I'm an Expat living in Saudi Arabia and 2 months ago I started dating this guy from the middle east because we had a lot of life goals in common (want to get married and have kids, sooner rather than later, not interested in messing around etc.). I've never dated an Arab guy before and to be honest had some preconceptions about Arab guys targeting western women for their money and passports as I've seen a lot of women here get taken advantage of in this way. Anyhow, to cut a long story short, I really like this guy and he takes SUCH good care of me. He drives me everywhere, remembers little things I need, anticipates my every want and lavishes his attention on me. The problem is that he wants me to either marry him or move in with him. Moving in without being married would be dangerous in this country but marrying him too soon could be equally danegrous as he would have rights over me, under Saudi law, and although I believe he is a good person fundamentally, I also believe he has some issues. So, much as I believe he is sincere when he says he wouldn't cause any problems for me if we wanted to divorce or move out from one another, I don't believe he knows himself well enough to guarantee he'll keep to it. So, now he wants to cut off contact until I decide if I want to move in with him or not. And if the answer is no he wants to break up as he says he put a lot of effort into me and doesn't want to waste his time. He says 2 months is more than enough time to know if you'll marry someone and is accusing me of playing games and being irresponsible. To me this sounds ridiculous, manipulative and accusatory. Not an indication we would marry well,... but I want to be open minded and give him a chance. My dilemma is that if I keep my mind too open, I'll be naive and possibly taken advantage of. Is this guy putting the pressure because he genuinely doesn't see why I wouldn't want to marry him, or trust him with my freedom? Is it normal in his culture to want marriage so soon? I mean he's Muslim but not religious... or is he manipulating me to get what he wants? He's about my age, knows I haven't got any money. His parents would not approve but he says he makes his own decisions. Also, he would not require me to 'revert'. Can someone please give me an outside perspective? I'm not stupid, and I really like this guy but something scares me and I don't know what: prejudice or a real issue?
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First of all you've only been dating him for two months. That's clearly not near enough time to focus on marriage. You still have so much to learn about the country, like the customs, where to go if you have an emergency. Hopefully what you are learning about the country and customs isn't coming from him, because if it is, then you may not be gaining accurate information.
I really think that you may need to pull back the reigns on this one for the moment. If you are a Western woman, many guys there will see you as some sort of trophy, and many countries, women are viewed upon as possessions. The culture is pretty much biased in favor of the males there and women tend to have little to no recourse in terms of legal issues.
If he does see you as his trophy, then chances are that may be a motivating factor as to why he's wanting to move to marriage so fast. Factor in the fact that you're far away from home so support from family and friends will be slow at best. Accompany that with your lack of knowledge and understanding of the customs, culture and legal recourse then it's clear that you will be so dependent on him for most of your needs. He will have you isolated and all your actions will have to go through him.
It may not appear as manipulation to you right now, because he's "courting you" so he's playing up the nice guy persona to keep your interest. Once you're married, what will be the motivation for him to continue that persona? At that point he will know he has you and it will be difficult if not impossible to break free.
If I were you, I would definitely put the breaks on this situation, even if you don't stop it, it is urgent that you slow it down. If he genuinely cares for you, he will understand you, support your decision and not pressure you into a situation that you may come to regret later.1