15 Facts About Dating Someone in Another Country
Dating someone in another country is a fun and exciting experience because it lends a novel touch to your relationship and can take you out of your comfort zone. But did you know that there can be a lot of differences that you may not expect when it comes to dating someone abroad?
Just how different the dating experience will be will depend quite a bit on where the person you are dating is from (and of course who they are). Different cultures, values, and lifestyles can make for a very different dating experience than you are used to when you date someone from back home.
In this article, we’re going to help you prepare for what to expect when dating someone from another country so you aren’t surprised and can embrace the differences instead.
Dating abroad is something that you might have been dreaming about for a long time or maybe it’s something you never really thought about. Either way, it can present an opportunity to expand your horizons and form a relationship with someone who comes from a completely different world.
If you are living abroad, taking a gap year, or just traveling in another country, you truly never know when you might meet someone. You’d be surprised at how many people meet their match once they’re abroad; check out our tips for finding love abroad.
Even if you’re not sure if you’re up for anything serious once you move—or if you’re just traveling—be open to the experience. Going on dates while abroad is such a fun way to explore the country you’re visiting and possibly meet someone you want to date either casually or seriously.
15 facts about dating someone from another country
When you decide to date someone from another country, know that it most definitely won’t be like dating someone in your home country. Social norms for dating differ so widely, so you might be pleasantly surprised to find that you actually enjoy aspects of dating abroad much more than you do in US—or wherever you are from—(or vice versa).
1. Dating styles may differ
The unique culture of every country is always evident in how people from that country relate to each other, this includes dating.
As an American dating someone in Europe for example, you’ll likely find that your dating styles are very different. Things like how long it’ll be before they call or ask you out, what a date entails, or how long it takes to get serious may be very different than what you’re used to.
2. It’s fun and interesting
The best part about dating abroad is that it is never boring! You will become an expert at navigating interpersonal relationships in your new country because you’ll have had a front-row seat to see how people there treat each other and what dating actually looks like. This can be a really fun way to gain new experiences and perspectives on dating and life in general.
3. Get an insider’s view of a different language and culture
One of the biggest allures to dating someone from another country is exposure to an entirely different culture (and sometimes a whole new language). If you’re dating someone in Italy and you’ve always wanted to learn Italian, you’ll get the added bonus of having the opportunity to learn from a native speaker.
They do say that finding a partner is the quickest way to learn a language! In addition to the perk of free—and fun—classes, it can also be really special to learn something entirely new from someone you are involved with romantically because it can deepen your bond.
4. You’ll learn a lot about yourself
Dating abroad forces you to step outside your comfort zones and puts you in situations that you’ve never been in before. This kind of experience can lead to deep self-reflection and an opportunity for massive personal growth.
You might be surprised to find just how much you learn about yourself in the context of relationships, what’s important to you, and more just by dating someone from another country.
5. Cultural-misunderstandings are real
While dating abroad is certainly an amazing experience, there will be awkward (and even difficult) moments here and there. Realize that when you’re dealing with cultural differences, language barriers, and a very unique experience for both of you, there will be plenty of room for misunderstandings.
Whether it’s misunderstanding each other due to the language itself, misreading cues, or making cultural mistakes, it all comes with the territory. Sometimes you won’t get each other and that’s ok. It’s important to keep communicating, try again, and laugh it off when you’re spinning in circles. It’s all a part of intercultural and interlingual dating.
6. You may never 100% understand each other
Even if you both make an effort to learn each other’s language and dedicate yourselves to making your relationship work, you may never get to a place where you feel fully understood.
It’s very hard to learn the small social cues of a language and culture that you are unfamiliar with, especially if they are fundamentally very different. There will be words and feelings that don’t have a direct translation or situations where one of you is hurt and you’re not sure why.
7. Your stereotypes will shine
You’ll never feel more “American” or [insert your home country] than you will when you are dating someone abroad. Because both of you carry some (or a lot) of your cultural norms, your default may expose the stereotypes of your home countries. Your partner might say that something you said or did “was so American” and vice versa. Try not to let this be something that bothers you; it can actually be quite insightful and entertaining. Why not try to embrace it and make it part of the experience of life—and dating—abroad?
