So when it comes to dating someone from another culture, there are several things I think that are important to do, in order for you to help understand each other and lessen misunderstandings between you two. Relationships already by nature will have their share of miscommunications and misunderstandings, but maybe even more so when two people come together from two different countries and cultures.
First of all, I feel very lucky to have met Hyo. I mean, I’m a pretty introverted guy who doesn’t talk much when first meeting people, but luckily, I wanted help with learning Korean, and was able to meet her. Hyo is also introverted which means we mesh pretty well and can understand each other better most of the time.
So here are some things that I felt have been important for us to do:
1. Learn the other’s language.
This might seem obvious, but it really is something that just makes sense. It shows that you take an interest in the other person’s culture, and later down the line, it can ease communication problems. My Korean is far from being fluent, but slowly but surely I am picking up phrases she says and my vocabulary grows daily. I’ve been a little tired lately so studying has been at a minimum, but it’s much better than when we met. Her English was much better than my Korean when we met, but her speaking has improved as well. We used to communicate the best using Kakao Talk and face to face rather than over the phone.
2. Visit the other person’s country.
This gives you a chance to see how your partner lives and interacts right in their own culture. I had already been in Korea for a year and a half when we met, but it wasn’t until this year in January where she came to my hometown and met my family and friends. This also gives you a chance to see where they got some of their personality traits and quirks from. I was too happy when Hyo came to the states. It was too funny seeing her get hugged by everyone. She said she was hugged more in 2 weeks than she had been in her whole life haha (comic will be coming about that).
3. Travel together.
Traveling together can be fun and you can see how you guys mesh together over a longer period of time. Different problems seem to pop up when traveling, and it can be a chance for you guys to grow as you tackle them together. So far, we have been to Sokcho, Busan, and Mokpo in Korea. Hawaii, Detroit/West Virginia, and New York in the states. Hoping for Europe next year!
4. Learn to cook some of their culture’s food.
It’s fun. We love food. That is all.
5. Meet their family and friends.
This obvious with any relationship, but maybe even more so in relationships like these. The families and friends will always be curious about your new “main squeeze” and will be curious as to why you are dating someone from another culture. It also gives you a chance to see how they interact with people whom they have known all their lives. You can see another side to them which is fun 🙂
This is probably one of the most important as neither one of you may be fluent in the other’s language. If you guys have a problem, it may be best to just take some time to think so you can gather your thoughts and communicate them correctly. This is where learning the language comes in handy as well.
7. Respect their country’s cultural norms and differences.
Now I’m not saying you will understand or agree with everything about their country, but there is a way of going about it that is respectful and shows that you understand that things may be a little different than where you’re from. I once had a disrespectful attitude towards the Dokdo/Japan issue, and it really annoyed Hyo. It was my disrespectful nature and the way I said it more than what I said.
8. Go to another country where you guys are both tourists.
We are working on this, but this allows you to to see a new place together and feel the same experiences (kind of the same as #3, but a little different). Like I said above, we hope we can visit France next year, as well as Australia, maybe Japan, and who knows where else.
For those of you in similar situations, do you have any things that have helped you in your relationship?