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.


15 Responses to 'Relationship with a Saudi man, the concept of honesty'

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  1. Maya said,

    The “excuse,” you used is a direct example of what my Saudi ex boyfriend pulled with me. Granted, while I am from the west, I am also Arab (through my mother), and she put her foot down on the continuance of any relationship with him. Glad she did, as I didn’t know until the last minute that he was married, to a 17 year old (he was 32), nonetheless. While I spoke to no one else in his family but his sister, she never felt the need to bring up his already “taken,” status in any conversation.

    And I thought my being 19 at the time was slightly scandalous. >.<

    Just a side note, the male model in the photo reminds me of Bruce Willis. I can just imagine the scenario that would play out there!

  2. 2 Cents said,

    What I find hard to understand is why these western women complicate their situation by having a child when they know the Saudi rules. Take for instance your Eurpean friend , it was clear from the start that this man was a deceiver by not telling her he was married before , yet she stayed and had a child .. what she was thinking ??

    Fool me twice shame on me . Sometimes I think these women deserve what they got for being so darn stupid .

  3. MoQ said,

    @ -2 Cents,

    I think you’re the one that is showing stupidity here.

    Don’t you understand the words written clearly. Women have no rights inside of Saudi. There is no legal recourse in courts or any government system. She is supposed to obey her husband who is legally her guardian in Saudi (just like a child) and has no ability to make decisions.

    Yes every country in the world has bad men or women, but there is a legal system that treats women equally and allows them to find a way out and even make the husband pay for his deception.

    What I am puzzled about is that your so called 2 cents is aimed at the victim not the guilty party. Making you sound like an apologist for a cruel system.

  4. aerinndis said,

    @Maya, greetings and welcome to my blog. I had a look at your blog too and I really like it.
    And I thank you very much for sharing your story here. I think it’s very important women realise that this behaviour is the norm, not the exception.
    I’m glad you escaped in time!

    @2-cents, you sound like an Arab men to me. You immediately put the blame on the woman. While apologising for the saudi male.
    It always irritates me if people comment without understanding the post which I put so much effort in. You do not seem to understand that this post is about the lying wich seems natural to most kaleeji arabs.
    People are good and bad everywhere. But they are decidedly worse in Arab countries. Especially when it comes to treating women. It is better to focus on the real problem. Which is the system. Which does not protect women. Therefore men continue to become worse since they are free to do so. Eventually this becomes the norm.

    The norm in the middle east, and other countries where Islam is dominant, is that women can be treated like shit. Moreover, it is always the fault of the women. Not the men.
    Of course this is completely wrong and evil.

    @MoQ. Excellent comment I agree wholeheartily.

  5. 2 Cents said,

    @ MoQ :
    It seems you’re the one who do not understand , apologist for the Saudi system ? for crying out loud !!
    Where did I apologize for the men ? I called the guy a deceiver and a liar . And while you can’t change the Saudi system or Saudi men you can at least warn the non-Saudi women from making a stupid mistake.

    And yes women who sell themselves cheap and involve with bad dishonest guys are stupid , whether the men were Arab or Western . Men can not fool women , women choose to be fooled and then cry about it . Women are strong creatures but some of them love to victimized themselves.

    @ aerinndis :
    I understood the post perfectly well, It’s not Hegel anyway .
    Saudi system is the worst . Every one knows this, all women know this , so what do you call a non-Saudi woman who choose voluntirliy to live there ?

    • aerinndis said,

      2 cents, we misunderstood your intentions then. You were not clear in your response.
      There is a distinct difference between the two cultures here. Some western women will ”give themselves” before marriage but usually on their part with the conviction that there is a lasting and true relationship based on love, friendship, trust and loyalty.
      And there it goes wrong because we know that so many Arab men just fake it, and lie their guts out so they can ”use” the woman in all her good faith and trust. They misuse and abuse the most beautiful feelings and sentiments and trust humanity knows. That is the real issue. To Arab men she is then also trash, and to the Western woman she thinks they have now sealed their love and basically view it as a commitment equal to marriage.

      Perhaps I should write for the Arab people how relationships and marriage are seen in the West. A lot of people in the west consider marriage as a cultural invention, and the actual trust and loyalty cannot be guaranteed with a piece of paper. It can only be kept by a pure heart. So why bother with a piece of paper? And so many people in the West think the marriage, and the piece of paper are not the real substance of a marital relationship. It’s what’s in your heart and mind which really counts.
      That does not mean all women are easy.
      But with this mind set it is easy for a man with bad intentions (niyah) to lie and fool the woman without having to commit himself.

