Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Man Shares His Side of the Story

Saudi writer, Dr. Khaled Bartafi, recently wrote a column in the Saudi Gazette about the Saudi man’s perspective of an intimate relationship with a foreign woman.

The story of one couple, a Saudi man and a Colombian, were one of the examples cited in the article.  The Saudi man was a student in the United States where he met the Colombian woman with whom he had a relationship.  According to the article, the Colombian woman had her eyes open and was aware that there was never a commitment of marriage made between them.  She knew he would return to his traditional life in the Kingdom.  The former student said they agreed to be lovers with no condition or promise of marriage.  He had emails which he shared with Dr. Bartafi that allegedly confirm this understanding.

Yet other emails are revealed from the Colombian woman in which she says she is thinking of converting to Islam; wanting to learn Arabic; details about Saudi customs and traditions; and lastly, what would her family and church think if they knew she had an Arab-Muslim boyfriend.  As a woman reading between the lines those kind of words are sending a clear message.  She wants and is dreaming of a future with her Saudi student.

Now according to the student, he made it clear to her that marriage was not a possibility.  The next thing, according to his side of the story, is that six months prior to his graduation and ultimate return to Saudi, she announced she was pregnant.

The student feels that he was entrapped.  He claims that prior to his departure from the United States he left her with what he had in savings, a car and the apartment which it implies they shared.  He said she knew all along he never planned to marry her and was not going to be trapped by the announcement she was pregnant.  The student expressed his disdain and frustration that the Colombian has posted their story in social media, wrote to his family, friends and also contacted the Saudi Embassy.  He believes he has been made a victim.

Regardless of which one, the Saudi student or the Colombian woman, feels they are the victim, the real victim in this case is the child.  Differences should be put aside so that the child can have a stable life and be both confident and comfortable of his/her heritage.

This is where Dr. Bartafi and I are in total agreement.  He too believes that the relationships which develop between Saudi students abroad and a foreign (non-Saudi woman) should be openly discussed and at every level – religious, academic, governmental and non-governmental.  Such relationships are not going to disappear or stop overnight.  More foreign women will have broken hearts and more children from bi-cultural relationships will be born.  It is time to bring this issue to the forefront and more aggressive measures or even punishments should be put into place for the violation of the rules against intimate relationships between Saudis and non-Saudis.

Some may think I am being too harsh as I was the wife of a Saudi man.  However, because of my late marriage (my dear husband passed away) and the American Bedu blog, I have received an “inside track” on too many relationships which have gone sour.  I believe in finding true love but the odds of a successful relationship between a young Saudi (and especially a student) and a foreign woman are minimal.  The majority of such relationships fail.


28 Responses

  1. Brother Khalid knows very well that the Saudi male dominated society, controlled media and antiquated institutions look and treat women, regardless of social status, education and achievements, in less than dignified ways for no reason other than their gender.

    Facts speak for themselves as evidenced by the severe gender segregation, male guardian system, black coverings, free access to employment and forced dependence on male relatives for everything from traveling to receiving life-saving medication.

    No doubt that there are some Saudi men who treat women as equal human beings, but this is the exception. Tragically, Saudi Arabia is the victim of the unnatural, ungodly and inhumane marginalizion of women.

    The good thing is that many Saudi women are fighting back and unless the Saudi autocratic and theocratic ruling men and their dysfunctional religious and political institutions wake up and recognize the damage they have been inflicting on the better half of the population, they will fall victim to their fear of women’s empowerment.

  2. You can not have rules and punishments for people getting involved with people from other countries. Criminalizing it will not help the situation- and to the degree it is “illegal” already it hasn’t seemed to stop anything. What can change is that everyone is held accountable. DNA evidence should be accepted in Saudi courts and men need to pay their fair share of expenses. There is no such thing as “entrapment” by baby. Biology 101 spells out the risks everyone takes when they have sexual relations. This guy just wanted to do whatever he wanted and not face consequences. But it isn’t just about him.

  3. I think it is easy to be harsh to speak the truth after you have experience, especially when you are much older, wiser and have literally been around the world.

    While the young man can claim complete innocence, a person is fully aware if another is having interests other than the purely physical. Especially if that person is showing an interest in the culture and religious conversion.

    In the article he asks, “Where did I go wrong?” … he went wrong by continuing the relationship knowing her feelings and taking advantage of it because of an “agreement”. Not only that, but it seems as though he gave her false hope by saying he’d check with his parents.

