Guide to Intercultural Dating
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Welcome to the not so glamorous world of intercultural dating. While opposites do not always attract, when they do, their differences often tear them apart. Certain cultural circles are much harder for outsiders to break into than others, and for men pursuing relationships with women who belong to these circles, the road can be long and hard. Sometimes, even if she likes you, she may be reluctant to be with you – conforming to the demands of family, friend or cultural pressure. If you are concerned about pursuing a woman with a stricter cultural background be assured that while these relationships can be tough they are not impossible. Here are a few tips for navigating intercultural relationships.
Take It Easy
Go slow. Like any relationship you don't want to weigh the other person down with your baggage right away. If she is closer with her family than you are, you may want to mention that you are not comfortable meeting her family too early in. However, you should never try to get her to compromise her beliefs and traditions to make you comfortable. So, if she is really going against what she believes by leaving her mom at home then you already have a problem. If you know your date cannot take it, then you may want to reconsider going out with that person in the first place. It's harsh, but it's reality and the sooner you can accept that the sooner you can find the right person for you.
Woo with Caution
If you're seeing someone from a completely different culture, it may be tricky to win her over without bending any rules she may have to follow. If you are really serious about the girl, then get to know her and her culture so you understand what is appropriate and what is not. Until you find out what are acceptable dating practices in her culture, be cautious. Her body language and attitude should clue you in to what is okay if you have not discussed the cultural issue yet. But, until you have that conversation you should hold off on obscene romantic gestures or overt sexual advances. It is also important to note that some cultures make use of different body language gestures which can be quite confusing if you do not understand these yet (so you may be reading her wrong). Try to learn what these are, if any.
Make Sure It's Mutual
If you sense any hesitation after the first few dates, don't ignore it. If your calls are being avoided or she mentions someone else, it could be her way of telling you that she is a bit nervous about dating outside her religion or culture. Of course, it could also be her way saying she's not into you. If you are having hesitations, then find the source of them. The counseling department at Ball State University suggests that it's normal for people to avoid dating out of their comfort zone - this discomfort is especially prevalent in the majority (ie, Caucasian, Catholics, etc.). It can be extremely helpful to talk to the other person about your fears and doubts. If you are both willing to work on it then take a chance – things look good. However, only you know yourself best so if you know you'll never be able to find a compromise you are happy with, end it before things get messy.
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