Dating In Saudi Arabia: Tips & Advice

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Picture of a beautifull Saudi woman for the article dating in Saudi Arabia

Finding love and dating in Saudi Arabia is not as difficult as many expats think. Yes, it is quite unnerving moving to one of the most conservative countries in the world. Yes, it is a little odd being arrested for just walking next to someone of the opposite sex. But there is a hidden subculture that easily allows you to date and enjoy your time with a special someone in the kingdom.

First of all, dating in Saudi Arabia is nothing like in the west. On the back of everyone’s mind lies marriage. This is how they are raised to think, and this is what you must respect. It doesn’t necessitate you having to marry the girl or guy you’re dating, but just be aware that it will always turn up during conversations.

A handsome Saudi man wearing traditional arabic clothes.
A typical Saudi male look, beard trimmed, good complexion. This is actually a model from nearby Dubai who was ordered to leave Saudi Arabia for being too handsome.

If you’re a western guy, the Saudi girl will likely bombard your phone with pictures of babies. If you’re a western girl, the Saudi guy will constantly message and never want any other man to message you, not even your father. Ok, I kid, but Saudi men can get very possessive and jealous.

A second thing I need to point out is tribal thinking.

Dating in Saudi Arabia often involves keeping things under the radar

since any “wrongdoing” (aka dating) by either men or women could bring shame to the entire tribe, and every Saudi belongs to a tribe. Oftentimes, these tribes compete on an ethical level, and  a girl who is found to have dated an expat, or slept with him, may suffer great loss of face for both her and her family. Gossip can last for years in Saudi Arabia.

Dating in Saudi Arabia: A Warning

Lastly, due to kingdom’s very conservative nature, dating in Saudi Arabia needs to be approached very delicately. The women, especially, are quite sensitive, almost naive. I recommend you never try to take advantage of them, as it can backfire and cost you dearly.

The punishment for sex outside of marriage is a hefty number of lashes. Do not–absolutely do not–date a married woman (and some may try to approach you).

The punishment for adultery is death.

Okay, so warnings aside, how does one start dating in Saudi Arabia and possibly find love in an exotic kingdom?

1. Social Media

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest worldwide ratios of twitter and facebook users when compared to population. A lot of this is attributed to the strict social life, so you’ll find many people meet online. Also, don’t be surprised if girls don’t post up their pictures. Remember, their family or tribes may lose face. She may be viewed as a woman trying to attract men and shame her family. You will often see the picture of some flower or artsy pic instead on her profile.

A gorgeous Saudi woman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Most Saudi girls that travel outside the kingdom are liberal at heart and will not wear the veil, instead choosing trendy designer clothes. This is one of the TV host, but it gives you an idea of what they would wear and their style.

If you are looking at dating in Saudi Arabia, you should set up a twitter and facebook account which clearly states which city you are in, and where you are from. You can then do a global search for people in your area and message away.



Warning: It is very unusual for a Saudi not be married past the late 20s. If you do encounter one that is older than 30, be careful. They may be married (and will never tell you). I also recommend you sign up for the dating site Muslima–it is a very easy way to meet a partner.

2. Embassy Parties

An expat living in Saudi Arabia should immediately register with their embassy and ask for a list of events. All embassies usually throw parties at least once a month. These parties also serve alcohol, which is one of the easiest ways of getting alcohol in the kingdom. Western Embassy parties are fun and facilitate dating in Saudi Arabia since veils are not allowed, and you will meet both men and women that are open-minded.

A modern Saudi woman.
You’ll find Saudi girls of good families that look like this one at embassy parties.

You may also meet potential dates from your own home country, or another country.

A word of advice: many of these parties are not advertised. You may need to speak to an embassy employee or fellow countryman in the kingdom and ask them to add you to the list, since these parties are by invitation only. If you are American, go to the embassy gift shop and inquire about their events (sign up to the newsletter too) 😉 You can also buy a event membership there. Some countries automatically add you to events when you register with the embassy. Here’s an example of an embassy registration.