    If she got pregnant on purpose, she is certainly not off the hook.

    It’s refreshing to read a Saudi man telling another man he should take care of his responsibility. Bravo for him.

  4. I too had a child by a Saudi and when he found out he fled the country never to have seen the child nor to even support the child. It was okay because another Saudi man with a heart of gold stepped up to the plate and played father to him and spoiled him and loved him. 27 years later, this man wants to claim him as his son. I feel so happy for my son if this man follows through as he never really had a father outside of him. If Saudi men do not want to have children from Americans or other countries then they should not engage in a relationship nor have sex. When he does have sex of course his chances of having a child multiplies. These men have no responsibility when it comes to the life of a child once they leave the US. I think his father should pay all of his back child support, but that will not happen especially since I really can’t find him, nor does my son really care to find him.

  5. By the way, I hear about “treating our women like queens”, but no queen would tolerate being treated as the women of Saudi Arabia have been treated over the hundreds of years. A queen usually has almost equal power as the king. A woman gives birth to a mans child. He should respect her above everything else in the world. He should cherish her and put her on a pedestal. I believe that problem results from arranged marriages, rather than the fact that they were in love. Treating someone you love compared to treatment of the one you do not really love are two different matters. My mother was the center of my father’s world.

  6. With the rare exception in Saudi Arabia East and West shall never meet. This country lives by it’s old customs where influential religious men have the upperhand, therefore it is far the strictes compared to other Arab countries. Change will only come from within when its natives want to make changes themselves, but definetly not if the West constantly tries to make those changes for them. Manny Arab male students look conveniently for a nice clean, preferably vergin, girl while they are abroad, but not for marriage. The poor girl has often no idea untill he’s gone leaving her behind. It’s noble but rare to make an arrangement beforehand with the chosen girl. Most, if not all Saudi families are very large, if a male of such a family gets married to a foreigner and brings her back home that men has got to answer to each of his extended family members and explain why he brought shame upon them in front of their community!? His parents too would of course get told off by relatives and be asked why they did’nt stop their son in time and so on…. See? We in the West have no idea what really goes on there except if you’ve lived that experience and speak the language like I did and your mother in law told anyone willing to listen that her son brought her a white goat from Europe and that’s his certificate from Oxford.
    So my advise to all young ladies out there would be: “stay well away” Remember, most marriages are like a plate of soup, when you start eating it is hot, by the time you put your last spoon into your mouth it’s gone cold.

  7. PS: What I forgot to mention and address in my first post above are those damaging fake books which are written about Saudi Arabia by western writers.
    I mean books which spread damaging sensationalistic untruth about Saudi Arabia and it’s Royals which only harm but do not help the West to understand Saudi Arabia.
    So, as a samle may I give you the none fiction bestseller “PRINCESS” book by american author Jean Sasson. This author became world famous and a multi- millionair from writing Princess which turned into the Princess-trilogy. It is supposed to be the truth about a living, breathing Saudi Arabian princess, her horried husband and her three children.
    This gutsy, daring pioneer of a Princess, who has to stay anonymous or she would get killed by her own royal family for talking out, told her story to her friend Jean Sasson because she craves freedom for herself, her daughters and all fellow Saudi-men-dominated females of her country. Brave Princess Sultana was able to tell the West the truth of what is going on in her royal family and country in general by giving her dairies to her friend Jean Sasson to write from, hoping and wishing America would came to the rescue of all Saudi Arabia’s down trodden females.

    Guess what? This Princess trilogy is in fact pure fiction, it’s a hoax. This princess does not now, nor ever did existed. I wish one of those smart Saudi female journalists would pick up on those books and others confront the authors and expose them as the hoaxes they are.

    There is a fabulous book out there titelt “Soft Weapons” by prof. Gillian Whitlock which nicely dissects Sasson’s and other such authors books from a academia point of view. It is an educational eyeopener on how not to take those Western hoaxe as serious.

  8. I don’t think it’s right to place restrictions or hurt those who choose to enter into a bi-cultural relationship with someone who is Saudi. Sure, a lot of those relationships fail, but so do a lot of other bi-cultural relationships. A lot of the problems arise simply due to differences in culture.