8. It can feel like you’re living your own rom-com
While it might not exactly be Emily in Paris, you are bound to have those epic dates where you’re zipping around the Colosseum on a vespa, having an English pint in the local pub, or swimming on the shores of the Greek Isles. Those days will make you feel like the star of your very own movie, and your friends are certainly sure to think so when they see your Instagram feed.
9. Learn to accept your differences
A key success to dating—and especially dating someone in another country—is to accept and embrace each other for who you are. Naturally, you will have many differences. Learn to love the little things that make you different and find enjoyment in them. You can learn a lot from someone who has lived a different life than you, who has experienced the world through a different cultural lens. Take it as a positive that you may not see everything the same way.
10. You might have to do long-distance at times
If things work out long-term, you might be looking at a long-distance relationship at some point. Although long-distance isn’t for everyone, there are plenty of ways to keep the spark alive if you want to stay together. Plan upcoming visits and lean on video calls to stay in touch. The time apart will make your time together that much sweeter.
11. Expect language barriers with friends and family
When things get serious and it’s time to meet friends and family, be prepared to feel unprepared. Even if your significant other speaks perfect English and you understand each 100%, chances are their friends or parent’s may not be as fluent.
If you haven’t mastered your partner’s language, you’ll have to lean on your partner to translate. Of course, speaking as much as you can in their language will go a long way. It’ll be exhausting at times but just know it’s totally normal to not understand everything and not know how express every single thought. Have fun trying!
12. To their friends you might always be “the American”
Unfortunately, the American stereotype can be a tough one to shake. You might find that your partner’s friends or family see you as an ambassador for your country, wanting to know your opinion on everything happening in the US.
Or maybe they have a hard time warming up to you due to cultural or language differences. Or possibly they just see you as “the American,” when you’re so much more complex than your nationality. Try not to take it personally and work on finding common ground.
13. Holidays might get complicated
If you’re dating someone from a different culture you’ll have the privilege of partaking in their unique holidays, and share yours with them. However, for the holidays that overlap, for example Christmas or New Years, you may be torn on where to spend them. Back home with your family and friends, as you’ve always done or celebrate them with your partner’s family abroad? Maybe a solution is to alternate countries and families each year or possibly spend the holidays apart with your respective families. While the solution may not be simple, there’s not one right or wrong way.
14. You may have to make some tough decisions in the future
Dating someone in another country is fun and exciting, but if your love stands the test of time you might be faced with some difficult decisions when it comes to your relationship.
Long-distance is fun, but it’s not forever. When you are dating someone from another country, at some point you will need to decide if one of you wants to move to the other’s country to keep the relationship alive. These decisions are loaded with family and career expectations and can make or break your relationship.
15. Whatever happens it will make for a memorable love story
Whether you meet someone abroad and you end up happily ever after or you just date for a few months before moving on, you will have a wonderful story to look back on.
It’s easy to put tons of pressure on your relationship to work out exactly how you hope, but even if you grow apart over time you will always remember the time you spent together abroad and how that time together helped shape you in some ways.
Is dating someone from another country worth it?
Our opinion is, yes! Dating someone from another country is always worth it. You get such a unique chance to experience falling in love against the romantic backdrop of a foreign country and you will learn so much about yourself in the process.
There will be things about dating someone from another country that are challenging or frustrating like language barriers, cultural differences, or a lack of understanding from each other’s family and friends. These things come with the territory, but they shouldn’t deter you from this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The best thing to do is to go into it with minimal expectations and just an openness to the experience. Immerse yourself fully in the culture and enjoy being swept off your feet. Whether it’s a love that lasts a lifetime or just a short-term thing, it’s an experience that will impact you and one that you will always remember.
Dating someone in another country
Dating someone in another country is a fun, exciting, and wild experience. You will grow and change in ways that you never thought about just by being in a relationship with someone abroad. You will learn things about yourself and the world that will change you for the better. Be open to the experience and take it all in. These are memories that will last the rest of your life.