One of the biggest advantages for people who do move abroad alone is the opportunity to live life to the full in their host country. Quite often this involves expat dating and having a new country full of dating prospects can be a real bonus for expat singletons. Here’s an overview of expat dating and the inherent implications.
One of the most pertinent issues you should consider before relocating as a singleton is whether you are prepared to engage in a relationship with someone from a different culture, who has a lifestyle and social values that contrast with your own. While this may seem exciting and exotic at first, partaking in a cross-cultural relationship can be extremely challenging and you will need to invest significant time and effort into making it work. Some of the areas that will require focus and attention include the following-
- Communication styles
- Role and gender expectations
- Ways of expressing emotion and affection
- Commitment expectations
As an expat dating a local you will also need to be prepared for the occasional imbalance in the relationship that will arise from your own lack of familiarity with the culture and local environment as compared with your partner’s own familiarity and comfort within it.
For more information and a detailed look at the psychology of cross-cultural dating, Margaret Malewski’s book GenXpat: The Young Professional’s Guide To Making A Successful Life Abroad is a must-read. It contains a comprehensive view of dating across cultures and how you can give any cross-cultural relationship the best possible start.
There are many ways in which you can search for love as an expatriate living abroad and these will mostly correspond with the methods that are in place in your home country. Common platforms are the following-
- Traditional and ex-pat dating agencies where you can provide information about yourself and the type of partner you are looking for and you will be provided with details of potential matches.
- Online expat dating agencies. Websites that allow you to advertise yourself as a potential partner whilst also browsing other single people in your area.
- Speed dating. Organized events where you spend anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes with a fellow singleton before being moved on to meet someone else. At the end of the night you specify who you are interested in and any matches are revealed.
- Expat social events. There are always expat social events occurring in major cities throughout the world. If you attend these on a regular basis you are bound to meet a wide range of single people from all over the world.
- If you have met someone you like, either online, in a forum or in a bar, you should always ensure that you meet in a public place where there are a lot of people. You should always tell a friend where your plans in full so that they can retrace your steps in the event of any problems.
- If you have any uncomfortable feelings during the date and/or observe any inconsistencies in the information that a date gives you, it is always better to be safe than sorry and you should walk away.
- Always be courteous to your date. If you decide that you are not interested in pursuing a relationship with them on a long-term basis you should tell them as soon as possible and let them down gently.
Expat dating really isn’t too dissimilar from dating at home, just remember that you are in a foreign country and should be slightly more aware of your safety!