So, it happened to you too: you are dating someone from a different country, and maybe even a different continent!
This idea can seem overwhelming at times, but chances are, having a foreign boyfriend could be one of the best experiences you've had so far. Keep reading to see how to make this relationship work.
Tip #1: Ditch the fear
Entering a new relationship is already very exciting as is, but being involved with someone whose origins don't match yours takes it to another level! You might get insecure about this, but trust me, there is really no need for that.
What you actually need is a change of perspective. Look at this as a unique opportunity to get to know that new and undiscovered territory inside and out and have fun doing it!
This way, not only do you get to know the person you're dating, but their culture as well.
Remember: today never comes back and that magic feeling of novelty wears off after a while, so enjoy it while you are still in the beginning.
Tip #2: Be patient
You probably won't get involved with someone whose values and beliefs are completely opposite from yours, but certain differences are bound to arise. It might be as simple as the way one greets each other on the street or how one can and cannot behave in public.
These rules have already deeply integrated into our psyche while growing up and we take them as given and “normal”.
Well, what might be “normal” for you might not be normal at all for your partner. Be sure to avoid statements such as: “In my country, we do it like this” or “Why are you people so…?”, especially if you're currently living in your partner's country.
That's a no-no. In the end, you don't want your special person to be hurt, right?
As in any relationship, respect is key. That being said, in these kinds of relationships, cultural and mentality differences might get the best of us.
So be sure to always keep these three in mind: patience, tolerance, and respect.
Tip #3: Learn their language
If you don't speak your partner's language, it would be a good idea to learn the basics. Especially if it's some kind of exotic language not many people speak.
Just think: when did you have the chance to have such a cute language professor and be allowed to go out with them after the lesson?
You could even take a crash course online and then surprise them one day with a couple of phrases. This can do miracles in a relationship.
Although we stick to English as the easiest form of communication, knowing some of your partner's language will instantly bring you closer to them and they will feel valued.
They will understand that you went out of your way to do something nice for them, and that is always a valued gesture!
Tip #4: Grow together
As you are two people in a relationship in which everything is about the exchange, you should focus on giving the other what's best in you. And a very big part of you is your culture.
So, show them why your culture is so special and dear to you. Is it the music? Organize a music night where you could play songs from both of your cultures, those you liked growing up, those you play on special occasions, etc.
Make them see how amazing what your culture has to offer is!
If you are more of a movie person, get your country's classics (with subtitles, of course). Imagine how many funny references you might end up with that you can later use for private jokes!
And finally: cook for your special person and have them cook for you. Make them taste and smell just how good your national cuisine is. A piece of advice: don't choose a very elaborate dish – if you stick to something simple yet delicious, you will leave a much better impression.
Try making everything as authentic as possible, and even search your grocery store for some drinks made where you come from – be it wine or spirits or as simple as fruit juice.
Tip #5: Keep an open mind
Naturally, none of this will work if you decide that your culture, language, hometown, etc. is better than everyone else's.
It is only natural that we think that yeah, others are ok, but we're the best, yaaaaay! But to a certain extent only. This is how we preserve a positive self-image and boost our self-respect.
However, in a relationship, most of the initial selfishness we are used to is and should be put aside. Because, if you want to function as a couple, there is no room for egocentricity.
Seriously, grow up and start realizing that compromise is everything in all relationships – be it family, friends or partners. Com-pro-mise. It's essential.
Sure, you are used to doing things your own way and maybe that was best for you then, but if you want to really connect with the other person now, you need to ditch some habits and maybe modify some others. All the more if you see they are making your partner uncomfortable.
So, why go through all the trouble of adjusting and compromising and learning those mind-boggling phrases you can't even pronounce?
Because you will suddenly realize that, in the middle of all that, you have grown as a person. You might do or try things you would never do, have the circumstances been different.
But most importantly, you will learn how to respect and cherish differences, because what would the world be without them?
Cover photo: ign.com