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 naïve 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?


34 thoughts on “Blue Blood

  1. Ali says:

    My lineage has always been an issue with all my relationships. The reason being, my family are shi3a, therefore my name implies that I’m shee3i, but I was brought up to be a sunni (a non-practicing one, but whatever :P). So normally, if I am dating a sunni girl, my (dad’s) family would be against marrying her. He and the rest of them would feel uncomfortable. I, however, don’t give a damn if they do, because I believe that it is my own life and I get to choose what makes me happy. I’m not dating anyone now, but I did make the point clear to them that if and when I marry, I won’t put your feelings about who my partner should be in consideration. Yes, that stirred a fight, but I won’t respect someone who only accepts me for choosing his preferences.

    As for the person I’m dating, if they have a problem with lineage I ask them early that if push comes to shove, are you gonna fight for the person who you believe is right for you, even if your family did not accept them for their race/religion/lineage etc. If the answer is yes, I’ll trust them and take the risk of beginning a relationship. If they’re too weak to fight their parents then I just stop it from there as there’s no point.


  2. Expat says:

    What an interesting post…even worse being British and with a Kuwaiti. When we are together in public…well if looks could kill if be long dead 😜 it’s not easily accepted by the families and more so by the women who often think we have an evil agenda to steal their men. In many ways it woul be much easier to be with a fellow Brot bit you can’t help who you fall for. Love reading your blog 😘


  3. Yousiif says:

    Excellent blog post idatekuwait. I’ve never gotten into that situation (nor would I ever want to) but if I was faced with the same dilemma I would tackle it full on. I would ask permission by your partner for u to meet to sit with his family (at his home) and have a very diplomatic yet firm discussion as to how the concept of ‘a9eel’ or whatever it is, is completely and utterly worthless if u truly love the person. Assuming that u are from a similar upbringing, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds (of course never mandatory in a relationship but often helps ) u have nothing to lose. If u are given permission by him to enter into the house this will often shock (his) elderly parents. “She came into our house all by herself! She sat with us discussing her viewpoints on marriage my god who is she? She is very unusual where are her parents?!! What is she doing?!!

    You’ll make a mark, definitely a strong one and if they cannot see that love is far far far more important than the importance “where does she come from ageel Ageel ageel then I would move on. In your case with ure relationship for his family to threaten to disown him means (highly speculating certainly can’t prove ) no warmth or true love and acceptance within the family. Honestly just reading ure post I really feel for u and sounds heart wrenching!

    I don’t know if this has any wider relevance or not in our society but in kuwait it is often known that we love love LOVE prying on everyone and wanting to know as much as possible about the other person, family, background etc etc etc. It is deeply ingrained in the culture. One possible reason for this (amongst many) could be the fact that we live a very comfortable, luxurious, often sedentary life filling our time with a lot of gossip in between. I would challenge the notion that if we were so busy with getting on with our lives, paying bills, morgage, job, meeting up having mixed friends gatherings , vacations etc we wouldn’t even have the time to care about what our parents, community etc might even think. This is a very western modern way of thinking that is somewhat individualistic but a valid reason none the less. Your also right on to discuss beforehand if he or his family believes in the ‘a9eel’ stuff before u get into anything deeper; id do the same.

    Remember ure viewpoints and beliefs on the blog are very sophisticated, worldly, refined, discerning, educated and open for many in Kuwait to understand let alone WANT to understand. Like u I tried to get my head around the idea of trying to understand all their notions but I realized just the opposite is true. Ure not supposed to understand it: it’s their own little tiny world that often gets them no where and in many cases riddled with unhappiness.

    It’s great to see someone so open minded (and even better speak her mind!) and to look at the whole dating dilemma from (what I’ve read anyways) a birds eye point of view. It’s wonderful that u have taken the opportunity to date and know different guys as ure experience/mishaps, mistakes will guide u far closer to Mr. Right. Keep ure posts coming. What a great person u would be to hang out with and get to know! (Omg that’s a long post I wrote!!)


  4. Dana says:

    I love your blog, its so blunt and honest. I added it to my bookmarks so I always remember to check on it! lol!

    I come from a family who are considered “a9eeleen” but are on the B list. Meaning, my last name has the tribal origins but lack the required amount of money and trust funds to be on the A list ( I know, you would think this nonsense would stop at a9eel but it doesn’t!).

    When I’m bored, my imagination kicks in and tries to entertain me. So I like to think about these elderly folks and how they come up with their set of “rules”. Rules from how a short sleeve is acceptable to them but not sleeveless, to it’s not appropriate to show affection to your husband in public, only in private. ( by affection I mean a hug or some innocent spontaneous act without getting stared at by family members like you just committed an abomination!)

    My point is, how in the world were these lines drawn? And based on what? And how are they still blindly followed? So my imagination came up with this: they were bored one day and just decided to make their elitism a little bit more challenging. I personally don’t think this issue in Kuwait has to do with religion due to the fact that you can go visit a muslim family in Turkey, Indonesia and Oman and see that this issue is almost non-existent.

    I have realized early on to not discuss these type of things with people around the age of my parents and older. I highly doubt few sentences and anger/ sarcastic filled responses would change their long-lived mentality. That does not mean the new generation is hopeless though. Everything can be changed, positivity is always the key.

    I’d love to get your advice on meeting people, if you don’t mind. I recently returned home after 6 years of studying abroad and would love to know more on how and where you can meet people and start meaningful relationships. I know from your posts you’ve had your share of unsuccessful relationships, but I think they are experiences( which I frankly lack) that you can learn from nonetheless.

