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6 Things You Should Do When Meeting Someone Overseas

You’ve met this great guy online and feel like it’s time to meet. It’s exciting and exhilarating but slow down! It’s time to proceed with caution. Meeting someone overseas is a big step. Online dating is one of the most popular ways to meet a partner and it’s opened up the world in a way that nothing else ever has. This also means being exposed to a lot more danger than ever before. Bad things can happen anywhere but it’s important to take steps to protect yourself physically and financially. 

6 steps every woman needs to take when meeting someone overseas

I get countless emails from women who have met Moroccan (and sometimes from other Arab countries) men and want me to weigh in on the validity of their relationships. I refuse to do this because I don’t personally know either of them.

But, 99% of the time my brain is screaming RUN! There are so many bad scenarios and situations that people find themselves in, hoping that it’s simply cultural differences that will later be resolved.

This is most often not the case and both people are left having had a bad experience and judging all men by the same yardstick. The reality is THERE ARE men who simply want to scam women for money, residency or a way out of the country. There are also men who are insanely genuine; unfortunately the bad often outweigh the good.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you’ve met someone overseas, what should you do?

Consider these six things as you walk this road.

Your Heart is Great But… Use Your Head

I did my share of crazy. Many people would say that what I did after I met MarocBaba was insane, and maybe it was. I know personally of a lot of women meeting men online in other countries and then uprooting their entire lives to move to said country and start a life together. Sometimes it works, but a lot of times it ends up leading to big problems.

Things aren’t always what they seem. When considering a relationship it’s fine to let your heart lead you but use your head too. If something seems off, trust your instinct. Listen to your gut. Do not allow yourself to get so wrapped up in romance or the idea of something that you ignore everything else. Use the same yardstick you would with a man from your own culture, don’t play off things simply because “he’s from a different culture.” If you really can’t stand a certain trait don’t assume it will ever change. You also may want to read this post about the good, the bad, and the ugly of meeting someone overseas.

Leave a Record

Like, a really clear record – this is not the time to evasive or elusive. This should include copies of your passport, travel documents, addresses where you will be staying and who you will be with. If this changes while you are traveling, update someone at home with the information. If you will be meeting someone new, get as much of their information as possible. Where they live (address), their full name, birthday, parents names, as much information as you can. Ask them for a copy of their national ID card. If they don’t want to share this information it should be considered a big red flag. Protect yourself first and foremost. 

Set Check-In Times

Talk with your friends and family before you travel to give them a rough timeline of your plans. Let them know how often you will try to check in. Create a plan with them on what they should do if they don’t hear from you within a determined time period. 

Protect Yourself

Do NOT trust someone at face value. You should do some research to know not only who the person you are meeting us but learn about the place you are going. Make sure you have the numbers for your embassy or foreign mission. You also should research ahead of time so that you know how to reach them, not only by phone but physically. Is there a bus route? Do you need a taxi? Make sure that you have money available to do this. Likewise, if you are meeting someone new it is advisable that you book a hotel room or private accommodation. If you do decide to stay with the person you are meeting have enough money and resources available to leave if you need to. 

Register with Your Embassy and Foreign Affairs Department

Most all countries have a program in place for their citizens to register when they are traveling abroad. Do it and keep the information updated. If your family is unsure where you are or if you are in need of assistance, your government needs to have as much information about you as possible to help find you. This is also important if there is a natural disaster or other emergency in the country you are visiting. Embassies work to identify where there citizens are and if they have been affected. If you don’t let them know where you are, they won’t know where to look for you. If you’re a US Citizen this is where you would register – STEP Enrollment

Sound Too Good To Be True? It Probably Is…

If I had a penny for all of the stories I have heard men tell women about how they’re going to wine and dine and sweep them off their feet I could own an island by now. The bottom line is, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let your emotions or your desire for it to be true, overcome the reality of what it is. 

I truly believe that most people in the world are good but I also know that they are not. This post isn’t meant to scare people out of visiting other countries (because bad things happen everywhere) but are some practical tips that should be kept in mind to stay safe when traveling. 

