I am not a relationship therapist nor am I a psychologist or anything. This following article is based on my own experiences dating those who do not come from the same cultural background as me as well as coming from two parents that are very culturally different.
Please take it as my personal experience and not as the straight up rule.
I have developed my own views on intercultural relationships that you may or may not agree with, which is totally fine! This is my own opinion.
Here are some of the big things I have observed from my parents and myself:
1. Is there enough cultural similarities?
Just because someone grew up in France and another in the United States, doesn’t mean they come from completely different cultures. There is still that element of “Western” culture and on top of that, for this specific example, both countries had their own revolution against the monarchy so there is already some societal/historical similarities. However, someone who grew up in restricted China, in terms of the internet specifically, and someone who grew up in the United States, MIGHT find it harder in connecting (pun intended).
2. Do you speak each other’s native language?
I am a firm believer that the language you grew up with influences how you think. Knowing that language will help you understand how your partner thinks. It also is nice because if there is a perfect phrase in one language to explain something, there won’t be any translation errors or miscommunications. Also, if you do speak multiple languages, you will notice that speaking a language that is not your native language, can be tiring. This will allow your partner a break too! If you are the one who keeps changing languages, how open is your partner to learning yours? Do they want to?
3. Are you open to compromising some of the cultural differences?
There might be some things that your partner can’t stand or doesn’t do. For example, you are used to taking off your shoes when you enter a home, but your partner does not. Will this bother you? Or if it is culturally accepted to slurp food and eat with their mouth open- would that bother you? It is hard to give examples and hard to tell what someone would be OK compromising until put in that situation; however, it is important to think about- how open are you to other cultural norms?
Another example, if your partner comes from a culture of kissing on the cheek and you love your personal space. Some things can be learned and accepted, but are you willing?
These are some things to think about if you start dating someone from a different culture. Again, this isn’t a rule book or anything, just my own experiences with intercultural dating and coming from an intercultural family.
I have another travel and love article that might interest you!
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