Dating in Saudi Arabia: Can You Have a Girlfriend?

7 Apr 2024·12 min read
Dating in Saudi Arabia: Can You Have a Girlfriend?

Dating in Saudi Arabia offers a unique experience, influenced by the nation's conservative nature. It's shaped by strict social norms and laws. Knowing about the dating culture is key for those wanting to find love there.

Finding a partner in Saudi Arabia requires discretion. Public affection is off limits, and men and women are usually not allowed to be alone if they're not related or married. Yet, people still manage to create and maintain romantic bonds.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dating in Saudi Arabia is influenced by social norms and legal restrictions.
  • Public displays of affection are not allowed, and couples must be discreet.
  • Meeting potential partners can be challenging but is not impossible.
  • Family approval plays a significant role in dating and marriage decisions.
  • Understanding and respecting cultural norms, such as gender segregation, is crucial in Saudi Arabia.

How to Meet People in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, meeting new people has its challenges but it's certainly possible. Both locals and expats can find ways to connect with others, even finding a romantic partner. Here are some ideas to help you make friends in Saudi Arabia:

1. Try online dating: Nowadays, dating apps are popular in Saudi. They offer a private and easy way to meet folks. Look into apps like OkCupid, Tinder, and Bumble which let you connect based on shared interests.

Pro Tip:

Be careful when using dating apps. Always choose public places for meetings and tell someone about your plans.


2. Get involved with expats: The expat community is a fantastic place to meet diverse people. They often hold social events like parties and clubs for hobbies, perfect for finding people with similar interests.

3. Join meetup groups: Getting involved in meetup groups and activities you like is a smart move. Whether it’s for hiking, reading, or art, these groups help you meet people who enjoy the same things.

Pro Tip:

Use sites like and check social media for your hobby’s groups in Saudi Arabia.


4. Go to events and festivals: Saudi Arabia is known for its cultural festivals and events throughout the year. These are great places to meet locals and dive into Saudi culture.

5. Volunteer: Helping out in community organizations or at charity events is another way to meet passionate people.

It’s important to respect Saudi culture and traditions when meeting new people. Be aware of cultural sensitivities when interacting.

There are many ways to meet people in Saudi Arabia. Make the effort and be respectful and sincere in your interactions. Finding friends might take some effort, but it’s definitely possible with the right attitude. You'll be able to build a strong, meaningful social network.

Dating Etiquette in Saudi Arabia

Dating in Saudi Arabia is unique and requires knowing the culture well. Public affection is a no-go. Dressing conservatively is key, as is avoiding public affection. It's important to keep a respectful distance, especially if you're not married or closely related. Generally, being alone together if not married is not allowed.

For dates, it's best to pick low-key activities. Couples enjoy movies or eating in places with gender-separated areas. This respects Saudi Arabia's social norms.

Traditionally, men lead in dating and cover the expenses. This reflects deep-rooted gender roles. Women should be careful and keep a low profile during dating. Privacy and modesty are very important in this society.

Respecting these dating rules is key to forming relationships in Saudi Arabia.

Dating Etiquette in Saudi ArabiaDating Behavior in Saudi Arabia
Public displays of affection are not tolerated.Men and women who are not married or related are not allowed to spend time alone together.
Dress conservatively and avoid being publicly affectionate.Dating activities usually involve low-key options like going to the movies or dining in gender-separated spaces.
Men often pay for the bills.Women are advised to exercise caution and discretion throughout the dating process.


"Dating in Saudi Arabia demands a respectful and modest approach, encompassing cultural sensitivity and adherence to established dating etiquette."

- Saudi Arabia Dating Expert

Dating Saudis

In Saudi Arabia, dating involves the whole family. Parents play a big role in their children's dating and marriage choices. If you want to date a local, the family has to agree first. They check if potential partners fit well with the family before anything serious starts.

Foreigners who want to date Saudis should know the culture's expectations and challenges. Family is very important in Saudi culture, which can make things complex. The partner's family might be cautious about accepting a foreigner. Building trust and acceptance takes effort. Sometimes, foreigners must keep their relationship status a secret or face the family's resistance.

Understanding Saudi dating customs is key to a good relationship. Knowing how much families matter here helps you navigate dating. You should be sensitive and ready to adapt.

Family Approval and Vetting Process

The dating scene in Saudi Arabia often includes the family from the start. Families meet early to see if there's good fit between their values and goals. Having the family's approval is crucial for the relationship to go forward. They have a big say in the couple's future.

Families sometimes arrange meetings in a formal way. This lets both families judge if they're compatible. The family's view is very important. Their blessing is key to a more serious relationship.

Cultural Expectations and Challenges

Dating in Saudi Arabia can be challenging for foreigners. They have to understand and respect local customs which might be different from their own. This can help build stronger relationships.

Foreigners must remember that Saudis are more conservative about dating. They value modesty and traditional ways.


Difficulties may include language barriers and different social norms. Patience, clear communication, and a readiness to embrace Saudi ways are vital. These qualities help overcome any barriers.

Despite difficulties, dating Saudis can be very rewarding. It lets foreigners get to know the culture better. It also helps personal growth and creates valuable cross-cultural friendships.

