TCKDating

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

Do cultural differences enhance or hinder a relationship?

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A couple of weeks ago, I did an interview on Fubar Radio in London about Adult Third Culture Kids and Dating (picture below). The English host Mark Dolan mentioned that his wife was German. He also spoke about why he thinks that their differences in culture keeps their relationship strong and fiery at the same time!

He explained how their views and opinions are often different and mentioned that this was one of the many reasons why the relationship stays fiery, exciting and unpredictable after many years together.  She’ll make a remark that he won’t be expecting. She’ll have a very different view on a topic that comes up on TV, on the radio, in the media.  And vice versa.

It appears that for some couples being with someone whose grown up in a different country and thus culture will have picked up different behaviors, customs, and mannerisms.  If you don’t see eye to eye about most things or if you are always surprised by what the other comes up with, can this keep the spark going for longer in a romantic relationship?

Although some might say that the flip side means that the person might not always understand you as quickly as someone who has the same cultural background or upbringing as you do.  Also, if they speak another language, it can potentially create a barrier in terms of communicating with their parents, siblings and extended family.  If you have children, does it make it harder in terms of agreeing about which language they will go to school in or if they should go to daycare?  What about deciding which country to live in?  If your parents have raised you in a country where they expect grandparents, aunts, and uncles to help out with children in the house on a day to day basis, can this cause friction later on?  As the other person may feel this is unecessary as they grew up only seeing extended family once in a while for holidays like Christmas or for a birthday.  Alternatively, a person with a similar cultural upbringing might have similar expectations about education, religion, work, and so forth.  Of course, this is not always the case. You can meet someone from the same culture who has very different views about politics, careers, and family.  But can similar cultural upbringings bring a closeness that cannot exist with two people from very different backgrounds?

Would you prefer dating someone who has grown up in the same culture as you?  Or would you enjoy the differences and surprises a different nationality could ultimately bring?

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