Abu Dhabi: Loneliness is a big issue in the UAE for single women from their 20s to 40s in addition to career challenges and the fact that they hardly have any free time.

For Francys Arias C, 25, a production engineer from Venezuela, mall-hopping, catching up with friends and roaming the streets freely without fear, are just a few of the activities women can enjoy in Abu Dhabi.

"But loneliness is a big issue, despite the fact there are more men than women here," she says.

However, she does love the privileges women enjoy in this male-dominated society. Privileges such as women-only queues.

When Arias first settled in Abu Dhabi, she felt the mix of cultures would help her find a suitable partner.

However, after two years, she started to realise that Abu Dhabi is a "transitional place" which made her feel like "an old woman at a train station watching passers-by come and go."

"It's routine life," she said. "Waking up at seven, working for eight hours, burning calories at the gym, then going back home. It is a hard and competitive, hard world. It can be boring, but this is the price you pay as a female who has the opportunity to save money and live a high standard of living, which one cannot easily find in another country," she said.

Arias is invited to at least two farewell parties a month.

"The chance of finding a single guy and starting a relationship is next to nil," she says.

When Filipina engineer Cheryl Trugillo, 27, decided to move to Abu Dhabi, she was convinced she would grow professionally. She enjoys being part of a multi-cultural society. Her biggest challenge is finding a life partner.

"Meeting people is not hard, but finding real friends who are not transitional is difficult. I think of my life here as temporary, and feel that if a girl finds a partner these days, she's simply lucky. If not, then she only focuses on her career and enjoys the life this country has to offer," she says.

Born and raised in Abu Dhabi and now working as an engineer, Abeer Karameh who is Lebanese and 24, feels that it is not only singles who suffer, but also married women, who face torrid times being "hit on" by men.

Women with demanding jobs have no time to enjoy their lives. "As for women who have a 9 to 5 job, these are the ones that need to fill their time with activities, which are costly."

German national Jelena Bundesmann, 45, is head of business administration in one company, and feels that life in Abu Dhabi is different than that in Europe, in spite of it being open minded, multi-cultural and safe. This is her first time to live and work in an Arab country.

"I have worked in an international company for many years. I have to say that Abu Dhabi has so far brought me no surprises as a white European, non-Muslim woman. I feel accepted and welcomed here," she said.

She appreciates the time one can spend at various sports and hobbies. "I love yoga and fitness offers here, and I use them!"

Annaliese Regan Adelaide, an Australian aged 32, feels that living in Abu Dhabi requires patience, understanding and the need to be respectful of local and various cultures.

Independent women

Single women everywhere know that being single is fun. Here's why?

You don't have to fight for the remote control

You have control over what you spend

There will be no shoes in the middle of the room to trip over at six in the morning.

You don't have anyone saying, "You're not going to wear that, are you?'"

You can have as many mood swings as you want

You have the freedom to choose.

You can sleep peacefully without any snoring to keep you awake and irritate you.

Have your say
Do you think loneliness is a big issue for single women in the UAE? Is there a way out of this social crisis? Tell us

Your comments

I moved to dubai after marriage and my husband's family is very nice, But I just miss the presence of those friends who you can call in the middle of the night to talk about something stupid. It has been two years and I met some very nice people but I still have not found the kind I had back home. It feels like everyone including myself is so busy that people hesitate to make plans. Many of us just communicate online although we are living in the same city.
Posted: January 10, 2009, 15:29

People can be more simple in their attitude and acquisitions. A lot of us play by the 'mode' of society; we are stereotyped - too afraid of being and loving ourselves. It becomes difficult for us to accept others for themselves. A humbler us makes a happier environment, a place to find friends and life partners.
Posted: January 10, 2009, 14:53

It is true that lonliness is a major factor of life here so as in any part of the world.I also feel isolated but the only force that drives me is that I am not alone.
Tapan K Chattopadhyay
Posted: January 10, 2009, 14:04

Women are finally upset about the fact that they are left alone. When a woman is in a relationship, she tends to feel crowded and complains that she is not given enough space for herself. Now that they are left alone, they complain that they are loneley? Women please make up your minds on what you really want before you grumble about what you dont have.
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:55

I am a widow of German origin living in Italy. In winter I come over to Australia to escape cold weather. I have never been and felt so lonely in my life as I do here. I am buying an apartment in Dubai. It will be ready in 2010. As soon as I settle down there, I will become a member of various clubs and hope to make some new friends.
Christa Biet Giacalone
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:45

I think people are lonely here because this society isn't set up for young single people.
From a reader
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:40

I agree with these statements but lonliness is not only the problem of females but it is also the problem of males.I am a 26-year-old Pakistani and have been her in Dubai for more then three years.In these three years I tried to make friends but I didnt anyone. People here lack trust.
Ahsan Azeem
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:39

This article hits the nail on the problem of single women. There are many single men. However, there are no matches for women with better careers.
Crudeltade del Milano
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:34

Loneliness is a big issue to everyone, single or married but being single is also fun as long as you know how you enjoy what life has to offer.
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:11

Thank you for this nice report. I suggest you write something about men as well. We are facing the same issue as well. After seven years in Dubai, I can say it's the most difficult part of life here is to find a good partner
Posted: January 10, 2009, 13:02

It is also is the same here in the UK and I think the reason is people being glued to their phones, music players and and computers while shutting out human contact.
Sergei K
Posted: January 10, 2009, 12:57

It is an interesting topic. I believe loneliness is a big issue here in UAE. As a single Sudanese lady myself and despite being here since I was a child and that my family is here with me. We have good relations among the Sudanese community in Abu Dhabi but it is still difficult to find your match. People need to widen their social contacts.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 10, 2009, 12:13

There is no doubt that lonliness is a big issure here in the UAE. As a matter of fact, finding true friends is so difficult as mentioned here in the article that it feels like standing at a train station where people come and go, and in the end you are standing there all alone. True friends are rare but here in Dubai they are almost extinct. I myself feel lonely after coming back from work.
Mohammad Khan
Posted: January 10, 2009, 11:19