The Challenges of Dating Internationally
Finding love is a challenging quest even in your home country. Dating internationally will either make it more so or raise the chance to finally get the partner you've been looking for all along.
They say the thing you desperately search for is right in front of your eyes sometimes. But it's also true that other times, you need to go to the end of the world, literally, to find it. When what you find is love, exciting and sweet, you also need to discover a way to keep it.
Real love can be the most powerful of all things; it can move mountains, and it can move people. If you are one of the single expats in Spain, adjusting to a completely new environment, life and routine, from housing to shopping and going out, love may very well be the next big thing in the cards for you.
The Love Quest
If you're happy with the place you're at, chances are you'll want somebody to share that with. Looking for companionship is only natural when there's so much happening in your life right now: new people, new travels, new rules, and new plans. Seeing your life abroad as an opportunity to develop and experience things you haven't done before will make you seek a wonderful adventure. This will keep you open and alert to completely new circumstances and opportunities coming your way. Finding love abroad, for short or long term, is therefore much more likely to happen.
When you're the new single expat in Spain, people will notice you. No matter how much you try to blend in, the way you look, the way you dress, the way you eat ,and the way you talk are different. So, if you want a smooth interaction with fellow singles in Spain, you want to understand and control how that message is picked up.
Long Distance Style
However single expats looking to find love internationally do be aware of the pitfalls. You might be an American single in Spain, trying to get acquainted with the Catalonian passionate spirit, or an Asian single in Paris, discovering local wine and the adorable French accent. It all seems fabulous until you start looking for a romantic connection, that you soon notice you don't really know how to master.
Somehow, the big gap between your culture and that of the other person, even in the globalised world we live in, requires you to build a bridge to be able to really connect. The difference in meaning when offering something hot to drink to a guest in America – saying "stay and get comfortable" – as opposed to Japan – where it suggests "the evening is finishing now" – is a classical and excellent example of the cultural misunderstandings that can occur when living abroad.
Lost in Translation
Finding love abroad means you now have to try hard to make the relationship work, regardless of the cultural barriers between the two of you. For people not residing in the western part of the world or for those who are but whose love interest doesn't speak a common language, dating internationally means learning the local language. Because if you're in it for the long haul, this will greatly improve all interactions you have with locals and is a wonderful way to show you care for your partner. After all, speaking clearly to each other and having in-depth and open conversations is a big part of any successful relationship, wherever you are in the world.
Even when language is not an obvious barrier, being aware of the cultural particularities, such as who makes the first move or how soon you can meet after chatting online, is essential. It can help you avoid embarrassing situations or, should they arise after all, ensure you that you shouldn't take them personally.
A Way In
First things first. Anywhere in the world, especially in Europe, people don't go on dates with complete strangers. Instead, they prefer to get to meet people who are already in their work group or friend circle. This friends-turning-lovers idea should not scare you off if you are a single expat who just moved abroad. Luckily, online dating sites for expats, such as Expatica Dating Spain can bring people otherwise unknown to each other together. Expat communities and online social networking groups are the best grounds to meet new people in your area, especially if you joined them through a work colleague or, say, your next-door neighbor.
You need to know just one person to connect instantly to many others. When you open that first door, there's no guarantee that you will be able to bring all the walls down, but at least you know you broke the ice in the international dating game that follows.
If goes without saying that you have to work harder and pay more attention to people around when you dating internationally than you would need to do with those in your home country. This can ultimately be a plus for any relationship. Meanwhile, events such as being invited to a local family get-together as a date can lead to awkward situations. For instance, if there's laughter around and a bit of linguistic chaos in your mind, this will most likely lead to the daunting question „are they laughing at me?"
Different gestures like kissing or holding hands can also bring confusion to a single expat who thinks lip locking and walking hand in hand is strictly reserved to a lover, not friends. However, young Eastern European girls, for example, are accustomed to showing such friendly affection towards each other, without being (or being considered) gay. They will not extend the courtesy to other people than their best friend, as it is only reserved to those they are closest to at a certain age and not a sexual thing.
In the UK or Sweden, a woman may kiss a man, or even more than one, at a party just for fun, without any further implications on anyone's part. But when you kiss a Frenchman or Frenchwoman and even move on to sex, the French will consider it a relationship or the start of a serious affair at least.
Don't get too excited if a Spaniard tells you that he loves you just after a few dates. It usually means "I like you very much." So, don't send the wedding invitations just yet. In all truth, there are countries like Spain, Portugal, and France whose population are warm-blooded and more passionate, and places like Northern Europe or Germany where people are not as culturally open as to talk to someone they don't know.
What's customary in Italy, where Italian women are regularly shouted at and complimented with words like "Ciao, Bella, come stai?" (translation: "Hello, beautiful, how are you today?") by complete strangers on the street, would be considered an impolite mockery elsewhere in the world.
So you get the point: words, sounds, gestures and actions suggest different things in different countries. This is why, when looking for love abroad, you should adopt a neutral position at first whilst learning ‘the secret local language.'
Nevertheless, while getting there, you should be mindful of these international dating tips that can help you through any successful romantic encounter:
International Dating Tip 1: Physical Contact
Don't get too close physically to the other person on a first date. Don't break the personal space or the arm's length until the other person gives you a clear green light.
International Dating Tip 2: How to Dress
Dress nicely, in a smart casual manner that says you're both comfortable (not too tight nor too large) and stylish (but you didn't try too hard).
International Dating Tip 3: Don't Lose Control
Don't, under any circumstances, get drunk. Having a glass or two can make you more relaxed and open and help you bond more easily, but drinking a glass too much can turn all that into a dating disaster.
International Dating Tip 4: Prepare to Pay for Your Own
Go Dutch even when you're not in Amsterdam and be prepared to pay for your part, without assuming the other will take care of the bill.
International Dating Tip 5: Stay in Touch
Call or text the next day if you liked that person, and you want to see him/her again. And don't get a guilty conscience if you don't, because first date casualties are a common thing (almost) anywhere in the world.
Finding love abroad can be a challenge. That is why it's important to start small but plan big. Join a local online dating site for expats and try to meet new people there. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky.
Expatica Dating Spain will help you find a suitable single in Spain. After the quick and easy registration process, you'll have the opportunity to check various criteria that will allow our high-tech system to find the perfect expat singles for you.
Join Expatica Dating Spain today; help is just a click away!