3. The Malls

A little more direct, but highly effective, is meeting your future lover in a mall. Dating in Saudi Arabia is really no different in this respect, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, you are not legally allowed to just walk up and talk to a girl. Secondly, Saudi girls usually walk around in groups. Thirdly, dress to impress. Don’t assume your beer gut will do the job.

Group of Saudi Girls at a mall in Saudi Arabia
Saudi girls at a mall event. Picture them in Western clothes and you’ll end up close to a mixed Hispanic look.

There really is a science to the mall approach. You should make continuous eye contact, but be wary of mall security at the same time. Follow the group or, if they are following you, make sure you occasionally make eye contact to signal interest, and then go somewhere discrete, like a unisex store.

Stay very close and smile. Saudi girls may initially be shy, but many won’t hesitate making the first move (kind of a paradox there) and hand you their phone number. You must remain very close when in the store, they can’t be seen approaching you.

The important thing here is how you look (your clothes), eye contact, and the lead away from open public areas. Be discrete and save your questions for the coming phone conversation.

4. A Friend Of A Friend

Any expat working in Saudi Arabia will tell you they’ve been repeatedly approached by co-workers or acquaintances, asking if they’d like to meet their friend who happens to be a single girl or guy. Due to social restrictions, a lot of introductions are done this way. You just need to be open to the idea and accept the invitation.

A beautiful Saudi girl available for dating in Saudi Arabia
It’s very hard resisting some invitations…

Yes, it is true the intent here is to get you married off, but you’d be surprised at the open-mindedness and tolerance of many young singles. If you’re looking for discrete encounters, I would avoid this route, but it is one of the easiest ways of dating in Saudi Arabia. If you start acting like a player, though, your friends won’t introduce you to anyone else. You may even lose their friendship.

5. Hotel Restaurants

Despite the high price tag of hotel restaurants, many of these have weekly co-ed brunches. This is more of a group environment, so I would advise bringing someone with you. Dress your absolute best and make occasional eye contact and smile. This is probably the hardest way to meet that special someone, but you’ll be mingling with an elite caste of Saudis. You’ll also find the occasional prince or princess, and I always believe in constant exposure…

… You just never know what it can lead to.

Between all five of these methods, you should easily be able to meet that special someone. If you do end up dating in Saudi Arabia, be very respectful and tactful, it’ll go a long way. If you’re  a woman and are considering dating or marrying a Saudi, please read my post about being a woman in Saudi Arabia. If you’re a guy, remember that Saudi girls have a very romantic view of chivalry.

Portrait of a Saudi man in Saudi Arabia
Before you get involved with any man in Saudi Arabia, read my post on being a woman in Saudi Arabia.

If you decide to meet, the best place is your place. It’s very direct, but it is one of the safest ways of meeting without having the religious police stalking you. Another way is to invite them to an embassy party as your guest, or to go to a liberal co-ed restaurant, usually found in hotels.

Family also matters greatly to both men and women in Saudi Arabia, as does religion and God. Modern Saudis are very tolerant of other religions, but not of atheism. No matter who you are, if you overtly state you do not believe in God and rant on about it, you’ll be shutting doors around you faster than you can say your name.

I know that the hurdles of meeting someone there are great and the laws so strict, but if you’re looking for old-world love with a modern-minded lover, Saudi Arabia’s singles have a lot to offer.

Dating in Saudi Arabia isn’t a hard thing.

There are plenty of diamonds to be found,

But if you’re a bit shy, sign up for Muslima and you’ll soon find plenty women and men to meet.
 
A few resources you may be interested in:

Have you ever tried dating in Saudi Arabia or a similar country? Do you feel that these restrictions lead to a higher quality relationship?

