Freelance Journalist, Editor, Copywriter and Author – Dubai

My Bad Breakup with Dubai

If I hide under the duvet, can I stay?

I’ve come to realise that leaving Dubai feels very similar to a relationship breakup.

Anyone who has ever split up with a long-term partner will know that there are a number of stages one goes through during the ‘grieving’ process. There’s the initial phase of shock and disbelief, when you cannot quite comprehend that you are no longer with the other person, and continue to watch crap TV programmes that he got you into, like 24, until you realise that you no longer have to pretend that you like such shit.

Then there’s the anger phase, during which you learn the basics of black magic and experiment with voodoo dolls. You also use this time to print pictures of your ex off Facebook and throw darts at them.

After anger, there’s the phase of depression, when you believe that you will never find someone as good as your ex and all you can remember are the good parts of your relationship. During this phase you also find yourself wondering why you broke up in the first place.

As someone who has been brought up to believe that exhibiting anger at every given opportunity is socially acceptable, it comes as no surprise that the easiest phase for me is when I get to visualise myself walking up to the ex and punching him in his stupid, smug face. I find it easy to detach from people and things when I’m angry, which I guess is why I’ve quit most of my jobs following a psychotic outburst. This is what is known as the Cypriot way of dealing with things – shout at them until they go away. Works every time.

Unfortunately, however, I currently find myself in the depression stage of my break up with Dubai. All of a sudden, Dubai is the best I’ve ever had. No one will ever be as good as Dubai. How can I be leaving him – do I really expect to find someone better?

I kid you not.

Things are so bad that I’ve not even begun the long process of selling my things or arranging to ship the stuff I intend to take home with me. Not selling my furniture is the relationship breakup equivalent of leaving your ex’s hair in the sink drain or holding onto his odd socks because that’s all you have left of him.

Havana personified

So this evening, I have decided I am going to drag myself kicking and screaming into the acceptance stage of our separation; I understand why I was with him, why I’m not any more, and that I will be better than just ok in the future. In fact, in a few months time I am going to have all kinds of steamy dalliances with hot pothead Amsterdam, bad boy Bangkok and hip-swinging Havana. So, really – Dubai who?

In the spirit of accepting my separation with Dubai, I have decided to put together a list of reasons why I won’t be sad to see the back of it. Feel free to add to the list and make my breakup that little bit easier!

1. Dubai drivers. I know it’s a cliche, but they really are THAT bad. Who taught these people how to drive?!

2. The weather. It’s summertime and it officially feels like we’re living on the effing sun.

3. Hi sir/ma’am. I know English isn’t your first language, but can you at least learn how to distinguish between genders?

4. Du. I advise you – don’t.

5. Expats. Moan, moan, moan, moan. Remind me, why are you here?

6. Locals. Flashing your lights and tailgating when I’m surrounded by other cars. Where do you expect me to go exactly?

7. Emirates ID cards. Not that I actually bothered to get one.

8. Taxi drivers. Rude, smelly and they rarely ever turn up when you call for them.

9. Cavalli Club, Crystal etc. Full.of.bellends.

10. Malls. Capitalist mouse traps (and yes, we’re the mice).


  • Very good post cuz, I felt something similar when I left Cyprus. But I was very angry with Cyprus for not making easy to live with there lol.

    • admin

      Thanks, cuz! I think the reason I’m feeling like this is because I’m procrastinating. I just need to bloody get on with it and get out of here! x

  • Rob

    For your list.

    Dust. It gets everywhere and accumulates in bookshelves, kitchen benches etc at a rate of 1 mm per day, even with every door and window tightly sealed. Not to mention the car.

    Roadworks. I’m sure that road was open only yesterday and anyway why does it take twice as long as anywhere on earth.

    Road design. I want to go left, so why am I forced to take a right for 3 kms until I can do a U turn. The rest of the world seem to cope OK with non divided roads, then again they teach people to drive.

    Yes means yes. If you agree with me or understand me or have any intention of doing what I ask answer Yes otherwise for God sake say No if that’s what you really mean.

    • admin

      Ha! When I first moved here I used to end up in Sharjah a lot because of number three. As for observation number four, insh’Allah, I believe, is the substitution for no, never going to happen…

  • “8. Taxi drivers. Rude, smelly and they rarely ever turn up when you call for them.”

    I belive this sentence is more rude then them ….:-)

    • admin

      🙂 I was just speaking from personal experience.

    • admin

      However, I do see your point!

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