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This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Dating is a roller coaster no matter who you like with intense bursts of emotion, and the joy of learning about your partner. As complicated as romance can already be, no matter if it’s casual or serious, dating someone with a different cultural background can make the dating experience totally different.
When we talk about having a different background, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re from a different country. When it comes to dating, people from different communities that are physically near each other can have very different ideas and expectations when it comes to dating.
Our background, our experiences, and the expectations we form from them are all part of our background. As such, you could just as easily date someone with a different background who grew up in a different environment or upbringing even if you grew up geographically near each other.
No matter what kind of relationship you have, it’s always nice to have something to do with your partner. If you like nature and doing things with your hands. While it might sound a bit crazy at first, beekeeping is a great activity to keep you outdoors and give you and your partner a shared goal. If you’re curious, BeeKeepClub has all the information a beginning couple needs to start their own hive.
The first thing to mention about dating of any kind is that you should expect misunderstandings to occur. Even with people who come from the same background and speak the same language as us, we often find ourselves in disagreements, fights, and misunderstandings. It’s just part of people really. However, when you add having different cultural expectations and differences in language into the mix, you should recalibrate your expectations for misunderstandings.
Rather than get frustrated, it can be helpful to anticipate miscommunication and learn to find the source. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is view these hiccups as a chance to grow and learn more about your partner.
Evaluate your assumptions
In any interpersonal relationship, it’s important to think about what assumptions we have for others. And when it comes to our romantic partners, we often have a lot more assumptions than we initially realize about their actions as well as about our own. Oftentimes, these are formed by our childhood environment and what we were raised with.
At the same time, you need to look at the assumptions and expectations that you have on a cultural level. This is one of the main components of what people call ‘culture clash.’ What you understand to be obvious or given may have to be explicitly stated for your partner. And remember the same applies to you. Your partner might be expecting something that you simply don’t think about.
It’s a learning experience for both parties
You can live in a country, or alongside a culture for years, but learning the culture of dating and romance is something completely different. This is one of the reasons that dating outside of your cultural background can be such a unique experience. Interested in learning even more about dating? BetterHelp has a variety of helpful medically-reviewed articles and research available for free.
One of the best things you can do is come to the table with an open mind. If you’re open to learning more about your partner and their culture it can go a long way. Additionally, it can help you reframe the situation. When you expect to learn while dating your partner, you’re less likely to get upset with yourself or with them when something doesn’t go according to plan.
Communication is Key
One of the most commonly cited sources of frustration for partners from different cultures or backgrounds is having different communication styles. The problem can be further compounded by different cultures of communication and different assumptions about a given situation.
Since some issues in multicultural relationships are multilayered, keeping an open line of communication is necessary. Remember though, this goes both ways! You need to be willing to speak frankly about your thoughts, feelings, and expectations if you want your partner to understand them.
Romance in any form can be a wonderful thing that usually takes a great deal of work. And maintaining a romantic relationship with someone from a different cultural background means that you have to work on not only the expected problems that a couple faces, but also on bridging a certain amount of cultural divide. However, if you stay open-minded and keep an open line of communication, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.