 

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127 comments on “Dating In Saudi Arabia: Tips & Advice

  1. Hey there,
    I like your article 🙂
    I am a Saudi guy who was living in the U.S for years. I am working now in Jeddah and Dubai and I am defending open minded to meet new people and I am still young as well 🙂 26 years old.
    Anyone wanna be a friend plz u can reach me on my email
    Managholban@gmail.com

  2. Hello,
    Thanks for this article…
    I am a single woman living in Abha. There is nothing to do here and no expat community. Ironically enough though, I recently met another Westerner (male) I hit it off with… Do you have tips for Westerners dating Westerners? Like traveling together (seating for flights, sharing hotel rooms, going out together *if he doesn’t drive, just making general dates or meet-ups)? It doesn’t seem easy at all to date here. >_<

    1. Hello there
      It is definitely easy here in Jeddah
      I am just kidding but you gotta find the way out on how to make it work perfectly 🙂

    2. Hi Evka, it’s definitely not the easiest. As far as plane seats are concerned, I don’t believe it should be an issue if you check-in online and choose your seats. Staying in hotels together? Probably not happening, but you could book separate rooms then sleep in one. The easiest way to spend time together is simply to hang out at either person’s house/apartment. You definitely shouldn’t be walking around holding hands, but if you are both Western and walk together, you aren’t likely to be bothered. The Haya’a typically only bother Saudis, not westerners. Just feign not speaking Arabic or English even, and pretend he’s your cousin. Again, dating in the open can be challenging but quite doable, so long as there aren’t PDAs.

      1. Thanks… those points make sense…
        (how do i stop getting updates from this post? people are here to meet and hook up, lol, i am not)

  3. Your article was well written and I found it quite entertaining. I have a bit of experience dating and navigating socially between the array of cultures in KSA.
    It is very much like highschool in the states was for me. There are many circles of people who get together and many people bounce between circles.
    That means word gets around insanely fast here so you have to be very careful what you say or do. As you in a way said which I must reiterate for any non saudis here; Saudis percieve more about gestures and things we say then most westerners even realize. It is common for them to test you as well without knowing it.
    Networking and making friends with the right people has been paramount to having a fulfilled social life for myself.
    On another note to the publisher of this article I just wanted to let you know the 2nd last picture of the girl by herself is my friend Hana. She broke free from her captivity in Jeddah and I dont know how appropriate it is pulling her image into this topic being the severity of what she had to go through before getting out of here. Just an observation.

    Anyways get most these dudes on this comment feed some water please because they seem quite thirsty. Good luck!

      1. My apologies for the persistance but could you please change the caption;
        “its hard to resist the temptations”
        It is a mildly sexual implying caption of a victim and my friend. The use of her photo is well out of context. She was held captive and abused for over ten years in Saudi. Here is a link to where that photo is from and the article minimizes her ordeal.
        Thank you

        1. Hi Sulayman, thanks for bringing this up. I actually removed the photos since, as you mentioned, it was grossly out of context considering what she went through. It goes to show that Saudi Arabia has two sides that are polar opposites and your experience there can be either or.

  4. Ur page is very interesting and informative.
    I am female in my late 30s and soon to be moving in Jeddah because of work. Is there any membership based resorts that i can go and apply? So I can swim and relax at the same time meet people and enjoy life. Another thing, is there any other activities or entertainment Jeddah has to offer? Thanks!

    1. HI Priscilla, once you’re there you’ll find most resorts and major hotels offer both gyms and amenities for ladies. Shopping, eating out, traveling, arts & crafts (learning) are all activities that can be pursued. You just won’t find movie theaters or anything alcohol-related. At first, the scenery may be a shock, but trust me you quickly adapt.

    2. Hey …. Hope you are single and interestes in finding someone … I am also an expat livin in Jeddah KSA … And am 35 but single n wud love to meet someone fun and very openminded …. My number is 058 133 0298

  5. Hy,
    I am here from 4 years, I lived in different cities like Madina, Yandu, Jaddah and Jizan. But I think dating is Impossible here.

  6. Hi, I just landed in Jeddah two months ago. It’s a open minded boy looking for Arabian love life adventure…as I wanna make a global minded girl who wanna relocate to US. As I’m also preparing for that and currently working in a bloody company. I really looking for someone who really knows her life well and can live her life like she wants as free as possible. And I also like that too. You can contact me as a friend coz I can’t marry now as I’m just 21+ old and have to build my career for future..if you also looking for someone who can help you make you feel free to the world then only you can contact me! WhatsApp/Imo messenger# 058 127 3491. Wish you have a great and wonderful time ahead!