Looking for more help navigating a new cross-cultural relationship? So many people have requested help with this so I put together an ebook that you can use to assess your situation. It provides insight on what to look for and also questions to ask yourself and discussion questions and an activity for you and your partner.

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Natalie Teel

Sunday 19th of September 2021

Thank you I have recently started talking to a man on my Twitter email and there been several red flags then there several comments from him that wipe out those red flags. I’m not planning on traveling across seas to meet this “doctor without borders.” but I’m concerned about my heart. I am staying on the side caution more so! I have not registered any place yet I would like to just to be cautious. I’ve been Googling where to find out how to handle this situation. That is how I came across your article and Thank God🌷

Amanda

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

Hi Amanda,

I just wanted to say thank you for the articles you have posted sharing your experiences. I was in Morocco a while back and met a wonderful man. I have had so many concerns because of the cultural differences and knowing whether or not he is genuine. I really appreciate your practical approach, experiences and recommendations on things to discuss. It has been so helpful, helping me to organize my thoughts and concerns so that I can ask questions and have discussions with him. Your encouragement to trust your intuition is a wonderful reminder. In general, it is just nice to be able to read about someone that started out in a similar situation and hear how it progressed for them. Also, to hear some ways to work on resolving my concerns one way or the other. Thanks again for taking the time to share!

Kind Regards, Another Amanda

Amanda Mouttaki

Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Wishing you the very best of luck!!

I am not dumb enough to add my name sorry-

Thursday 22nd of July 2021

So I met this friend 2 years ago.. we have quite of an interesting story but that's not important. Well right now we are kinda close at least I think we are.. We know what we look like, sound like, live and stuff, we trust each other- and they offered me a place in their school- and stuff- well of course I want to.. but I am going to take small steps. First I'll visit them for a week and see what it’s like- if I like it then I'll stay if not then screw them! Well I'm still not sure.. it feels like I'm sacrificing a lot just for that one person.. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I know what MY feelings are for them, but I don't know if they mean what they say back.. so can I get some answers to this.. should I go? Should I not? I mean I do want to meet them- so I'll probably do that 1 week thingy- it’s just that I'm afraid to know the truth.. sorry I know I talk a lot..

Theowlsarentwhattheyseem

Saturday 4th of September 2021

@I am not dumb enough to add my name sorry-, I feel like, for a woman it's much more dangerous to visit a man overseas. I previously dated a Greek guy in Greece and he told me horror stories about foreign women having their passports stolen and being taken to brothels. As far fetched as that may seem to many, I have had the bait and switch pulled on me travelling within the US. On one occassion I was supposed to stay with a friend I knew from NY that ended up moving to Colorado. She begged me to visit, as she was lonely and ended up moving to Colorado on a whim to be with an airline pilot. When I got to get place there was only a blowup mattress on the floor and she was incredibly chaotic, was hooked on drugs and put me in several dangerous situations (one of which resulted In my being assaulted). It was a nightmare and, although I am very interested in getting to know one particular guy in Europe (who I had met stateside before) I would feel safest if he came to visit me first. I know he has experienced harassment from my ex and his friends and I think he's really brave for not being intimidated (as everyone else in my life has been scared off by these goons). I'd love for him to stay with me at my place and get to know one another before I made a move to relocate. I know my ex and his buddies are all talk and wouldn't make an effort to approach us in person (as their behavior has been online BS, and the occasional childish drive by and shouting on the street, since I exposed them for being abusive. I know the guy I'm interested in is concerned for his safety but I'm certain he would be safe and we would have a great time. I feel a bit sad bc I have entertained the idea of dating someone local because I fear relocating and being left stranded without a home, job or familiarity with the language spoken there. I wouldnt want to expose myself to potentially greater danger than I've been exposed to here. I know he has felt hurt when I've expressed passing interest in men who are local but it's no indication of my feelings for him but rather my desire not to fixate on or idealize the connection we share or the longevity of his desire and commitment to me. If he did visit and we began dating I wouldnt entertain the advances of men (and do that with very few now, as is).