Moving into a Relationship in Saudi Arabia

Entering a serious relationship in Saudi Arabia can look different for everyone. Some date quietly within Saudi norms, while others marry for more freedom. This choice depends on the couple's desires and situation.

In Saudi Arabia, relationships must respect the law. Activities like sex before marriage are illegal. So, couples are careful about their intimacy. Some choose privacy, while others marry for legal and social freedoms.

Each couple faces a unique choice about marriage, shaped by their backgrounds and lives. Some live together without marrying, and others marry for its benefits.

"Commitment takes different forms in Saudi Arabia, and couples must navigate the boundaries of societal expectations and legal restrictions to find a path that suits their needs and desires."


Starting a relationship in Saudi Arabia means being open and respectful of its culture and laws. Couples should consider their values and how their choices affect their lives in Saudi society.

Love in a Changing Society

Saudi Arabia's society is changing, influencing how people date and fall in love. There are now more ways for young Saudis and expats to meet.
Even with new freedoms, family and tradition still guide dating in Saudi Arabia.

The Role of the Family in Dating in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, family is key in dating. They have a big role in choosing a match for their children. Parents make the final choice on who their child dates and marries. Getting their approval is vital for the relationship to grow.

Family meetings are common during dating. It's usual for potential partners to meet each other's families. They seek blessings and advice. These meetings let families learn about each other and check if they match well.

Extended Family Living

Many Saudi families live with extended family. Many generations often live under one roof. This affects dating and marriage choices. Not just parents, but also grandparents and other relatives, have a say in picking a partner.

This way of living creates strong family connections. It means decisions are made together. It shows that relationships in Saudi Arabia depend on the whole family's approval, not just personal choice.

The Significance of Family Approval

"The family's approval is key in Saudi dating. It shows respect for family values and traditions. It ensures the relationship fits with cultural expectations." - Saudi dating expert


Family reputation is very important in Saudi society. Thus, getting the family's approval is essential for a relationship to succeed. It shows commitment and respect for cultural values. Without the family's support, relationships might face big challenges.

The Influence of the Family on Relationship Dynamics

The family's role doesn't stop early in dating. It continues through the whole relationship. The family helps decide on big steps like engagement and marriage.

The family's traditions and values affect the relationship. Respecting elders and keeping family ties are important in Saudi culture. People in relationships have to balance these expectations with their own wishes.

Even with family influence, couples in Saudi Arabia can still have strong, loving relationships. Understanding and respecting the family's role is key. It helps in dealing with the complex world of dating and relationships in Saudi culture.

Challenges and Risks of Dating in Saudi Arabia

Dating in Saudi Arabia has its difficulties due to cultural and legal limits. These rules can make public dating and showing love hard. Both genders face their own dating challenges in this environment.

Women often deal with family pressure about who they date. Their families may set rules that limit dating freedom. It's hard for them to find safe spots for dates too.

Men face issues finding places to date due to conservative norms. With few public spaces for dating, showing love openly is tough. They have a hard time building connections with potential partners.

Understanding the risks and consequences is key for those dating in Saudi Arabia.


One big risk is the chance of blackmail or social fallout if a relationship is exposed. This is especially bad for those not married. Being careful is key to keeping your reputation and privacy safe.

Let's dive into some specific dating challenges and risks in Saudi Arabia:

  • Dating restrictions: Cultural and legal limits on dating can hinder open romantic relationships. Public affection and intimacy are not okay and could lead to legal trouble.
  • Family pressures: Families are very involved in the dating scene here. They often have to okay a relationship, which adds pressure. This makes dating even harder.
  • Societal judgment: Dating can lead to negative attention from others. Rumors and gossip about dating spread fast, harming social standing.
  • Gender segregation: Strict rules on man-woman interaction makes dating hard. Without being married or related, spending time alone is discouraged, hindering relationship development.
  • Legal consequences: Illegal sexual activities or living together can lead to jail or worse, especially for foreigners.

Those thinking of dating in Saudi Arabia must carefully consider these risks. By knowing the cultural norms, legal limits, and possible dangers, people can date more safely and wisely.

Changing Landscape of Dating in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, dating culture is changing because of new reforms. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading these changes. The country is becoming more open, affecting how people date.

Now, with fewer social restrictions, people are okay with meeting the opposite gender. Many are using social media and dating apps to find love.

Still, traditional ways and family opinions matter a lot in Saudi Arabia's dating scene. People try to find a balance. They respect their culture while exploring new ways to connect.

Dating Culture in Transition

The dating culture is changing in Saudi Arabia. It mirrors bigger changes in society. Now, individuals have more say in choosing their partners.

Young Saudis want relationships based on mutual feelings and values. They are moving away from relationships based just on family wishes.

"The changing dating culture in Saudi Arabia signifies a significant shift towards more openness and personal agency in pursuing romantic relationships. This newfound freedom of choice allows individuals to prioritize compatibility and emotional connection."

Challenges and Opportunities

Even with these changes, dating in Saudi Arabia has its challenges. Couples have to consider both their wants and cultural rules.

