Love Relationships in Yemen Stifled by Tradition

National Yemen

Love Relationships may end sad

Asma al-Mohattwari

Romeo and Juliet, Antara and Abla, and Qais and Leila are three tragic love stories ending in death. In Yemen, love stories are common despite social traditions that do not allow them. Yet most of these stories end tragically.

Two weeks ago, a new love story was destroyed and had a tragic end. Sara didn’t believe in love and kept advising her friends to stay away from love because their hearts will be broken. She was certain that real love comes after marriage, especially in Yemen. She was a practical woman and tried to spend her free time learning new things and visiting her friends and relatives.

Days passed peacefully but the fateful day came when a new employee in her institution fell in love with her. Emad was frank with her and told her his feelings. At first Sara tried to ignore him but she failed. It was so hard for her to prevent her heart from admiring him. They lived a very pure love story and agreed that they build their future together.

Emad was a poor man and depended on himself for everything so he needed a long time to marry, pay a dowry for his love, and build a home, “I will never marry anyone but you, I will wait for you all my life,” he said. She was honest in her promise but the circumstances around her forced her to break it.

A very rich and handsome groom came to her father and asked him to marry Sara. She received the news with tears. “Dad, I don’t want to marry now, I am so happy with my life like this,” she told her father. But for her father, marriage was the best thing for girls. “My dear, he is a high class man and he is perfect for you. You are old enough, otherwise you will continue your life without a husband because no one wants to marry an old woman.” Her father made up his mind and ended all discussions.

She told Emad to come and engage her because it is the only way to avoid the rich man and postpone the marriage. In Yemen, engagements can cost at least 30,000 YR and he only had 10,000. The only way was to borrow the money. He had a difficult time, but he arranged everything and came to her father. “Which family are you from?” was the first question the father asked. The father still wanted that high class, rich man. When Sara told her mother that she wanted to marry Emad her mother said, “Are you crazy? He is not from a high family and his origins are not like ours and he is a poor man.”

They prepared Sara as if they were preparing a dead girl. Her parents forced her to live her life with someone she didn’t want, and Emad had to live with a broken heart.  Although Sara continued to advise her friends to stay far away from love, she couldn’t prevent herself. She was right that love stories end sadly.

Although love is inevitable, many youth believe that a traditional marriage is better than a love marriage. A social study showed that only 12% of love marriages succeed. Ebtisam Zaid, a psychologist, said that traditional marriage may lack love and become a routine but It may be the most successful marriage and contain the most powerful kind of love.

For Zaid, emotional marriage is either honest and strong between the man and woman who try to get married quickly despite problems and obstacles, or it is passionate and fast love dominated by recklessness with no equivalence between the couple. This love, even if it ends with marriage, will not continue because it is an unreasonable love.

“Love is blind and when youth fall in love they close their minds and think with their hearts. Emotional impulses blind their vision, making them think that love makes miracles while in a traditional marriage they work on the success of their marriage because they know well marriage is a responsibility and involves carrying burdens,” she added.

Falling in love must be suitable, and both partners must be equal academically and culturally to have a successful relationship and to keep their hearts happy.


  • You only say that which you know nothing of. Pure love happens when you least expect and yes love is blind. It sees nothing of race or religion. True Love ignores all cautions and cares, despite what anyone warns the two. Your hearts are beating as one and you live for the other.

  • This article is full of BS. The psychologist is also full of it. How can one lives with someone whom she has no feelings for. Love is a beautiful, yet indescribable feeling. Love is that holds a marriage together. What you describes after marriage is not love. It is called " responsibility" or " duty" as a wife.

  • so according to you True Love doens't exist between womens and mens in Yemen …
    so all marriages arround the world are False Love ?
    is there Really True Love marriages in Yemen ? Or simply basically Love in general doesn't exist in Yemen ?
    must be a very sad country !