Moving out before marriage is not a common thing in Egypt, and although it’s still something that is frowned upon, the numbers of people who do move out are increasing. While parents think the only reason to move out is to live freely and break all the rules, they don’t see how this might help their sons and daughters become independent and grow as a person.
We spoke to people who moved out of their parents’ house before marriage, males and females, each for their own reasons.
Mariam El Sayed, a Social Media Strategist about made the decision to move out at the age of 22. She tells us, “I had been thinking about it since I was 14; watching Friends while I was growing up had an impact. I wanted to be independent like them”. Aya Abd El Fattah, a real estate consultant, moved out at the young age of 18 she says, “I wanted to experience independence and to just live on my own, I also had some family issues, and that is what pushed me to do it”. Omar Ismail a Assistant Brand Manager simply needed his personal space, “I needed some space to live my own life. I had already lived alone for a while a few years back and found myself more comfortable that way, so I took the decision to permanently move out”, he explains.
“My mother was very supportive. She helped me a lot and even gave me things to start up my new home, but my father on the other hand wasn’t.” Mariam El Sayed
A decision like moving out is not something Egyptian or Arab parent will take lightly. We already expected their parents’ reactions to be quite dramatic. Maya Hussein a Traffic Manager confirms that, “my mother had a very aggressive reaction; we didn’t speak for almost a year, but we are best friends now”, she tells.
Mariam had a slightly different experience, “my mother was very supportive. She helped me a lot and even gave me things to start up my new home, but my father on the other hand wasn’t. He sent me threatening messages and tried to force me back home”, she says. Omar tells us how he planned it out, “I introduced the idea to my mother over a long period of time, so she would be prepared; she slowly accepted it”, he recalls.
“My mother had a very aggressive reaction; we didn’t speak for almost a year, but we are best friends now.” Maya Hussein
Renting an apartment is not easy for a young and single woman; from the landlord, to the doorman to the neighbors. Maya tells her experience, “when I found an apartment I wanted, it took a lot of time to convince the landlord to give it to me, and when he did I had problems with the neighbors”, she tells, “they used to spy on me to check who comes over”. Mariam shares a slightly similar experience, “I didn’t have problems with anyone except the doorman, he checked everyone that came up to my house, I really felt like he resented me”, she says.
“I had to learn how to save up and completely depend on myself” Omar Ismail
Things Taken for Granted
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone! Most of us are spoiled one way or another when we live with our parents. Whether it’s our laundry that magically gets done, or bills that get paid without you even noticing. Everyone misses something about living with their parents, “when I moved out the first thing I was missing was safety, I was worried that a thief would come in… and of course laundry”, she explains. Maya’s sentiments were different, “I miss family care, especially when you get sick there is no one to take care of you. That’s when you really feel that you are on your own”, she tells. Omar also felt like he had been taking things for granted, “it’s the very small details, like buying toilet paper and knowing the foods that expire quickly so I don’t buy them in bulks. These things magically appeared at my mom’s house”, he says.
“It’s so much fun! As soon as you get used to the responsibility you get all the freedom you want” Aya Abd El Fattah
Some lessons in life are only learnt the hard way. Omar learned about money when he was on his own, “I had to learn how to save up and completely depend on myself”, he tells. Aya’s lessons were slightly different, “I learned to be organized and responsible. Also who to trust”, she says. Mariam also learned about trust, “I learned that some people aren’t worthy of your trust, some of my guy friends made a move on me just because I was living alone. Also, some of my girlfriends stopped talking to me”, she says.
Things aren’t always the way they seem, “it’s a lot more fun than living with your family, but not as fun as the movies make it seem”, Maya tells us. Mariam agrees, “I set a curfew for myself, at first I thought I would travel all the time and nights out, but I had to take care of what I did to avoid people talking”, she explains. Aya has a different view, “it’s so much fun! As soon as you get used to the responsibility you get all the freedom you want”, she says.
“Make sure you have backup money, plan it right and make sure you have support from friends and family because you’ll need the help.” Mariam
“You have to start somewhere, find a job, and over time everything will fit back together” Maya
“Don’t take it lightly, it’s not all fun and games. Set your own limits but be open to new experiences. You will learn a lot.” Aya
“Take baby steps in everything you do, you will have to start planning your finances in a completely different way. You need to learn how to save up .” Omar