Dubai Dating: The Ultimate Guide For 2021

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Dating in Dubai as a local resident or expat can be challenging. For local residents, culture and religion are extremely important. For expat’s it can be difficult to know what’s ‘allowed’ and what’s not especially when some couples have been arrested for kissing in public. In this blog post we’ve created the ultimate guide to Dubai dating to show you all that you need to know.

Is dating allowed in Dubai?

dubai dating

Yes, dating is allowed in Dubai. But the rules governing dating in Dubai are different from those in the UK, Europe and the USA. This is because the UAE is a more conservative state. Public displays of affection are frowned upon by Emirati’s.

Can you kiss in public in Dubai?

The Dubai code states that “Kissing and petting are considered an offence to public decency. “Public displays of affection, as well as sexual harassment or randomly addressing women in public places, is liable to be punished by imprisonment or deportation”.

Is premarital sex illegal in Dubai?

It is illegal to live with somebody you are dating, or have sex with them, if you are not married. These laws are not strongly enforced. However they should be adhered to if this is the country that you have chosen to reside in.

Can unmarried couples live together in Dubai?

Dubai aerial

Two people of the opposite sex should not be alone in private together and it is illegal to live with a person of different sex from you. Dubai arguably more flexible than other cities in the UAE when it comes to living arrangements, and is considered to be more lenient about this with expats.

Can gay men date in Dubai?

Gay men should not try dating in Dubai at all. Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai. Article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sex.

Why is dating so difficult in Dubai for expats?

expats in Dubai

According to data from Aetna International Workforce Well-Being Survey 2019, 76% of single expats in Dubai found dating to be the most challenging aspect of moving abroad. However, when you add additional challenges like culture, religion, and social standards to the mix, it makes dating even more challenging for expat’s especially. Many expats

On top of this, many expats in Dubai are only planning to stay in Dubai for a few years rather than settle down permanently. This instability or uncertainty about the next move can make expats reluctant to want to form close romantic attachments.

Many expats are not willing to marry or fall in love with people who are not from the same cultural background or religion as them. But that proves to be very challenging in a city that plays host to more than 200 nationalities and ethnicities.

How can I meet people in Dubai?

meet people in Dubai

There are several ways to meet people in Dubai if you are looking for love.

Approach people in your workplace

In Dubai, the working hours are notoriously long. This means that it is highly likely that you will find somebody in your workplace attractive. If you would like to make a professional relationship personal, then by all means express your interest to the individual. However, it’s important to make sure that you do this in a respectful way. First of all, try to determine whether they are interested in you back by looking out for key signs in their body language. Secondly, make sure that you do not touch them – especially if they are Emirati as this crosses a boundary. Thirdly, be subtle. Don’t try to get their number, or force them to go on a date with you. Leave the ball firmly in his, or her court.

Attend Ladies Nights

According to data from Lighthouse Research, men outnumber women by three to one. This means that night clubs and brunches are typically a bit of a meat fest. That’s why Ladies Nights in Dubai are extremely popular. On Ladies Nights women in Dubai usually get free entry, along with free drinks, and food (if it’s brunch). As food and drink is expensive in Dubai, such offers are extremely attractive. So, if you’re keen to meet women in Dubai to date, you may want to attend one of these events with some friends and try your luck!

Visit Expat parties and gatherings

If you’re an Expat, it’s likely that you would have gone to Dubai on your own in the hope of creating a better life for yourself. Luckily, there are lots of Expats in the exact same boat. So, make sure you go to parties and gatherings hosted by other expats. It’s likely that you will share lots in common and have similar interests. Commonality is always a plus when it comes to dating. We recommend using Meetup.

Join social sport teams or interest groups

Dubai is a city where you can always find something to do. So take advantage of this by joining a sports team or interest group. You never know, you could end up meeting someone special! Time Out Dubai created this helpful guide full of ideas back in 2019!

Let your friends arrange a blind date

Another possibility is to ask friends to set you up with people they think you will like. That way, you know your friend has already somewhat vetted them before you meet.

Are dating apps banned in Dubai?

Many dating apps in Dubai are banned. However, there are several dating apps that can still be accessed with a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

  • Tinder
  • Happn
  • Bumble
  • Inner Circle

A VPN can be used to access region-restricted websites. It can mask your IP address, encrypt traffic, unblock sites, and avoid detection by your ISP.

Which is the best dating app in Dubai?

Happn

Happn is a location based dating app which allows users to ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ each other. If both users like each other they can start a conversation. The match feed isn’t limited to your immediate location. It’s full of singles who have been within 250 metres of you at any point throughout the day. Happn is a free app, but there is a subscription add-on called Happn Premium which starts from 37 AED per month.

Bumble

In a city like Dubai with more men than women, Bumble can be perfect for women seeking Mr Right. This popular Tinder alternative follows the same “swipe/match/message” format used by most dating apps. However, on Bumble, only women can make the first move. Once two people have shown mutual interest, guys have to wait for the woman to send the first message.

Inner Circle

As the name suggests, Inner Circle, is an exclusive dating app. The app launched in Europe in 2013 to promote “selective dating”. In addition to offering an exclusive app, there is a website, and regularly offline events. These events allow like-minded individuals to meet in public spaces to network, make friendships, and, occasionally find love. Every profile on Inner Circle is screened prior to approval, and only the most attractive and inspiring singles make the cut.

What are the best dating sites to use in Dubai?

Muslima

Muslima is used by over 4.5 million muslim’s worldwide. It is one of the most popular dating sites in Dubai because it adheres to the Islamic rules on courtship. The website is free to join too! To start finding suitable muslim men and muslim women on Muslima, all that you need to do is sign up and create a profile.

LoveHabibi

LoveHabibi is a dating site for Arabs, Muslims, Arab Christians looking for platonic and romantic relationships. The site helps eliminate potential issues which can arise further down the line regarding culture and religion because every user must include their religion and the denomination where applicable e.g. Catholic, Methodist.

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