The Commitment Phobe

Most Kuwaiti women are purposeful in a sense that they most likely won’t involve themselves in a relationship if the intentions weren’t clear from the start. And by intentions, I mean love, marriage, and a baby carriage.
Sure, not all women are looking for marriage or kids, but being in a stable, healthy, and happy relationship is honestly one of the few joys living in Kuwait has left to offer. It’s nice to take care of someone and be taken care of, and to feel a sense of security and excitement while everything else seems so mundane.

Being in a relationship is fun. You get to discover the person you’re with, and they surprise you every day (in good ways and bad ways!), and you get to understand yourself better. It’s the absolute best when you find your heart-twin, soulmate, best friend, etc.
Eventually the quiet storm evolves into a hurricane of emotions, and you find yourself thinking about him/her before you go to sleep, wondering what it’d be like to wake up by their side, live life together, start a family, what your kids would look like… The whole nine yards.

When you get caught up in those emotions and thoughts, it is inevitable that you’d want to find out if your partner feels the same way. So you ask. And then, more often than not, you get hit with the piano-out-of-the-sky response that crushes every last bit of your matrimonial imagination:
“I don’t want to get married.”

Here, you have two options; you either prod and ask why and formulate a plan in your head to change his mind, or you can go home and cry about it and ride along with the relationship till you give up.

Both are shitty options. I know. Almost every guy I’ve dated has given me the same response, and I know it’s not because of me.
It’s because of our society and the way they look at marriage. It’s because of how expensive being married is, even if you’re the type of woman that doesn’t want gifts or lavish vacations or a fancy apartment. You just want security. You want a best friend to grow old with.

We understand that finding a decent, well-priced apartment is difficult. We understand that you want to be financially secure before you feel responsible for another person. We understand that sometimes you like your space and want to hang out with your buddies. A happy, healthy marriage with the right person isn’t a ball-and-chain, or a golden cage. It’s your life, just the way it is, with another version of yourself that loves you and wants to add value to your days.

I hate that something so beautiful and natural has developed one of the worst reputations in our society because everyone decided to focus on the financial demands that come with marriage rather than realize all the great benefits that you don’t even have to pay a single fils for.
I know women that have gotten married to men they love without asking for a mahar (dowry) or a shabka (expensive jewelry set) or a wedding.

The fact that it is becoming more difficult to find someone who isn’t afraid of commitment is making Kuwaiti women less keen on dating.

Why are men so afraid of settling down? What could ultimately change the negative ideologies that are associated with marriage and commitment? Do any of you face these fears? What are you doing to tackle them?

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8 thoughts on “The Commitment Phobe

  1. Pelle says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog so please keep the posts coming; they are very good discussions. I’m not a Kuwaiti nor a Muslim but I am a male and I’ve lived in Kuwait for about 6 years so I will speak mainly from that position. First, one should note that marriage and the reasons for it are age sensitive. People don’t get married in their 20s or early 30s for exactly the same reasons and expectations as those who get married in their 40s and 50s. Your post doesn’t mention age so I will imagine the typical 20s something. At this age, and in my experience with young Kuwaiti men, let me say that sure as the sun will rise, most will imagine themselves as eventually getting married and having a family someday.The reality of a relationship does not unfold in the simplistic way you describe. You write: “So you ask [about marriage]. And then, more often than not, you get hit with the piano-out-of-the-sky response that crushes every last bit of your matrimonial imagination: “I don’t want to get married.”” Let’s begin with “crushes every last bit of your matrimonial imagination – it’s just my opinion but I doubt that, it’s a bit of an exageration. Just as marriage is a two way street, matrimonial imaginations must be coordinated. Let’s explore the possibilites. One possibility is that If you have in fact cultivated a loving and caring relationship measured over some time, the ‘I don’t want to get married’ response is more likely to mean ‘I don’t want to get married now.’ Some men may commit to a relationship but not be ready for marriage just as some men who will marry when they are not committed to a relationship. You certainly want a man committed to both so if you have commitment to the relationship your question now is to understand what makes a man ready for marriage? This answer is both age and gender sensitive. Here, men have a different matrimonial imaginations. For both it’s the next step in either being a ‘real man or woman’ but for men readiness for marriage’ is generally imagined much more in concert with a certain socio-economic status that is increasingly taking longer to attain. It’s part of the male ‘bread winner myth’ that in truth both men and women contribute to in marriage. If a man is not able to properly take care of his family he will not be a ‘real man’ not to mention having to go through the endless squabbles with a spouse that often lead to divorce. There are many social pressures and dilemmas. Men can wait longer than women. What happens in that ‘waiting’ is another discussion but sometimes men can’t see when the right moment has arrived and may need a little coaxing. There are also other pressures that I’m sure many readers of your blog are well aware of in Kuwaiti life. The ‘I don’t want to marry’ may also mean that the way things stand at the moment our families would not likely approve. This is a big grey area young couples get caught in, the waiting game means waiting for family attitudes to change or for some members to die off. It’s important not to belittle men in this situation. There could be deep sincere feelings for a woman but moving the committed relationship to marriage is like trying to figure out how to get to mars alive and then survive there. It’s easier to just maintian the status quo.
    Sadly, the ‘I don’t want to get married’ may also mean ‘I don’t want to get married to you.’ Perhaps a woman didn’t have that loving and caring relationship she thought she had or perhaps the guy was just jerking her on a chain until his family could find an appropriate spouse. In this case it will be more than just your ‘matrimonial imagination’ that’s crushed. Lastly, we get to the rare moment a man or in truth any human being, says what he means and means what he say and when he says I don’t want to get married it means he will never get married. Like I said I don’t think most men think this way, especially in Kuwait. It’s a drastic position to assume with certainty and my guess is if you know him sufficiently to think of him as marraige material then that information should have been apparent at a much earlier stage before you make a commitment. Hence that realization will not hit you like a “piano in the sky’ but more like rain drops on your head. I know it’s tough being a single woman in Kuwait but having an umbrella helps.

