International Dating 101
Walking through the streets of Korea, one would be pressed to not see an occasional interracial couple walking hand and hand. At one point in Korean history, this would have been almost impossible to see. Even though there is still somewhat of a social bias against said relationships, they are abundant in their numbers. Although the typical couple composes of a western man and Korean woman, there has recently been a surge in Korean men and western women. I would like to share my opinion on biggest pitfalls and potential problems these relationships can face.
It is worth noting that relationships/marriages are difficult in the first place. In America and Korea, there seems to be just about a 50/50 percent chance of a marriage being successful. If you also factor in how many relationships one experiences before marriage, it is clear that the vast majority of romantic endeavors end in failure. This is not unique to east or west. There are a thousand ways a relationship can go wrong and only a few ways in which they can go right, literally. Relationships require a certain amount of respect and civility that most people simply don’t have. International dating, too, has its up and downs and challenges just as any other relationship would face.
When considering an international relationship, one should be realistic about the challenges and invite them. First and foremost, there will almost always be a language barrier to some extent. Of course, even when both speakers have the same native tongue, there is no promise of sincere and healthy dialogue. Lack of meaningful communication is almost always one of the red flags that a relationship is doomed to fail. This is further complicated by the fact that usually only one of the partners has learned the other’s language. So a sincere part of the other person to learn their partner’s language can go a long way and show serious commitment. This effort will increase the probability of being able to fully communicate.
Learning to accept differences about the other person, or culture can also be the other biggest challenge. In general, the differences between men and women are astronomical. Most guys simply can’t begin to understand basic women reasoning and needs, and vice versa for women. An inflexible and stubborn attitude will almost certain lead to a breakdown in relationships, international or otherwise. Both parties should make sincere efforts to properly empathize with each other, compromise and be open to new ideas. This potential problem is further exacerbated when throwing in cultural difference, though. Although we cannot simply dismiss this outright, a willingness to understand and embrace differences can be the perfect medicine. Having an open mind and willing to experience and try new things can go a very long way for relationships. Really!
Finally, good or bad, relationships will always be a challenge, but they will teach you something and broaden your horizons. Dating foreign partners can open your mind up to many new ideas and experiences; I can hardly think of a better way to experience the culture of a new place than a sincere, committed relationship. Having dated several Korean women, I have grown to appreciate Asia and Asians a lot more than had I only dated western women. I have learned to empathize and embrace the many differences that face us. In my humble opinion, international dating is something each person should try at least once in their lifetime. Unless, of course, one already happens to be in a relationship!