Love in Tunisia
Love in Tunisia

Advice for successful relationships with Tunisians
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Tunisia
General Information


Generally, most of the "typical" relationships, namely between an educated European and an unskilled or low skilled Tunisian, are doomed to fail (no surprise at all, relations between such partners of the same country fail in most cases as well).

It may take in one case months, in another case, even a handful of years, but ultimately these relationships are a dead end. Unfortunately, it is then almost always the women who will suffer most and take the biggest emotinal, if not even financial damage - and this is even true regardless of whether the relation was a "Bezness" relation or not.

Some tunisia (and arab culture) experts say, that the arab and western cultures and societies are simply incompatible, and personally, I have to agree to that.

But, of course, not all and every relations are without a future. Especially relations of people  of higher intellect (intelligence, understanding, understanding, tolerance) have a good chance of being stable in the long run. The same is true when people are ready "to give in", to dive  actively as deep as possible into the other culture (the country where the couple is living together) to integrate into it.

However, only very few "typical" relationships have those conditions. It is simply a fact that the average tourist from the West meets only a certain group of tunisians, who are employed in the tourism industry and mostly unskilled workers and idlers on the road and the beach - and only those actively seek contacts to tourists.

In most cases, they do not have a substantial education or extensive job training and their "knowledge" of the West does not come from reading or researching factual information, but from watching american TV series, music videos and listening to stories from friends and tourists.

In opposite to that, the Tunisians who do have a high education or come from traditional backgrounds are even more open to foreigners (as in curious and polite, but distant as well). However, a partnership with tourists will, for most of them, not come into question at all.

Possible serious partners are therefore somewhere between these two extremes and can usually be met at family events, in universities or companies.

In most cases it is even tunisians who never before considered about a relationship with a western partner or who are highly doubtful about such a relationship.


One thing, is, however, for certain - one should stay away from those who talk within days of meeting already about serious love and a bright future together!


There is an ultimate question, everyone should answer oneself in all honesty:

"Would I think, feel and do the same if this person was from my own country and I had met him/her in a similar situation?"

If the answer is NO, then don't even try to look for excuses or explanations to paint the situation white - simply walk away and don't look back. Even when you do not feel like it in this moment, it is one of the best decisions that you made in your life! Invite your best friend and celebrate with him or her and be aware that this celebration is fully paid by what you have just saved in the abandoned binational relationship - telephone costs, ticket costs, hotel costs and much, much more!

If the answer is YES, though, please do ask yourself the question again, and if you still feel strongly positive, then continue reading...
As one can imagine, there is no remedy that cure all ills and no suggestion for every conceivable situation and every possible partner.
However, there are some basic hints that apply to most relationships.


Education and training

Partners with an high education, as in university level and academic degree, have a significant better chance for a successful relationship. The bigger the education gap is, the bigger is the chance of the relationship failing, especially when the woman is the part with the higher education.


Religion

If the western partner is oneself not a Muslim, as it is usually the case, the chance of a successful relationship with a tunisian partner is much better, when the tunisian is not highly serious with his religion (so-called: "strict").
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The latter is, however, explicitly not the case, when someone just says "I'm not a real Muslim", and, as a "proof", drinks alcohole and frequently changes partners - because the results, after a few years, will almost always be that this person feels the desire to eliminate the "sins" of the years before and becomes then even particularly religious.

So, "not highly serious" are rather those, who put, after a careful consideration (intellect!) the religion below/behind the personal relationship. It is rather those who will reject any strict form of the Islam in favor of a more moderate view based on their own well-informed opinion (which includes the knowledge of various islamic writings and possibly even discussions with Imams). Only then, a decision will be long-lasting and not just be a gesture or conviction of the moment and prevent from "sudden" changes of the partner later on.

Tunisian women are more likely to give up strict positions for their partner and put the family in the foreground, if their family allows it (or does not know it). In opposite, men are more emancipated from their family in their decisions regarding this topic, but are more likely to sooner or later come close again to their religion.

Naturally, a relationship between two strict muslims or two moderate muslims will have the best chances of success due to same values and beliefs, though.


Contacts

The society in Tunisia is highly social, much more than any western society. Interactions with family and close acquaintances are a very important and often existential element of life.

This results in the situation that a tunisian living abroad is missing these contacts and tries to find replacements, but it also means that an emancipation in the western sense of independence and self-determination (becoming "western") is very difficult.

For successful integration into western communinties, the chance of success is the higher, the less "domestic" or "like-minded" contacts exist.
In the reverse case, it is even expected that a western women integrates in Tunisia by restricting the time spent with her acquaintances (and limited it to women only!) and by generally spending more time with the family members of the husband.

Only if the prospective partners are absolutely clear about this, and also really want it themselves, the relationship will not being burdened by a slow or low level integration into the community/society of the country where the couple is living.
Roles

A tunisian man who hangs on to the  traditional role models, offers only little chance for a successful relationship with a European woman.

Strong hints to a deep rooted traditional role understanding are: excessive jealousy, desire to control the woman, affirmation of the womens role as housewife and mother only, as well as other traditional elements (homosocial conduct of leisure time, large amounts of time  spend maintaining contacts in street cafes, excessive frequent family visits).

A part of this role thinking is as well the kind and form of education of the children, especially girls. It might be revealing to watch how a man is treating his own sisters in regard to wearing clothes, relations with boys, going out, getting education, behaviour at home, etc. He will most probably treat his daughters likewise.


Tolerance

The Tunisian society has a different idea of "tolerance" than the western countries. Tolerance in Tunisia is there often called  "respect", but is not a tolerance by conviction, but by tradition and expectations of the society.

The Western form of tolerance, as in making "concessions" without being prompted to, is widely understood as weakness (because "if you want something, then we will do everything to get it").

In this respect in most Tunisian-Western partnerships, the balance of power is tilting in favor of the Tunisian partner, because he will,  in contrast to the western part, not feel the need for long-term concessions but will later try to abandon or re-negotiate them.

It seems that in the vast majority of well working long term Tunisian-Western relations, the one or the other side has given up most of their original positions, and either the wife or the husband has taken the lead, and an high integration of one partner into the culture of the other partner has taken place.

This means in other words, that a Tunisian, who wants to live in the west and has become as western as possible, or a western woman who wants to live in Tunisia and has become as tunisian as possible, have the  best chance for a long-lasting relationship - if, and this is important, if this is based on his or her own wish and their well-informed choice.

A "well-informed" decision is one that is based on an in-depth knowledge of culture, religion, language and traditions - and not one that is just a result of a superficial knowledge of things or the mere wish to "please" the other!

As a general rule: don't give up yourself, your values and views, your freedom and your independce, unless you know exactly what you are doing!

There are also, more rarely, mostly in high levels of education or intellect, mutual agreements of the partners that, on some topics, they have to agree to disagree, because there, different opinions will not match and these issues will then be almost permanently excluded from discussions - which can, of course, only work on non existential issues.

A western-style equal partnership is generally not possible and will exist only in very rare, special exception cases.

(c) 2009-2012 Tunisia Love