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Dating in the Arab World

posted on: Jun 16, 2021

Dating in the Arab World
Image courtesy of InsideArabia

By: Diane Bou Hamdan/Arab America Contributing Writer

The Arab world is quite famous for arranged marriages and fixed ideas when it comes to love and the image of a picture-perfect family. Dating was always a big NO for the Arabs in the Arab World. However, things are changing. Dating always existed but it progressed over time. Dating has become more normalized and this is how the story has evolved. 

In the Arab world today, people are different than they were 20 years ago. Back in the day it was literally taboo if a couple was caught dating. The girl’s relatives would say that she brought shame to the family. In the old days, love was sparked by sending letters back and forth and meeting with each other without anyone finding out about it for a moment of time together. Others never stepped out of line and remained committed to the old school way of finding their ldestiny through arranged marriages, only getting to truly know each other after the engagement.

But nowadays dating is not such a big deal in the Arab world. In fact, there are different ways of dating and meeting individuals, bringing a love connections to the young and older people looking for their perfect match.

Meeting Your Significant Other

Meeting your potential significant other in the Arab World can be as simple as meeting them in school. Others may meet their partners on social media such as Instagram, Facebook and etc.. And still others have met their loves traditional ways – maybe via their family members at someone’s home, through community events, at a wedding, or even through parents recommendations. These days, potential couples are finding ways to to get to know each other using technology. The harder it is to connect, however, the more intriguing the person becomes. And this is how the story goes.

Age Difference

In many Arab countries, the Arabs are fond of a bigger gap in age differences. Many countries still prohibit the marriage of underage individuals. But, depending on the country, or even the state in America, you may see many couples who got married as young as 16 years of age. More interesting is that it’s very rare to see older women marrying younger men – but very common to see older men married to much younger women.

Dating Etiquette

Many Arab girls agree that the man should be the one paying the bills on dates, he should be the one picking her up, and he should be the one spending on more expensive gifts for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s, and more. If the man does not meet her expectations he could be labeled greedy and cheap. However, conflicting with these beliefs, many argue that men shouldn’t pay all the time. In fact, sometimes women can take care of the bill; and some believe that it’s not about how expensive the gift is, but the thought that counts. Also, others would argue that both women and men should split the bill. It all goes back to the couples and their preferences, where they are, and how they were raised. For example, women living in western countries would likely have the mindset of splitting and bill. In most cases for women who are from the Arab world, they tend to have a more traditional mindset. 


Privacy is a big thing in the Arab world. This is because girls or women like to keep their life private in order to prevent fights and investigation from the parents and to move away from formalities. So, a girl tends to stay in a relationship with a guy for a long time before letting her parents know so that she can be 100% sure of him – because most parents expect their daughters to move onto the next step, which is engagement, if they know about it too soon.

Check out Arab America’s blog here!