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  2. What a great post!! Unfortunately, a few numbers of girls think the same way you do , People get married here for the wrong reasons “sex, running away from their domestic problems, it is the right age to get married!”
    I guess if the guy is going to marry you, he will marry you, regardless of financial or family issues

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  3. A. says:

    I believe the case here is simpler than we think. Guys can be either/or one of the two: Either they’re marriage material… or not.
    In the former case, guys fool around and date girls till they reach a certain age. If they reach that age while they happen to be in a relationship with a nice girl, then they’d marry that girl. If not, they’d simply tell their mothers that they are finally ready to settle down and the hunt begins.
    In the later case, guys just want to travel, hang out, casually date and have fun. And that’s that.
    The story might differ and the details change, but this is the rough sketch of how it goes.
    It’s you and your luck.

    Yes, marriage can be expensive, but we, girls, can be very understanding, especially if we fall head over heels for a guy. If it’s love, we are willing to buy HIM Shabka and give him dowry. And guys know that.

    If you ask me, I think each and their own luck.
    You enter a relationship and take a leap of faith, hoping to God that he turns out to be someone who shares your ideas, beliefs and goals.

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  4. Rose says:

    Well, it’s a very simple process for a guy to get married in Kuwait! He just tells his mom and enter one house after the other, evaluating girls then choosing the one he wants to marry lol. That’s why there aren’t many guys who want to get married but aren’t married yet, and those few ones don’t really need to go through dating.

    I also think there’s a discrepancy between the way girls and guys think of dating in Kuwait. Girls think of it as a way to get married, while guys think of it as an alternitave to marriage, a way to be with a girl (or many girls lol) minus the commitment.

    Of course everything I said is general and doesn’t apply to EVERY girl/guy. I also agree with the commenter A. It’s just luck!

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  5. n19 says:

    You make great points. In an understanding and mutual relationship, men should not be afraid of commitment.

    However, the other side of the coin exists (you briefly touched upon it). This is that there are Kuwaiti women who are only concerned about wealth. There are plenty and plenty of Kuwaiti women who want to get married so that they don’t have to work (or work at an “easy” job) and mooch off their husbands. Now I know that not all women have this mentality, but they do exist and it is a problem. For every man wanting no commitment, there is a woman wanting financial commitment. Just wanted to shed some more light on this.

    As for men with commitment problems – If he’s not looking for commitment, but you are, don’t waste your time on him. Move on to the next fish in our small little lake we call Kuwait.

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  6. Flan says:

    ” It’s your life, just the way it is, with another version of yourself that loves you and wants to add value to your days.” Bravo!
    I’m the kind of person that silently reads blogs and never comments. But the way you write and how you perfected this sentence blew me away! I love your blog and love the way you approach your ideas.
    With love,
    Flan.

    Like

  7. I have male Kuwaiti friends who say, “I liked her, but all she wanted to do was to get married…” It is a freakin’ tightrope walk. If you bring up the subject of marriage, you’re damned. If you wait too long, you’re damned.

    In my experience, if an Arab man (Kuwaiti or otherwise) is serious about marriage, I believe that he is going to tell YOU his intentions within the first 3-6 months. I don’t bring it up (or get too serious about the guy) until then. But if 6 months passes and he hasn’t even stated something about getting serious, building a life together, yada; the moment has probably passed.

    And on the flip side, I’ve met several guys (who announced their intentions) that I passed on.

    Luck!

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