Moroccan dating culture

Older youth, and those with more years of education, were more likely to want to make the choice themselves. Among a smaller number of their older siblings, about half chose their own spouse, but only one fourth of the adolescents said they wanted to do so This conversation grew out of Hamid's recounting of the story of A. He had married a beautiful local young woman who had been previously married off by her family to an older Moroccan man in France.

The first husband divorced her a year later, when she hadn't produced a child. She became pregnant by A. After the marriage, A. He still loved the wife, who bore his child after they separated. Hamid and Douglas found A. He was fond of Elvis Presley's song, "Buttercup," with its vivid imagery of the palpitations of passion:. When I'm near the girl that I love the best My heart beats so it scares me to death.

I'm proud to say that she's my buttercup I'm in love, I'm all shook up. The Arabic song to which A. It's refrain, a drawn-out "You have no thought [of me]," ma'andikshshifikara , seemed to A. A few months later, A. To better understand young people's feelings on who should choose a spouse, we devised a marriage dilemma that we discussed late in with twelve young women and three young men who were especially comfortable talking to us. We said there was a couple who loved each other and wanted to get married, but the parents were opposed. We had to stress that they were really in love, because there is an expectation that a young man may declare his love just to convince a girl to spend time with him; this is a semi-rural setting where dating is disapproved.


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Only one young man, aged 18 and in high school, said that the couple's wishes were clearly more important than those of the parents. If that boy gets married to the girl he likes, they will certainly live happily. Because money is not happiness; happiness is something the heart feels. The boy must have the feeling that the girl likes him. This is why I say that if the boy is hooked on a girl and he truly loves her, he should go and propose to marry her no matter what she's like.

It is not the father who should choose for the son a girl he doesn't like. It is the son who should decide what he likes. It is not the father who is getting married. She should follow her parents' decision. If she goes against their wishes it will be her own reponsibility.

She'd be ungrateful [literally, cursed by them], very much so. If she marries him against their will, she'll face a catastrophe, an accident or something--or even death, some kind of death. They may have an accident or something--she shouldn't. Her parents told her not to marry him: Since she has grown up, [her parents] have taken good care of her: Whatever she asks for they provide, and then at the end they give an opinion and she rejects it.

This is not possible; it is not admissible that she doesn't accept that advice. Like many others, she notes the respect due to parents, and fears negative consequences of disobedience. Others said more specifically that if they married against parental wishes, they would have no support in marital disputes, and nowhere to return to in case of divorce. This young woman's response reflects both a social conformity and a practicality in matters of the heart that we found in most young women, single and married, semi-rural and urban.

While Douglas heard several tales of young men's infatuations and longing, Susan heard very little to suggest that young women had similar experiences. They did have romantic encounters, and did care for the young men, but not as totally and intensely as the young men--or it was not apparent in the way they spoke. Furthermore, they nearly always had a practical eye open to the consequences of their relationships, which could be social censure, but that they hoped would be marriage.

When girls discussed magical influences on them related to love, they usually mentioned a spell cast to keep them from marrying, not something done by a male who wanted to possess them. Only a few young women talked about love in a way that approached the kind of intensity described in early and current Arabic songs and poetry, and which Douglas encountered in young men. One case was that of Amina, a Zawiya woman in her twenties with a primary education.

A girl has to go through a period of intense attachment rabta. The girl feels a great love for a boy. They start talking, kidding around. She starts learning new things [from him]. The girl starts to become aware of things [lit. Amina notes that it is all right for couples to have such interactions now, though discreetly, and how things have changed. In the past it wasn't right. It was shameful for a boy to talk to a girl. A boy would have one week to ask for a girl's hand and marry her ten or fifteen days later. He only gets a good look at her when she moves into his house. A boy will tell you "I trust you.

I care for you If I don't see you for just half a day I go crazy; it seems to me I haven't seen you for a year. He cares for you. But he doesn't have any money [to marry], and you just keep sacrificing yourself for him, talking to him, laughing with him. And you lose your value [reputation]--and your family's. Okay, people see you together, but you say, "They don't matter to me. Because even if I'm standing with him, he'll marry me, God willing.

And finally, he doesn't marry you - how do you feel? It feels like a calamity, like a "psychological complex. You sacrificed yourself for that boy, talking to him even in public Davis and Davis , p. Notice that Amina repeats the boy's intense statements, but not her own. She clearly felt strongly about him, both risking her reputation to be seen with him in public, and evidenced by her condition after they broke off.

But is the core of her concern lost love or a lost opportunity for marriage? Which was it that motivated her to take the risks of which she was clearly aware? Another young woman reports romantic experiences close to what Douglas heard from young men, but still with somewhat less intensity, and, certainly, an awareness of the consequences of her actions.

When we spoke Jamila was married and in her twenties. She had grown up in a small town but now lived with her husband in the city where she had attended the university. Jamila describes a typical way of couples getting together, something she first experienced around fifteen:. There were guys who followed me, but I did not feel anything towards them. Nothing; I had no reaction to them. They were classmates, but I never thought of having a relationship with any of them. And when anyone wrote me a letter telling me about his feelings toward me, I thought it was humiliating; I thought he just wanted to make fun of me and take advantage of me.

I got mad at him and wouldn't talk to him anymore. I used to hope to meet him all the time, and I started desiring kissing and hugging him. That was because when I was near him, I used to feel very relaxed; I felt a great pleasure at being near him. Also, when I was going out with him, I tried everything possible to meet him. When he told me to meet him at night, I would go out at night, even when it was dark I used to tell [my mother] that I was going to study with Naima Yes, he taught me a bit of courage.

