazy–hell they would make any woman crazy”. Obviously there were things I needed to change about myself for the sake of relationships and being a good partner—but even when I sought self improvement some things kept occurring. When I changed the men I dated AND I made self improvement–my relationships changed and were healthier. I think love in some ways is like that. Like there are things about love that don’t change, but other parts do. My mom in all her wisdom always says “Oh love is complicated, love is crazy, you can’t explain love” and my mother is still married and has been married once so I truly respect and believe her opinion on this matter.

  181. HGP. I get that. I am frustrated because I was trying to make a point to all the starry eyed young ones who come here who think because they’re in “love” everything will work out- even when clearly it isn’t. And even though Strangeone was an exact example of that – with her previous “love” -(who now wasn’t a “love”)- she preferred to set herself up as some sort of exception- that when SHE was in love
    (real love of course) it DID work out. And all you need is love.

    Whatever. People can marry whoever they want whether it makes sense or not. Not my problem. It’s just frustrating because it’s been a repetitive theme for YEARS on this page and those of us with more experience TRY to explain. But what the hell do I know? Not much I guess. And if it feels better once you fall out of love to claim you never were IN love fine. But I’m not very sympathetic because I’ve heard and seen too much of it- and too much of it going wrong.

  182. @Sandy-In some ways I do believe all you need is love, but from BOTH people who are emotionally mature when it comes to relationships. Also-when I say “in some ways I do believe all you need is love”…I don’t mean the infatuated fairy tell love…I mean the love that we feel for our family…the mature and respectful kind that wants to overcome and withstand hardships. Many of the cases you read on here TWO PEOPLE DO NOT GENUINELY AND SINCERELY LOVE EACHOTHER! Usually it’s the western woman coming on here looking for answers and enamored with a man who clearly doesn’t love her or isn’t emotionally available for her. If the man truly loves the woman, he would defend her with his family and sacrifice for her the way the woman would for him. So many of these stories are one sided. It’s easy to be deceived and I have sympathy for the girls deceived for a year to two years—but any of these woman wasting more than a couple years on these one sided relationships…I can’t be sympathetic. Or the ones where the man clearly stated he won’t marry her…

  183. Falling out of love or being duped by a Saudi man is not so bad as long as you are not married and not in Saudi Arabia with kids. That’s when the woman is really screwed without any rights as a human being

    It’s important to pay attention to these facts as there seem to be a LOT of women coming to the blog, and to this page, because of their involvement with Saudi men.
    And I think these women should know that Sandy is probably the most knowledgeable person on this blog right now. She gives sound advise and information, based on real knowledge and experience.

  184. Aafke, thank you for your kind words. And you are right- better to find out your duped sooner rather than later.

    Anyway- when talking to people here or in real life- if they say they are in love you can’t argue and explain that no they are really not. I accept people’s claim for what it is. And if I can tell the guy isn’t in love with her- that doesn’t change that she’s in love with him and thinks he loves her. So I tell them it isn’t enough. Because it isn’t.

  185. @Sandy—I understand your point and it must be frustrating playing psychologist to the same questions constantly when from the stories and support on here…the answer is obvious.

  186. Sandy, I agree.
    And it is a beautiful thing to be in love, and it shows you are a beautiful person, but it makes you vulnerable. So misusing somebody else’s love makes you a louse of the first order.
    Now when you are in love you are really blinded to reality, that’s how nature screws you and that’s where you need other people to help you to see reality, and that’s where the sane comments on this threat come in.
    And look for proof, actions, if somebody truly loves you they will look after you, care for you, do ”the right thing” (amply explained earlier in this thread) and they will never say ”I am not going to marry you”, and if they do want to they should act like it, And if they really love you they will not ask of you to give up your freedom, human rights, and èverything until the position of women in Saudi Arabia is equal to that of the civilized world.

  187. @Sandy, @Aafke, et al.

    A few things changed my opinion about relationships. One was meeting my husband. The other was my parent’s divorce (and immediate remarriages), which I think was best for both of them.

    I used to think that it was okay to give up oneself in a marriage for another person because that’s basically what my mother did for my father. My mother gave up on her personal goals to be a good mother and housewife and my father never did respect her for it. He didn’t even respect her for who she was. I watched my mother hide a lot of the things my father did from us “kids” that would have been considered emotionally abusive until after the divorce. When I learned about all this, it changed me. I finally feel free to speak up about injustices because my mother basically silenced me when I had an issue with things my dad would do when I was younger. And between that and meeting my husband, I feel even freer to be myself. It also helped me better understand why I chose to be in the relationships I was in, and why I react certain ways sometimes. I say this because I don’t want to see another woman fall into this trap whether they are with a Saudi man or a Western man.

    When I met my husband, we were both straightforward with each other (or as much as could be managed with language barriers). The only reason I didn’t expect him to follow me to England where I had originally planned to move back to (perhaps I’m a Mancunian at heart) was because he’s a refugee. He’s been there for me through my parent’s divorce and remarriages as well as Carol’s death, and I’ve been there for him during his adjustment to life in the US.

    The problem with a lot of Saudi men (and men in general) is that they put their needs first in a relationship. This is fine if the woman does the same, IMO, even if it’s not completely healthy. However, for women who put the other person first or equal to themselves, it’s not healthy because the relationship is unbalanced.

    What I have found is that the best way to tell if you are in a healthy relationship is this: Are you more yourself when you are in the relationship or outside of it? If you are more yourself outside of the relationship, then perhaps it’s time to re-think the relationship. I feel more myself inside my current relationship because I know I am loved for who I am and that my husband will support me in my goals.