    I think too many women let men from other cultures off the hook by thinking that it’s just because he’s from such-and-such place, so he’s acting different. If the man chose you and you’re from another country and culture, that means he’s accepting to live and work through all those differences. That means he’s accepting that his significant other may not always agree with him due to culture, and there may be things to work out. So women, don’t let him off the hook; if you don’t like something he does, let him know.

    I’ve seen hearts broken on both sides of a relationship simply because of cultural differences in a situation where the two were genuinely working towards marriage. But then, I’ve seen that in two people from the same culture, too.

    I don’t like the idea of limiting bi-cultural relationships because you don’t know what you might be missing. I never really connected with any American guys, but I have an amazing one with an Arab guy. A lot of people were skeptical at first, but so far we’ve not only stayed together but helped each other through some rough spots and learning experiences early on. And perhaps the most astounding- we’re good for each other.

    So no, I don’t think these relationships should be condemned for the very reason that if only a handful of people are able to have the connection Carol had with her Saudi, then it’s worth it. People get their hearts broken all the time, but it’s not easy to find that person that knows you inside and out and loves you for every bit of who you are.

    Carol, would you give up your years with your Saudi if it meant that no Saudi students ever dated someone outside Saudi? And don’t tell me it’s different because I know it is. Every relationship is different. You at least, had the experience. Don’t make life harder for a couple just starting out who is trying to overcome all sorts of barriers by placing more in their path, especially if they found that special someone and refuse to be without him/her. Are some Saudi men using women in Western countries? Yes, but it goes both ways.

  9. Excuse me, but if the “Saudi” gentleman did not want to have a future with this lady, why did he not refrain from sexual intimacy or better yet use a condom! Too many of these guys play this game and too many broken hearts are left behind! The sad part now is the child must suffer, not getting a Father or proper family of the Mom & Dad! Let’s hold these “men” responsible for their behavior!

  10. Do Saudi courts consider DNA un-Islamic or Bed’ah?

  11. I don’t care who has relationships with whom as long as all parties are responsible for their actions. Children should not be abandoned or neglected simply because they were not in your plans when you decided to have sexual relations.

  12. @Ali – I’m not sure why they don’t explain it. Probably one of those is there excuse. I’m sure the real reason is it would be inconvenient for men.

  13. Guess he hasn’t heard of protection. Mst of these men love to blame someone else for their problems. The men always feel trapped, the woman used pregnancy as if she conceived all by herself??? Oh well heard all thse excuses. He will. Walk a way. Justify neglec of the child. Most losers do this. Don’t want to get trapped, keep it zipped or use protection. Simple.

  14. *Carol, would you give up your years with your Saudi if it meant that no Saudi students ever dated someone outside Saudi? And don’t tell me it’s different because I know it is. Every relationship is different. You at least, had the experience. Don’t make life harder for a couple just starting out who is trying to overcome all sorts of barriers by placing more in their path, especially if they found that special someone and refuse to be without him/her. Are some Saudi men using women in Western countries? Yes, but it goes both ways.*

    *Saudi students are prohibited from relationships with foreign women -and- Saudi men are also prohibited to marry a foreign woman if the Saudi is under the age of 35. So there is a big difference and that’s according to the law. Abdullah and I did not meet until we were in our 40’s. I’m not trying to make life harder but simply speaking (writing) what the reality is. The odds of a young Saudi and a non-Saudi having a lasting relationship are probably less than 10 per cent. That’s my own personal view. I know there are some Saudis and some Saudi wives who read the blog and hope they will add their input to this too.*

  15. @bedu
    just curious, since your saudi and you were older when you two connected, and you spoke of his kids. so i imagine he was married or something. were you a second wife, or was he already divorced, or did he divorce for you?

  16. It’s about time that men all over the world learn that most women really are out for a long term relationship/marriage, and that they will always consider any serious bonding to end up in a marriage (or something like it) They very rarely believe that the man really only wants the sex, they always hope he will love her forever.

    And any man who doesn’t want to have a baby and the responsibillity of taking care of a new life shouldn’t have sex. Sex can always result in a baby. If he really doesn’t want any children he should ahve an operation. It’s the only 100% proof way of avoiding that. And abstinence of course.

    And what wa this guy thinking of having unprotected sex? He could at least have used a condom. Every responsible person engaging in sex should use condoms. Does nobody know anymore about std’s?

    Why do they have unprotected sex? If you are that irresponsible you should not have sex at all anyway.