    Would you suggest workplace or some random place while you’re out and about as more ideal spots to meet people and start having conversations?

    I used online dating while I was abroad which was ok, but would never ever consider that in Kuwait. That’s just asking for trouble!




  5. Born in Kuwait says:

    Amazing blog. What I feel is traditions are dying down. With the new breed of young, educated and well travelled Kuwaities, we are witnessing less and less of the old traditions being carried forward through the generations. Is that good or bad, we just have to wait and see.


    • sama says:

      I think you may have misunderstood

      The a9eel are very liberal and open.. the a9eel are old money merchants or original kuwaitis, they don’t want to get married to kuwaitis of lower socioeconomic status or kuwaitis from new money families

      in the USA, old money Americans rarely get married to new money Americans. it’s the exact same thing in Kuwait. this has nothing to do with education/traveling, the a9eel are very well educated and Westernized

      in all countries around the world, the old money families stick together


      • Ma’am… Have you checked wedding blogs and met American couples? They don’t give two shits (excuse my French) about which family their spouse-to-be is from. Only 3rd world countries like Kuwait and India and some countries in Africa implement this archaic way of thinking. Please reassess your facts.


      • You misuse the word “liberal”, a common mistake in Kuwait.

        One must earn the privilege to be called a liberal. To earn this privelage, one of the things that a person must believe in is that all human beings are equal. Those families you are talking about are conservative, biggoted, and narrow minded. To be westernized or to wear certain attire, or to drink or to date and have sex, does NOT make you a liberal. I know true liberal women who wear the veil, who pray 5 times a day, and got married traditionally, and… they believe in gay rights! On a personal level, they might be socially conservative, but they are true liberals in the real sense of the word, because they believe in liberty, equality and social justice.

        The idea of liberalism in Kuwait is shallow and superficial. Try to look beyond the outer skin of the person.


  6. hamad b says:

    Excellent Post!!! But I disagree that this ideaology was only in the previous generations! It still exists in their children and grand children, I have met many. However…. what pisses me off is that “a9eel” does not make you more of a kuwaiti than I am, just because your family arrived 100 years before mine.

    But I cant blame them since they live in their own bubble….. I just laugh at them and see them as the idiots that they are.


  7. Spartan says:

    my lineage no..but my sect yes..i was rejected twice in my life because i was from the wrong sect ..then i got married three years ago to someone that “fit the bill”, but the marriage only lasted 4 months cause: A: we had nothing in common aside from the superficial crap..and B: because she had a completely different set of social values than mine…i think down the line coming from a similar background minimizes potential future problems (sunnis vs shiites, muslims vs nonmuslims, etc)..however if the couple openly and frankly discusses those issues and works out a settlement then any man and woman should be allowed to get married despite of their religious beliefs and social/tribal class


    • A9eel/a is a person/family who’s tribal origins can be traced (usually in Saudi Arabia) and that had arrived to Kuwait earlier than other families. Some A9eel Kuwaiti families see themselves as more elite than those who can’t trace their origins/came later (and they refer to them as “Bayaser”). These families don’t marry into lesser-elite families.


      • Oy vo vey.

        You’re all Kuwaiti, get over yourselves.

        Segregation based on someone’s lineage, religion, creed, sexual orientation or gender is archaic and should be eradicated immediately if not sooner.

        Thank you for shining a light on this issue, IDateKuwait. You’re a beacon of hope.

        *Kuwaiti Trail Mix*


    • sama says:

      A9eel are urban Kuwaitis of Najdi origin who settled in Kuwait 300 years ago. The A9eel are the original Kuwaitis because they have lived here the longest. Before the discovery of oil, the A9eel were rich merchants. When oil was discovered, the A9eel became even richer

      A9eel Kuwaitis are very Westernized and liberal, most women of A9eel background don’t wear the hijab

      Before the discovery of oil, the majority of Kuwaitis worked for the A9eel merchants since the A9eel merchants owned all the dhows and pearls

      A9eel merchants had the most power and money in Kuwait before oil, Al-Sabah family rule in Kuwait was limited up until the discovery of oil

      Right now, the A9eel are powerful because they own Kuwait’s private sector


      • That’s not entirely true. There are a lot of non-a9eel families that were sea captains and merchants (my grandfather being one, and I’m not a9eela). My family is also very westernized and liberal, as are other non-a9eeleen.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. NON-Kuwaiti says:

    You are no better than the the Kuwaitis that rejected you. you would Never date or marry an Indian or pakistani guy unless he was a billionaire. Admit it, enough with the double standards.


  9. Indian... says:

    In reply to your comment earlier, India is definately NOT as third world country.. Also not right to make sweeping statement for a billion population as against say 3 million…


  10. Mashalah, Well said, great blog. Sadly most families (mine is one of them) need to understand the better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off. i mean when your mother or your father wants you to marry someone “a9eel” in the end it all about a title ” Ohhh Mr. XYZ got married to ABC ” everyone in your family is saying this to show off while you are struggling with your marriage life. When we can simply follow what the prophet Mohammed said : “اذا اتاكم من ترضون دينه و خلقه فزوجوه” (Im saying this to some cases). but we are known for not following our religion unless its by our side.


    • I hear you, friend. So many girls I know are unhappily married/engaged because the arrangement is convenient and they couldn’t marry the person they ultimately wanted to be with. I pray that you somehow change your family’s ideology and that you marry the person of your dreams regardless of what their “a9el” is!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s