Is Romance Dead?

I’ve previously brushed up on the lack of actual “dating” in relationships in Kuwait, and how difficult it is for men and women to enjoy an outing without the fear of being seen by any family members or friends. Discretion is important to some, and while I completely respect the fact that some prefer to keep their private lives private, it makes me wonder how this lack of courtship through dates is compensated, if at all.

I’ve been in several relationships where the male in question doesn’t like to go out, or doesn’t have the time to plan quiet romantic dates or extravagant outings. The only time in which I’ll half-way agree to such situations is if he is making up for the lack of dates with the way he talks to me or treats me when we are together or talking on the phone. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.

Sure, it sounds superficial, but the reality is that women fall in love with what they hear, and men fall in love with what they see.
Gentlemen, regardless of whether she tells you or not, your woman wants to feel special. She wants to hear sweet words and find “good morning, beautiful” texts waiting for her when she wakes up. The thing is, we can’t tell you these things because it will then seem forced, and nobody wants forced texts or sweet talk. Is it so hard for Kuwaiti men to be romantic?

Of course, I won’t generalize. Not all Kuwaiti men have a hard time being romantic. The few that do have this problem, though, blame it on the fear that it could emasculate them.
Let this be a PSA that we do not think you are less of a man when you try to woo us with sweet words and little surprises. It makes us appreciate your bravado, gives us incentives to reciprocate, and makes us fall in love with you even more.
When we aren’t surprised, a void is created, and with that void making us wonder how good it could be, we lose romantic interest in the person we’re with.

Gentlemen, what kind of romantic things do you do for your special lady? If you don’t do so, what hinders this?

Ladies, what emotional aspects of a relationship are important to you, and how do you induce a man into doing these things without making it feel forced?



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This is a place for us to discuss the dating scene in Kuwait and the issues we face, and I want everyone to feel comfortable discussing things without feeling ashamed or attacked.


Blue Blood

We’ve all had this discussion at least once in our lives; “A9eel, a9eela, mu a9eel, mu a9eela.”
It honestly hadn’t been brought to my attention until a few years ago. I never knew or realized that an epidemic like this existed in Kuwait. My only knowledge was that certain families married into each other because they were rich, and they were trying to keep the wealth “in the family”. I felt so na├»ve when I realized I had barely scratched the surface of the “blue blood” shit-fest.

My family raised me to see everyone as equal, because we are all humans who are born and will die the same way, and will be judged for our actions and not by our family names or tribal origins. So with that notion, I jumped into many failed relationships with men from prominent families without realizing why they ended so coolly. I’d simply shrug off the pain like nothing happened and spend long nights trying to figure out what I did wrong.

It would only be when I found myself in a very serious relationship that this issue would be brought up. He was the most wonderful man to me; smart, funny, educated, incredibly handsome, and treated me like a princess. My family knew about our relationship; even my mother treated him like a son.
After years of being together, he told his family that he wanted to propose, and they firmly rejected the thought. He tried for months, and it put a strain on our relationship. Being together forever was all we wanted, but we wanted his family to be happy for us. The fire fizzled and his parents threatened to disown him if he didn’t stop talking to me. A month later, he got married to a distant cousin, and I never saw or heard from him again.

I’m not one to disrespect tradition, but this is not tradition. It is elitism, and in some cases, racism. At the end of the day, we are all Kuwaitis, so why separate and divide our already tiny society and stop people from being together because one’s family history is deeper than another’s?

Years down the line, I would hear too many stories of girls running away to marry the man they love, or men denouncing their family or having their trust find taken away from them for the sake of marrying the woman of their dreams. It breaks my heart, yet no one is actively doing anything to change the mentality of our elders. Some of our generation have proudly adopted this archaic way of thinking without realizing how stupid it all really is.

The first precaution I take before going into any relationship is testing the waters in terms of how the guy feels about this issue. Thankfully, no one I’ve met after that major incident has felt that he is superior to me or to anyone else. It is still a scary thought, though. I may never fully understand why it separates us, but I hope that the generations to come don’t perpetuate such an awful notion. Especially for the sake of love.

Have you ever been in a relationship where your lineage was an issue? How did you deal with it? If not, how would you address such a subject with the person you are dating?


