It’s hard enough to maintain a long distance relationship. So, imagine the difficulties with one split by international waters.
Considering the lack of frequent visits, consistent communication and intimate moments, it’s almost impossible to picture a romance like that lasting beyond the short-lived stages of fascination.
So, how does a relationship like this work?
Honestly, there are a few ways. Of course, none are guaranteed to prolong a cross-cultural relationship but, if they’re firmly practiced, they just may help.
1. Set Realistic Goals
When establishing a relationship abroad, setting realistic goals will help determine a comfortable pace for you and your partner. The conversation may be a difficult one, but it’s one worth having, especially when addressing the romance’s direction. In the end, these goals will alleviate any confusion going forward.
2. Don’t Strictly Rely On Technology
Yes, technology is cool but what about other methods of communication. Mix it up. Send your partner a romantic letter, a gift basket or a telegram for all I care. Just offer some variety. These efforts will breed a sense of excitement, thus increasing the anticipation for day-to-day conversations.
3. Find New Ways To Be Intimate
One of the biggest sacrifices of a long distance relationship is the absence of intimacy. Couples aren’t able to visit each other very frequently, and slowly over time, the opportunities become even smaller. Thankfully, options like Skype, Tango, WeChat and FaceTime have reduced the burden that comes with a lack of physical interaction.
These video apps are essential ways to connect with friends and family who are thousands of miles apart. They serve equal, if not more, importance with cross-cultural relationships. Now, I’m not urging people to embody their inner Black Chyna via video chat, but use these apps to your advantage. Even in long distance relationships, some form of intimacy can replicate a romantic draw.
4. Maintain Communication
Establish healthy communication with your partner. It can be hard with people’s daily work schedules and time differences, but make as much of an effort as you can. Your partner will see your attempts and mirror them, and eventually a consistent time for you both to FaceTime, text or call will surface.
But it’s important not to overcommunicate as well. If we’re being honest, it’s annoying to receive multiple texts and calls every day from someone, including your companion. Take some time away from each other, while also reaching out regularly throughout the week. Ideally, around three or four days.
5. Don’t Close Yourself Off
As much as you invest in your companion’s interests — profession, culture and family — don’t neglect your own. Make time to live your own life. As romantics, sometimes we overly submerge in our relationships and partner’s lives, while missing out on things like visiting friends and attending family gatherings. It’s not easy, but remain focused on establishing a balance between the two.
6. Lay Out Ground Rules
Set the boundaries. If you’re willing to work things out with an exclusive or open relationship, do it. Carve out all the things you’re willing to accept and those you’re not. The earlier lines are drawn, the better; leaving no airways for contention.
7. Make Plans To Visit
Without plans to visit your partner, the romance will eventually wane. Make sure you set aside holidays and weekends to spend with your significant other. Having these moments are vital in a relationship. Not only to fulfill the urge to reunite with your partner, but also to interact with their family and further explore the culture that surrounds them. The lack of attempts to reconnect with them will ultimately diminish the purpose of the relationship altogether.
8. Remain Transparent
This rule goes for all relationships: be transparent. If you don’t feel the romance will last, tell your partner. If you think one aspect is subsiding or you’re ready to consider marriage, tell them that, too. Without complete honesty, the foundation of the romance will falter over time, pillar by pillar.
9. Invest In Their Interests
Delve into your significant other’s interests. Whether it’s conversations about their blossoming friendships, family, culture or future plans, be open to hearing them out and, even deeper, think about how you can participate in them — whatever way possible. Showing a genuine curiosity will make your relationship even stronger, as your partner will be more open to talk about their daily happenings, native traditions or latest discoveries.
10. Stay Positive
Dating someone that lives in another country has just as many drawbacks as benefits — if not more. Even with these potential issues, stay positive and inject it directly into the relationship. At times, the distance can suck, but be appreciative of your partner and their efforts to make the romance work.