When dating someone we tend to focus on the similarities we share: our likes, our interests, and our passions. This allows us to connect with the other person and it can become a base of the relationship. What’s more, it’s nice to have someone to share our favourite things with and go experience it with them. But you can’t have a relationship solely based on similarities, there has to be differences too. Maybe they like sushi but you hate it. Maybe their favourite activity to do alone is to watch YouTube whilst playing a game but you like to read a book. Without some differences in likes, interests, hobbies and passions it’s possible the relationship might feel a bit “stuck” and you may feel like one person instead of two.
Typically if you date within the same age group as yourself you will find natural similarities in each other’s lives. We will be able to understand the slang the other uses, internet memes, TV shows and trends. We will also have an understanding of the challenges each other may be going through during this time of our lives, maybe it’s high school or college, internships, jobs, balancing different aspects of our lives whilst finding our own path as we explore and develop ourselves as individuals.
But what is it like to date someone from a different culture to your own?
You both will have grown up with different ideas, influences, and culture norms making your childhoods and backgrounds probably very different. It is likely that the childhood shows you grew up with weren’t the same and everyday life like Saturday nights would have been spent differently. When I came to America I had never heard of SNL. I didn’t have the faintest idea why everyone would talk about it on Monday and what made it so amazing. After asking around, I then learnt what it was and was introduced to some of the most re-known skits. I’ll be honest I don’t always find them that funny and I don’t watch them unless someone shows them to me. But now I understand an important part of American culture, and I can connect with my boyfriend on some level with it. My Saturday nights had very different shows you have probably never heard of like Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway but we also had X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent similar to the American versions.
Other differences of culture include sport and holidays. I’ve never seen a proper baseball game until I watched the Dodgers game before they entered the World Series. My boyfriend tried to explain it to me but honestly, I still felt confused about how the game worked. Then there are sports that I grew up playing like netball, field hockey, and rounders that people have often never heard of. Furthermore, there are all the American holidays like Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Labor Day and President’s Day that I had never celebrated before I came here! But then there are the Bank Holiday Mondays that I no longer celebrate.
In America it is a norm in school to have lock-down drills, fire drills and maybe an earthquake drill. Where I’m from it would be a norm to only have a fire drill. It may not seem like a large difference but it shows there are differences in the cultures and how we process day-to-day life. Something that may not have been considered. The example of the drills show two very different ways of living.
Having a relationship with someone from another culture is more than possible but it takes some extra effort to understand each other and their cultural backgrounds. Take the time to talk about your childhoods and introduce each other to new and different aspects of you who are. What’s really nice about dating someone from another country is you can learn so much from the other person and try out new foods, traditions, and watch new TV shows like SNL. It can be difficult at times when sitting with their family and they’re talking about something you have never related to or heard of but that’s part of the challenge and it’s worth it.
“There are many cultural differences between us, but I think you’ll find a lot of similarities, too.” – Sandy Thomas
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay