<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://ct.pinterest.com/v3/?event=init&tid=2613556253294&pd[em]=&noscript=1" /> Skip to Content

6 Assumptions People Make When They Hear Your Husband is Arab

There is a lot of baggage that comes with marrying an Arab man.  The American reference point for this part of the world is limited to what they see in movies and what is on the news.  Sure there are some Americans who have been to this part of the world but they are few and far between.

The media view of Arab men is less than stellar, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that there is a lot of negativity linked to them from the general public. I really wish I would have kept a notebook with all of the comments I have received over the years.

One of the most surprising facts for many Americans I’ve spoken with is the fact that there are Muslim and Christian Arabs, and that Christian Arabs (shock) use Arabic for their services and in fact use the word Allah for God.  Most assume all Arabs are Muslim.

This is just one of the many assumptions people have based on their limited experiences with people of this background.

These are a few of the other assumptions people have had about my husband (not him as a person but him as an Arab man). I tried to pick the ones that I have heard the most often and were the most shocking to me. You can also check out the flip side in my husband’s post on things people say about American wives.

So You Have an Arab Husband..

1. He Must/Will/Does Physically abuse you because that’s normal for them.

You can insert any of those words at various times in our relationship.  This was a comment regularly made by people who heard about our relationship in the beginning. It was interesting to me that the us vs them mentality always existed in this example. Never mind that most people lumped everyone who is of Arabic descent into the same category and culture.

My husband has never abused me in any way.

Are there men who are abusive and happen to be Arab? Yes.

Are there men who are abuse and are of every other nationality in the world? Yes.

One’s culture does not single them out for behavioral traits. There are just as many men of every ethnicity who fit into this scenario and this experience isn’t be limited to a certain ethnic group.

2. He Will Expect You To Be His Slave.

Yes, really more than one person said this.

There are a host of things that there were an expectation I would do, but the idea that somehow I was subjugated to serve him was a notion that blew me out of the water. I’ve wrestled with what this assumption meant as a reflection of me and my ability to judge character and remove myself from a bad situation. I’ve also really wrestled with where this notion even comes from.

I’ve never been a slave to anyone and I certainly have never been beholden to serve my husband.

When you marry an Arab Man

3. He Will Make You Wear “That Thing” On Your Head.

People have assumed that marrying an Arab man means he will force you to wear “that thing” (a hijab) all the time. Hijab is a choice that Muslim women make.  It has little relationship to the man you marry unless that man is very religious and would like his wife to wear it. Chances are also good if that is the case, he probably won’t be looking to marry a foreign woman. I won’t disagree that there are many Arab/Muslim men who would hope that their wives would wear a hijab but there are also men who could care less.

On a more practical note, how can someone force you to wear a headscarf? Glue it to your head? You have the choice of what to do, and if this is not something you want then stand your ground.

4. He and/or His Family Will Sell You Into The White Slave Trade.

Add this one to the shocker category as well.

I couldn’t believe someone actually assumed this and verbalized the idea to me. I guess it just goes to show how far-fetched some people’s ideas can be. There was more to this story after I asked how that works. Including trap doors and underground prisons. I mean if this doesn’t sound like a plot straight out of the movies I’m not sure what is.

I’m not downplaying human trafficking.  I know this is a real issue but to assume all of this is based on ethnicity is absurd. Not to mention that people were serious when saying this, not just making an off-color joke.

5. He Will Kidnap Your Children.

This is a very real concern for some people, and I don’t disagree that it’s important to be vigilant.  However, child abductions occur by men (and women) of every race and ethnicity.  Being Arabic does not predispose someone to engage in this type of behavior.

This is also a reason that some moms won’t let their partners take their children to visit their home countries. I think if you feel you can’t trust your husband to care for your children and that he might kidnap them, you probably should reconsider the marriage in general. I know most men would be calling for backup after about two days of having the kids on their own.

A young Arab couple with a baby

6. He Will Make You One of His Many Wives.

Oh really?

I’m pretty sure he’s got his hands full with just me. Arab Muslim men are permitted to have up to four wives in many countries. The US is not one of them. In most other countries, including Morocco, the permission of the first wife must be in place before a second marriage can occur, not to mention he must prove he can financially provide for two homes before a judge. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen but it’s not as simple as people make it out to be.

If I ever had an inkling this was a remote possibility I would file for divorce. There is a reason for having multiple wives and it works for some people. Couples should talk about this prior to and during their marriage if it’s a concern. There aren’t a lot of men that can financially support two families and even across the Middle East polygamous marriages are becoming rarer.

There are so many other smaller things that people have assumed from the “dirtiness” of Arabs to riding camels. It’s difficult to hear how little knowledge many people have of this part of the world.  It also makes me sad that there is such fear and hostility in most people towards Arabic people.

I try not to get too offended anymore and use the opportunities when comments like this arise to educate and show people a different reality. Often times they’ve had little experience or possibly one negative interaction that has led them to create this stereotype in their minds. One positive experience can help to change that.

Are you in a cross-cultural relationship or considering one?