  7. hi,i am katey williams from united states,i am single,never married and no kids…i am looking for a good and honest saudi man or perharps from UAE…i wish to relocate to any of this 2 region soon depending on my paper application travel process…you can contact me through blackberry pin 2BC9A8B6…if you dont have blackberry,you can download the app on android and contact me….

  8. I am a Petroleum Engineer and want to get married for good reasons. Due to 1st wife is sick and can’t cope with day to day life as well as kids are very young. She is agreed that I can have 2nd wife as long she is willing to live with us. There is no restrictions of age, race, religion & nationality. Only serious minded girls can drop me an email on altariq@hotmail.com . I am not bad in a look, looks pretty young than my age, full of fun and good sense of humour and romantic too. People enjoy my company. I can speak fluent arabic, english, urdu & punjabi. No time wasters please as I don’t have time for it. Only serious girls can contact because I am not interested in dating and chatting except marriage.

  9. I just read this article for kicks and haha it was interesting. I’m in Saudi for two months to spend the summers with my dad , my second time coming here. The eye contact thing is so damn truee tho lmao. I actually get a little giddy tbh cuz most of the guys here are quite hot. Flirting isn’t uncommon at all I think , I’ve had a sales guy put a ring on my finger while staring into my eyes (awkward) in makkah (which I later bought), the first time I came here. And just a few days ago while walking alone back from the grocery store I had a guy pullover and offer me ride , which seemed so bizarre man , I just politely smiled and declined saying I lived just ahead after he offered for the second time. He ended up smiling and driving away lol. Seems funny , u never know what happens. Awesome article btw!

      1. Well after having noted your reply comment I took the liberty of contacting you. I am in Riyadh working as an engineer. Can we meet

  10. Nice article,
    I’m a 29 years saudi woman and I have met many saudi guys in my life but the problem is that our men are simply too possive when it comes to women and that’s not good for a relationship so I was thinking of a nice European or a western guy who can be open minded and understanding

    1. Layla I totally agree with you on dating an open mind gentleman who understand the equility in both of you. Generally you can find this in most travel man. Well I would gladly speak to you.

      1. Layla, In relationships you need an open minded guy. So what you said is true. I understand you since I lived in Canada and I travel all the time. Meeting with different people with different cultures has giving me a lot of experiences. Now I work in Jeddah. Hit me back if you are still interested to meet one day.

        Regards,

      1. Hey Layla,

        I live in London and work as an IT consultant. I agree with your thoughts.

        By the way I am planning to move over to KSA and may be get married to KSA girl…. would be interested getting in touch?

        Thanks

      2. Hi Layla, I’m in Makkah now for some more days, do you want to meet? I’m looking to meet a Saudi girl and I’m from Europe.

    2. Assalamualikum i m syed faraz and intrested in marrying a saudi girl or living in saudi. I m civil engineer in a company in jeddah

      1. It’s actually for my cousin layla not me . I wanted her to meet nice guy because she’s just got out from bad relationship and I hope she will have fun with the right guy

    3. Hi there iam welly32 years old iam looking for (fwb) relation ,open minded also hope to finde my best girl.
      Best regards

  11. Hi. Wow! Sounds almost like a romantic novel! What about a divorced 42 year old guy like myself? Would i have a shot at finding love or dating?

    1. Absolutely, anyone can find true love there. But you can’t go around dating and breaking girls’ hearts. You’ll probably get reported after crossing the wrong girl and get caned a hundred times or so lol. Just don’t play around.

  12. Youre 99% right … however, Jeddah and eastren province are way more libral than any other city or ragione in Saudi. Saudi girls are gorgeous. Very very hot personalities. Hope to marry one on day.

    Ps. There is no such thing as death penalty for dating a married person. It have never happened! If so, prove it 😉

  13. KSA is a very difficult place to meet someone, its depend on your luck.
    Espats are facing so many problems , Entertainment in Saudi Arabia is a dream I think but in reality impossible for expats. Just go to your work and stay in your room and feeling sick

    1. You are telling a true.Entertainment in Saudi Arabia only see the dream in your eyes and concentrate the responsibility.

