When you date someone from another country, it can be exciting, confusing, educational and adventurous. I consider it a relationship with many added bonuses. Whether your partner speaks the same language or grew up on the same continent as you doesn’t change some of the significant patterns you’ll experience. There are some really wonderful things about dating someone from another country along with obstacles. The horizon goes further in a cross cultural relationship.
1. Romantic Experience
You know that your feelings are true when you date someone from another country. You are both taking risks one way or another to be with each other. Maybe there’s people that don’t understand, family members that miss you while you’re away or issues with visas. When you fall in love with someone from another country, there are lengths you have to take to stay together. You take on different views of a relationship as you not only work on your feelings together but also legalities of being together.
Bringing someone home to your country is a big responsibility with an even larger romantic gesture attached to it. You have to either dedicate yourself to the person or say goodbye and potentially never see them again. In most relationship, love is tested by the normal day-to-day problems. A relationship with someone from a different country can mean separation beyond your control at times. Later on, there may be big choices to make in order to be together. Spousal sponsorship or marriage show each other that you’re dedicated.
2. You Learn A Lot About Yourself
As a native English speaker, I didn’t think my language would pose a problem anywhere in the world. Actually, if I’m honest, I didn’t think too much about the world outside of the town I grew up in. Although I traveled abroad, until I dated someone from another country, I wasn’t truly tested until I fell in love with someone who’s native tongue was not the same as mine. Going to his country helped me develop a lot as a person as I became involved in his community.
Going to another country to stay or live for a long period of time will change you in positive ways. You become educated about the world and how you fit it in as you immerse yourself in a brand new culture. You become more courageous as you head to the grocery store and attempt navigating through aisles of foreign foods.
3. Teaching of Cultures and Language
You will likely have too much to talk about to ever get bored with one another. When you date someone from another country, you and your partner have plenty to discuss about your language or culture. Customs you experienced as a child are likely much different than their own. You can impress even the biggest food connoisseur by barbecuing gourmet burgers on an open fire. Carving a pumpkin with your partner who comes from a country that doesn’t celebrate Halloween brings a funner element to an old pass time.
Someone from Europe will likely get educated for one career and stick to it while a North American will have many jobs and careers over their life. This can make your European partner consider what other career goals they might like to pursue in life or they can teach you to be more settled. As you talk to one another about the views you have based on your culture, you both learn a lot.
4. Learning of Cultures and Language
When your partner teaches you about their culture, you learn a lot about them. It’s been a mystery in the past on how to get inside the mind of your significant other. They will unknowingly unlock the secrets to who they are and why when they explain their upbringing and childhood.
You learn how not to insult them or their cultural beliefs as they open up to religious and political views. You also learn what your partner’s values are. They may come from a culture where eating horse meat, lung and heart is really normal. It may never be something you’ll indulge in but you will learn why they eat it and respect their reasons.
5. Acceptance of Your Differences
Relationships are hard enough with misunderstandings and difference of opinions. Imagine dating someone from another country who was brought up by parents that had to go through a war. My experience is that in Germany, I have had to find a strength in me I didn’t know I had. The German culture is tough and they work hard.
Where I come from, people are really nice but it’s often not legitimate. We ask strangers how they’re doing, but we don’t really care. Here in Germany, when you ask someone how they’re doing, they’ll tell you straight up for most of the morning. You don’t ask what you don’t want to know. There’s a certain honesty here. If someone is nice to you, they really like you.
6. Exotic Experience
Falling in love is an adventure on it’s own but falling when you date someone from another country and fall in love, it increases the love buzz exponentially. Being told “I love you” in another language will give you the shivers. The way your partner expresses love and shows it is likely different than anything you’ve experienced. It can be like falling in love for the first time as everything is new.
Love is about discovering each other and it’s much more interesting to discover someone that is different from you on many levels.
7. Even Fights are a Learning Experience
When you’re arguing with your partner, you have to consider what you’re saying before you say it in the event their language is different than yours. Often, even if you have a heated argument, it gets interrupted because someone has said a word or phrase that the other doesn’t understand.
You tend to be more conscious about what you say when you have a disagreement. It can take some time to reach deep understanding, but you’ll constantly learn lessons.
8. Tourist in Both Countries
If you’re visiting your partner’s home country, they’ll show you interesting attractions. You get an insider tour of real living in their country that you probably wouldn’t get as a general tourist. You’ll be introduced to festivals, traditions and a totally new cuisine.
In return, when your partner comes to your country you can play tour guide. You’ll probably take them to places you’ve never been yourself. This is a great way to share experiences and take adventures as you show each other your back yards.
Featured photo credit: Love Lock ~ Paris, France/ Dustin Gaffke via flickr.com