Personal Post: When Business Always Comes First



Upon observing my long-term single status and extremely selective approach to men, a friend directed this question to me: “What do you look for in a man?”.

I answered with some simple traits like someone who is mature, wise and understanding. I also like people who are very deep and intellectual. But I forgot to mention a highly important quality that is probably at the top of my list – except that it’s not something that is constantly on my mind. My response to my caring friend’s question would’ve been something like this: “I’m looking for someone who doesn’t view me as a business opportunity or investment.”

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with controlling, highly opinionated and self-centered parents. They would always put their careers and business matters as a top priority, and wouldn’t let anything else get in the way. Even if that other thing that required their attention was their own children! Now I won’t get into too much detail as this article won’t be sufficient enough to talk about this subject, but I will give you some examples to make my point clear. Throughout my school years, my dad would often ask me about the names of the fathers of my friends and what they did for a living – not out of simple curiosity – but purely to see if there was an underlying business connection that could be of interest to him.

While on a leisure trip to a nearby Arab country, the private cab driver – who we hired for the short trip – noticed how my mom’s commutes revolved around her business and relevant exhibitions or meetings. After a few days of the same routine, the witty and observant driver asked my mother why she wasn’t giving any attention to my needs or my interests to visit places for the main cause of any leisure trip: fun!

But now that I live relatively far away from my mostly selfish and business-obsessed parents (the UAE was the furthest I could go for now), I was recently faced by another similar situation. A specific incident is what inspired me to write this post. Having visited a highly reputable dermatologist in town a couple of times, I was incredibly shocked at the way she ended my last visit to her. She has decided that since I am no longer continuing with the skin treatment that she has prescribed to me (due to undesirable side effects), that she no longer needs to see me again. Now, what was surprising is that I still had a few months on the medication and I was asking her if I could come back for a follow-up once I am done…but she made it clear that she doesn’t want me to come back for a follow-up. The thing is that the follow-up session is not free of charge, and most dermatologists usually see their patients at the end of any skin treatment to review the results (I’ve been going to dermatologists since I was 10), but what I concluded from my visits to her and from her business mindset, she didn’t want to see me again because she had more important (and most likely more valuable) patients on the waiting list!

When did medical care that was created for the sole purpose of “caring”, accommodating and supporting people’s needs turn into this greed-centered and purely commercial game? Why was this popular and experienced dermatologist treating her patients as business entities and cash flow machines? Does she think she is in such high demand that no one would ever complain or spread negative stories about her personal ethics and immoral ways of dealing with patients?

My parents and the extremely greedy dermatologist are not the only ones who have contributed to my hurtful memories and scarred soul, but I will leave the rest of my stories for another post.

So to answer my loving and caring friend’s question about what do I look for in a partner, it’s as simple as this:

I look for someone who doesn’t see me as a business opportunity or investment. But someone who is genuinely interested in me and in who I am as a person and a human being. Someone who is truly loving and caring, who will constantly support me and be there for me through thick and thin.

If what I’m looking for sounds too idealistic and unrealistic for today’s world, then I’d rather live in eternal solitude than repeat the painful story of my past and sadly recurring present.

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Nada Al Ghowainim

I am a 30-something Dubai-based Saudi female lifestyle blogger and writer. I am on an endless journey of self-discovery and self-development. Learn More About Me

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