    1. Sha, plenty of people meet at each other’s houses and get to know each other that way. Dammam is also far more liberal, so you could meet publicly. It’s quite natural to want to meet–it’s human nature, but I still recommend crossing over the causeway to Bahrain… better be safe.

      1. Ah yes, thankyou for that suggestion but what if iam working in dammam then i want to go to bahrain what requirements should i need? Another visa??? I will keep all your advices it helps alot. Shokran

  14. Hello, just wanna ask if this is really possible to date with muslim men esp. Here in saudi. Like the one you’ve said hotels is very dangerous but it seems that it is possible but how? I mean, to tell the truth iam inlove with 25y/o man who is saudi and he is in dammam right now.. And i want to meet him , but iam far far away from his place and iam not a muslim.. We have this mutuAl feelings..

    1. If you really like each other that much, I recommend crossing the bridge to Bahrain, since he lives in Dammam. You’ll be able to meet in Manama and enjoy each other’s company without having to constantly look over your shoulders for Hay’aa.

      1. I have a question again, like what if im in his car then we will pass on the chckpoint. They might ask an id of me and him like if we are relative or he is just my employer or what.. The chckpoint always do that? Or they just ask a drivers license?

        1. Hi sha, I live in Riyadh and i’m searching for a girl to meet also..
          if you’r interested just leave me a comment and we will find a way to contact each other.

  15. Hi Rashed,
    nice to read your artcle.
    I have a lady with web chat in Saudi. She work for house keeper from philippime and we want to meet, but both are afraid.
    I stay in hotel and she work in other site. She want to see me too. How can I see her?
    How can i take her to hotel room? can I see only in the car? I can rent a private and go to her place and take her in the car?
    I want see her. PLEASE help me.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Bringing any lady to your hotel room is risky (it also depends what kind of hotel you’re staying–some check, some don’t). The common way for people to meet is to go to their home. Saudis do it, foreigners do it. It’s a little awkward, I know. But you don’t have much of an option to get to know someone. You can talk at her place, or you could drive her to any restaurant/coffee shop and sit down with her in the family section.

  16. I agree u can find love in a hopeless place like saudi, but its very risky.. espcially when u ate in a restaurant with someone you will always think muttawa will catch u both, and its a man’s world so only the expat female will be punished and the saudi man will go freely! I have question though.. u said 30 years old single saudi is impossible..how is that? What if he lives in western country for quite sometime and return to saudi is it possible he is lying that he is not married yet? Thank you for the interesting post!

    1. Anything is possible. It’s just unlikely, since there is a great deal of pressure to get married in your 20s. Not being married in the 30s-40s opens another set of questions, namely, why is he not married yet? This is Saudi Arabia. It’s culturally unusual to remain single. There certainly is pressure from family.

  17.  the Saudi girl will likely bombard your phone with pictures of babies. hahahaha that’s hilarious! ! No Saudi don’t do that. I’m 30 years old and single !! So what! ! I don’t lie or hide that!! Beside the author keeps brainwashing the readers’ image of different images !!!! He’s smart in doing that!! I thought he was talking about another community because it looks different from mine hahaha
    This article isn’t accurate actually. I’m Saudi girl but this article reflects part of the truth, the other is just a fantasy of the author. Its exaggerated a lot. Yes its difficult to date but not impossible.
    Wish you all the best.

    1. i will be moving in Jeddah in the middle of may i m italain and i really would like to meet with local open minded friends.I now live in Qatar and i have learned how to respect islamic culture but at the same time i am so amazed about the beauty and simpleness of the arabic girls. I like to look at them here i think they are so sweet andnpolite at all time. I wish all weman around the world were like that.. I will see you soon Saudi.

