Third Culture Kid Dating; adults who have spent their developmental years outside their parent's culture

As Third Culture Kids, do we struggle to solve problems in our relationships?

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After reading an article by Bill Drake on cosmopolitan blog The International Man, I thought about what he said: “Third Culture Kids often seem to lack problem solving skills in their personal relationships since many have moved frequently and learned to leave a problem behind rather than deal with it”.  I was upset when I first read this, thinking, come on, that’s not true! It’s too easy to say that just because we moved around every couple of years, as adults, we were more likely to ignore a problem then solve it because we never had to resolve issues in our relationships as kids.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I started to realise that I did find it difficult to care enough to resolve an issue with a friend. I had never had to resolve issues with friends before because I always knew that there was an expiry date to my stay in that city.  By the end of my stay, there was something bothering me about the friendship that I was in. However, rather than taking the time to solve it, I thought, what’s the point? I’m leaving anyway.

So for example when I was doing my Bachelors in Boston, I had decided to study abroad in my Junior Year.  One of my best friends who I had spent the majority of my freshman and sophomore year with had recently started dating a new guy.  She started spending all of her time with him and when she asked me to hang out, she would constantly bring him along. I would therefore feel like a third-wheel on their dinner and movie dates.  Instead of bringing up the issue I had with her, I thought, what’s the point, I will leave in 2 months’ time for Auckland, New Zealand (where I was studying abroad). It felt like too much effort. And from past experience, I knew how quickly I would make strong bonds with new friends as soon as I arrived in Auckland.  Instead of resolving the issue, I thought, I’ll make new friends in the next city.

I saw myself doing this several times in my uni years: in Boston, in Auckland, in London where I studied abroad, and Paris where I spent summers during my uni years.  I just never felt the need to improve those relationships or deal with the problems that had arisen.  When I moved to London in 2010 for my first job out of uni at Bloomberg, I made conscious decision to change this.  Find out how in my next blog post!

Paris pic


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