When we were together, he told me about a movie he had seen or a book he had read. Sometimes he kissed me, but when he wanted to sleep with me, I couldn't accept. I wouldn't let him. I never had sex with Karim I used to tell myself "If I sleep with him, I will stop liking him. I used to have worries. I knew there was the possibility of getting pregnant. The other possibility was that he would lose control and then I would lose my virginity. While she gives practical reasons for avoiding sex, Jamila also describes the ideal of platonic love a bit later.

A reflection on “the perks of dating a Moroccan man” controversy

Emotions are strong in youth. I think that if I had slept with Karim, I wouldn't have remained so attached to him. That's called platonic love. In platonic love, however, there are no kisses, no sexual relations, nothing. One loves a girl and they know they love each other, but they don't meet. Our love was in a way ideal.

If we had slept together, we probably wouldn't have stayed--I personally still feel attached to him and still think about him. I don't know about his feelings. The relationship finally ended after about four years. Yet even in its midst, Jamila was not entirely carried away. I also used to tell myself that because of the problems with Karim and his family, I was certainly not going to remain with him a long time.

Despite my love for him, our relationship was doomed to stop. I was always afraid of the future. There was no hope. Partly because of this, and for other practical reasons, in spite of her love she refuses Karim's offer to take things into their own hands and elope. Once he suggested I run away with him. I didn't want to do that. I told myself that even if I had run away with him, I would have had to go home sometime, and they would have refused to take me. I was worried that it would hurt my father and be embarrassing to him. My family gave me a certan freedom to go wherever I wanted to.

They didn't ask me for anything as long as I passed my exams at the end of the year, They also used to buy me whatever I wanted. So in the end, I just couldn't leave. It didn't make sense. But any day I wanted to meet [Karim], I did. Other young women described marrying their husbands because they loved them, but in a matter-of-fact rather than passionate way.

Qasmiya is a small-town woman in her twenties, married for three years. She describes the process of her marriage to a husband she cares for. It provides a good example of the results many traditional young women she has a primary education hope for when they venture to interact with men in an environment where dating is not accepted. I met him one day when I went out to the country He said "Hey, girl," and I said "Yes. He asked his friend, "Does this girl live here" and the other said yes.

He asked, "Can I speak with you?


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He proposed quickly, I mean, we didn't wait long When I spoke with him, I found what I wanted. I talked with my mother. I told her there is a guy who wants to come and propose to me. I told my mother because it is not proper to tell my father such a thing. I told my sister first. I said, "I don't speak with him, but they are coming to propose," and his sisters and family came and my parents agreed When I spoke with him, I knew that he is good.

He has a white heart; he is not nasty. From his warmth, I knew that he is good. He buys me clothes, gets things [presents] for me. My husband takes good care of me; I mean, we assist each other. I mean, I show my pride in him to my girlfriends and he shows his pride in me to his boyfriends. Another young matron says she married her husband because she loved him, but her description is hardly rhapsodic; her concern with the practical is evident. She was in her twenties and had completed high school, and been married and living in a medium-sized town for about three years when we spoke.

Dating in Morocco: Total Taboo or Totally Typical? - MarocMama

She had met her husband in his office. At the beginning, I was not sure that he was a good man. I married him because I loved him, that's all. You cannot know if he's good. I used to speak with him on the phone. Someone could see us and tell my father or something or tell my family Before marriage I wasn't sure about that. I couldn't know, because you have to live with someone; it's life that lets you know if a person is good. I found out that he is serious from what people say and from what I see. Since I don't work, I rely on him for many things.

An urban young woman near thirty said she had been through two "shocks" or crises before she married her current husband at twenty six. Although she didn't go into detail, the crises involved men she didn't marry. She met her husband through relatives, and married him after three months. She was currently working and taking university courses, and had two small children. I had decided to marry him, and to convince my parents if it was necessary. I had experienced a shock in my life, and it affected me.

I said "I might find a husband, or I might not;" I got sort of a complex So I was attracted to him and said, "Anyway, he won't lie to me or take advantage of me. Marriage for me must be founded on love; one cannot marry someone without love--impossible. Then one has children and they become everything to you; you have to raise them. That is marriage for me, hapiness.

There are ups and downs, of course, but with love you can surpass them, you can make sacrifices. Farida, an urban teacher and graduate student of thirty who is still single discussed her problems in finding the right man, and her family's reactions. Everybody in my family is upset; my mother wasn't, but now she is. There is a problem: I'm a little concerned, but not in the same way as my family.

I'm concerned because I cannot find a perfect match. I've been meeting young men, but I haven't been satisfied At the beginning I say, "This is the man of my life," but when we talk and become more intimate I get another picture of him. I dislike every one for a different reason. I don't want to marry for marriage's sake, just to have children and a family. I want someone who shares my studies, my interests. And remember, he was caught cheating, not me?!

His cheating on me and lying to this poor moroccan girl was simply not up for discussion. I think that he was looking out for his best interest and did not care who he hurt in the process. I believe that he thought he was "trying out" girls to see who was righteous enough for him to marry.

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I don't think he felt remorse for what he did does, I should say I know he is still with the poor girl and who knows who else! In summary, lets not forget Morocco is a third world country. There you will find many archaic ideas and practices just as you will in the backwoods of Georgia.

And this is the reason why you will find some Moroccan men to be selfish, insecure and are devoid of morals and male chauvinists. Whereas men in developed countries would not think of acting in such a manner and getting away with it because they have accountability. I think this can be applied to all inter-cultural relationships. I wonder what the respectable moroccan men of the world would say in response to my post? Would they admit they have friends back home that carry on like my x did? Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes.

Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting.

DATING AN ARAB MAN?!

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