Amanda Mouttaki

Saturday 24th of July 2021

I'm not sure how they offered you a place in their school. But it sounds like taking a small step is really the best option for you and you've got a good outlook for the situation. It's impossible for any of us to ever know if another person truly means what they're saying but being smart, taking your time and trusting your intuition are usually great steps in these kind of situations.

TooSmartForABrokenHeart

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

Thank you for this post! As I read some of these comments my heart breaks. So many nieve people out there! Every experience is different and we are all hoping to be the exception...we convince ourselves that we will be the exception and ignore the red flags! They will be everything you ever wanted...all because they do in fact want something! Listen to your friends and family at home. They know you best. It's easy to sit behind a computer screen or call you everyday! Real love takes time to grow through shared experience in person, over time, facing life's challenges TOGETHER! Beware "Predatory Marriage"...it's a thing and it is very real! And it destroys lives! Keep in mind that people from North Africa in particular have very different mentalities and different life experience than those in North America. You disagree? Try living with them and you will see. If they are Muslim, practising or not, Islam will largely shape their world view. Learn about their Religion and Culture. If they participate in Ramadan, they are in fact practising! Interreligious Marriages seldom work out. I was told this directly from an Imam. Google Sharia Law which is Islamic Law. They will be leader of the household and they will demand you do whatever they want. They will deny this in the beginning. They will seem diplomatic and democratic to tell you what you may want to hear to build your confidence in them. They have done their research when they are pursueing you at full speed. They will push for marriage fast for a number of reasons including to avoid fornication. And often to start a family asap. Beware if you are an older woman and they are several years or more younger. This is common. And beware if you have anything of value or access to money through family. Marrying a woman for her wealth is one of the five acceptable reasons to marry a woman in Islam. Demand a Marriage Contract (Pre-Nup) to protect your assets and your family! Think about the legal financial obligations of sponsoring someone to come to your country. Huge responsibility for years to come! Even if you separate! Red flag is if you are over 35 and they insist on having 4-6 children minimum. 12 children is not unheard of in Muslim countries. If you are not pregnant within the first year your fertility will be questioned. Some consider it disgrace to the family brought on by the daughterinlaw. Especially if the Mother in Law did not choose the Wife for her Son. I was told that the husband must never show love or affection to his wife in front of the Mother. Mother and Sisters are always loved the most and are in a position of power over the wife. These are Cultural norms. Affection for the Wife is only behind closed doors of the bedroom. Adult Son sharing bed with Mother while away from home is not bizarre to them. ( I don't mean in a sexual way.) Even if they are Muslim and living here or born in North America they will still feel it is their Allah given right as a Man to take up to four wives. One legal wife and additional wives through "Religious Marriage Only" which legally gives you nothing and no real legal protections. No Poligany here. I was told that this is permissable only in times of war...then much later told we are in a time of war somewhere! I was told he believed in one man and one woman for life. Then he demanded another wife! I was told that I am not higher than Allah or his Law. I will say that the majority have only one wife of those living in N.America but it does happen. And I will add that he was already living in this country when we met online. I did not travel overseas to meet him. I would not do that for any man, no matter how great they may seem or "act" across a computer screen! I asked many questions before and he seemed to have an open mind, was polite, educated, seemingly kind and caring. The religion issue was downplayed. I was told I didnt have to convert. He never prayed in front of me. After marriage he seemed so different! Very devout and demanded Sharia Law in my home and even in my Families' home as well. He refused to assimilate or meet my extended family or friends. I had lost my friends by now anyway. My witnesses for Marriage at the Mosque were strangers I never met before or after. I, as a woman, did not and could not speak for myself. I sat there silent like a traded animal for a few bucks minimum Dowry. Having to ask for permission for almost everything and being treated as a child was very disturbing. Freedom was limited, expected to spend 80% of my time in the home and always in before dark, when the "Jinn" come out to do evil. I was expected to follow him without question or be seen as rebellious and forced to sleep in beds apart! It is common belief that men are leaders and women are followers. No thanks...I've been around the world! I will never understand why two male witnesses equal four woman witnesses. Two men or four woman have to see a crime committed or it did not happen. I was told that two woman have to remind the other two women about what happened incase she forgets! Totally different mentality! I was often reminded that Allah created Men to excel over women. I just couldnt wrap my head around that one. I was told Men and Women are equal in RIGHTS only! And a MAN must not hit a WOMAN on the face. But a WOMAN must NEVER hit a MAN! Cultural differences, I suppose? If Muslim woman accept this and like this, then good for them, but not for me! Longer visits back home inspired him to become more religious, even waking in the night everynight to pray. And even growing a scragily beard and wearing traditional gown like clothing. Everything stops five times a day when its time to pray. Better to pray on time every time, he'd say. Ramadan is a tough month. Not Muslim but was forced to participate. Google it.