      1. Hi there, Andrea. I hope this is not weird, but, I come to Jeddah all the time, and lately, I’ve grown some interest in the Italian culture, and have been wishing if I could meet people from there. I study in Jeddah’s university and soon will be living there so the more friends I have, the better it is for me to spend my time there. I tend to believe that I’m open minded, and would love to have friends from other parts of the world. I lived in NYC for a while and after I came back I missed the openness and free thinking. So, hope we can be friends.

      2. Truuuust me you don’t wanna meet the locals 😀 haha not being Racist here but it is based on Experience no matter how much Saudis travelled around the world and how many countries they have been its always about where and how they were raised, eventually they are looking for the same thing !! And will do anything to proof the opposite :/ I respect Saudi guys but absolutely none of them knows how to be friends with a girl nor be normal around one, Cheers love, you’ll like Jeddah tho, 😀

        Omar Diaa Mashaal
        find me on Fb if interested 🙂

    2. This is right saudi girls bombard my facebook account with there pictures and request but i want a true love to whome i can marry and live my life happily after.

    3. Totally agree with you Warda, I was smiling when I read the articl, guys love is every where herein , generally Saudi ladies are so passion and hot , and the culture is different now , I am Saudi lady and I know some girls dating through dating site and families are open for that too.

  18. you guys are throwing parties and no one ever told me. shaaame. now i’ll throw a big one right in the middle of the desert, with a lot of chicks. no one is invited *-*

  19. Hi Rashed, thanks for the great informative post, I came from Egypt to work here 4 years ago and my family warned me about going before getting engaged or married because they said “your time will pass fast and you won’t be able to find someone there” and they were right.. 4 years later I am still a single guy. With no contact with girls except on my vacation days in Egypt.. Your post gave me a little bit of hope that after all I might just meet that special someone even here in Saudi

    What I am wondering is, what would happen if by chance you got spootted doing this.. Talking to a girl or offering her a ride home?

    Is there is a different between how cops would handle it and Hayaa?

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Wael, thanks for the comment! There are many ways to find a good Saudi girl. Twitter is quite popular, as is Muslima.com or WhosHere (application). If you get caught, well it all depends on the mood of the Hayaa (which really are the only ones that would catch you). They could book you to jail and ask you to marry, fine you (a bribe), or, at worse, cane you lol. Although, let’s put things in perspective, if you simply talk to a girl, there’s no way they could do anything. Maybe you were just asking for directions? How would they know what you were talking about. If you offer her a ride home, just make sure she sits in the back seat, not next to you.

  20. Don’t dare to do anything in the public. It is very dangerous in Saudi. However you can do anything inside the private compound with the consent of your partner i m having good time with one group which is very discreet i just share this id so that other can also enjoy the fun in dry country.

  21. Thank you for Reported about dating in Dating In Saudi Arabia:
    Althought it transferred to you and not from experiments, because the customs and traditions at the Saudi people inherent that bears the name of the family and tribe .. I mean that these habits are very easy and normal whith non-Saudis genuinely father of a Saudi liberal does not belong to the tribe and mother of an Arab or foreign .. they are much.
    *There are several points I want to clarify misconceptions, but enough for me to know that your country has an embassy tasks is not diplomatic and attention to the feelings of its nationals to secure dates of love behind the walls 🙂

  22. When I was in college there was a large number of Saudi Arabian students, all male. I used to cringe when I had to walk by a group of them. They would start conversations with you that went like this “Hi, do you want to have sex with me?” I assumed that was how they acted back home. Now I realize they were probably just letting loose after all the restrictions. Being on an American campus filled with relatively scantily-clad women must have been like being let loose in a candy shop! This article really opened my eyes. Thank you. I’m fascinated by what goes on in other cultures.
    Deane Alban recently posted…Stop Brain Fog: Know the Causes, Symptoms and SolutionsMy Profile

    1. Hello Deane, thanks for your comment. I’m really sorry they acted that way, most Saudis are actually quite respectful. What you probably encountered were the Saudis from the remote regions who got on the kingdom scholarship to study abroad. Unfortunately, that specific group of Saudis have lived in such a repressed environment that they haven’t developed the social skills necessary to understand that you don’t just go asking for sex. They probably watched too many Hollywood movies too.

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