Cross cultural dating advice

Crossing the boundaries of love

  1. Cross cultural relationships - dealing with differences.
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If you can't do these things properly then you open yourself up to misinterpretation, which in turn can lead to conflict. Frustration - When you have feelings for someone, you probably want to get as close as possible to them. Not speaking the same language as them means you will always have a barrier between you, something which can become very frustrating over time.

Cross cultural relationships - dealing with differences.

Alienation - Meeting a partner's friends and family is a nerve-wracking experience for anybody. When you don't speak the same language, this experience can be 10 times as daunting. When everyone around you is speaking in a different language, it can sometimes feel like they are talking about you. Although they probably aren't, the paranoia and the frustration of not being able to engage in the way you want to can lead to feelings of alienation.

Counselling can help to improve communication pathways between couples, even when those couples don't share a first language. By clearing up misunderstandings and voicing secret feelings about alienation and frustration, couples can step out from the tangle of problems miscommunication presents and start with a clean slate.

Cross cultural relationships

Make the effort - Even if your partner is a foreigner in your country, by taking the time to learn their language you can show that you want to be a part of their world as much as they've become a part of yours. Strengthen other communication channels - Find ways to reinforce messages to avoid misunderstandings - especially things like times and places to meet.

Consider social gatherings - Ask friends and family to speak in your partner's language if possible, or to speak slowly without using informal language they might not recognise. Be patient - It takes time and practise to learn a new language.


Eventually, with patience and understanding, you will find a unique way to communicate with your partner. If you've moved to a different country, changed religion, or sacrificed your own culture to embrace your partner's, you may begin to feel a little departed from the person you used to be. When you integrate into a new culture, you often have to leave some of your old habits behind. Soon, it becomes apparent just how important those small habits were to you, and how much they impacted your own sense of identity. A counsellor will help you to think of ways you can reclaim parts of your old identity in a way that doesn't stop you integrating well into your partner's culture.

It is possible to hold onto your identity while embracing a new culture and, with the help of a counsellor, you can start to explore what makes you you. After all, you are an individual and while the culture you grew up in might have helped shape your identity, it does not own you - you are in control. There is no single formula for a happy, long-term cross cultural relationship. Relationships are always different and what works for one couple might not for another. Whatever challenges you face on your journey, whatever complications arise from the differences between you, it is important to always remember that there was a reason you started your relationship in the first place.

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It might become tainted, marred, or forgotten - but that reason will never really disappear. Don't expect your partner to settle seamlessly into your way of life. Even if they're the foreigner and you're the native, you should see the relationship as a merging of cultures rather than that person adopting yours. Respect their differences, learn about them and look at where you might have to compromise to help them feel happy. Relationships should always be about finding a comfortable balance. If one of you isn't making enough effort, then cracks will start to form. Visit each other's home country, learn one another's language even if they speak yours and read up about their religion and cultural history.

If you're not interested, why are you with this person? Making the effort to get out there and experience life from their perspective shows that you care and that you want to know them better. The issue of children can be a big one for cross cultural couples.

Cross cultural relationships

How do parents from different heritages instil a solid sense of identity in their child? Instead of seeing yours and your partner's separate cultures as two different identities, see your relationship as one. Teach your children about both cultures and explore with them the differences between the two, focussing on how they work together and the positives that can be drawn from both. Rearing your children to be bilingual is also a good idea so as not to alienate one half of your couple. Having a different perspective on life is a valuable thing - you have so much to learn from one another. See your differences as a good thing that enhances your relationship, rather than a stumbling block.

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A study by U. These were the most common:. I never expected my ex's mother would fathom telling him I would never make a good wife because I don't cook or clean well enough. True, my domestic skills sometimes lacked, but is that the main criteria when picking a mate?

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  • After seven and a half years, I would hope that there's more to being a good partner than making a mean salad and killer burrito. This is not to say that there are lovely attributes I associate with his family, that is while we were family -- they were quick to make that distinction. I now know that no matter how many pots of Borscht I helped to cook with my ex Mother-in-law or how many hours we stayed up drinking tea while she shared stories of her family in communist Russia, the Iron curtain went up as soon as her son and I split and I've yet to hear from his family.

    What I've learned thus far from my trials and tribulations in cross-cultural dating boils down to patience. It will be frustrating at some point, probably more than once. Negotiating cultural differences and language barriers can often be a good challenge and one that makes a relationship a constant learning endeavor. Sure, sometimes, it can have its moments: You want to share a joke you just heard, but alas, in the midst of explaining why it's funny, something gets lost in translation and eventually you realize some jokes cannot be translated or explained, and you give up.

    And there are times when I talk on the phone and I'm utterly confused when I hear, "I'm not angry yet" Baffled, I answer, "What does being angry have to do with eating dinner? With the aid of a smart phone dictionary application, you can almost always get your point across.

    I've become cognizant of thinking before I speak, enunciating my words and not saying the first thing that comes to mind, which is good exercise for me in general. This article is for those people with cross cultural relationships who are experiencing relationship difficulties. This article can be seen as an addition to Relationship problems. For more interesting relationship tips, please read: How to fix a relationship?

    How to improve communication in relationships? How to deal with jealousy? How to get over a break up?