In Love With A Saudi Man Who Is On A Student Visa

Here we go again. Where have I heard this before? Warning sign: the Saudi man not telling his family about his non-Saudi love. And I betcha he hasn’t told her about not being able to marry while on a Saudi government scholarship or even the Saudi marriage permission. Great comments at the end of Gaby’s question!

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Posted by gabiab
Zawaj
March 17, 2011

My name is Gaby and in my opinion, I’m in a difficult situation. I met a guy from Saudi Arabia who is here in the U.S.A. to study English and go to college. He has a student visa (F-1) and we are very much in love but his family doesn’t know about me.

I’m Catholic and Mexican so there are differences between both cultures. Of course, my parents are very happy with the relationship but what really concerns me is his family. He doesn’t want to tell them and if what if we want to get married someday? Is it possible when he is here on a student visa?

I will soon be a U.S. citizen, currently have my greencard. I need some advice on what to do. Sometimes I feel like his family wont ever accept me and it scares me cause I really love him and he has proved to me that he does too! I’m willing to do a lot for this relationship!

Need Answers
March 17, 2011 • 2:14 pm

Gaby, you are indeed in a tough situation. Please tread carefully here. There are several issues here that need to be addressed. First of all the student visa. The issue here is that this guy may very well just be here to study and eventually go back home after all is said and done. Many times this is what happens, not necessarily because of the guy but his family. The second issue is the difference in religion/culture. Although there may be similarities between Islam and Christianity, there are differences as well. The differences in culture may also be something that cannot be easily accommodated. Lastly and most importantly, the fact that he has NOT told his parents about you is of great concern. You have probably noticed quite a few threads/posts here where women (such as yourself) have been in relationships with Muslim men and they can’t/won’t tell their parents because they are too scared or don’t feel that the time is right. The fact of the matter is that these guys deep down know that their families probably won’t accept these girls or that there would be such a struggle that they feel that it wouldn’t be worth it. I’m not sure how long you have been with this guy but if you really want to have an idea of what direction this relationship is heading, I would highly suggest that you have him introduce/tell his family about you. This may sound like you are giving him an ultimatum and in a sense it is. But it is necessary (in my opinion) to avoid loss of time and investing more into this relationship only to see that it doesn’t work out in the end and you are left with a lot of hurt. Sometimes we go into situations with the best of intentions thinking that any and all obstacles can be overcome. The fact of the matter is that sometimes these obstacles are just too great and they are that way for a reason. I hope that this helps and it finds you in good spirit.

María M
March 17, 2011 • 11:23 pm

As salamu alaykum Gaby,

I would emphasize he is far from home, he is alone, nobody is watching, he is behaving different from his expected behaviour as Muslim, I don´t know how he has shown to you that he loves you, but I will tell you something that may open your eyes.

A Muslim man if he is interested in a woman should propose her, then the first thing to think about is marriage, not the last one. An other clue is that for him parents aproval of this relationship is important, he cannot date with you or any other woman…ask him about dating, proposing, parents approval? Talk to him directly about what is going on with both of you, it is not enough he loves you and is showing it to you, the main ways that a Muslim man should show are not shown by him, here. Why is he hidden you from his parents? Do you want to be a secret in his life? Do you deserve that? If you marry and have children what will happen? Think about it.

All my Unconditional Love and Respect,
María
IslamicAnswers.com Editor

MOHAMMAD
March 18, 2011 • 5:42 am

ASSALAAM ALAYKUM

I am a Saudi student also studying at Penn State, PA. Now, my advice for you is be careful with your relationship, I am afraid he just looking for someone to enjoy his live with! Ask him from which city in Saudi Arabia, if he is from Jadah then his his family may accept you as a wife for there son. If he is from other place like Riyadh or Quseem, then his family will not accept this. I am telling this for you because I don’t like you ending with bad experience with one Saudi then you are going to generalize this.

Wael
March 18, 2011 • 6:07 am

Mohammad, thanks for your comment. I’m curious, why is there such a difference in attitudes between Jeddah and Riyadh?

Wael
IslamicAnswers.com Editor

MOHAMMAD
March 18, 2011 • 6:49 am

Jadah city is near the holy city” Makkah” for this reason, Jadah population is a combination of diverse people from all the world and it is easy for them to accept others even if they are different.

