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Living together unmarried in Middle East

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Goosestepandgone, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. isotonic

    isotonic Occasional commenter

    Qatar is no different in fact more conservative that the Emirates
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Hmm. How, precisely, does one quantify the "conservativeness" of this or that Arab country, isotonic? Do you have some sort of handy little gadget that measures these things?

    Even in the most liberal and "relaxed" countries, there are still going to be policemen who may take a very harsh view of what the OP is proposing to do. The same goes for future colleagues, especially if you have an Islamic Studies department in the school. Ditto Muslim parents. It is not just nasty neighbours who could stir up problems. Children do sometimes see their teachers outside school, in shopping malls and so on. If you are with someone else of the opposite sex, they might just put two and two together.
    sabrinakat and Teachallover like this.
  3. VS400

    VS400 New commenter

    Plenty of couples in Saudi Arabia doing this (teaching and non teaching.) I know plenty of people who also meet while abroad here and become couples. They have separate accommodation but stay over at each others houses and the school is aware of their relationship. No one bats an eyelid. We are about to go to the wedding of a couple who met at work here and are going back to the man's home country to get married (one is muslim and one is christian.) I wouldn't get married just for the sake of being able to live together. Plenty of people do things they shouldn't do and it just depends on how much risk you want to take. I think in Dubai it is a lot safer and it can be done in Saudi but you just have to take more precautions.

    On a separate note, what the O.P does in their own time is nothing do to with anyone else, that includes parents, children etc. I hardly expect parents of children to complain to the police if a teacher is seen with another in public. If you think about it another way, they could of met each other in the country. Are they supposed to be celibate their entire teaching contract? I don't think so. Any school worth their salt isn't going to care!
  4. Teachallover

    Teachallover Occasional commenter

    Still better safe than sorry regardless of what others risk with their lives, it is the law of the land...not wise to condone it is it?
    truth_seeker12 likes this.
  5. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    The point isn't about what people should or shouldn't do, but that there is a real risk of severe consequences IF you are caught. Regardless of whether a parent/pupil/neighbour/doorman should mind their own business or not, if they do choose to snitch and you get arrested then you are stuffed.

    Schools may 'turn a blind eye' - until you are arrested - and then they will wash their hands of you. Schools will absolutely not defend you if you break local laws and are then caught.

    I also knew of lots of singles living with each other, cohabiting or simply snogging and. luckily, nobody snitched/they weren't caught. This does not justify saying that it is OK to do it. You are breaking the law of the country and should always bear this in mind.
    oldgit and Teachallover like this.
  6. oldgit

    oldgit New commenter

    Quite right, stopwatch. In fact, every contract which I have signed in Saudi - and that's quite a few - includes a commitment to conform to the laws and customs of the country.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    mikemcdonald25 and Teachallover like this.
  7. VS400

    VS400 New commenter

    i think that some people have been over the top in their reaction to something that is quite common in Dubai, Saudi etc. So as I said it depends on whether you are willing to risk it or not. Also the OP is planning to get married next year so I don't think see it as such a big deal. OP it's not a black and white situation. Do couples live together? Yes and there are plenty examples of this. Are there risks involved? Yes although the evidence of what actually happens if you get caught seems to be anecdotal on here so maybe you need to go do a bit more research. In response to someone who said you could be reported for it...I'm sure it doesn't stop plenty people coming home smashed from a Friday brunch. I wonder how many doormen have reported them.
  8. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    We're not being over the top about what people do, we are just stating facts regarding what happens/could happen if you are caught.
    Yes, absolutely do some research on what has happened when people have been caught, or related situations where people have been caught snogging on a beach, or been raped and then arrested for having sex whilst unmarried.
    The likelihood of this happening are small, but if they do, there aren't any bleeding heart liberals to help you out.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    "On a separate note, what the O.P does in their own time is nothing do to with anyone else, that includes parents, children etc. I hardly expect parents of children to complain to the police if a teacher is seen with another in public."

    Well, yes, VS400, of course we would all agree with you, if the OP were in the UK. But actually he or she is going to be teaching in the Middle East.

    Here in China, Wechat reigns supreme and parents (and children) do form Wechat groups, sharing comments and of course photos. Might a compromising photo of a teacher, taken in their own time and not at school, lead to a teacher being forced to resign? Yes, it did.

