Being in love is the most beautiful thing in the world.
You just have to look into your partnerís eyes and you feel this overwhelming feeling of joy. You know that you are made for each other and you want to cry whenever you think about spending the rest of your life with this person.
Thatís love. Itís the most important part of life.
But itís not always easy, especially when you fall in love with a person from another culture. As a German who is in love with a beautiful, educated, and amazing Thai woman, I had to learn this the hard way.
Even though we are together for almost three years and I live with her in Thailand, there are still times when I think about whether or not I made the right decision. Not because I donít love her but because intercultural relationships are inherently different and challenging.
And thatís exactly why I decided to write this article for you. Maybe you are in the same situation or maybe you will be in the near future. I mean, we live in a globalized world and thanks to online dating the chances that youíll meet someone from another culture are pretty high.
I want you to be prepared and I hope that you can learn a lot from my experiences.
1. Not Everyone Understands Your Decision
I have to warn you. Not everyone will understand your decision to date someone from another culture, especially when your partner has a different skin color than you. Yes, intercultural and interracial relationships are more accepted than ever before. Thatís the good news.
What about the bad news? Well, there are still people who believe that itís wrong. I donít want to sugarcoat things. I want to help you and prepare you for the truth. And the truth is that you will get stared at.
Thatís just how it is and nothing you do can change that. When I walk hand in hand with my Thai girlfriend, there are always one or two people who stare at us as if we were green aliens.
Itís your decision how you react in these situations. You can either be proud of your relationship or you can allow other people to make you feel uncomfortable.
I think I donít have to tell you which decision is more rewarding.
2. Your Differences Allow You to Learn and to Grow
Intercultural relationships have many advantages but the biggest advantage is that you can learn and grow in a way that you canít when you date someone from the same culture.
Since Iím together with my Thai girlfriend, I studied the Thai language and the history and culture of Thailand. Just think about it. As an American who dates another American, you probably wonít learn another language, let alone study another culture.
The growth experience that this cultural study can lead to is phenomenal. Since Iíve started to learn everything about the Thai culture, I began to see things in a different way. You can experience the same change.
3. Sometimes You Feel Like in one of those Movies
You know what kind of movies Iím talking about. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of them. Guess Who is another one. Both are comedy movies that portrait intercultural and interracial relationships in a funny way.
What nobody tells you is that these things can happen in real life. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes they are not so funny. But they happen.
I donít want to bore you with our love story but I have to tell you about the day I met the parents of my Thai girlfriend. I came to their house and without even thinking about it, I walked in the house without taking my shoes off. In case you are Asian, you know that this is one of the worst things you can possibly do.
Iím glad that her parents forgave me. Maybe the parents of your future partner wonít be so tolerant. Thatís why I urge you to learn everything you can about the culture of your partner. It can save your relationship and your life.
4. Meeting Other Intercultural Couples Helps a Lot
It really helps to talk with people who are in the same situation as you. They understand your struggle and they also understand the fun, adventure and the pitfalls of intercultural dating.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed or doubt your relationship, you can talk to someone who experiences the same. This allows you to support each other on your path. It helped me and my Thai girlfriend and Iím sure it can do the same for you.
5. Itís Even More Important to Talk about Everything
Communication is important in every relationship, but itís even more important when you are dating someone from another culture.
Sometimes you do something that annoys your partner. The problem is that you donít even know that your behavior is annoying because itís completely normal in your culture. I experienced this many times with my Thai girlfriend.
Either she did something that I considered weird or I did something that irritated her. I just want you to be prepared that these situations will happen and that you need to talk about them when they happen.
6. It Doesnít Get Boring
Even though it can be tough from time to time, being in an intercultural relationship is beautiful and rewarding at the same time.
You grow, you learn, and you love.
The best thing is that it doesnít get boring. There will always be new challenges, new things to learn, and new cultural quirks that you didnít expect.
I hope you enjoy every second of it.