Arwa
March 18, 2011 • 6:00 am

Dear Gaby,

I think you should carefully think about this relationship. Ask him to introduce you to his parents. I think he is afraid to tell his parents because the different in religions. Your parents seems to be open-minded. So why do not you tell him that he can tell his family that you (Gaby) may get a Muslim one day down the road. I think this may help him to introduce you to his parents. I hope this would help.

Beentheredonethat
March 20, 2011 • 9:01 pm

Hi Gaby,

I am an American married to a Saudi and for what it’s worth, I will add my two sense here in this forum. I met my husband when I was sixteen years old. He was twenty one and he too was here in the United States on an F1 visa to study. Long story short, we married but the sacrifices that we have both had to make have been many. Although I have lived in Saudi on and off over the last thirty years, I simply could not adjust. I love my husbands family and they love me too. We all get along extremely well and I was loved from the moment I joined his family. His family have always accepted me and treat me as if I’m the girl next door. I speak Arabic fluently and I made an effort to learn the language because I wanted to. The American girl within me simply could not adjust to living in Saudi although I know of many American woman who have married and lead happy lives and are very happy in Saudi. My husband was very honest with me from the get go. He told me there might be weeks when I might find myself not leaving my home. I was fine with that…I was in love, no problem…not. As you mature and come into your own…who you are, you come to realize that it’s just not your cup of tea. At least for me, thats how it was.

Years ago, the Saudi government made it almost impossible to marry a foreigner. The problem is, many Saudi women are not getting married due to Saudi men marrying foreigners. My husband works in the Saudi government and although I don’t know the specifics, chances of your marriage being approved by the Saudi government will be very difficult if not impossible.

Mohammed is correct when it comes to the acceptance of this young mans parents of you. People from say, Medina or Jeddah are relatively cool and although may not be too happy in the beginning about their son wanting to wed a foreigner…they may come around at a later time. If they are from Riyadh or Qaseem, chances are they will be very much against it and no matter what you do, there are going to be problems no matter what you do.

Six kids and thirty years later, I will just say that if I could do it all over again would I do it? No, no and…no. Each of us has sacrificed a lot. He lives in the United States and he isn’t happy all the time. He has periods of depression and of course who does he take out his frustration on? Me. Me and our children. He would tell you the same thing in fact…he has had Saudi’s come to him and ask his opinion on marrying an American or a foreigner because they see that he married an American woman. You know what his answer is and always will be? You guessed it, the answer will be…”don’t do it”.

Are you going to listen to me here in this forum? Probably not. Your in love and love is a powerful thing. My husband knew my family well before marrying me. We, like you, were very much in love and at times we both knew the right thing to do was for each of us to go our separate ways but…neither one of us would. We weren’t willing to…we were in love. All I can say to you from one woman to another is this…life comes around but once. We get no do overs…none. This man will be much better off marrying within his own people. Yeah…I know some people on this board might criticize my wording here but hey…I have lived it, I’m not just talking here about something I know nothing about. He will ultimately return to live and work in Saudi when he is done, that’s how it is. The only advice I can offer here from someone who has been down this road is find strength within yourselves to end things before you get too deep. I know what I’m talking about here. Whether you choose to hear what I say is ultimately up to you. I wish you the best of luck no matter what you decide.

Khadija1
March 27, 2011 • 9:05 am

Personally I would NOT advise you, as a U.S. resident, to marry a Saudi man. Are you planning to move to Saudi with him? Most of these men are very close to their families and plan to spend most of their time in their own country. FYI, BIG FYI: you MUST understand the crucial control that the mother and father of the Saudi man have over their son, and will have over the daughter-in-law. My big advice is, get to know the in-laws. Talk to other relatives such as wives of cousins, etc. Find out what kind of dynamics the family has. Some are easy going, but some are very old school. Be prepared that the mother and father-in-law will often have nearly full control and knowledge of everything related to the new daughter in law, sex, number of children she will have, how she will decorate her home, how she will treat the in laws, etc etc etc. IF this is not straight before marriage then you need to run FAR AWAY. If this man is not forthcoming about his parents, then that says it all. He is hiding the control factor. RUN. He knows that they will never accept you. Mohammed is 100% right about the Riyadh vs. Jeddah mindset. People from Jeddah are more open-minded and liberal but they are still Saudi. You might have a chance at happiness if your man is from a liberal family but still you won’t be accepted as a they would a Saudi woman. Saudis are very racist amd xenophobic in general. They look down on everyone that isn’t tribal. So, even if you become a Saudi, you’re still not one of them unless your father is. You will never be accepted into the society as part of it and you will live as an outsider if you move there.

