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Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

Gothenburg, Sweden
3 posts
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Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

We're going on our Istanbul trip in may, for 2 whole weeks. I can't wait. I'v been longing for this trip for many many years. I've been researching Istanbul extensively for 6 months and been writing down Istanbul tips, info and warnings in my notebook. It's almost full. I have never posted a question about Istanbul before, I have seached the web instead for answers.

I can't seem to find an answer to this situation though. Only about foreigners in this situation. But it's more okay for them because they're not originally from there?

I'm born and raised in Sweden but my parents are from Turkey. We have been together for almost 5 years.

We're staying in a hotel and I'm very worried about being judged by the locals (I want to discover the areas where the locals live and such to get an authentic feeling of the city) and hotelstaff, etc. for being a "bad" women because we're not married. We're 26 and 27 years old.

Unfortunately I'm very sensitive and I can't shut it off.

How can I respond if somebody ask us why we aren't married? What if they give me a judgemental look? How can I hold my head up?

I want to blend in with the locals and speak as much turkish as I can and wear normal casual clothes and pretend we're from there to avoid dangers. Is this still possible with no wedding ring on the finger?

Please tell me I'm worring for nothing.

I don't mean to offend anyone, I'm just not sure how this works over there? I'm quite scared right now.

I have no else to ask, maybe you can give me some good advise?

Thank you, I hope you have a nice dag/evening.

Edited: 17 April 2013, 17:21
Istanbul
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2,230 posts
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1. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

Don't worry :-)

First of all, a lot of people don't care. Secondly, those that do care often assume you are married. I have a Turkish boyfriend, we're not married, but I still get referred to as "his wife". To be honest, if I talk to what I consider to be a conservative person, I refer to him as my fiance although we are not technically engaged yet.

We even travelled to the South East of Turkey and didn't have any problems so I will be very surprised if you have any in Istanbul.

Gothenburg, Sweden
3 posts
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2. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

Oh thank you very much. I can breathe again. :)

So good to hear that many people don't care, that feels like a relief.

Really? You can do that? Maybe I can do the same, just refer to him as my fiance too (I even got an gold ring I can put on my weddingfinger) and stop thinking about it.

Thank you so much for your reply Kachika. :)

Istanbul
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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37,925 posts
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3. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

IstanbulCat, this is an unnecessary worry. No one will care and ask you a direct question. And those few that will do, are the ones that are close to you. You can always tell them that he is your boyfriend. You seem to have a very different view of Istanbul and its people than what it really is.

enigma...

Houston, Texas
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1,528 posts
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4. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

IstanbulCat - Istanbul is a very tolerant city. But more importantly, just be proud of who you are and what is right for you. That is what matters in the end. Have a fabulous time and don't worry about anything.

It is a wonderful place to be with someone special; making your own memories to share.

Sharon

Gothenburg, Sweden
3 posts
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5. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

Thank you Enigma for writing that it's an unnecessary worry.

You are right, my view has been a bit blurry because my family in Turkey are very conservative and well strict and because I really don't know any other turks I was a little afraid for as you have pointed out = nothing. I'm so glad I was wrong and that nobody really bothers about it. :)

SharonmaeK, thank you that's really really great advice. That's what the fokus should be about really.. Fear can be really paralyzing, that's why I really thank you all for making it disappear.

I'm blushing when I write this, but I think I will write down your answers in my Istanbul notebook, because these advice is as important as the rest.

Hope you all have the bestest day/night! :)

Boston...
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72 posts
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6. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

How would this same question be answered if the question were not about Istanbul or some other heavily touristed area? Konya or parts of Eastern Turkey, for instance, have a reputation for being much more conservative -- would an unmarried couple encounter any issues there travelling together, walking around together, getting/booking a hotel room together in such places? (No wedding rings, no marriage certificate, different last names on passports, etc.)

Istanbul
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7. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

I didn't have any problems in the East of Turkey...people don't know if you're married or not if you're just walking around. My partner did call the hotel first though and checked. They were more than happy to take his money!

Mount Dora, Florida
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for Istanbul
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8. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

Bill, I do not know how anyone can determine if a couple are married. No one carries around a marriage certificate. In many Moslem nations women do not take the name of their spouse. My daughter is married to a man from Palestine and did not take his name. Another daughter had a professional name and did not take her husband's name. The only other sign is a ring on the left hand. I rarely wore a wedding ring until just about 15 years ago. We lived in Turkey for two years in a tiny village of very conservative values. That was 50 years ago when everyone was more conservative. I do not believe the issue of my marital status was ever discussed.

If two people present themselves as a couple I think most observers assume they are married and there is no stigma. Unless the people in this relationship feel it necessary to announce the details of their relationship no one should even wonder.

Boston...
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9. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

Thank you so much B-R, that's very reassuring (I won't give it a second thought). We're not "over-sharers" :)

10. Re: Turkish woman and boyfriend visiting Istanbul - unmarried

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