Not sure if it’s right for you?

Check out my digital guide to navigating the issues and questions that come up! I kept this guide brief and to the point but the questions encourage you to ask yourself and your partner some very important questions. If you’re ready to really get down to the tough things and be honest with how things are, check it out.

More Resources on Cross-Cultural Relationships

These books are some that I have read that have been very helpful and interesting to me over the years;

Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

Intercultural Marriage: Promises and Pitfalls

Loving Across Borders: How to Navigate Conflict, Communication, and Cultural Differences in Your Intercultural Relationship

Sharing is caring!


Sunday 2nd of June 2019

I don't know how many times I have been told he was going to sell me as a sex slave and my parents were sure he was going to come after their inheritance


Monday 21st of May 2018

Hi, It's nice to come here and read some real life stories. Currently I'm dating a muslim Arab guy for almost 6 years now. We are trying to take our relationship to the next level ( marriage ) . I'm not a muslim but living in Malaysia ( multiracial country ) . I've seen some fair amount of muslim people and their lifestyle in Malaysia however its not as strict as in Saudi, its quite open here in Malaysia. My partner is getting very religious and wants me to convert and practice islam fully. He is asking me to change the way i dress. I have compromise to wear long jeans and cover top but its not enough for him, I cant even wear fitted jeans which i usually wear cause he thinks it shows my curves and guys will look at me. I don't see a problem wearing a fitted jeans as long its covered and not torn. Is it wrong? I stand very strong in what I believe and want, I'm finding it hard to follow his way on how he wants me to be. He believes that if I follow him and his way , it would make him happy and we would be happy because we are following the correct islam way. I'm afraid that after marrying, it will be worst and he will have it his way no matter what and we will end up with a divorce or worst. I don't mind converting to a muslim and treating my husband like a king but I cant stand being control and be told what to do. I don't know if I can be the muslim wife he wants me to be. I was not born muslim or live a muslim lifestyle , I was not exposed to islam until I met him. He is expecting too much from me and not seeing the sacrifices that I would need to take to convert to muslim. I hope I would be able to get some advice on this matter. I would love to know how other couple that have gone through the same thing overcome it. Thanks

Wednesday 25th of December 2019

Stay away get American man this guy will take your good energy and he sounds selfish. Not good at all.


Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Hi, I am a Muslim woman. A revert, you have to accept Islam of your own free will. Seems like he’s a control freak. Run away from him & don’t look back. Islam is a beautiful religion & religion is very personal. My husband never forced anything on me or our daughter or sons. He led by example of being a good person who happened to be Muslim. Good luck my sister May ALLAH give you guidance & keep you safe. Find someone else to spend your life with when you are ready & on your mutual terms.


Sunday 26th of May 2019

This is really interesting as I went through the same thing in Malaysia with a guy. 18months on we separated. My culture was ok until things got more serious then he wanted me to change. It was never going to work

Amanda Mouttaki

Wednesday 30th of May 2018

If you don't feel comfortable with the things he is asking now, he's not going to change and back off. You should have the same expectations for him as you would of someone from your own culture. It's one thing to have give and take in a relationship but it's another when your partner is asking you to fundamentally change and you're not comfortable with it. What you wrote makes me uncomfortable and if I were your sister or friend I would say you need to seriously reconsider your relationship.


Sunday 19th of November 2017

I recently married my Lebanese boyfriend of five years (we knew each other for seven years in total). I think it is not fair to generalize... I have met Arab men who fit the stereotypes, and others who definitely do not. I walked into a Lebanese fast-food restaurant here in Canada seven years ago and was sideswiped by a case of love at first sight (did not believe in it before; neither did he) with the man on the other side of the counter, as was he... long story short, he had been married in his 20s to a British woman who he met in Abu Dhabi, she gave him two children, but they were ill-suited personality-wise, and he was immature at the time (she was six years older than him). So it was a difficult marriage (I have met her... I like her, but I can see where they might have rubbed each other the wrong way at times). They moved to Canada, and three years later divorced (when their son was 4.5 and their daughter was 3). He was alone for over 25 years... tried Internet dating, but was not considered dateable (working 70 hours a week in a minimum wage job, two adult children still living at home, and a mother who came to live with him six months of the year, plus lots and lots of debt). So he had given up. After we had that case of love at first sight, nothing happened for two years out of fear, among other things, but we could not deny something was there. We became a couple, and took it slow... he had to get his situation in order (I helped a bit, but largely made him make wiser decisions as to budgeting, saying no to people, etc... he was overly generous with extended family when he did not have the means to be). And I could see he was a really good man in a bad situation. He could not take me out to dinner, but he could cook for me at home... slowly over time, his kids realized it was not fair of them to sponge off their dad... granted they were both a bit lost themselves, but I started to teach them how to budget, recognize what is a priority and what can wait, etc., and kept pushing about how great it feels to be able to do things yourself. And he slowly recognized that in his 50s, he finally did deserve his own life... that is one thing... Lebanese men are often very devoted to their families, which is a good thing, but as I pointed out, it should work both ways, and family should understand that he is in debt and not doing well, and perhaps should be the one helping him... He is Moslem and I am Christian, but it turned out that we had a similar way of looking at the world, shared the same values, etc. I am very strong and independent, but recognize his need to be "the man", and in turn he listens to my advice, and does not make me feel weak... he will say things like "Babe, I know you are strong and can do it, but please let me."

