One of the most common mistakes that we make today is in assuming that people from one part of the world all embrace the same religion or philosophies. Therefore, when seeking advice on dating Arab women it would be best to understand that you are probably ‘thinking’ that woman is Muslim. Islam is a faith and Arab is a culture. There is a broad difference between the two even though they have many points of intersection. Dating an Arab woman is not the same thing as dating a woman whose family embraces the Islam faith. If the woman is both Arabic and Muslim you have your work cut out for you if you are not a believer.
Understanding the Arab Culture
Even though being Arabic and being Muslim are not one and the same, there is a great deal of overlap in their views on marriage and dating. Bear in mind that there are roughly one and a half billion believers in the Muslim faith while there actual Arabs can only be numbered in the hundreds of millions. Although Arab women can be of any faith, the governments are predominantly Muslim. This alone significantly impacts the way Arab women are reared. If a woman is a native of one of the Arab states you can bet she will have been sheltered while growing up.
Modesty is of prime importance to Arabs and segregation is vital. Young women are not generally seen in the company of men unchaperoned and quite often their marriages are still arranged for them! This is not always the case of Arabs living in the Western world as families here may have been assimilated into our culture to some extent. However, Arab women will still need to be treated with much more respect than their western counterparts if you ever hope to make this relationship work.
If a woman is a member of Islam and her family is devout then it would be almost impossible for an infidel (non-believer) to be granted permission to date her. Recent headlines have shown that there has been a great deal of tension among Islamic Arab families living in the West but still holding strong to their faith. Islamic women are not allowed to choose their dates and men must ask permission from the father, elder brother or elder male family member prior to dating a woman.
In fact, the only way to date a woman from a traditional Muslim family would be on the sly. This is never a good thing and should be avoided unless a strong bond forms from the very first meeting. You can pretty much gauge whether or not a woman is from a strict Islam family if she is wearing a hajib (head covering) or a niqab (face veil). Because a great number of Islamic women do attend universities in the West you will interact with them so it is imperative to be able to discern if her family would take offense to her dating a non-believer.
How to Treat an Arab Woman on a Date
The very first thing you should understand about dating an Arab woman is that she will likely demand a great deal more respect than her Western counterparts. While the rest of the world was focusing on women’s lib, the Arab nations were immersed in traditional Arab/Islam values and customs. One thing that you will notice is that Arab women more readily defer to male dominance even though they demand your respect. If by some small miracle you are allowed to date an ultra conservative Muslim Arab woman then you will need to comply with conventions.
One thing that would really appeal to an Arab is being listened to. Women who are accustomed to being dominated will soften when a man values their opinions. Having been raised in a male dominated society they will certainly be flattered by a man who actually listens to their opinions and is willing to act on their wants and desires. In the West we have trouble with this concept because women have been independent for a very long time. This is not the case in the Arabic culture and perhaps one of the surest ways to win them over!
Gaining the Respect of Her Family
Even if the woman you want to date is not Muslim, you will still want to earn the respect of her family. It is important to realize that they are immersed in cultural differences and you will stand a much better chance with her if you have first gained the respect of her father or other males responsible for her care. Ask the father permission to date his daughter, even if she is an adult. However, be prepared to be refused the first time you ask! At this point it would be the worst thing you could do to ignore their wishes.
Patience is a virtue and something that will come in handy when dating Arab women. Take the time to show her your intentions are honorable even if you are not looking for a long term relationship at first. Chances are she is! The focus of most Arab families is to raise their daughters to be good wives. This may seem archaic to us, but to those of other cultures it is a way of life.
Keep in mind that dating an Arab woman who is also an ardent Muslim will present huge obstacles to overcome. Not only will the woman most likely be labeled as an outcast but you will be viewed as the enemy as well. Of course not all Arab women are Muslims so they will not all be governed by the same strict codes of conduct. Even so, their culture is of extreme importance and you should respect that at all costs. The best advice on dating Arab women would be to understand their strong sense of family and values. If you cannot respect that, then it is best to stick with women from your own culture.