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

What moving in your teens does to your dating life – Part 1

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I think moving around so much growing up had a large influence on my dating life. I had finally met someone at the American International School in Vienna in 10th grade that I found exciting, attractive, and fun. A few months before leaving for Hamburg, we kissed. It was the most amazing, unforgettable moment of my teenage years. The fact that I was nervous and excited added to the fireworks that seemed to be going off that night.  For those couple seconds, nothing seemed to exist, except the two of us.  I finally knew that he was into me too! As a 15 or 16 year old, it feels like nothing else matters at that point. Pure bliss is what it was.

And then, just like that, I was gone. We flew to Hamburg. I would never find out if it would have developed. Would we have gone to the movies? Would we have held hands in the hallways at school? Would he have come watch me play football on the school pitch on the weekends? I would never know.

I arrived in Hamburg for the start of my 11th grade year. I was 16 at the time. I had two years left of High School. Would I meet someone there? Would I finally be able to see something develop? After three or four months, I met someone who made me laugh. Who made me nervous. Who made me smile.  But, at the time, I was still trying to figure people out. Whereas everyone else at school knew everyone since middle school, I was trying to make sure this guy was a ‘good’ guy.  I was brand new. So not only was I trying to make friends, get accustomed to the new teachers, and get around a new city, I was also trying to figure out this guy.

I felt those nerves again. I knew I liked him. And I was pretty darn sure he liked me too. But I was also scared and embarrassed that as someone in 11th grade, I hadn’t had a proper boyfriend yet. Would he understand that it was because I’d moved around? Would I know what to do as a girlfriend?  Would I know how to act on a date? What were we meant to do at lunch in the cafeteria? Would we be sitting together or would we sit with our friends? There were so many questions running through my head.  And so many butterflies that when he came up to me one day to show he was ‘sort of’ interested (as we all do at that age), I showed a lack of interest. I acted cool and stand-offish. I was scared.  I was 16. His friends told me he liked me. And yet again, I acted as if I wasn’t interested. It was just the fear and nerves of not knowing what to do. And not feeling like I’d had enough time to figure him out as a person.

I missed my chance. He started dating someone else.  I thought I’d regret that moment forever. But now, looking back, I realise it was from moving around so much and not having time to settle in and figure people out. It was hard to get attached too when I knew I’d be off again by the end of high-school. I had kind of learned to be quite detached, subconsciously really.  But that is what it was.  Even though I appeared relaxed and outgoing at the time, I would never have fully let go to allow someone in. It was probably a defence mechanism as a teenager. By staying calm, detached, and prepared to leave after High School, I wouldn’t get hurt.

Moving to Boston for university at 18 was exhilarating but also nerve-wrecking.  Would I finally meet someone there who I’d feel comfortable enough with to date? To be continued…


One thought on “What moving in your teens does to your dating life – Part 1

  1. Pingback: What moving in your teens does to your dating life – Part 2 | TCKDating

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