    As for VS400's strange suggestion that parents only complain when they have fair and reasonable grounds for doing so, I have personally heard quite a few Muslim parents demanding that their children must be taken out of all Music lessons at their "international" school because recorders and Rachmaninov are haram.
  10. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    You may be stating the facts, stopwatch, but hippo was making assumptions about the character of the OP. Once the OP has the facts it is up to them to decide what they want to do. It has been said many times on here that many unmarried couples do live together in the ME but if caught there can be serious consequences. These are the facts. To put it in perspective, I lived in the UAE for many years and have known personally several couples who have been in the same situation as the OP. They lived together to start with then got married and appear to be living happily ever after. I have also heard about one couple who lived together and where reported by neighbours. The police came to their door and gave them a warning, after which they brought forward their wedding and all was well. I also worked with a couple who lived together unmarried, but it was a whole year before I realised that they were even a couple, never mind living together! I am not saying any of this by way of offering advice, because I do not think it is my place to do so. I'm just trying to paint a picture of life in the UAE as I experienced it.
    lardprao and oldgit like this.
  11. Penny10p

    Penny10p Occasional commenter

    There have been some comments on this thread which seem to suggest that even going to shopping malls and for meals with a member of the opposite sex is not advisable. This is certainly over the top. Men and women, married or not, socialise freely in the UAE and there is no problem at all about it.
    oldgit likes this.
  12. oldgit

    oldgit New commenter

    I am sure that you are quite correct about the UAE - however KSA is a very different place and that's been the focus of most contributions from VS400, hippo, stopwatch and myself. I share the feelings of the hippo and stopwatch that VS400's advice may be dangerously incorrect. I would hate that a newcomer to the Kingdom would take that advice, fall foul of the local brethren and excuse themselves by saying that they had read in an online forum that it was no big thing.

    Take just one example - falling out of a restaurant well-refreshed following a Friday brunch. I am pretty certain that if she cares to take along a few mates and a bottle of two of the local beverage to the Sheraton, Hilton or one of the other family-friendly hotels on the Jeddah Corniche on a Friday lunch with the intention of some serious enjoyment, she will soon find out exactly what would happen.
  13. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Just to confirm it is grounds for dismissal what you do outside school in your own time. Many schools have it written into the contract a clause about bringing the name of the school into disrepute. I do know a young single female teacher dismissed for wearing tight figure hugging trousers. Some of the local boys took photos of her bottom with their mobiles and shared them with their friends. It was her fault for wearing such tight trousers and not the boys who took the photos.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    When this aged and wrinkled pachyderm was in Qatar, one would hear from time to time about the Supreme (and Absolutely Perfect) Education Council. When a well-connected Qatari parent complained to the SEC about a foreign teacher's behaviour, did the school concerned (not to mention the school's owner) always will give the foreign teacher a fair hearing? No, of course not.

    No, Penny10p, I have not made any assumptions about the OP's character. I freely admit that it might be that he (or she) is an absolutely truthful and honest person. (On the other hand, it might also be the case that quite a lot of principals of international schools in the ME would much prefer to hire teachers who are either married or single, not co-habiting, so the OP probably would not get offered many teaching jobs after telling the truth.)

    Yes, perhaps it is the case that the OP is a good and an honourable person. It might be that he (or she) will in fact want to decline all teaching posts in the ME because he (or she) wants to protect the school's reputation and the sensibilities of Muslim colleagues and the students' parents. However, the OP's post does not seem to mention these things, only his (or her) chances of getting caught.
  15. rod901

    rod901 New commenter

    So long as pupils/parents/your school/neigjbour/ coworkers THINK you are married, then no one would say anything.
  16. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I don't recall anybody suggesting that going for dinner or to a Mall would end up with arrest, not in the UAE. I'll take a look to see if I can find it.......
  17. truth_seeker12

    truth_seeker12 Occasional commenter

    No one will follow people and ask if they are married. Simply say that you are married to everyone you know and no ones going to investigate. However, if you annoy the wrong person and they complain about you then you may be in a difficult situation. Also, as many are saying, best to follow the law wherever you go even if you dont agree with it. Many people dont agree with paying income tax but they still do it to avoid problems.
  18. rod901

    rod901 New commenter

    Yes and don't forget to buy an H Samuel wedding ring x 2 before you fly out!!!
  19. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Whatever you do is a risk. Worst case is you are caught, caned, fined, jailed and deported. Best case is no one knows and nothing happens, and everything in between. A lot of the ME is full of very sexually frustrated immature grown men, who will be very jealous of you being able to bonk a hot white women instead of one of their own sex with no comeback - they would love nothing better than to report a male foreigner living in sin with a real, actual women.

    Take the risk or don't take it. It's up to you.
  20. rod901

    rod901 New commenter

    you have got bonking on the brain and you are one hell of a scare mongerer. You won't ever be caned being British. Even the woman in Sudan who supposedly took the Mickey out of Mohammed with a cuddly toy wan't caned. And that's Sudan. In Qatar, if you do anything wrong, theyput you in jail straight away and then you just have to stay there and go to see the judge every few days and he sayd can you pay the fine which of course you can't pay cos the dumb cops won't allow you to go to the ATM to withdraw the money. So you wait until the fine is reduced to Zero then they let you out. Kicking currency exchange shops is what caused me to know this. But yeh you are right, they are a load of 2 faced bonkers in the ME

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