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07-Jan-2018 00:40

However, given the Islamic faith of the Gulf states, the whole issue of dating is, inevitably, a tricky one.

Extramarital sexual relationships are illegal in the region, and kissing in public can also land you in trouble. "It’s definitely safe to date, but avoid public displays of affection," advised financial risk manager and TV presenter Rachel Pether, who lives in Abu Dhabi.

"Many have left their wives and wedding vows in their home countries," she noted, adding that for those who do find a single man to date, the very nature of expat life often leads to heartache.

"The transient nature of this part of the world often leads to relationships ending after a short time, and rather abruptly, and it can all be very painful," she said.

gave female expats pause for thought, demonstrating a – fortunately, rare – dark side to the sunshine lifestyle in the Gulf.

Examples like these inevitably provoke questions, and so we spoke to four women who’ve lived and worked in some of the most popular destinations in the region – the UAE, Qatar and Oman – to find out what life is really like for a single woman living there.

However, the same can’t be said for sleepy Muscat, according to Serena Evans, who lived in Oman for three years. The only way to spice things up is to abandon your British stiff upper lip.

"Everyone knows that if they misbehave they can be sent home," she said.The more covered I was, the more comfortable I felt.People are not used to seeing bare arms and legs – they stare for novelty, much more, I think, than to be sleazy, which westerners often don't understand." Accommodation Most of the women we spoke to said that although living alone was a perfectly safe and acceptable option, they felt happier finding a flatmate.Dress In all countries in the region, modesty is the watchword when it comes to dress.

Muslim women will feel right at home, but non-Muslims may struggle initially with the adjustment."Meeting single men for dating is easy, but finding the right one is hard," she said.