Pew Research suggests that 15% of new marriages are between spouses of different ethnicities. That’s more than ever before, but it still means the most people are sticking to what they know, which leaves others susceptible to unexpected quirks if they decide to date outside of their race.
If you’ve ever considered a cross-cultural relationship, then listen up, because we’re here to let you know what to expect.
Expressing Affection In Different Ways
Different cultures have different norms about how to communicate and when. If you’re dating a woman from Spain, for example, she might be more physically affectionate, and an American man might not be accustomed to that.
Having No Idea What They Just Said
If he speaks a language you don’t understand, you can expect confusion to be a new friend of yours until you learn his tongue. There’s no telling how long learning a new language will take, but it’s probably for the better that you learn it.
Your Native Language Becoming A “Turn On”
There are some who appreciate a foreign accent and the language to match. Perhaps the person you’re talking to loves it when you tell them goodnight and sweet dreams in your native tongue.
Wondering If You’d Move For Your Person
Maybe he lives in Barbados and you’re currently in Argentina. Does this pose a threat to your relationship, or do you think you’d want to move for him? This is something to consider.
Remembering Basic Phrases In Their Language
Before you fully jump into trying to learn their language, you’re probably going to want to know the basics. That’s the least you can do, and it can be a fun task to take on.
Running Into Family And Being Clueless
Many times, older relatives won’t be as fluently bilingual as your partner, so there can be communication issues when their family wants to get to know you. This is why it’s great to learn the language as quickly as possible, to avoid the awkward silences.
Them Not Understanding Childhood References
You might know who Super Mario is, but that doesn’t mean she will. There are some experiences, TV shows, musicians, and other things that some cultures don’t have access to or just don’t know.
If you’re adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, then there will be no shortage of that when you date cross-culturally. You might like some of their dishes, and you could hate some, just try not to be rude about it.
Disapproving Stares From People Who Hate To See It
Some people haven’t gotten out of the 1950s, and they think that your relationship is their business. Glares could come your way, but those moments should help to strengthen your bond.
Questions About Where You Would Raise Your Unborn Child
“Do you want to raise your children in his country or yours?” That’s a question you’ll hear at least once, and it’s probably something to think about when that time gets closer.
Discussions About What You Hate About Your Culture
Unless you both love everything about where you’re from, you’ll cross the hate bridge soon enough. There are things people don’t appreciate about where they’re from, and sharing that same distaste with someone else is a perfect conversation to have. It allows you to let out some steam and bond.
(If One Is American) Why America Isn’t Everyone’s Favorite
If you’re dating someone from another country, you’ll definitely have a discussion about why America might not be everyone’s favorite country. It could be frivolous (like Americans not “getting” soccer) or more serious (like the justice system), but it’s a common conversation to have.
More Quality Time With Their Family Because Yours Is Too Far
Naturally, you’re going to end up spending more time with his or her close friends and family because yours aren’t there. Either the chemistry will grow as you get to know their friends and family, or you’ll begin to realize this isn’t what you want.
Knowing You’re In Good Hands In Their Region
Going somewhere foreign to you can be a little daunting, even if you have a solid itinerary. With your partner, he or she will be sure to show you all the local spots and make sure you know where you’re going.
Wondering How Long You Can Last
This is probably a new experience for both of you, and with new territory comes the frustrating phases. Will you be able to close the cultural gap and learn to appreciate each other enough to stay together?
Depending on how you two met, a long-distance relationship might be in the works at some point. If that’s something you’re willing to try, then you can discuss moving situations down the line.
Assumptions That Either Of You Have A “Fetish”
This isn’t a topic you hear about too often, but it’s a thing. You might be worried that he only wants you for your culture, and not you. Having a healthy discussion about it can solve this issue.
Trying To Get A Job In A New Country
Once you figure out who is moving where, attempting to get a job is a part of that process as well. Now, you’ll really need to know the other language if you want to crush this task.
Learning To Cook New Dishes
You might be an expert at cooking your country’s signature dishes, but it’s time for a whole new ball game now. After a few attempts, you’ll get your legs under you and should be able to handle most recipes after you get used to the seasonings and whatnot.
Being Referred To As “The American” Or “The Aussie”
Introductions might become a little mundane and playfully offensive when you meet new people in friend groups. Chats behind your back could go on when people try to identify you two. “Oh yeah, Sara, she’s the American one and he’s South American.”