UAE residents focus on Career, delay Marriage

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  • More unmarried people in their 30’s than ever before in UAE.
  • Men in the UAE are more likely career-oriented than women.
  • Trust – a big factor considering the transient nature of expat life in the UAE.
  • Cultural differences, less pressure from parents back home to get married, living expenses, uncertainty of job – other reasons being living ‘the Single life’ in the UAE.
  • UAE is a one-of-a-kind country, where a person can have almost everything – except a life partner.
Miracle Garden in Dubai
An expat couple in Dubai’s Miracle Garden.  Latest survey reveals that the UAE is a one-of-a-kind country, where a person can have almost everything — except a life partner. (Photo used for illustrative purposes only)

UAE Ministry of Interior’s latest report reveals that there are now more single people in their thirties in the UAE than ever before, as residents place more focus on their careers.

The survey by 999, the official English monthly of the Ministry explored the reasons why expats are finding it difficult to find one to marry.

Almost half (42%) of the 450 respondents were legally single (in this survey defined as not married or legally divorced) and their decision to get married were hindered by residents’ preference to progress in their careers first. In a competitive environment like the UAE, achieving career goals are likely to take many years, especially when long-term investment targets are in the cards, causing many residents to delay marriage.

The survey showed that 100 percent of men are very likely, or likely, to be career-oriented while 95 percent of women are very likely, or likely, to do the same.

Trust, is also a big factor. The transient nature of expat life in this country makes it difficult for many to trust their instincts, and their would-be partners. People come and go, so forming a long attachment is difficult according to those surveyed (76%), and even if love blooms, the relationship is not free of suspicion (80%).

Cultural difference was cited as a hindrance by 74 percent of those surveyed. Other reasons include less pressure from parents back home to settle down with a partner.

A large majority felt the UAE was a good place to arrive as a couple, but not such an easy place for meeting someone and setting up home without the support of friends and family (66%). Living expenses, the uncertainty over a job and the linked residency visa also make it hard to take a major decision — like getting married (54%).

In addition, more single women are now arriving in the UAE, as independent residents of the country.

Gail Livingstone-Potter, editor of the website, said; “In the past, it was typical for women to move here as a trailing spouse following a husband’s job, usually at a fairly senior level and aged mid-thirties and above. Now many more women are coming here for their own careers and at younger ages. We see that a lot of the single women want to experience living abroad and they are independent and want to have successful careers. If they meet their husband-to-be along the way, that’s a bonus!”

A surprising finding of the survey was that 60 percent of the respondents felt the UAE trend of older singles did not mirror a worldwide trend. That puts the country in a category of its own, one in which a person can have almost everything, except a life partner.

Lt. Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999, said, “More and more residents are delaying marriage probably to pursue career ambitions. In this country, going by what the respondents have told us, it is possible to build a career, create wealth, make friends, live a good life and do many other things. In the July issue of 999 we explored the variety of reasons why expats are finding it difficult to find ‘the one’. Yet solo or not, it only proves that the UAE is a great place to live, and we encourage everyone to be proactive in helping us maintain this healthy co-existence.”

The 999 English Magazine is a part of the strategic plan of the UAE Ministry of Interior to provide media coverage for the activities and efforts of the Ministry and the Abu Dhabi Police. It also aims to encourage the public to contribute to the reduction of crime and enhancement of safety and security in the UAE.

Are you an Expat living in the UAE? Do you agree with the survey results? Let us know in the comments section.

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