  188. @HGP Thanks. It sometimes feels like a bit of a hamster wheel.
    @Aafke- yep- though I do think there are circumstances where living in Saudi can work :)
    @Strange One, I understand your opinions changed and why. And I think to the good. And I have never thought otherwise with your marriage. But that wasn’t what my point was about at all.

  189. As long as everybody’s happy. And it seems we’re all happy. Right?
    Strangeone, you and I have only just started on the married phase, it will be interesting to compare notes in a year or two!

  190. Sandy, thanks for running in the hamster wheel!

  191. Thanks for information my boyfriend is saudi And i am mexican

  192. Hello I’d like to meet friends who have a relationship with a Muslim I studied Islam weekend to become and take premarital classes Islam and learning Arabic very slowly I leave my pin is 25E717E6

  193. Hi Micky, welcome to American Bedu. I suggest you read this posts and the comments, very instructive.

  194. @micky,
    There are as many variations of what it means to be “muslim” as there are muslims; the same can be said for Christianity and other religions. It really depends on the individual. Some Muslims find it acceptable for their wife to be of another religion as long as she is “of the book” (usually meaning Christian(including Catholics) or Jew). Others expect their wife to convert before or after marriage to Islam. Also understand that there is a big difference between religion and culture. Therefore, Muslims in one country or tribe may act differently than those in a different country or tribe even though they all believe in the same book. It’s to be expected.

    Intercultural and inter-religious relationships are not always easy. I wouldn’t have chosen to be in one myself except that my husband is a really good match for me. In fact, if we hadn’t have gotten along so well, I’d most likely be in the fashion business in Europe right now. That, or studying physiotherapy in Scotland.

  195. thanks I’m checking site info

  196. I first read this article about 11 months ago, when I first met a Saudi student who I was interested in and knew he was interested in me as well. I wanted to be informed of who I was starting a relationship with, and what were some of the experiences that women in my same situation had gone through. Not being knowledgeable of Saudi culture and traditions I wanted to educate myself, and most importantly protect my heart. This article made me conscious of what a Saudi student’s background was. This article thought me that his culture and my American culture were completely different, even though we had so many things in common we drank alcohol, had intimate relations and an overall great relationship like with an American; the cultural differences always came up. My biggest confusion was figuring out into what type of relationship I was getting myself into. I knew not to be heartbroken when he told me we couldn’t see each other when his sister came to visit or to be quiet when his mother called. I met many of his male cousins who were very nice, but when I realized that he didn’t want his female family members of his family to know about me then I knew what type of relationship we would be having. It was that line that from this article that saved me from heartbreak, ” It is ingrained in a Saudi that the female family members and especially his mother should know of his choice if he is intent on marrying a woman”.

    My Saudi is a great man whom I had a great relationship and actually fell in love with, he showered me compliments, life advise, friendship and overall love. More than a boyfriend he actually became one of my best friends. He has now finished his Master’s and will return to Saudi in 2 weeks. Thank you to this article I was able to protect my heart and figure out know into what type of relationship I was getting into, a relationship we have decided to end when he boards the plane. I want to thank you so much for writing this article because I being a hopeless romantic would have been extremely hurt (even more than I already am) if I had not been warned before.

  197. FACT: Men and women CAN fool you. All nationalities, all cultures, all races. When you love, you take risks. You want it to be calculated risks? You can check the history, the background, the statistics, opinions, advice, etc. Fact is, it is still a RISK. It can either fail or succeed. Problem solved. Somebody might say, its 99% vs 1%. One can still fall under the 1%. Life is full of probabilities. Period.

  198. I am a black female from the US dating a Saudi student, how would I know if he is serious about me. He was a virgin , but we have now become intimate should I be concerned?

  199. I really enjoyed this blog!
    I found it very informative and unbiased for the most part. Although some of the comments surfaced and I didn’t know how much stock to put into them, I still read a majority of them.
    I had just recently met a Saudi student, whom I had fallen pretty heavily for. He and I have been dating for three months, and we have spent a few trips traveling the US together (Chicago and California). We are keeping our relationship ultra quiet since I am a Christian and he is Muslim, with a strict Islamic family at that…
    I’m very much a typical white Christian girl with blonde hair and green eyes– the furthest from Arabic as can be! However, it was impossibly difficult to understand the dynamism of Islam and the KSA culture, and I’m still struggling to grasp it today.
    Basically, I was reading this whole webpage to find out how serious he really is and how much of a future I can truly plan on having. I believe I love him, but our families support is a HUGE barrier.
    He said when he comes back to America this fall for school, I will Skype with his father. His mother only speaks Arabic though, and like @savedheart said, I NEED to talk to the females in his life to be considered worthy of any type of future. He promises he will tell his family about me, but he said that perhaps his mom will be the hardest to persuade. He said he will fight very hard to show how much he loves me. I suppose only time will tell. Pray that I am smart about this relationship people; I dearly need it.

    Which, by the way, @savedheart, I’m really sorry it didn’t work out for you two. It would break my heart in a million pieces if my Saudi boyfriend and I didn’t work out, but I MUST be realistic and mature in order to calculate any kind of future and eliminate the biggest part of heartbreak. I pray God is close to me in this huge life circumstance.

  200. I am a “Saudi” man living in the united states for the last 10 years. I find this article disgusting yet somewhat true. Young and repressed, the kids on scholarships want to fall in love and live their lives without thinking about the consequences. This article painted the picture as if the Saudi “men” are deceptive and illusive. Its a bit harsh in my opinion. I am not defending these kids or what they “did”. But the girls should be more selective and careful. They should look beyond their noses too.

    I am on a scholarship and I am going back home next year. I have deceived no one! I do have an exotic accent though.

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