Dating Across the Cultural Divide

Things you can do to make cross-cultural dating easier on you and your spouse.


We live in a global world which means it has never been easier to meet new people from exciting new places and develop strong connections with them. Dating across the cultural divide is on the increase, and although it can be a wonderful experience, it is also fair to say that it can bring up some issues that you would not necessarily expect to encounter when dating someone from within your own culture.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to make cross-cultural dating easier on you and your spouse:

Talk about expectations

If you are dating someone whose culture is different from your own, one of the first things you should do is discuss your expectations openly and honestly. Whether you are dating Polish women in the USA, an English woman dating an African man, or a white male dating an Asian woman, for example, there are likely to be differences in your expectations based on your cultural experiences to date.

For example, some cultures expect women to take a more subservient role in a relationship while others expect women to take a more dominant role. It s only by talking about these expectations that you can work out where you both stand and come to a compromise that works for you both. If you cannot do this, the relationship is less likely to work overall.

Do your research

If you are dating someone who has a different culture from your own, then you should make it your mission to find out as much about their culture as you possibly can. From the kinds of food they would traditionally cook to how they look at politics, religion, and the body, the media they enjoy, and the etiquette they live by, the more you know about their culture, the more you will be able to understand who they are as people, and the more likely it is you will be able to get along effectively. Of course, you should ensure they are also putting the same effort into learning about your culture because this is a relationship and you are both equally valid within it.

Query any issues

Sometimes, when you are dating someone who is from a different place or a different culture to you, there will be things they do that you do not understand and some of these things may seem upsetting or offensive to you. For example, in some cultures, it is polite to never finish a meal, whereas in other finishing a meal is a polite way to show appreciation. Instead of sweating over these perceived slights and issues, always be willing to simply ask your partner about them. More often than not, this will clear up any differences and enable you to get back to relationship harmony in no time at all.

Spend some time in their country

If your spouse is from a different country, not just a different culture, then spending some time in that country, if you're able to do so, is a really good way to immerse yourself in their way of life. It will give you a far greater understating of how they think and feel, while also helping you to learn more of their language than you might already know, which will definitely help to strengthen relationship bonds to a huge extent when compared to just reading about their culture, for example.

Work out what you are willing to compromise

As alluded to earlier, it is a good idea to work out what you both believe and try to come to a compromise that will allow you to enjoy life together. However, you are your own person, and chances are you have boundaries that you are not willing to cross. For example, it may not be the done thing for women to work in some cultures, but you might be quite unwilling to give up work. If a compromise harms you too much or you are uncomfortable with it, then it may be that going your own seperate ways is the best solution because you need to be fulfilled and happy in your own right too.

Dating across the cultural divide is more common than ever, and that probably means that it will become easier as time goes by, but if you are having issues in your relationship right now, the above tips might just help you to smooth out the wrinkles and ensure that your relationship is as successful and as fulfilling as it can possibly be.