      And that brings me to your question: What do I call a non-saudi woman who chooses voluntary to live in Saudi Arabia?

      One word: misinformed.

      And who is primarily responsible for that? The Saudi husband. Who knows, or should know, very well how life in saudi impacts a woman’s freedom completely. Making her a virtual slave to her husband. No personal freedom, no good jobs, no driving, no company. If they want to marry and bring their wife in they are actually very careful NOT to inform her of what is waiting her!

      And the women? What do you think? They are nobel, and loving and willing to sacrifice so much for their husbands. They are increadibly hopeful and loving and loyal and supportive.

      And in about 98% of the cases their reward for all these nobel ideals and sacrifices is endless punishments. A life thwarted, destroyed and miserable.

  6. MoQ said,

    @ -2 Cents,

    Your intentions were not clear, because in your cretinism you chose to place blame on a naive victim and ignore the person that brought misery on her (with intent) and the system that allows him to do so.

    Note most of the women that end up in these situations started the relationships in their late teens or early 20’s with very little sophistication in understanding the complexity of living in a place like Saudi. They depend on people they love and trust to provide them with information. This is why this blog and others like it are valuable in educating women.

    You also mentioned that these women are stupid to have children. Have you thought that once a woman is married to a Saudi and is in country he can have sex with her even if she refuses. The concept of marital rape is foreign to the Saudi justice system.

    In my book attacking victims, no matter how naive they are, is evil. This is a kin to saying a woman deserve to be raped, because she was not dressed modestly.

    The lack of balance in your original comment leaves people to wonder about your perspective of women. Further, that you missed the entire issue of the system trapping these women in abusive situation made you sound like you are deflecting blame.

  7. 2 Cents said,

    @ MoQ:

    To say that my comment was similar to saying “a woman deserve to be raped, because she was not dressed modestly” is way out of line . It doesn’t make me any interested in your “book” or what you thought of my “cretinism ” , whatever that means !

  8. Aafke said,

    I think Saudi men can be very good at hiding stuff. And very good at hiding to unsophisticated young women what their life would be in KSA.

    I think it’s very important STW that you put up these facts. I wish more people would read this.

  9. MoQ said,

    @ -2 Cents,

    Sorry that you have trouble with a simple analogy. I did not say you agree with the argument that women deserve to be raped.

    I said it is a similar argument. Analogies are used all the time to make a point. Get it please, I really cannot dumb it down more than that for you.

    Regarding your interest in creationism vs evolution that is your freedom. I never made such suggestion.

  10. 2 Cents said,

    @ MoQ :

    You just don’t get it , do you ? or do you always have a trouble in understanding simple statements !

    Your analogy was so ill tasted ! , and it being an analogy doesn’t justify that . I really can’t clarify every simple thing for you to comprehend . I just don’t have that much of free time .

  11. MoQ said,

    @ -2 Cents

    Your first comment attacked victims as being stupid. Then you got insulted, because of an analogy. Actually the analogy was generous as I view rape as horrible as it is as less of an offense than trapping a Western woman in a Saudi marriage with no way out. It is the closest thing to enslavement, since the woman has no practical way out and the husband may choose to have sex with her anytime he pleases since the law won’t protect her.

    If you get offended so easily, then I think you should consider not hardening your positions and open yourself to criticism in the future.

  12. 2 Cents said,

    @ MoQ :

    Seriously dude , I don’t know what’s wrong with you . I clearly stated that I’m not justifying the Saudi system and I was talking of a certain aspect of a situation yet you still refuse to understand . It seems that you are creating a false image in your head and acting according to it . Not that I care anymore , as I don’t tolerate stupidity whether found in real life or over the internet .

    Have a nice life !

  13. MoQ said,

    @ 2 Cents,

    Let me just leave you with your statement that started this entire argument.

    “Sometimes I think these women deserve what they got for being so darn stupid .”

    If you do not get that this attacking the victim, then I really cannot help you.

    Think About it!!!!

  14. Hala Maksoud said,

    American women are helpless; having been indoctrinated to the Judeo/Christian ethic. I sent the link to the article to my dear American girl friend, and I fear that it will seriously damage our friendship since she will likely see it as meddling in her affairs.

    She just got a brand new wedding ring and it has blinded her.

    I answer to Allah SWT, I did my best for her. It is all I can do.

    Ma Salaama


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