|So, do relationships with people from other countries work? Well yes of course they do, but there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider when thinking about starting a relationship with someone from a different culture or country. It all depends on what you expect from someone else and whether they can give you what you expect - and whether you can meet their expectations too, of course. Here I'm thinking specifically about dating relationships, that is relationships that can lead to long term commitments such as marriage.
To begin with, whether any relationship anywhere works or not depends first and foremost on the individual personalities of the people in the relationship, and not on their culture or country. However, culture and country can have an influence on the relationship. For example, if someone from a particular culture has certain expectations of a marriage relationship (which expectations come from the way they have brought up and what they have been led to expect from such a relationship) then that may affect the relationship, however slightly. On the whole though, relationships depend upon the people in them, not where those people live or the country they come from.
Making a relationship with someone from another country or another culture can be very exciting. If you are a man you may feel as if you are dating all the beautiful women in that country, or perhaps one of the finest examples of a beautiful girl which that country can offer. A word of caution here. Relationships work at the individual level, so your relationship must be based on how well you get on with the personality of the individual woman concerned, and not the fact that she is either a) beautiful or b) from a certain country, culture or background.
Nevertheless, even allowing for this, a relationship with someone from another culture or country can be extremely exciting. The cultural background, visits to the other country, the language of the country and learning to speak it, the different habits and ways of doing and saying things that people from other cultures have are all very exciting indeed. A relationship can feed off these differences for some time, even for years, but as mentioned above, in the end the relationship must be founded on the same things all successful relationships are founded on, such as trust, mutual respect and understanding.
So what of the disadvantages of a love relationship with someone from another country or cultural background? The very obvious one, but something that still needs stating, is that if your relationship is to exist on a face-to-face level then one of you must live in the other's country - as simple as that. Aside from the practical problems of securing visas, resident status and so on, there are important emotional concerns here. Living in another country is exciting for the first year or two, but what happens when homesickness grows to the extent that you've had enough and just want to go home?
No matter how much you love your husband or wife, that longing for the home country will still be there. Of course this factor is reduced in some people and magnified in others, depending on their personal history and what their home country means to them. Some do find though that after a few years the ongoing background strain of living in what will always be at root an unfamilar and alien country - however much they admire or love it - can become too much. Holidays and visits back home may not be enough (not to mention the ongoing cost of them) and the distance from family becomes too great. Any existing cracks in the relationship could then lead to separation and a return to the home country, whereas such 'cracks' might possibly have been successfully healed in a situation where both partners are living in their home country.
Sometimes we have no control over who we begin a love relationship with, it seems to just happen when we meet someone new and blossoms quickly out of our control. But if you are actually planning to find and begin a love relationship with someone from another country or culture -- because you love that country and find it an exciting place to visit, for example -- then you must go into this process with your eyes open, fully aware of the pitfalls as well as the advantages.
You must be prepared to live abroad if that's the way it turns out, limiting yourself to visits home and the possibility of not seeing family or close friends for long stretches at a time. And you must really be prepared to do these things, not just tell yourself that you are, because you are in love. Love changes over time, the initial excitement changes into a deep-rooted mutual respect, a different type of love, in the best relationships. In others it simply melts away. So be prepared, go in with your eyes open, be clear what your family and roots mean to you before you are prepared to leave them. But also be open to the great rewards a love relationship with someone from another country or culture can bring.
About the author:
Vince Appleby writes for International
Pen Pal .com a site for pen pals and for those seeking a love relationship, at http://www.internationalpenpal.com/
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