“Obin Mind”

One of the funniest things about being a liberal Kuwaiti woman is seeing how men react to the fact that I’m more open-minded than most Kuwaiti women. With that being said, let me define open-mindedness in my terms:

I have many male friends, both straight and gay, and I go out with them when our busy schedules allow it. I have friends that drink and smoke up, and though I do not do those things, I don’t judge them for doing so. I dress how I like to dress, as long as I’m not disrespecting anyone or my surroundings. My thoughts and teachings are not confined to what my society/culture has dictated to me. I like to think I’m well-rounded, and I’m always hungry for new information and ideas.
I’m sure many like-minded Kuwaiti women will agree that with our personalities/lifestyles, dating in Kuwait is an absolute nightmare.

Many, many times I’ve come across men who awkwardly translate “obin mind” to “obin legs”, and this usually happens right after they find out that I have male friends. Just because I have male friends, doesn’t mean I’m sleeping with them. One guy called me relentlessly trying to get me to come to his “apartment” (read: sex pad) so we could “hang out”. I had to block his calls and pathetic texts. Bear in mind, this has only happened with typical Kuwaiti men.

The not-so-typical-yet-still-somewhat-traditional Kuwaiti men are my favorite (/sarcasm). They’ll appreciate my open-mindedness, yet still try to stop me from living my life the way it is. One guy I was in a serious relationship with loved the fact that we could go out and have dinner and not sneak around anyone. But, he wouldn’t let me hang out with my guy friends, and would get so put off by my friends who drank, even though he himself would have some wine or a cocktail when he was on vacation. Judgey-wudgey!

I thought I was successful with the last relationship I was in. As soon as we were introduced and getting acquainted, he told me how much he admired my outlook on life. “Awesome!” I thought, “We’re heading in the right direction!”
A couple of weeks into our relationship, he asked if he could be honest with me about a few things without me judging him. I assured him he could confide in me. He began to tell me about his adventures with cocaine, and how many lines he did when he woke up, and how many lines he did before he went to bed. I laughed, thinking that these were adventures of his younger experimental years. “No,” his eyes widened as he laughed, “This was last week!”

I won’t judge you for who you are or what you do, but I’m not trying to build a relationship/life with a budding cocaine addict. Being open-minded and being a substance abuser are not one and the same. Needless to say, I had a long talk with him about why it was best for us to part ways.

At the end of the day, I’m not a woman who has forgotten about her culture/traditions. Open-mindedness to me means being accepting and understanding, educated, respectful and mindful of others even though their ideas and views differ from mine.
I really hate the way some men see it as a green light to try to get me to do things that I don’t do, or label me as a harlot.

What was your worst experience with the term “open-minded”? What challenges do you face (both men and women!) because you’ve adopted this mindset?


Love After War

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in life is deciding whether I’d go for a traditional marriage or work on marrying someone I’m dating. I say “working on” because we all know that getting a guy you’re dating to commit is like getting a peach tree to produce bananas.

Women who are already married (under both circumstances) say that it’s all the same; they’ve all been shocked one way or another by their husband’s lifestyle, whether it’s the way he treats the help or the fact that he leaves his dirty underwear on the floor. While I cringe at the thought of both being a reality, I always feel like sticky situations would be easier to rectify if you actually know the guy. How do you tell a guy you barely know to chew with his mouth closed? Do conversations ever feel forced? How do you sleep with him?

A friend of mine got traditionally married recently (seriously, you girls need to stop doing that. I’m getting more pressure now.), and throughout the duration of her honeymoon, she would text me saying that she feels like she made a big mistake saying “yes”. He snored all night and didn’t like to do a lot of the things she wanted to. Eventually, they worked it out and she is happy with him.

On the other hand, the friend who married her long-term boyfriend knew exactly what she was getting into. She was excited to be a part of his family and travel with her man and start a family of their own, and because of all the time they spent together before marriage, communication was natural. Till this day, they act like best friends and are totally happy.

Ladies, dating in Kuwait is tough. So tough, in fact, that we go into relationships thinking of long-term goals because we can’t believe we found someone decent enough to be with. Sometimes it works in our favor, and sometimes it doesn’t. But with an arranged proposal, the man already has his eyes on the prize and is ready to commit to you.
So in cases where you’re ultimately going to be happy in the end, which route do you choose? A gamble for a fairy-tale romance that may or may not work out? Or a husband that you may or may not love?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on love before/after marriage, especially if you’re a guy!