“I hope you understand that I was more than happy to answer all your questions but I chose not to answer the questions that are related to my blog or anything that reveals my identity. Not because I have any insecurities but mainly because almost everyone I know thinks I am Saudi because in fact I look, talk and dress like one due to being born in Saudi Arabia. And when they get to know that I am actually not Saudi, it usually starts a never ending investigation about how I am not Saudi and why not and what not. And having to answer the same type of questions over and over again is not something I am willing to do any more, especially after noticing some people intentionally change the way they talk to me just because they know I am not Saudi.“
I completely understand anon’s concerns and respect his choice to hide his identity. His being anonymous in no way affects the great advice he gives or lessens its importance. I appreciate that he agreed to do this interview despite his reservations and I thank him profusely. Best wishes,
Your nationality and country of residence: My nationality is Indian. My country of residence is Saudi Arabia.
What is your job/hobbies? I am a dentist by profession, I workout everyday and I am interested in photography.
Are you married to a Saudi: Yes, my wife is Saudi.
When/where did you meet your Saudi wife? We met online in 2002 in a chat room which was not the norm back in 2002. I must advise though, just because it worked out for me, it doesn’t mean I recommend it. And as I always say, every marriage is an individual specific experience, what worked for me will not necessarily work for you even if its with the same person.
How long did you know her before you were married? We’ve known each other for 6 years. We physically met 8 months after our first encounter as we were countries apart.
Do you have the Saudi marriage permission and how long did it take? Of course we did. We applied and got a reply in about 3 weeks, which is considered a record by many alhamdulillah. Didn’t expect it because I was prepared for a much longer time but it went well.
If so, did you acquire it by wasta or any other means? No, it was straight forward to the MOI [Ministry of Interior]. I don’t know if it was of any help but the application was submitted by the bride’s father and some say it accelerates the process if they see the father of the bride is taking the process into action.
Did her family accept his marriage to you? Of course, happily hamdulillah. I wouldn’t have went forward with it if her family was against it because in-laws in Saudi Arabia are an integral part of every family.
Did your family accept your marriage to her? Yes they were supportive from the beginning and they supported it all the way after they met her.
How are your relations with your family/in-laws now after marriage? So far its been great. I treat her parents like my parents and they treat me as their own. I couldn’t ask for more. There is the occasional stuff that happens in every marriage but that’s about it.
Do you have children? 2 happy children, a girl and a little boy.
Are you involved in raising the children? Yes, everyday! Diaper changes, lunch time, changing clothes and the usual stuff.
Do you help with house chores? Yes, since she is a student full time and she is already super busy. I do the house chores and I don’t claim to be the best at it but I do what I can.
If you have lived in Saudi Arabia, for how long? Born and raised in Makkah.
What are the things you like/liked about Saudi Arabia? Family, food, fresh juices and the kindness you find in its people.
What are the things you dislike/disliked about Saudi Arabia? Many things in Saudi, there is big room for improvement and I hope that happens soon.
What would you like to see improved in Saudi Arabia? The segregation as I see it to be way out of the norms. The racial profiling in employment and salaries. The lack of rights for Saudi born non-citizens. Saudi male superiority over foreigners and females, it should be neutralized as we are all human.
Do you feel trapped in Saudi Arabia or do you feel comfortable living in the country? I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, its home. I have my family and my inlaws in Saudi so as they say, home is where the heart is. The only thing that makes me feel trapped is the re-entry visa requirement every time I need to travel and its hassles.
Would you take Saudi citizenship if you had the chance…why/why not? I would because to me it registers as home.
Do you think non-Saudis should change anything about themselves in order to fit into Saudi society? Mainly respecting the culture, obeying rules, observing modesty, avoid attracting too much attention in public and you will be good.
Do you think a non-Saudi man/woman can be happy in Saudi Arabia? Being happy is a broad description, it all comes down to ones priorities. If its family and career, you can live a good life in Saudi Arabia. If its living a wild life, I would say Saudi Arabia is not gonna be your favorite spot.
Do you think a non-Saudi woman would have any problems living alone in Saudi Arabia without her husband or family? Generally single women with no families in Saudi Arabia usually lead difficult lives especially with the male guardian requirement for almost all her legal procedures even in simple things like leasing an apartment. Added to this, being a non-Saudi usually make it worse. But if she was here through an employer, it usually makes it a lot easier, especially if she is a highly qualified professional with a high demand in her specialty. Then usually her employer does everything for her to keep her focused on her work. Needless to say, its a rare case to be met with complete cooperation.
What do you think non-Saudis should know about Saudi men/women? Saudis are human. They are over 20 million in population and they are not alike, not even in the same house hold. There is good and there is bad. They are very generous people, they are kind and they have a very high regard for privacy. If you are going to marry a Saudi, you have to know that your mother in-law will be a corner stone in your future life. As mothers in Saudi families come second to none, even ahead of fathers, if you are a male, know that your mother in-law is going to treat you as a son. If she likes you, she will ask for your help and opinion and usually will get you busy helping her do handyman work around the house.
How do you feel about Saudis and non-Saudis marrying? Like every interracial couple getting married around the world, its normal, its human and its natural. Marriage is not what background you come from or what your passport is, its what effort you put into it to make it work.
What is your advice when a non-Saudi man/woman meets their potential/future Saudi in-laws? Be positive of your intentions before you go ahead and proceed. I know its marriage but getting married to a Saudi is a bit of a complicated process until its approved. So if you are not absolutely positive that your future spouse is the right person for you, I suggest that you wait. You should know each other more until you are confident about how you feel and then proceed. Please know that the process can be hectic and it WILL test your patience. Sometimes it even makes you wonder if you are doing the right thing. If that happened to you, please remember that it is not only you but almost all of those who went through the same path. Good thing is, if she is someone you love, then its totally worth it.
What advice would you give a non-Saudi considering marriage to a Saudi? I would say be prepared. Its not gonna be your average walk in the park in the beginning as Saudi Arabia has proved to be a place like no other. But once you get adapted to it, you will find it a good place to call home.