3 Single Black Women Living Abroad Reveal What It's Like to Date in the UAE, Europe and More

Photo by Tanai Benard
Black women living abroad share their dating experiences.

Black women living abroad on their experiences.



iluv2globetrot.com cofounder, 35

Location: Nizwa, Oman, 3 years

Hometown: Detroit

"I told myself that I wouldn't date in the Middle East, and yet not even a week after moving to Nizwa I met a man who became my boyfriend. He was African-Omani and our first encounter was at a local hotel bar with friends. It was a whirlwind romance and we had a great time while it lasted. In Omani culture it is looked down upon to date a nonlocal, so he wanted to hide our relationship and we parted ways. It can be challenging dating here, since families usually set up potential mates for their children. As an expat, 



Scientist, 37

Location: Amsterdam, 2.5 years

Hometown: New Orleans

"Amsterdam is a city of passion and hookups. You meet someone, go out a few times, cohabit without marriage and then have a baby. Folks move really fast. There appears to be little courtship and romance. I have met guys attending events, through friends and just out exploring the city. I have definitely found it hard to date as a single Black professional woman in Amsterdam, but it is no different from the struggle I faced in the U.S., with the exception that a lot of guys here are smokers."



Educator and cofounder of Wandering Moms, 33

Location: Abu Dhabi, 3 years

Hometown: Beaumont, TX

"I moved to the United Arab Emirates three years ago with my three kids. Dating as a divorcée and single parent can be complicated whatever your geographic location, and doing it abroad is difficult. The expatriate community is a revolving door, which makes it more challenging to have a stable relationship. How long is your employment contract? becomes a must-ask question by date number two. On the upside, you have access to a new breed of well-traveled and educated men. I was once approached by a Muslim man in the parking lot of the grocery store. He gave me his number and assured me he didn't have a wife, something I had to ask since polygamy is legal here. By our second date I had become a pro at navigating Google Translate as he spoke little English and my Arabic is nonexistent. We also communicated with images. I asked if he owned any camels and he just stared until I produced a picture. He then yelled out "Jamal" and nodded yes. We got looks from native women who attempted to figure out why an African-American expatriate sat with a local guy in traditional garb. He kept saying, "You very nice. Your skin beautiful" while tapping his wrist to show he was complimenting my skin color. All I could do was smile and throw shukrans, "thank you" in Arabic. Before the end of date two, he went in for the kill with "I take you wife" in a serious tone. In shock, I lost all verbal filter and said, "I like bacon and I love Jesus." He continued to attempt to tell me my religion was no issue but he never addressed the bacon. We haven't spoken since. I've taken a break from dating but know that one day my guy will find me. For those seeking love in the UAE, we have a very vibrant social life."


This story originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of ESSENCE.

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