19 Dating Culture in Dubai - Etiquette - Customs

by Michelle Devani

When you hear the word Dubai, what's come into your mind would be tall towers, modern city living with equally modern society. Dubai could be the most liberal city in Saudi Arabia, when it comes to the dating culture it has its own way. Being the most populous city in the country, Dubai has large numbers of expat living in it. Those newcomers has to follow the dating culture in Dubai. It's important for them especially to learn more about the dating culture. When you are entering a culture different than yours, you have to adapt to their customs and rules. You are likely to have a surprise seeing how much different Arabian culture is.

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Asian countries in general have similar dating culture and customs. Arabians are indeed much more conservative that Western culture, including in dating customs. What are the rules set as dating culture in Dubai? Let's check them out one by one.

1. There will no public praising

As an Islamic country, dating is not so allowed in Arabian culture. As the Western culture start to blend in, dating become something common in Dubai nowadays. However, do not expect to be praised by the society. No matter how good your partner could be, people rather won't bother with your relationship.

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2. No public display of affection

Dubai people do not like and allowed public display of affection. Not even holding hands together. Couples have to stay low, becoming less attracted to their partner in front of public. The Dubai society and culture are against PDAs. Don't get it the wrong way if your partner suddenly ignore you. It's not that they don't love you. The just try to respect the culture.

3. Living together is prohibited

According to the Islamic laws, unmarried man and woman are prohibited to live together under the same roof. When Western couple tend to move in together after some periods of dating, it will never happen in Dubai. There's nothing you can do since it was their culture. You have to live separately until you have legally married. Living together without official marriage bond is illegal in Dubai.

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4. There is no romantic escapes

When cohabitation before marriage being illegal is still acceptable, you may think that short getaway with your date will be okay. Hmm, your expectation seems too high. No cohabitation and no romantic getaway as well. Basically, going anywhere together only with your date alone is something unacceptable in the dating culture in Dubai. You have to hold all the impulse until marriage.

5. Watch your mouth

Dubai is a city with thick Islamic rules and culture. Thus you have to carefully watch your mouth. No cursing, swearing, and use of any impolite languages are allowed. Even more you have to decrease your volume whilst talking. Speaking with manners is a must in Dubai, no matter who you're talking to.

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6. Talk politely to your partner

Raising your voice volume while talking with your partner is a big no. Talking politely is a way to respect your partner. Speaking to them with a polite manner means you truly love them and consider them as equal as you.

7. No party, no drinking

Modern life of the society are close with clubs, bars, and alcohol. A lot of people getting hitched when they were clubbing. Party is life for modern people. But forget about all of it when you date Dubai men or women. They have zero interest in party, clubs, and alcohol. Besides, drinking alcohol consider a rule breaking for Muslim. Couples with different beliefs will usually fight over this.

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8. Keeping it a secret is better

Contrast with the Western culture where dating is widely accepted, Islamic law clearly prevent it believer to date. This is why Dubai people will never broadcast any of their romantics involvement. Dating publicly could bring shame to the family. Do not be offended with this if you come from a different culture. Even though this is not strictly forced to everyone, people prefer to keep things to themselves.

9. Patriarchal culture is still going strong

Especially for a woman from a liberal country, be prepared that your partner will take the lead in anything. You have to follow his words, and traditionally there will be no negotiation. Not that he sees you as his submissive or being arrogant--that is how he is raised. Patriarchal culture is still going in Dubai, just like in most of Asian countries.

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10. Communicate well with them

Dating a person from different culture means you have to prepare yourself to get to know their culture better. It will always be good for you to start learning their language. This will bring a huge advantage in your relationship. You will communicate with him in a better way, explain more about your self, understanding more about him, and you could seek for a third party advice as well!

11. They keep things traditional

As much as dating is not allowed in the Arabian culture, the younger generation can't help the expansion of Western culture into their romantic life. Even so, doesn't mean Dubai men and women would change their dating customs in an instant. They like to keep things traditional by following the rules of dating. Elders are still not welcome to the Western culture, and they have to be pleased however.

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12. Romance topics is sensitive

Topics about romantic relationships are pretty sensitive in general. Dubai is a city which dating is not allowed and sex before marriage is prohibited. So you just can't going around and asking advice about your love life to everyone. They might frowned and look down at you. If you are not really close to someone, never bring up this kind of subject.

13. Dubai people tend to date within their culture

Tradition and customs are still going strong in Dubai. Arabian culture set as custom for their everyday life is indeed different from any other. It could be hard for them to date someone with different cultural background. Dubai people tend to date among their own, so they don't have to adapt to a new culture.  However younger people nowadays are more open and start to date with expats.

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14. Elders will not give their blessing

Dating for younger people seen as a romantic way to have fun and experiencing relationship. Dating is not always ended up in marriage. However the elders see things differently, especially in Dubai. Dating is not allowed, so do not expect that parents would welcome you (and your partner) warmly.

15. Parents involvement is high

Just like what happened in the Chinese dating etiquette, parents in Dubai are also setting up marriage for their children. Parents will talk about their unmarried children to their close relatives or their friends, and if the relatives or the friends have the same conditions, they will set the two up for marriage.

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16. Women will not confess first

It's important for Arabian women (including Dubai) to stay low and have a good manners. They are not so straightforward with their feeling. Dubai women will not confess first if they like some guy. Being too open with their feeling is not a Dubai culture. Women will keep silence and sending small signals to their crush.

17. Once again, talk to your parents

If a Dubai women are falling in love, it's impossible for them to make a confession. It consider violating their unwritten culture. There is another way when sending signals doesn't work. Talk to your parents! Confess to your parents whom you fall in love to, and they will go to the guy's family for you. This is a very traditional customs that often work.

18. Online dating is the best

The best way to date in Dubai is definitely online. There a tons of online dating websites and apps you can use to find Dubai people with more liberal mind. You can meet them in private without eyes following your steps, frowning at you. And you can get going of your relationship! This way is fit for them who want to date comfortably without the society judging them because of the law.

19. Have a good time management

Dubai is one of busiest city in the world. People in Dubai usually have a very long, long hours in work. When you finally get off work, you will find yourself squeeze between the traffic and the way home is taking longer than it should be. You barely have time to do other thing beside work and sleep. If you want to date, make sure you have a good time management. It's impossible for you to meet your lover everyday.

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Those are the dating culture in Dubai everyone should know. If you are an expat living in Dubai, this could be a big help for you to understand the culture much more. The most important thing is every place has their own culture, and you have to respect them no matter how different they are with yours. So when you got lucky someday and find a Dubai girlfriend/boyfriend, you already know some of their culture by then.

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Michelle Devani
My name is Michelle Devani, and I've been helping people with their relationships since 2003. In 2017 I decided it was about time I started a blog on the topic, and since then more than 2 million people worldwide have read my relationship advice. Drop me a comment below to let me know what you think.