    I can’t feel sorry for anybody here. Except the baby of course, the baby is not getting a good deal by being born from such stupid parents.

  17. Seriously, why blame only the Saudi men for these babies? It still takes two, right? What was stopping any of those women from using protection? I teach a lot of Saudi guys so yeah, I know they sleep around a lot. You know what? There are also a lot of women, not just American, sleeping around with these Saudi guys. They are adults and it’s their decision. Protection works both ways. Saudi guys are not going around raping lots of women. They might be charming the pants off of these women, but the women still have a choice and a say in the matter and it’s their right to choose whatever they want, but let’s let the blame fall where it belongs….on both people involved….when it comes to baby-making. And seriously, it’s NOT just the Saudis who sleep around. Been around any large groups of Koreans lately? Trust me; there is a whole lot going on there as well. They are not as open about it and they might not always be quite as successful, but trust me; it’s happening.

  18. The reason men are blamed is because the women face the consequences of unprotected sex, the men don’t . The fault lies on both ends.
    But i don’t see any women throwing away the baby she had , or saying “hmm it’s a struggle why not dump this child. ” i don’t understand why a father would not have this same bond???

    so women who have unprotected sex with anyone will have to bear the consequences. men who have unprotected sex will also need to have responsibility , the responsibility of taking care of a child you created.

    It’s worse in case of a saudi .IMO he can RUN AWAY to his country and simply dissapear without having to pay. whereas if you mess around with someone from your same country, you can always find him and get himt o pay .. i believe the saudi’s i know know this loophole exists and that’s why they act the way they do here. Why don’t they have this urge to date indesriminately and sleep around in saudi??? cause they will be caught . simple.

  19. It’s worse in case of a saudi .IMO he can RUN AWAY to his country and simply dissapear without having to pay.

    Because of THIS very reason is why these women should have more sense and abstain from following their heart too much and listen to their brain for once. I have little sympathy for them, sorry. But the children are another matter, unlucky to be a product of two IRRESPONSIBLE people. I wish the Saudi gov would catch these reckless boys and jail them though, wasting their parent’s money and screwing people’s life. Seen my hubby’s cousin got punished by his parents for having fun instead of studying and good for him.

  20. @mrs bawazir – Oh i have absolutely no sympathy for them or the men either, especially annoyed at the women who are told what to expect. i mean they come and ask and pour their heart out nad in s few cases i tell them quite brutally that they are going to be dumped, pl use protection, or pl don’t sleep with them. but then they go get married ( as if that will stop the fellas), and i again tell them — ‘ my der child, you may me married inthe eyes or god and law but it doesn’t mean much to him’, why did you do something so binding nd legal with a loser. and they think marriage is protection and love and all things lovely where as for him marriage is just a short time study fling. he will marry, enjoy and leave with absolutely no repercussions.. i’ve even seen cases where the girl cannot find the guy after he left… hence cannot get a divorce quickly either…
    hmmm human stupidity – or should i call it young age stupidity.
    i wonder why this affects only a certain group of women thhough????
    and the men seem to know who to go after 🙂 like they’ve done a thesis on this.

  21. Radha, I am convinced they have a school somewhere, the stories are too alike, the excuses are always the same…
    There is an online course, with the following curriculum:

    – ”How to choose a likely victim, what to look for, how to approach your victim”
    – ”What to say to a foreign woman to fool her into believing you are an honest man who truly loves her”
    – ”What to say and do when she reads stuff online which exposes your lies.”
    – ”Why you don’t have to have protection and how to dump her if the unprotected sex results in the natural manner, the baby.”
    – ”How to weasel out of any obligations and which sentences will have best effects”
    – ”30 phrases of effective whining when you have dumped her, moved back to Saudi, but still want the fun of an online relationship”

    For those with a remnant of decency and honour there is a page of religious quotes explaining why foreign women are alright to use, abuse, and dump.
    And of course the wicked Bin Baz’s infamous fatwa of how Saudi students should marry a foreign woman during their studies and then dump her when they have finished.

  22. Anfke-Art you are so wrong. Sheick Ibn Baz (mercy upon him) did not recommend students to go through these relations. You clearly misread his fatwa. At the end of the fatwa he said that he advice against these kind of relations.

