Interviews with divorced women from the United Arab Emirates: A rare glimpse into lived experiences

Nicole Bromfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The United Arab Emirates, an oil-wealthy Gulf nation, has undergone significant social changes since the discovery of oil. Although many changes have been positive, there has also been an increase in social problems, including divorce. The rising divorce rate is alarming, considering that divorce is detrimental to Emirati families, where commitment to Islam, strong family ties and a sense of tradition are highly valued. This article presents findings from a qualitative study in which I interviewed 10 divorced Emirati women, using phenomenology as my methodological framework. Data were collected through one-to-one in-depth interviews. Several issues being common to the respondents emerged, including family interference, early marriage, the desire to know more about the partner before marriage, domestic violence, controlling spouses and the social stigma of divorce. Social exchange theory of divorce is presented in an effort to analyse why divorce is an option for some of today's Emirati women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Arranged marriage
  • Divorce
  • Gulf nations
  • Phenomenology
  • Women in UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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