Have you thought about your life if you moved to Saudi Arabia with him? You are in love right now so you are blinded to the reality of what it would be like. Saudi Arabia is a man’s world. As a woman you have almost none of the freedoms that you have in America. Your entire happiness will fully depend upon your husband and whether he’s accommodating to you or not; you will be completely at his mercy. Your husband has the upper hand, and if he’s the type to use it, you could be in big trouble. Please think about this. Can you imagine not being able to go for a walk alone, not being able to drive a car, not being able to open your own bank account or business without your husband’s permission, not being able to receive medical care without a man’s permission? Saudis lead different lives when not in their home country. Don’t ever think that he will stay the same. He probably won’t for the most part. 99.9% of the time they will become the regular Saudi that we all read about in the news. You will probably live together but separate lives with your husband. If he divorces you, you will not get half of anything…even if you put in half of the money, unless you get it in writing. He may have other children with other wives that you will never be aware of until he dies. You do not have the support system the Saudis have if anything goes wrong in your marriage. Here, the girls go back to live with their father or their brother. As a foreigner, your children can be taken from you, you can lose your house, and you can be kicked out at will and sent packing back to your country, and there’s nothing you can do about it (May Allah swt protect you from all of that but it happens very often). Most Western women go there and complain from the time they arrive until the time they leave.

My *biggest*advice to you if you really are going to go through with this is to make sure you understand your future together. Think a million times before you take a huge gamble with your and your future children’s lives. Where you will live? Will he let you leave Saudi Arabia alone or with the kids? What happens to you and the kids if he dies or you get a divorce? I would say DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN WITH HIM, practice very strict birth control unless you plan to stay in your own country or U.S.A. and never visit Saudi. If you do move there, please don’t have children for at least three or four years, just so you know what kind of husband and family you are dealing with first.

Also, read, read, and read. First of all, you should study Islam. The more you understand about the religion, the more you will understand your husband, your in-laws, your neighbors, and the society as a whole.

Secondly, you should also study Arabic, so that you will have a basis for more learning upon your arrival. It will make things a lot easier with family and social interactions.

Thirdly, you should try to involve yourself with other Saudis. This will give you some insight into cultural differences, and help you to integrate easier should you move there.

Finally, I would advise any Muslim getting married or anyone thinking of marrying a Muslim, whether to a Saudi or otherwise, to study the Qur’an and hadiths and what they say regarding marriage and divorce. This will give you a clear idea about rights and responsibilities for both wives and husbands, which can clarify things during any difficulties they might experience later on. Many women do not know that they they are fully in control of the marriage contract. A woman could say in the contract that she does not want a second wife or anything else as long as it is not forbidden in Islam. Many women are converts and do not know they can make these conditions. The Muslim men know but don’t mention it to their fiancee. May Allah swt make it easy for you.

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Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

4 thoughts on “In Love With A Saudi Man Who Is On A Student Visa”

  1. >gaby, i had a huge long comment typed up, but when i tried to post it it got deleted, so…here's what i had in a nutshell:1. his family MUST know about you. even if it's just that you are his friend and he is spending time with you. the fact that he refuses to tell his family that you even exist is a HUGE red flag.2. does he let you hang out with him and his male friends? if he does–that's another red flag. in the saudi culture, men and women simply do not mix–it's even considered disrespectful for one man to offhandedly inquire about the health/well-being of another's wife, as would be polite in american society. if he lets you spend time with his friends, he's not thinking of you as wife material.3. learn about islam. alhamdulillah, i converted from catholicism to islam almost a year ago (with no pressure, and honestly, very little guidance from my saudi fiancé–although he was thrilled by my interest in islam, he said that he didn't want to get involved in it because it had to be a choice that i made for myself. but when i was sure i wanted to convert, he was all to happy to hear my shahada). not saying that you must convert to islam, but at the very least you must understand it.i wish you the best of luck, gaby, and i hope you get through this experience with a minimal amount of tears, inshallah–because trust me, there will be some. but only you can decide if your saudi is worth those tears. he may or may not be.

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  2. >Welcome to FHWS and thanks for commenting. I am sorry that you lost your comment after spending so much time typing it out! After I finish writing my comment, I copy it just in case it fails to submit. Or I write it in a draft email on Gmail and sometimes on Notepad.

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