Love that knows no borders
Marrying a foreigner seems like something straight out of a fairy tale, at least at a glance. There is almost always a captivating and odds-defying story of how a couple met. Maybe it was in a passenger terminal after grounded flights. Or it could be one of those unicorn successful international online dating stories.
In addition to the magical meeting, you get bragging rights on being a strong couple. I mean, who else can say their love has survived cultural differences, language barriers, and being continents apart?
While these success stories are heart-warming, it is important that you appreciate that there is so much more to them than happily ever after. They take a lot more work than any other kind of relationship, including LDRs in the same country.
If you are already in one or planning to find love abroad, here are a few bits of advice for international couples and how to make this challenge-ridden setup work.
The challenges of international long-distance relationships
International relationship love stories are really hard. International LDRs take the whole thing to another level with a whole new set of problems that you as a LDR couple have to work through.
Here are four unique setbacks and how you can work through it together.
The language barrier
The language barrier is usually the biggest of all the challenges when it comes to international long-distance relationships.
If you happen to fall in love with someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you, then it’s guaranteed you will have problems with communication. Yes, there are online translators and apps that you could use, but it is not the same.
The best thing to do here is to make an effort to learn each other’s languages. And in the meantime, you can use all the online resources available.
You will have a lot of learning and adapting to do with international long-distance relationships. This includes everything from making yourself familiar with their traditions to getting to know their dating culture. All you have to do is have an open mind and be willing to compromise where you can.
When he’s asleep, you are wide awake at work. When she is at home chilling, you are deep asleep into the wee hours of the morning. This can take a huge toll on your relationship, especially when it comes to setting the best time to catch up and bond. You will have to do a lot of sacrificing to find a communication schedule that works for both of you.
Dating someone from a different continent is a whole other ballpark compared to one just a couple of cities or states away. International traveling adds a new layer of challenges to the relationship, including tiresome visa processes, long flights and high travel costs. The best thing to do here is to plan and prepare in advance for your trips and start saving as soon as you can.
Advice for international couples
Learn the language
As said above, marrying someone from another country can mean that there is a language barrier. And although there are many apps and online services that allow immediate translation for easier communication, these will only serve your relationship well for a while. A time will come where you will have to learn to speak for yourself, and the sooner you do it, the better.
Make their country your second home
If you have entered into a serious commitment, then you will have to invest more than just your time, emotions, and effort. Start saving up and planning trips back and forth. That allows you to spend much-needed time together to strengthen the bond further.
Prepare for cultural differences
According to most international marriage statistics, cultural differences are a major cause of issues in LDRs where international borders are crossed. Cultural misunderstanding is the leading cause of international relationship failure.
It does not necessarily mean that your relationship is doomed to fail, and you should give up. What you need to do is to, first of all, appreciate that the differences are inevitable. After that, all you need to do is be willing to appreciate each other’s cultures, compromise, and create new traditions of your own.
Let go of the stereotypes
Do not view your beau as a novelty prize or a twisted realization of your ethnic fetish. It is ok to appreciate that your partner comes from a country whose people you typically find attractive but do not reduce them to just that.
In the same way, make sure to avoid negative stereotypes that paint your partner into a box. Go in with an open mind and let them surprise you. They will.
Get family and friends involved
That is particularly important for serious international relationships where you feel you have completed your search for a Prince or Princess Charming.
First of all, getting loved ones involved makes you responsible and accountable as a couple. That greatly increases your chances of succeeding. The introduction might also help pick out red flags that you could not see through your heart-shaped goo-goo eyes.
Have an end goal in mind
If you marry someone from another country, do not think that your job is done. If anything, the hard work is just beginning!
Have a plan first and foremost of where you’re going to settle down together. It is also important to agree on things like which cultural traditions to maintain and how to raise your kids. Having these things thought out in advance will save you a lot of time and trouble down the line.
Get your head out of the clouds
Finally, do not feel the need to stay in that long-distance relationship out of duty or feeling that you worked too hard to keep it.
As with any other relationship or marriage where the couple is nearby, these types of relationships sometimes fail too. The international marriage divorce rate as of 2018 was at about 50%. The good news is that if you are open and honest and determined to make it work, then you might not have to worry about this.
International marriages may be hard, but this doesn’t mean that you give up. I mean, what are phones and computers and airplanes for if not to make your relationship easier?
You need to approach your relationship with a realistic, focused, and determined point of view. Don’t hesitate to ask LDR questions to your partner to make sure that you are on the same page.
That, plus a little bit of hard work, and it shouldn’t matter what is working against your relationship. It will be you and your beau against the world – and with these tips, you stand a chance of winning!