Family opinion still plays a big role in relationships. Getting a family's approval of a partner is often necessary. It shows the importance of family unity in Saudi culture.

Shifting Dynamics

Dating in Saudi Arabia is also bringing changes in how men and women see their roles. Equality and sharing responsibilities are becoming important.

This change is affecting what young Saudis look for in a partner. They want someone who supports their dreams. This is leading to more balanced relationships.

Traditional Dating CultureChanging Dating Culture
Emphasis on arranged marriagesGrowing preference for compatibility and emotional connection
Strict gender segregationIncreasing acceptance of gender mixing
Family approval is crucialBalancing personal desires with cultural expectations
Traditional gender rolesBurgeoning emphasis on equality and shared responsibility

The dating scene in Saudi Arabia is evolving. It reflects a society moving between traditional values and modern perspectives. While norms and family views remain influential, people are finding new ways to connect and fall in love within their cultural framework.

Cultural Norms and Gender Segregation in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation influences many aspects of life. This includes dating and how people interact. Places like cafes and restaurants often have different areas for men and families.

Public spaces have separate zones for men and families. This practice promotes modesty and follows cultural rules. Usually, unrelated men and women don't spend time alone together.

To date in Saudi Arabia, one must understand and respect these rules. Being aware of these norms helps build respectful and smooth relationships. It's key to fostering harmony in society.

Gender divisions are core to Saudi society, affecting dating and interactions. Accepting these norms is vital for managing relationships in the country.

Love and Relationships in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, love and relationships must follow cultural and legal rules. People can create deep connections despite these challenges. They work on gaining family approval and meeting societal expectations while following their hearts.

In this country, couples must be discreet and patient. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Instead, they find private ways to show love, like through conversations and small acts of kindness.

Choosing a partner often involves the family and follows societal rules. Getting family approval is a key step in a relationship. Couples try to balance their own wishes with family expectations and traditions.

Understanding Saudi culture is key to a successful relationship. The country's conservative nature means strict gender roles and traditional views on love. Couples who respect these cultural norms can face challenges more smoothly.

Love in Saudi Arabia may require discretion, patience, and an understanding of the cultural context.


Though different from other places, love in Saudi Arabia is full of hope. By dealing with unique relationship challenges, couples find happiness and fulfillment.

Love in Saudi Arabia shows the resilience of those who deal with cultural and social rules. It proves that love can overcome cultural boundaries and unite people.


Dating in Saudi Arabia can be tough because of strict social and legal rules. Public affection is not allowed, so being discreet is key. Families play a big part in choosing partners, which shapes how relationships work.

Yet, things in Saudi Arabia are slowly changing. More young Saudis and expats find ways to meet and date. Following the country's laws on marriage is very important.

Even with these rules, people can build meaningful relationships. By respecting Saudi culture and adapting to changes, dating is possible. It’s about understanding and working within the rules.


Can you have a girlfriend in Saudi Arabia?

In Saudi Arabia, dating is not allowed and relationships must be private. Still, it's not totally impossible to have a girlfriend. People must be very careful about cultural and legal rules.

How to meet people in Saudi Arabia?

Meeting folks in Saudi Arabia can be tough due to strict social rules. But, you can use apps like OkCupid, Tinder, and Bumble. Joining expat communities also helps in making connections.

What is the dating etiquette in Saudi Arabia?

When dating in Saudi Arabia, remember to keep things modest. Don’t show affection in public, dress modestly, and avoid being alone with the opposite sex. Dates are usually casual and low-key.

What is it like dating Saudis?

Dating Saudis means getting family approval and meeting certain cultural expectations. Foreigners need to be ready for these cultural differences. Family's consent is crucial for moving forward.

How do relationships progress in Saudi Arabia?

In Saudi Arabia, every relationship is unique. Some date discreetly, while others may marry for more freedom. It's key to respect cultural norms and legal rules during this process.

What is the role of the family in dating in Saudi Arabia?

Family plays a vital role in dating in Saudi Arabia. Parents usually help choose a partner and must approve. Families meeting is common, affecting dating and marriage heavily.

What are the challenges and risks of dating in Saudi Arabia?

Dating in Saudi Arabia faces many hurdles and dangers. Laws and cultural norms limit dating practices and public affection. There's also a chance of negative social effects and blackmail if caught.

How is the dating landscape changing in Saudi Arabia?

The dating scene in Saudi Arabia is slowly evolving with new societal changes. There's a rise in using social media and dating apps among youths and expats. Yet, traditional practices and family input still play a big role.

What are the cultural norms and gender segregation in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi culture strongly enforces gender separation, affecting social and dating activities. Public places are divided for men and families. Respecting these norms is necessary for understanding dating there.

What is love and relationships like in Saudi Arabia?

Love in Saudi Arabia works within strict cultural and legal limits. Despite challenges, relationships and connections can still be deep. Couples have to juggle family expectations, societal rules, and personal needs with care.

What are the restrictions on relationships in Saudi Arabia?

There are firm rules for relationships in Saudi Arabia. Public affection, sex before marriage, and living together unmarried are illegal. It’s important to stay mindful of these societal rules and laws.