Are Expats in Dubai at Risk of Marriage Breakdowns

Figures released by the Dubai Statistics Centre last week indicate that divorce among foreigners living in the emirate have risen by almost a third since 2009.

According to the statistics, 445 expat couples living in Dubai ended their marriages in 2011 and the expat divorce rates in the United Arab Emirates is now one of the highest in the world.

Discussing the potential reasons as to why the divorce rates were so high in Dubai, one expatriate told U.K. newspaper The Telegraph that she believed it was due to the fact that the demands of expatriate life often entailed that expatriate couples were forced to spend long periods of time away from one another and this led to infidelity: “Some wives don’t or can’t stay here all year round, for a multitude of reasons – kids still in school back home, elderly parents with health issues, homesickness, their own careers etc,” described Briton April Hardy, a writer living in Dubai. “Lots of them come and go, leaving their husbands alone for weeks or months at a time.”

Zoya Pasha, a British expat who works in PR in Dubai, revealed that she thought that the financial crisis had had far-reaching consequences for many couples living in Dubai:

“The recession hit Dubai hard, and many people were laid off from work. Losing a job is obviously stressful and after getting used to a certain lifestyle in Dubai, it can be hard for people to live without necessities they have got used to,” she said.

“Instead of seeing their time in Dubai as a wonderful opportunity to save for their families’ futures, many people who came here before the credit crunch just fell into the habit of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ where lifestyle is concerned, buying designer this and designer that,” she elaborated.

“But then suddenly some were no longer in a position to pay it all back. Some did runners, some stayed and tried to work things out. But however people in these situations handled it, the stress can not have been good for any relationship.”