Ready to dive into the fascinating world of dating in the UAE or maybe just want to expand your social circle?

Hold onto your hat, because it’s a thrilling ride, punctuated by unique cultural norms and traditions!

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through the twists and turns of dating in this vibrant, diverse region.

From swiping right on dating apps to decoding social customs and understanding the do’s and don’ts, we’ve got all the insider tips to make your dating journey in the UAE a memorable one!

Concept Of Dating In The UAE 

The concept of dating here is pretty similar to everywhere else in the world.

You can meet people in many public places, approach them, make a good impression and start a conversation.

However, some subtle changes and unspoken rules make dating in the UAE a little tricky for expats.

The cultural norms of the UAE do not allow public displays of affection, sex outside marriage, and living together unmarried.

Hence, as an expat, you must be careful regarding how you behave in public in the UAE with your date or partner.

A recent study showed that there are almost three times more men than women in the UAE, so you need to play your cards right if you are from the male gender.

If you are a woman, well then you can say that you will have a lot of options, so you should also choose carefully. 

Also, dating is enjoyable in this country, and you must meet local Emiratis as they are sincere and hospitable people.

In this article, we will talk in great depth about how to meet people and approach them. 

How To Meet People In The UAE 

Explicitly asking someone for a date is not considered good in the UAE.

Therefore, both genders engage in group activities and other things to get closer to a bunch of people and see potential dates and love interests. 

Social Groups 

Many group activities are happening in the UAE for both genders. To find such an event, you should check out a website called Meetup.com.

This website allows like-minded people to attend concerts, dancing sessions, eat-outs, and football matches.

They allow you to attend people with similar interests to yours, so it’s easier for you to make friends.

There are people from many cultural and ethical backgrounds in the UAE, so the only way to connect with people is through shared interests, where this app helps you a lot.

This way, you can find a potential love interest and make friends and contacts that can help you both professionally and personally.

Blind Dates

Blind dates are an fun way to get to know someone. You can ask your friends to set you up with someone they think are good for you. This way, there is a fun element to your date, and the ice is already broken, so it will be easier for you. 

Also, you do not have to worry about vetting the other person before the date for your safety since your friends already know them. This allows you to relax and enjoy the night, especially for women, for whom security is essential

Many dating apps can facilitate blind dating as well. These apps will vet and find a suitable date for you, given your interests and other data you might have entered.

The algorithms and people at the back will analyze your profile and pair you up with someone who will compliment your personality. 

Dating Apps 

Dating In UAE 1

Dating apps have recently been top-rated in the UAE for finding love.

However, due to cultural norms, dating apps are not widely endorsed, and the government has been swift in banning dating apps they deem inappropriate. 

However, you can still use them through VPNs and other proxy services.

One of the best dating apps to use is Tinder, Bumble, etc.

Tinder allows you to develop a detailed profile that discusses many aspects of your personality. Tinder also uses geo-location to help you find potential matches nearby and sort them out using filters based on likes and dislikes.

These features make dating online very convenient. However, limitations do exist. 

It is, however, essential to note that dating publicly and sex before marriage are frowned upon in the UAE, and hence expats must refrain from these acts; otherwise, the consequences can be grave.

You might end up with hefty fines and jail time or even be deported in extreme cases!

Make sure to respect the cultural traditions of the Emiratis if you want to date here. 

Ladies Night

Ladies’ Night is another fun concept for you to find a potential love interest. This method has been around for a long time.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have some of the best bars in the world, so this method is very efficient here.

The idea is that a group of women can go to a bar and order their first rounds of drinks which are usually free and are on the house.

Most of the time, men buy women drinks to spark a conversation. Since there are groups of women, you will find many men here as well. 

For most expats, this is the most fun way to talk to potential love interests because the hustle and bustle of a club is beautiful and give you many options and opportunities to talk to someone you like.

Moreover, if you are in Dubai, check out a club called Nobu, located at the Atlantis, for the best ladies’ night experience. 

Dating Manners In The UAE 

Since more men in the UAE are more empowered due to patriarchal laws, they will assert dominance and make the first move when they like someone.

This is the norm. However, there are exceptions. 

After a night out at a club or meeting someone and exchanging numbers, as a woman, you should wait for them to reach out and talk about a second date. They will usually suggest going to a club or restaurant. 

Greeting And Dressing Rules

Greeting rules vary from country to country and specifically from where your date is from.

But, if you have been on a few dates, a kiss on the cheek after a verbal greeting will be the way to go.

If you are not yet that comfortable and have not been on as many dates, we suggest you go with a good old-fashioned hug. You can never go wrong with this one. 

Moreover, dining out with your date is a good idea, and holding hands is also preferable.

However, make sure not to cross the line and not delve too deep into public displays of affection, as it might ruin your evening and get you into trouble in UAE.

Ensure you are not too loud and visible, as it can be considered rude in a nice restaurant in the UAE. 

You should leave no stone unturned when getting ready and pulling out your nicest clothes.

Casual and lazy dressing is not appreciated in the dating scene of UAE.

You should be able to show that you have made an effort to get ready and are interested in meeting your partner.

Therefore, make sure to invest in good clothes!

Moreover, a man will mostly pay the bill since society is very patriarchal, and as a man, if you do insist on paying the bill, your date might take offense. 

Emirati Psychology

Dating an Emirati woman can be tricky since she has to take care of her family’s honor, and you have to be respectful of that as well.

This means that you should let her take the lead on the dates and not force her to do or go somewhere where she is not comfortable.

You should be considerate of her limitations and take everything slowly.

Make sure to let your intentions be apparent from the beginning since Emirati women are known not to be interested in flings and temporary arrangements

As an expat woman, you will see that many Emirati men will try to approach you since they are more interested in diversity and also because dating is more typical for women outside the UAE.

Thus, they can take things slow and not talk about marriage as early in the relationship as they would have to do with an Emirati woman.

Overall however, while the man mostly makes the first move, it is the women who control the situation and has more power in the relationship in the UAE. 

Next Step From Casual Dating

If your relationship is progressing, the next thing you should do is to involve the family and make things official and not start living together and acting as a couple first since that is greatly frowned upon in UAE society.

You can take things as slowly as you want; however, take firm steps.

The family has a huge role in Emirati culture. Thus, the woman is expected to move into her husband’s home.

This means it’s a good idea to introduce your date or potential partner to your family if things are going well and look firm.

However, this varies with every couple, so make sure you do things at your own pace and do not let others define your relationship.

Still, make sure to respect the local culture during your dating life. 

Conclusion

There you have it – your ultimate guide to navigating the intriguing world of dating in the UAE.

Remember, it’s a beautiful dance between being true to yourself and respecting the local customs.

So, step in with an open heart and an understanding mind.

As an expat, it’s all about finding that perfect rhythm that resonates with the cultural symphony around you.

With this guide in your back pocket, you’re all set to embark on a dating adventure that’s as exciting as it is respectful.

Happy dating in the UAE!