Couldnt even go to the beach without hearing that woman in swimsuits are b*t*hes and w*ores! And if u had a boyfriend before...he will say he only cares about how you live now...but this will really bother him! You will hear about it over and over! He will be so understanding about absolutely everything until you are his wife! Anything not fitting in with Islam will be critisized. Before you know it he will be advising you and changeing your clothes, hair, make-up if you are permitted to wear it and way of life. Keep in mind that North African countries are in fact Muslim Countries with very different expectations of how woman should live and present themselves. Simply making eye contact with a man can be seen as a come on. Women dont generally go out alone for many reasons! And chances are, he will send most of his money home and be building a house there with his family. He will plan to return there to live one day and travel there whenever he wants, without you, too. It's easy to hide things back home, as he will likely manage the money privately. Some live modestly in N. America to send money to build a second life which may or may not include you at some point in the future. Your money will be welcome, of course! Financially supporting family members or religious projects are not uncommon. He will likely want to be buried there, according to Islamic Law, with or without you. I could go on and on. Fool me once, shame on YOU! Fool me twice, shame on ME! Wish I knew then what I know now!

Always, always put safety first. Have HIM come to YOU! IMO, women should NEVER chase after a man! If he is serious about you, he will come to you, on his dime! If he needs money to come, then he can't afford to provide for you either! Also keep in mind that if you go missing, your government will only do so much to help you. You wont be in Kansas anymore! Read up on the government travel advisories and make a good and informed judgement. Warnings like "kidnapping, terrorism and banditry" are VERY real threats! Some places you will need to hire a guide to protect you. It's a very different world than where you are coming from. You can unknowingly put yourself at risk.

Please at least think about these things. May everyone stay safe. May common sense and logical thinking prevail. Best wishes to us all!

Amanda Mouttaki

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

I am approving this comment as I feel the person who shared spent a lot of time writing it. But I am doing so with the caveat that a lot of what is described here was her personal experience. Most if not all of the things listed here are not my personal experience at all. I believe it's important to know and understand all potential pitfalls.

Nay

Monday 5th of October 2020

I met this really great guy back in April and it is cuurently October. We have talked every day since then and we have a 10 hour difference because he is from Turkey. Somehow he still manages to talk to me twice a day (in the morning and at night). I love the dedication and how he is. He talks to me about his life, family, job, and i tell him about mine. We have grown very close to each other and every day I get even more excited to talk to him than the last. He has mentioned how he wants me tt go visit him in his country sometimes next year. I honestly feel like I can trust him but once again the fear rushes back in when I come across these articles. He sounds sincere and from wht I can tell he wants to have a future with me. I also don´t want to be foolish though and end up giving all of my love to someone who will only take me for granted. I will take my time and if I do go visit him I will take my best friend with me so that I can at least have her with me. He tells me that he is working very hard to save up all of his money so we can buy a home someday and he has mentioned how he would love to marry me. He has told me that if I wanted to, I could go live with him in Turkey. This is where I realized that he will not use me for a green card. I just fear that I might have made a mistake. He has mentioned me to his family so I mean that is on the right track. We have facetimed and sent present pictures of each other and he has also shown me his driver´s license (because I asked if he had one) and so I am pretty sure that I can trust him because he is willing to answer all of the questions that I have. I love him really, but fear always comes running back to me. Wish me luck if I ever do decide to go see him!