However, given the Islamic faith of the Gulf states, the whole issue of dating is, inevitably, a tricky one.
Extramarital sexual relationships are illegal in the region, and kissing in public can also land you in trouble. "It’s definitely safe to date, but avoid public displays of affection," advised financial risk manager and TV presenter Rachel Pether, who lives in Abu Dhabi.
gave female expats pause for thought, demonstrating a – fortunately, rare – dark side to the sunshine lifestyle in the Gulf.
Examples like these inevitably provoke questions, and so we spoke to four women who’ve lived and worked in some of the most popular destinations in the region – the UAE, Qatar and Oman – to find out what life is really like for a single woman living there.
Families are the foundation stone of Arab society, and so it follows that the Gulf region is extremely family-friendly.
Although rape is very rare statistically, the woman is also sometimes accused in rape cases in the UAE, so it may be higher than reported." Beth Howe, a British journalist who lived in Qatar for four years, argued that while the rate of assaults is quite low, harassment is fairly common.’ No shame in that whatsoever." Although smaller than Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar also have thriving social scenes, but, as Beth Howe pointed out, there’s life outside of the numerous clubs and bars."Now is the time to try something you've never done before" she said."Many have left their wives and wedding vows in their home countries," she noted, adding that for those who do find a single man to date, the very nature of expat life often leads to heartache."The transient nature of this part of the world often leads to relationships ending after a short time, and rather abruptly, and it can all be very painful," she said.However, moving to the area without a spouse and children can be a daunting and sometimes isolating experience.And if you’re a woman, plunged into a society where men vastly outnumber women, and where marriage is the norm, it’s even more so."For example, Qatar has an active dive club, or you can take up yoga or have tennis lessons.All of these will make you friends and help you feel socialised." Dating You might be single when you arrive in your new host country, but you might not wish to spend the rest of your life cooking romantic dinners for one.Dress In all countries in the region, modesty is the watchword when it comes to dress.Muslim women will feel right at home, but non-Muslims may struggle initially with the adjustment.