4 Mistakes To Avoid When In an Intercultural Relationship
Intercultural dating has changed my life completely. After a failed relationship with a Chinese guy, I was able to know what I want in a relationship. When I fell in love with Jeongsu, he and I were able to create a stable functioning relationship, even if it’s long distance.
My intercultural relationship with a Korean man was the best thing that ever happened to me because I found my soul mate who just happened to be from a different country. However, there are some obstacles when dating someone from a culture so different from your own. I wrote together 4 key mistakes that should be avoided in a AMWF relationship of any other intercultural relationship.
Giving Up Too Early
Some people just can’t handle long-distance dating – or at least they think they can’t. The truth is, when you love each other unconditionally and you know you want to be together, you can make it. It is possible.
I think a lot of relationships end because they are given up on too early. Dating someone from a different country is not easy and requires a lot of effort that some people aren’t used to. They think a relationship should be easy. Sure, love can be easy but when dating inter-culturally, it’s usually not. Most of the time, one of you has to go back to their home country sooner or later. Big decisions have to be made very early on most of the time. This can also be a reason for people to be overwhelmed and leads to the end of the relationship.
Don’t be afraid to fight for love if it feels right. You might only have that one chance. If you feel like that person is the love of your life, don’t miss your chance.
Talk to friends and family about it but also look out to people who experienced the same situation. Family and friends might not always be supportive which doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed.
Not Compromising Enough
As mentioned above, dating someone from a different country requires a lot of effort from both sides. That means each one of you need to compromise. What most people don’t understand is that compromising is almost never “fair”. What I mean by that is that one of you has to compromise more than the other. Life isn’t fair.
In the West, we are brought up in a world where everything has to be equal and fair but that’s rarely the case in the real world, especially not in love. Compromising in big ways is necessary for a intercultural relationship to work.
Maybe you need to make the decision to give up everything and move to his/her country. Maybe you need to give up your dream career goals in order to live together.
Are you willing to do that? You need to think a lot about what you want and what this means for your future.
Holding Things Against Your Partner … FOREVER
If you made the decision and you gave up certain things for your relationship, that’s great! Your partner will appreciate it and compromise in other ways.
The biggest mistake you can make here is to hold your giving up things for this relationship against your partner forever.
“I gave up my family and friends for you!”, is certainly not what your partner wants to hear during each and every fight you have and it’s not a fair statement either. YOU made the decision, you have to live with it. If you feel like you made a mistake, YOU are to blame not your partner.
I see this happening to a lot of couples and I can understand why this would come up. However, it shouldn’t be an issue that is brought up every time during an argument. Think about what it would make your partner feel…?
Not Embracing Two Cultures
You are dating someone from a different culture and it’s great! One of the biggest mistakes you could possibly make is to “ignore” your partner’s culture and continue living in your “bubble”.
Embrace the new culture and experiences involved.
Travel to your partner’s home country, maybe even learn the language. If you have children together, raise them bi-culturally. Being in a intercultural relationship opens doors to new things and everyone who chooses not to open a new door is stupid in my opinion…
In my opinion, these 4 mistakes should be avoided or at least minimized when dating someone from a different culture. It’s not easy and can’t be done over night but you should at least try if you feel like it’s worth it.
Great post and very helpful tips. I can relate to all of these and only wished I had known them many years ago!
aww thanks Susan! That’s so sweet of you!
hi,happy to read your article,and i think im in a trouble…my girlfriend is from switzerland,and we also meet this situlation like…different place if she leaves beijing,and she can speak basic chinese,and she is looking for a job as expected,just there are only few jobs for forigner and most of those are english teacher,it makes us feel so sad….and she only has 1 month time till visa expired,,could you give me some advice,we like each other so much,and i dont want to give up this relationship…sigh.wish you can reply me by my email email@example.com thanks a lot
thanks Daniel! I will reply to you via email! If you want to make it work, you will!
Great article! Especially the “not compromising enough” part. I know exactly what you mean 🙂 good luck with your long distance relationship!
thank you Sandra!
I agree with all your points. One thing to keep in mind though is that it takes two people to make a relationship work. If one person is compromising a lot while the other isn’t at all, it probably won’t work on the long run.
yes exactly! i am saying there is always one person who compromises more than the other usually. it’s never fair.
That’s true. It still has to be kind of balanced.
I think I fell for your blog!! :))
aw that’s so sweet! thank you!!!!!! 🙂
Hello! I’m Nerilene Pereira from Brazil. I’m currently in a intercultural relationship with a American guy from Illinois. We started dating in March of 2016. I had only 2 months left on the country, after spend almost one year there as an exchange student attending classes in a local community college near by Chicago. We got together in a dating app and initially we were just hanging out and making everything casual. So, after one month in April, all things btw us became serious and emergent. We falling in loved each other suddenly.But I only had few weeks ahead to come back to Brazil. We enjoyed together as much as we could. I never experienced this before, even him too. That was my worst farewell in a long time. After on month in Brazil, we became strangers or something. Daily messages turned to monthly ones or more time. Just simple “hi”, “how are you” or some “miss you very much”. That was really hard. I tried move on here. I done things that I promissed for myself not doing more. I was lonely because of reverse cultural shock and social problems from my country. After months with nothing on the horizon for us, except misunderstanding conversations and dreams about how we can stay together, January of 2017, i tried a local relationship. After one month, the guy just break up with me by stupid and imature reasons. At the same time, I got fired for my first job. In March, we started having serious conversations about our future together. I’m totally scared about this. The problem isn’t cultural stuffs. My concern is about leave my country to another place that i’ll be dependent from my future husband. I really love him but I have nothing right now to assure budgets for an ocassional visiting. That makes more scared to me when he said that is working on to get a new job which is has a good salary because according to the K1 visa, he needs has a good job to afford me. All these things is freaking me out. He wants to visite me too. I’m really afraid. I grew up in a traditional family which I’m the black sheep member. I never think about marriage, relationship and stuffs, even when women are dependent emotionally and financially. I don’t wanna be like them. I wanna be independent, finish college here (he knows and understand that is important to me) and build an career. Nowadays, It’s really f**k up situation in Brazil, specially to get a job. I feel hopeless sometimes. I’m just afraid, even I’m deeply fall in love for him. He knows everything about my all concerns. I know is hard to he understand. I’m afraid about how people gonna say about, include my family. I grew up parents trying protect me about everything. Seems like I’ll gonna make a huge mistake planning my future with someone I love very much. What should I do?
I’d add that you can’t take everything they say and extract all the connotations from it that you have embedded in your culture and extracted from your experience. Maybe they learned a phrase the wrong way, just heard you say it once or twice, don’t know any of the connotations – you just have to ask. ASSUMING has gotten me into trouble so many times!