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

Do you finally stand still when you meet the one?


When you’ve been a Third Culture Kid, moving to so many different schools and countries growing up, sometimes you feel as if you’re not really rooted to any single place as an adult.  You constantly look to try a new place, a new country. You get bored quickly.

You move to a new city for university.  And, as a TCK, you start asking yourself if you could potentially settle down in that city. You look around; you look at the restaurants, the cafes, your friends there. And you ask yourself, could I really see myself living here for the rest of my life? And very often, the answer is no. As a Global Nomad, you’ve spent so much of your time moving that for you to really stop, it needs to be somewhere really special. Somewhere that captivates your interest. That inspires you. That keeps you excited. You need a place that almost moves and changes just as much as you.   Which is why a lot of TCKs choose to live in big capital cities, where things are always changing, evolving, happening. New York City. Paris. Sydney. London. Hong Kong.

After attending university, you may decide to look for a job. And I find it’s rare that TCKs will look for a job in their parent’s home country. Often, it’s just no longer a place they feel connected to. They have changed too much. Their accent, their customs, the way they behave. The people from that country are just not who they feel most comfortable with. Instead, they might go to a city whereby they feel that they’ll meet others like them or at least have a large international community. They want something diverse, where people are open-minded. They want to be intellectually stimulated and engaged culturally.

Then, you may have moved after university. You’ve found a job in a city that  you thought would be good for the next year or two years.  You definitely plan on moving again.  TCKs often feel restless after a year or two, and they think why not try something new again? And then.  You meet someone, someone truly great. Who makes your world stop for a second. They make you question things. They say unpredictable things. You haven’t fully understood them. Even though as an adult TCK, you can usually figure people out quickly from having done it so many times when you moved schools every couple years.  You are still trying to figure them out.  And that person is happily stood still, most likely a non-TCK. He or she doesn’t feel restless, like you always do.  They are happy with the city they live in. They don’t feel this huge need to move around. They don’t have itchy feet. They are at peace with the place they live in. They don’t constantly think about all the other places and adventures that might be had around the world. They know the grass is not always greener on the other side. They are better at you about living in the now and being happy with the city they live in. Are you then finally going to stop moving and stand still with them? Or will you run?



2 thoughts on “Do you finally stand still when you meet the one?

  1. So you meet that person so similar to you in so many respects – except for that abyss which is the difference between a TCK and a “normal”, calm person, perfectly content in their own city, not even questioning living elsewhere. And they ask you to come try their city. Obviously up for the new adventure, you accept, but you’re terrified by the idea of settling in that one place maybe even long term. In that new city with this non-TCK, you constantly compare it’s great and not so great aspects to other cities and countries you’ve spent time in. Driving that person mad in the process. You make a huge effort to become fluent, understand and integrate into the culture, til you realize that, inevitably, your TCK attitude has rubbed off on that person (while in the meantime you’ve began to think – hey it’s quite nice making plans in one place and befriending locals who won’t leave to tomorrow). But all your talking about your past TCK experiences has given him
    itchy feet…. to be continued…

    • Interesting! I wonder if that happens often!! That the person who you’re with, say a non-TCK, who is at first comfortable with staying in one city then changes to become the person who wants to travel. I have found that sometimes non-TCKs do have a strong desire to travel because they haven’t had a chance to do it before.

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