Finding the right partner is becoming increasingly challenging. There is probably a greater chance of finding potatoes on Mars (à la Matt Damon in "The Martian") than finding your soul mate. But in Dubai, finding that person – or just going out on a decent date – is even more difficult for the following reasons.
1. The transit phase
For many expats, Dubai is not the final step in their life’s journey. Their time in Dubai is considered as a transit phase until they move on to the next destination or go back to their countries. This instability or uncertainty about the next move makes that bunch of people restless and unable to keep a healthy and long-lasting relationship. So, if you fall for someone who is in a "transit phase," either destroy their passport or be ready to smuggle yourself inside their travel bag (not in a creepy way though).
2. The trust issue
If you fall in love with another expat in Dubai and ask them about their background, the only story you will get is their "own version" of the story. You have no choice but to trust it and take it at face value, because you simply don’t have any way to validate their story. There is no neighbor to ask, no "mokhtar el hare" to consult and no close family members to interrogate. Your best hope is to stalk them on social media and LinkedIn to see if they are really who they are claiming to be, not scammers or con artists.
3. The cultural differences
Many expats are not willing to marry or fall in love with people who are not from the same cultural background or religion as them. But that proves to be very challenging in a city that plays host to more than 200 nationalities and ethnicities. Finding the perfect match who shares your background, religion, traditions, eating habits, sense of humor and love for shawarma and falafel is next to impossible! (Cue Matt Damon and his potatoes).
4. The "plenty of fish in the sea" theory
Let’s face it, Dubai is a city of singletons who live in their tiny kingdoms (mainly studios or shared apartments in JBR and Marina). Many of them go out every weekend hoping to find true love in the singles-infested-waters of Pier7, Barasti, Caramel or Iris. They might actually find something promising, but what about all the other candidates who they could perhaps meet and fall in love with NEXT WEEKEND? Why settle for a BMW when you could possibly get a Porsche next week? Or a Lamborghini the week after? Didn’t your mama always tell you "you deserve nothing but the best?"
5. The dating apps
There is no denial that we have a love-hate relationship with dating apps. We sometimes judge ourselves for using them, but they are our best chance of going out on a real date rather than an imaginary one. At the same time, these apps actually create other problems like; not taking people you meet on them seriously (even if they are decent), or taking them too seriously and ending up like a psychotic Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction or thinking that you can meet a hotter, taller, richer, slimmer, smarter, funnier person with the next swipe. Moreover, dating apps made people you meet on them disposable and easily replaceable with a click of a button. That's not a good start for any kind of relationship … serious or not.
6. The time management thing
In Dubai, most of us work long hours. By the time we leave the office and squeeze ourselves out of the traffic jam, we barely have time to do the other things that make us feel human again such as cooking, working out, running errands and sleeping! So, mustering up enough energy to glam up, drive to a bar or restaurant and sit through a date starts to seem more like a punishment rather than a fun thing to do! In these moments, being single starts to feel like a blessing, because all you really want to do is sit at home, watch Netflix and chill … FOR REAL!