  23. Dear Carol,
    I stumbled upon your article. I am just wondering if these kind of relationships would ever be successful. I myself a student, who is committed to his Faith and to the Islamic and the human great morals and values. I become sad when I read such stories, which depict the great lack of responsibilities these students show. If you are not responsible then do not engage in any sexual relationships at all. I would like to share my experience with you here. As I said earlier I am committed to Islam. Therefore sex before marriage is not an option for me. If I find a person, with whom I find emotional connection, then I would consider marriage. I am a responsible person, which means that I will do the necessary to make it a happy and long lasting marriage. from a conscious point of view i would say that intercultural couples face more obstacles than the same culture couples. That is why I do not go to the places, which triggers my instinct. I always lower my gaze. But unexpected encounters can occur. Which happened to me in the classroom. something was special about that girl. I could not suppress my feelings towards her. She is moderately attractive, which was not the reason I had that spark. Something else made her extremely attractive. She really resembles someone, who I love so innately. She looks like the first person who gave me love in this life. Who cared about me who is so happy when I am happy. She looks like my beloved mother. I cannot suppress my feelings. I just went talking to her and asking her about her interests and we share things together. i am not a person, who gets advantage of others. I feel deep agony if I hurt someone, and I am a caring and compassionate person, who gives and wants love.

    Peace and love
    The soul-mate seeker.

  24. Anfke-Art , it is true about have a page of religious quotes explaining why foreign women are alright to use, abuse, and dump? How can I find that?

  25. I quote from the article:

    ‘ It is time to bring this issue to the forefront and more aggressive measures or even punishments should be put into place for the violation of the rules against intimate relationships between Saudis and non-Saudis ‘

    It is very disappointing to see that anyone is suggesting that aggressive measures should be taken in intimate relationships between any two nationalities, whether saudi & non- saudi or any other case.

    Even in the west in the 1900’ s or before such extramarital relationships were forbidden and women were similarly ostracised ( let alone the discouragement of inter- national relationships between men and women at the time). But the western society learned through their mistakes.

    In this day and age, Saudi youngsters are learning independence and responsibility and that is part of their education when travelling abroad.
    As every society and individuals learn from mistakes, so will they and it will take years.

    Nevertheless no one has the right to change the flow of social progress, increasing intolorance and stopping and chances the saudi youth independence, by suggesting that their basic freeedom of chosing a partner will be harshly taken away.

    Really a very disappointing comment that I did not expect to see.

  26. Just a correction also here to the marriage permission process. Again I quote:

    ‘ Saudi students are prohibited from relationships with foreign women -and- Saudi men are also prohibited to marry a foreign woman if the Saudi is under the age of 35 ‘

    Regarding relationships of Saudi men with women in the US: under the US law they are not prohibited. Thus any of them having a relationship in US grounds are protected by US law and no-one can prosecute them when they return to the KSA. If you dring a beer in London you will be prosecuted in Jeddah? That is common sense.


    The Saudi marriage permission is only required within Saudi Arabia or any other country that has signed an agreement with KSA and will not marry Saudi men to women within their juristriction without this certain perimission code number that is issued from the ministry of interior.

    Nevertheless in any other country, whose marriage regulations do not require this permission, marriages can legaly take place and be registered. These marriage are recognised also in Saudi Arabia as they are approved under sharia, which is the offical saudi family law.

    Thus in this case the marriage permission becomes simply the immigration part that has not been satisfied for the saudi to bring his wife in the Kingdom.

    That is ONLY a problem ( that again can be overcome) if the Saudi wants to be resident in his country with his wife.

    Any Saudi NON resident, does not require this immigration process for his wife.

    Furthermore all children born out of legal marriages are automatically registerd in the civil affairs department of MOI and that can be even found ONLINE! They have publicised it on their site. That is irrespective if their was permission or note and their mothers also have the right to reside with them from that moment onwards if they wish in KSA to care for them.

    Thus these generalisations about the marriage permission making it seem as the impossible hurdle only help is propagating generalisations that are rather innacurate and could even say misleading.

  27. The system’ survival depends on total absence of freedom of choice, financial independence (handouts), self-reliance, fear of the punishing god and divide and conquer, as in gender segregation and religious divides, just to name the intelligible.

    Most Saudi intellectuals, reporters and well-to-do men and women have a vested interest in the sustainability of the status quo. They can always take the first flight and flee to the lands of infidels to enjoy the perks free people created.

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