12 Inevitabilities of Dating Outside Your Culture

Dating outside of your own culture can seem exciting, exotic – even glamorous! Since I have spent most of the last seven years travelling the globe and living in foreign lands, it may make sense that the majority of men I’ve dated or had relationships with during that time have not been fellow Brits. Actually none of them were (Sorry British men! That clean cut Mr Darcy stereotype just doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid!)

Dating outside of your culture presents a unique set of challenges and obstacles that perhaps only others who have found themselves in the same situation will be able to relate to…

Inevitabilities That Happen When You Date Outside Your Culture

Date Outside Your Culture


#1 You Start Speaking in a Weird, Broken Form of Your Own Language

For some strange reason, and perhaps for your partner’s sake, you adapt to speaking in a weird caveman style version of your own language. You realise that by speaking in broken English you are actually hindering their learning but it becomes strangely difficult to stop and revert back to speaking correctly. When you then go to speak with native speaking friends, they are concerned that you’ve bumped your head or something when they catch you dropping phrases like “I go metro by my feet!”

#2 You’ve Hung Up Your Grammar Nazi Coat and Hat

It makes you sick to your stomach when people use the incorrect versions of their/there/they’re or your/you’re. You consider it as a murderable offence, or at least one worthy of banishment. With your foreign lover however you give them a free pass. Hey if university educated native speakers can’t get it right, you have to cut them a little slack, right?

#3 Obscure Words in Their Language Sound so Sexy

“Oh my gosh!” You gasp with a hot flush as you fan your face. “That is such a beautiful word! Whatever does it mean?”

“…. Colander”

Dating Outside Your Culture

#4 They Say Hilarious Versions of Words in Your Native Tongue and You Can’t Laugh (Even Though You May Want to)

Hearing your hunky Greek boyfriend say that your eyeses look really pretty (as in one eyes, two eyeses) is too cute to laugh at! As is him saying that he just stood up too fast and now he’s feeling a little bit dizzle.

#5 You Learn all of the Rude Words and Curses in Each Other’s Language First

I mean, it may be of more practical use if you could teach yourself how to order coffee, or how to understand what the letters of their hieroglyphic-looking language means so that you will finally be able to identify the difference between cheese and yoghurt at the supermarket. However learning the rude words is just so much more fun! So what if you can’t ask someone how they’re feeling? You know seven different words for the male genitalia!

#6 You Find it Strange to Think That the Thoughts in Their Head are in a Different Language to Yours

Isn’t that strange? I bet when you’re watching TV he’s thinking like “Hadjagawimopayoga gogo doto to” What the devil is going on in there?

#7 You Attribute Behaviour that You Don’t Like to Cultural Differences

Is he acting this way because it’s a cultural thing or is he just being an asshole today? Hmm better cut him some slack. Maybe it’s a Greek thing.

#8 You Are Excited to Experience “Real” Food

You are absolutely thrilled that by dating someone of a different culture, you get an exclusive invite for a seat at the best local restaurants – the home of his/her mother and grandmother! This way you know for sure that you are eating the “real” food that the locals love and you start to attest to the fact that the food at the local restaurants taste nothing like the authentic version his/her Mom cooks. You think you are so informed and knowledgeable now but you probably just sound pretentious..

Dating Outside Your Culture

#9 If Their Culture is Known for Their Sexual Prowess, You are Intrigued to Discover if They Measure Up to the Stereotypes

Are the Italians really stallions? Are the Greeks really Gods? There is only one way to find out…

#10 It Feels Strange that They Don’t Get the Same Pop Culture, Movie and TV Show References That You Grew Up With

You quote Chandler Bing’s “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” while layered up to infinity and beyond ready for a hike but your foreign beau just frowns at you perplexed and scratches his head. How did he not grow up watching Friends? At least he’s good in bed.

#11 You Are Exposed to Different Beliefs on Traditional Relationships

Many Western parents today are becoming more laid back about their children’s approach to marriage, kids and responsibilities. The older generations from other countries however may not be so relaxed about it and like to remind you that the biological clock is ticking. So when his Mom asks you if you plan to have kids any time soon since, after all, you only have so many good years left you have no answer….

“Wait! I think I can hear the fire alarm ringing in my apartment… 17 blocks away! *runs*”

#12 You Wonder About How Different Your Relationship Would be if You Shared a Common First Language

Hey you’ve made it this far! At least one of you has a pretty good grasp of the other’s language! However although things are mostly well and good, you still realise that you have a limited selection of vocabulary to use with each other and you feel sad to think that there are people that can communicate with your love much better than you can.

Have you ever dated outside of your race or culture? Can you relate to my thoughts or is there anything else that you would add here?

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

1 thought on “12 Inevitabilities of Dating Outside Your Culture”

  1. Omg I experienced most of these (*especially* 7 and 11). The “relationship order of operations” can be totally different. A few years back I had told my boyfriend of 2 months that I may need to move home for a family emergency, and his first thought wasn’t if we would stay together but that we would need to be married if he was going to move with me. He was over 30 and in a bit of a rush to the altar.

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