Throughout the Middle East intimate relationships have followed traditional customs with the most common tradition of arranged marriage set up by the family of the bride. This has been the most common tradition for rural and conservative Middle Easterns, because according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding, family solidarity is one of the most important part of their lifestyle and religion. More recently though, it has become more common for upper class citizens and the younger generation to accommodate towards the western style of choosing one’s own partner in a court style marriage and our dating customs. This is only a little change in the dating lifestyle of Middle Easterns, with today’s technology and access more ideas are being introduced to the Middle East about dating. Today relationships and dating in the Middle East have definitely become less taboo and reflect on the western customs for a small portion of the community, but traditional customs still remain strong.
An article from The Huffington Post focused on the current generation dating lifestyle in Jordan, and how it has began to change moving from a conservative society to a more open society. Within the last five years there has been significant change of perspectives for relationships and activities to do for young men and women. More women are in the work force finally creating a gender share at work, which has helped create more opportunity to meet single people. Other activities that have become more common to meet other singles are things like going out to night clubs and using new technology and social media sites. Much of these activities are due to the new technology enabling young men and women to access new styles of dating like the western world and creating an accepting community for this nontraditional lifestyle.
Social media sites have definitely taken a toll on Middle Easterns and their opportunity to connect to new individuals. To my surprise, apps such as Tinder, have been used just as much by Middle Easterns as people in our generation in the Western world. What I found shocking though, in an article from ABC news, was that even with a simple app meant simply to meet new singles, is also being used to stir up conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The app connects and allows you to message nearby people you select as a match, and due to the proximity of Israelis and Palestinians, they often match one another. According to the article, there has been a mix of either arguments and racist responses or singles that are willing to ignore the conflict to enjoy the app to try to meet singles from the other side.
Even though today traditional customs of dating and relationships still stand, it is also important to shed light to the new emerging style of dating. It is remarkable how the new generation has become so accustomed to Western styles, and just proves how diverse the Middle East is becoming, even if it is only including a fraction of the community.