Today I am in the mood for a quite sensitive topic of relationship. As a person who spent 30% percent of my life and all of my adult life abroad away from my country, it is no surprise, that I am dating a foreigner brought up in a different culture and heritage. For some such kind of dating is not an option. As I don’r agree this is my insight.
Relationship Challenge 1: Language barrier.
A lot of people avoid relationships with foreigners because they think that it is difficult to keep up with a person when you speak different languages. Some think that you can’t fully express your feelings for another person if you don’t speak your native language with your loved one.
I believe when you are in love there is a dozen languages you speak to each other. It might be body language, or a sights language. Verbally, no matter what you say you voice and tone will deliver the message. I have known a couple, which did not share a single common language. He could speak French and Turkish and she could only speak Russian and a bit of Mandarin. Guess what? Never had a challenge communicating to each other. Three months after they met he knew she was the one, and now after 4 years they are happily married. Do not be afraid of challenges! Your love will surely help you to communicate and express everything you want to say.
Relationship Challenge 2: Different culture.
It is commonly thought that living together with a representative of another culture is almost impossible. I would say it is challenging, but not impossible. It depends on how different you are and how much you love the person.
My first relationship was with a person of a completely different culture. For quite a long time we tried to make it work, as I was still willing to adjust my behavior and he was willing to deal with my character, however, at some point both of us realized that we couldn’t deal with it anymore. After some time, I have realized that the problem was not only the difference in cultures but combination of one of us being narcissist, another one not loving enough and some other things. So that was the end.
I have known a few couples, who date regardless of their nationalities, and they are doing a great job. They are understanding and patient, they do not force their partners into their culture, but meanwhile both of them are open to each other.
Now, dating a person of a different background and culture, I can’t say that I am suffering a lot. Actually, not at all! We laugh at weird habits of one another, we are being as understanding as possible, straightforward and honest.
The question is not how different you are but how much you love each other and your willingness to accept.
Relationship Challenge 3: Deciding where to live.
Alright, here we are, at the point where I admit that this is a real challenge. It is quite obvious that when you start a relationship with a person from another country, the question of where you will live arises.
When you move around the world, there is also a challenge of being able to work in the same city or same country, which quite often leads to long distance relationship and then a break up as it is difficult to keep up.
When you are dealing with being on distance it is very important to set a goal – timing and location of when you get together for your future life. At least both of you know where you are heading. I know this from the personal experience. I spent one year being in long distance relationship with monthly meet ups and it ended, while another one for six month with only one date in between. In my first relationship, we never had a decision of where we are heading to, I was never sure if there is going to be any good in the end. In this relationship I knew that there are two options – either me coming to Beijing or him coming to Moscow. There was a goal, which kept us together.
Relationship Challenge 4: Shall we return home?
Another case is when one of you wants to go to the home country and another one doesn’t. Well, this is quite common, no one wants to give up on their life in a place for another one. Hmmm, honestly, that might be a reason for questioning if you really want the relationship with that person if can’t leave some things behind.
Relationship Challenge 5: Budget and Money.
Each country has it is own understanding of how the money should be spent and saved for your personal needs. The money spending etiquette is also different everywhere – do not expect that when you go for a date you get the same deal everywhere – for some it is normal to split, sometimes everyone pays for themselves, sometimes you don’t have to pay at all.
If your relationship is working well and developing, earlier or later you will come across the moment when you would need to discuss how you should plan the budget, for example when you live together and you have rental, utilities, groceries etc. As it is a sensitive topic, someone might be offended but not comfortable to say it, that’s why I would suggest to discuss it beforehand.
Relationship Challenge 6: Friendships and Lifestyle.
Here I would like to refer to the habits of dealing with friends and free time arrangement. In some of the countries it is absolutely normal to have an opposite sex friends and spend time with them one-on-one. In a lot, but not everywhere. You can actually create relationship challenges, which might even lead to a break up.
As for the lifestyle, I meant that it is absolutely normal for two people to spend their time separately sometimes, while one is going for a jog and another one is up for shopping, for instance. However, the situation changes when one is at home on the sofa and another one is in the bar… Sometimes, it is difficult to understand, but for some of the cultures that is nothing special and surely is not a reason to get mad.
Therefore, I would suggest to communicate. In case you have anything on your mind, say it, do not keep it for yourself. Make sure you discuss all the challenges and also set the expectations, so both of you are still free to do the things you are used to without hurting each other’s feelings.
Any relationship faces difficulties and challenges, sometimes you just want to end it when you feel that it is unbearable. But every time when it comes through your mind just picture your life without that special one and think how you feel about it. Communication, acceptance and love is the key to any relationship.