When people from different cultures start dating, there are bound to be several cultural differences at the start. These can be confusing, and can also lead to misunderstandings and upset. A multicultural relationship is fraught with potential faux pas, and makes it even more nerve-wracking that dating someone of the same culture.
As a helpful rule, the following points should come in useful when dating someone from Dubai:
1. Do Not Expect Heaps of Public Praise and Affection
People from Dubai do not like public displays of affection. If your new partner is acting less amorous towards you in public than you would like, understand that PDAs go against the grain of Dubai society and culture. It is not you – it is not personal. It does not mean your new love interest isn’t into you. It is the way of life in Dubai.
2. Don’t Plan on Romantic Escapes
In the Islamic society, it is illegal for unmarried men and women to share the same room in a hotel. Whilst many foreign couples lie and still share, your partner will almost certainly follow the laws and religious codes of their country. If they say you must have separate rooms, accept that this is part of the culture. Also, don’t expect to be living together before marriage – this is also illegal.
3. Your New Romantic Interest is Likely to be Teetotaler
If a large part of your social life revolves around partying and drinking, forget it! Your partner will surely not be interested. Muslims do not drink alcohol. This can be a huge sticking point for many relationships in Dubai.
4. Swearing is a No No in Dubai
Cursing, swearing, and using other similar impolite language is not acceptable. You will probably find that you need to tone down your language when dating someone from Dubai, especially if you use expletives as part and parcel of your regular vocabulary. Aggressive behavior is also not okay – this means no lovers’ tiffs in the streets!
5. Your Relationship is Likely to be a Secret
With Islamic law preventing dating in the same manner as in Western cultures, don’t be offended if your relationship is not broadcasted. You may not even get to meet the family. The family may not know about you! The laws are not so strictly enforced in Dubai, but your partner will probably still want to keep things under wraps.
If you are female, understand that your male partner will be the dominant one in the relationship. His word is final. This is not your partner being arrogant or unfair – it is a cultural norm within a patriarchal society as in Dubai.
Being able to communicate with your new beau is a major way to overcome cultural differences. By being able to explain yourself, and understand your partner’s views, understanding the culture that he or she comes from will be made much easier.
Put yourself ahead and improve your knowledge of your partner’s language. Not only can you speak to your partner more effectively, but you can also seek guidance and advice from other people from the same culture – it is a huge help to have a friend who gets the cultural differences and can help guide you in the early days of your relationship.
If you want to get off to a good start, see how well you fare in Arabic – test your language level beforehand!