Five years later, after lots of ups and downs, he has said goodbye to his debt and is feeling good... both his kids and I are close and they are more independent, and willing to do things for themselves, and I get on well with his mother, even though she does not speak English or French, just Arabic... we somehow manage to communicate, and we enjoy each other's company.... she is a very devout Moslem and wears the hijab, but like most mothers, regardless of culture, she just wants her son to be happy. So, with everyone's blessing (my parents love him too, although they were initially worried, more about his debt than his religion or culture).

We have had people call him a terrorist (not so much in Canada, but when we have gone on vacation in the USA a couple of times), and make assumptions about him wanting to convert me (he was glad that I believed in God, and had good values... that was enough for him... he agreed to be married by my minister after meeting with her and talking to her)... also people feeling that I must be his servant, but we actually serve each other... he cooks more than I do (he is a chef), and we equally clean and take care of each other. He is very attentive and considers me his queen, and I, in turn, treat him like a king. And he has turned out to be a very loving, affectionate, intelligent, funny man who cares about family and has strong values... Which is what men in general should be... :)


Sunday 26th of November 2017

A touching story really and God bless you for making someone else's life (your husband and his kids) happy and organized. I hope you're happy as well, which I think you are. Good and bad people exist everywhere and in every culture, its people like you who makes the difference in life. Keep it up.


Saturday 7th of October 2017

I have dated across the spectrum, I have dated European guys (German) , One American, One British, Iranians, Turks, Gulf Arab guys, A Chinese- Japanese- Korean mix, One Indian, One Pakistani, and Levant men that grew up in gulf countries. Levant men in gulf countries, are the best emotional investments you can make. They are loyal, treat you like a queen, hold doors for you, cook for you, help with dishes, and all of them sing well. They are less uptight than gulf arabs, but believe in providing for the woman. I did not quite believe in love till I met one of their kind. The downside is, they tend to not marry outside their tribal clan, but this one guy fought the world and being disowned by his family to be with me, and now our families get along incredibly well. This guy's family tends to drink and smoke, so they are relatively open-minded. They are more loyal, kind, family oriented, treat women like queens, unconditionally there for you, than any kind of other men I have met. I am a rational person, and I feel this guy, among the others I met of his kind, were the best relationships of my life. I have probably only met the good ones among them, but as friends, relationships, people around you, they are simply good people.

Ebony white

Saturday 30th of September 2017

Well I need help I am currently talking to an Arab.. he just revealed to me that we may not have a future together because his family does not marry outside their race. He stated that I would be the first. I'm so afraid to keep this going because of getting hurt... I am African American... is this common and how did you deal with this?


Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Do you mean he only wants to marry another Arab? There are white skinned & black skinned Arabs. It is not uncommon to for a white skinned Arab to marry a blacked skinned Arab or vice versa. Especially in Egypt, but Egyptian don’t consider themselves Arabs although some other cultures do.


Friday 26th of July 2019

Hello Eboni! I'm going through the exact same thing right now except he has been with an African American woman before because that's what he prefers but he never told any of his family or friends. I feel exactly how u feel. This topic only recently came up because his parents are in town for the 1st time during our almost 1year relationship. He says he loves me and doesn't want to loose me but I have to protect myself & my feelings. I feel that I deserve someone that I can have a future with although it may hurt because of how much I love him, I have to be realistic & do what's best for me. The longer I stay the more pain I will cause myself. I told him it makes me feel like we're just together killing time until he has to marry an Egyptian woman or like im good enough to be with for now but not good enough to marry. Although I know he loves me, love is not enough to torture myself for God knows how long until one day he's just gone & I will have to deal with the mental torture of knowing that the man I love is off marrying some other woman for no other reason except his family thinks he should. I can't put myself through that especially when I know what the inevitable will be. I wish the world would just let everyone love who they want to love & and be happy for them, because we are truly happy together and have a wonderful relationship. It sucks knowing that the future of our relationship is now being dictated by his family. His mom was arranged to marry his dad and now she is stuck with someone she's unhappy with but she is the driving force behind him marry an Egyptian woman. Even though I love him and hate to see our relationship end I love myself also, so I have to do what's going to be best and the least painful for myself. I think im slowly going to back out of the relationship by calling & texting less & spending less time with him. The crazy thing is several of the men in his family & his friends know about me and they're fine with it. His parents, aunt's, & other female relatives are the ones that push the issue of marrying within your own culture. I wish u the best and remember that your feelings matter and so do u. U deserve to have true happiness and love with someone that's willing and available to love u the way u desire. Good luck!

Amanda Mouttaki

Saturday 30th of September 2017

I don't have any personal experience with this that I could offer but I can tell you that what he's told you is sadly not uncommon.

Comments are closed.