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Dating in Dubai

According to Islamic Sharia law, it is illegal for men and women to date in the same way as is normal in Western cultures, unless they are married. It is also illegal to live together or have sex without being married.


In a country where public displays of affection are illegal, how do you work out if your date is a good kisser? In an arid city that values modesty, what do you wear? In one of the richest economic hubs of the Middle East, how do you impress Tinder bae?

These are just some of the questions fresh-faced expats in Dubai face: how do you go about dating in the Middle East? Whether you’re a high flying executive, a globe-trotting backpacker, or an exchange student learning Arabic, this article will help you better understand the Middle Eastern dating mindset.

1. Rely On Your Personality, Not Your ‘Status’

2. Don’t Rely On Alcohol As A Social Lubricant; There Are Better Alternatives…

3. There Are Options For ‘Shoestring’ Daters

“The Dubai and Emirates malls are huge. Even if you spent the whole day walking around, you still won’t see it all.”

4. But There Are More Options For Big Spenders…

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness hasn’t been there yet.”

When it comes to splashing the cash, spend a night at the Burj Al Arab, where the cheapest room is around $3,000 per night.

5. Don’t Kiss In Public

"Holding hands in public is (only) okay between husband and a wife.”

6. You’ll Need To Find Creative Ways To Show Your Affection.

Although kissing isn’t allowed, there are other ways to get close, with the key to showing affection in public being, “To be safe and do it in a non physical way.”

7. When It Comes To Meeting People, The Internet Is Your Friend.

When it comes to finding a date, your first port of call should be the “countless social networks” that bring people together in this cultural melting pot.

“Literally everyone I’ve met in Dubai I’ve met online.”

"After a small online chat, people normally decide to grab a coffee or take a walk in the mall—and that’s how you make friends.”

8. Expats Should Dress Well For A Date, But Nothing Too Flashy.

However, “Make sure you aren’t overdressed as the weather is over 35 degrees celsius most of the time, so a 3 piece suit would only look relevant for a business meeting.”

"Dress modestly and respect the UAE culture.”

9. If You Get Serious With Someone, They Might Introduce You To Their Parents Sooner Than You’re Used To.

At what point do you introduce a partner to your parents in Dubai? According to the culture: the sooner the better. Or at least, “As soon as you realise he or she is the one.”

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