As she soon learned, many young Afghan men and women from cities and villages alike have begun using Facebook to skirt strict social rules governing interaction between the sexes. In fact, posing as a member of the opposite sex online has become a popular pastime. Until recently, dating was almost nonexistent in Afghanistan, because of religious and cultural norms that prohibit relationships before marriage.
Communication was difficult too: Although premarital relationships are still taboo, social media have provided the younger generation with a covert means of online dating. He asked to be identified by only his first name, because his family would not approve of him dating. Naweed says a man typically waits before revealing his true identity. This, Naweed says, helps build trust. Women sometimes seek out boyfriends this way too.
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They create a fake male profile, friend a crush, and try to find out whether he has a girlfriend. But instead of confessing her trick, a woman will tell the object of her affection that she knows a woman who likes him, direct him to her true profile, and wait for him to make a move. Once, she accepted a request from a female user with whom she had many mutual Facebook friends, most of them relatives.
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Hameed reconnected with his American ex years later in Washington D. She had never moved on from him and wanted a baby. Saying she was OK with him not being in the picture, she begged him to give her the gift of a baby whom she would raise herself. He now has a total of seven children between both wives.
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At the time, I was so swept up by my feelings for him, and by his charisma and intensity. He told me other things that made me admire him—about building his wealth from scratch and supporting his entire family, and about helping set up a school for orphans in an Afghan province. I chose to keep seeing him—and ironically, it was his other girlfriends, not his wives, who would force me to end the relationship.
About seven months after we started seeing each other, Hameed asked me to come see him in Dubai. Without a second thought, I flew there and waited for his call in my hotel room our usual routine. Even though I was afraid to leave my hotel room in case I missed his message, I frantically occupied myself by getting my nails and hair done, shopping for a new outfit, even getting a detox body wrap.
Always aiming to please, I showed up at his place, where I found him with two women from Tajikistan, one of whom he introduced as his girlfriend. I felt physically sick.
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There I was, being introduced to not a wife, but a younger, skinnier, more exotic girlfriend. I felt so stupid. I think he did it to see how much I would put up with; how far I would go. I knew at that moment I had to stop. He was the first person I fell in love with, and we both knew it was dangerous.
We both felt a strong gravitational pull toward each other, and the fact that he trusted me enough to share his story and flaws only made me love him more. Though my relationship with him was intense and very painful at times, I think he paved the way for me to be able to experience and fully appreciate a real, committed relationship, as well as open myself up to love. I now live and work in Washington, D.
He texts me on holidays, wishes me well, and even occasionally offers me jobs. I actually saw him recently: I arrived at the party, this time spotting a beautiful year-old Moroccan woman on his arm.