Save the Women!

Relationship with a Saudi man, the concept of honesty

Posted in Islam,relations with Saudi men,Saudi Arabia by Save the Women! on December 30, 2009

Let’s look at the points from my former post one by one:

1- Honesty

I think the concept of honesty is an important one. We in the West have a very different concept of  ”honesty” as somebody who grew up in the middle east. While a Western woman would consider a lie about, for example the man being already married, to be criminally dishonest, for a Saudi this is perfectly acceptable, for as long as she doesn’t know. If she doesn’t know it doesn’t hurt so it’s not a bad thing.
Why do I say this?
Because this concept of ”honesty” makes it impossible to trust you are being told the truth.
Now this is often really to spare the others feelings and keep them happy. No malice intended. It is often truly care for the other’s wellbeing. But in the case of a Western woman meeting a Saudi man who gives her all sorts of promises and assertions, and her life happiness and future dependent on them, it is a different matter.

In Saudi Arabia a man can have up to four wives, people usually marry early in life. It is entirely possible for a young Saudi student in America to be already married. It also happens that Saudi men lie about being married. Most Saudis wear wedding rings, some don’t and some are clever about hiding the ring in convenient situations.

For example: I have a friend from Europe who got married to Saudi man, making very clear her abhorrence for polygamy. She told him plainly and clearly, many times, that she could never accept being one of more wives. She said she would divorce him if he took another wife. He agreed he would never do that to her. They moved to Saudi Arabia. She was not welcomed by her husband’s family. She found out her husband had been married before but separated. The children of his former marriage hated her.
Her husband spend a lot of time away from the house and she was locked up in an expensive villa and lonely.
After three unhappy years and the birth of a daughter she was informed by a friend: ”Her husband was still married to his first wife”. My friend was seen as an interloper. A foreign whore who had stolen a Saudi husband from his real wife. And moreover, her husband had been married years before he had even met her.

When she confronted her husband she got the answers every Saudi man comes up in this situation: His first wife was an arranged marriage, she was his cousin but he didn’t love her. He only loved my friend but had to spend some time with is cousin/wife. My friend was kept out of family gatherings because his first wife did not want her there and as she was a family member her wishes came first. (certainly to a western interloper) When she asked him why he had lied to her he answered that if she didn’t know about it she wouldn’t be hurt. And that now she did know surely she would be alright with it.

All western women should know that this means my friend had two choices: she could accept the position of second wife and waste her life in a loveless hopeless ”marriage”, or he gave her the option of divorce. That meant giving up her daughter to be brought up by her in-laws, or the first wife who all hated her and her daughter. As a foreigner she would be deported out of the country and would never see her daughter again.

Western women must realise that a Saudi man will tell her whatever he thinks will get him what he wants. His friends, and even his family if he even introduces her to them, will collaborate his story. Even if it is a fabrication of lies.
There is no way a western woman can conduct research as to the truth of his assertions.

Once a woman is married to Saudi man and actually inside Saudi Arabia she has no rights. No rights at all. A woman in Saudi Arabia has only those rights her husbands allows her. Unless you have a lot of money of your own to pay the necessary bribes. Or have a family that is well-connected to protect you through Wasta (influence). Such a family would be Saudi. And you also need the cooperation of your husband. Without these it will be impossible even to divorce.


Of Western women and Saudi men

Posted in Islam,relations with Saudi men,Saudi Arabia,women by Save the Women! on December 12, 2009

There is a constant stream of sad stories on the net by sad disillusioned women and girls being unceremoniously dumped by their Saudi boyfriends. They cannot understand what has happened, what did they do wrong?
If on the other hand the Saudi marries the western woman disillusionment usually comes when they get off the plane in Saudi Arabia. ANd there are also many women who tell of their horrible fate in Saudi Arabia
Why is this?
Now I have been talking this over with my husband who is quite unusual for a Saudi and has a very independent mind.
You see it is not impossible to have a succesful relationship with a Saudi man, but you need the right man for this. You need a very strong man, who will stand up for you, and they are very rare.
There are some lovely Saudi men around, but to become marriage material they need to possess several rare qualities, I will list them in a future post.

There is one major cultural problem: Saudi men carry a cultural burden so heavy, Foreigners cannot conceive this. Also: Saudi men act very differently abroad as when they are at home. As a result Western women and Saudi men have some very unusual and difficult hurdles to cross in case they plan a future together.

  1. the concept of honesty
  2. The culture of the façade
  3. The Family
  4. Culture, the proper behaviour/place of men and women: what to expect
  5. Saudi men abroad and at home
  6. Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia
  7. Getting permission for marriage in Saudi Arabia
  8. The children
  9. Religion

There is so much to say on each subject that I will cut it down in portions and will post them one after the other.
I do want to warn every foreign woman who is contemplating getting involved with a Saudi man to read and remember these points.

The following blogs contain very good posts on the subject. Not only the posts are good, it is also very enlightening to read the comments and personal experiences of other women.

Susie of Arabia

Saudi Alchemist

American Bedu

American Bedu 2