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Thursday, February 16, 2012

So, How Do You Date While Living Abroad?

February 16, 2012, Cha Jones

You notice this nice looking guy and he notices you, so what’s next?

Many people who move abroad are only going moving to a country for a short stint like six months to a year. If you are teaching abroad, then many contracts are yearly and after the initial year is up you are able to renew your contract or move to another employer.  So, I guess the question is, “Would a relationship work if it’s just temporary?

I interviewed a young lady a few months back and I recall her telling me that she is in no way thinking about a relationship because, “No one really knows where they’re going.” That makes sense to me because when I first moved to Korea I had no idea that one year would turn into three, so I wasn’t actually looking to be in a relationship. However, I was willing to be open to all possibilities.

Issues with dating while abroad
One of the issues I have seen with the dating scene while living abroad, in particularly when the military is in the country, is deceit. I have found that many people are reinventing themselves when they move abroad and for many military people they are on extended vacations from reality. So, the issue becomes the question of “What is fact and what is fiction?”

Some people only want someone to be with while they are on their assignment, and I guess that’s ok as long as they are truthful about the situation. Many times military people, male and female, have spouses back home, and I have seen and heard of people lying about their situations, when in fact they have entire families at home waiting for them. Now, I don’t agree with it, but as long as all parties are aware of the situation, I feel that adults can determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. However, I totally disagree with anyone being deceitful about their marital status.

Letting chips fall where they may

On the flip side of the coin there are many people who move abroad and find themselves in a relationship that they never intended to have. We have all met those couples who said, “It just happened.” They were out and about and stumbled upon the person that they fell in love with and now they are a couple. There was no desire to turn a temporary situation into something permanent, but at the same time they were both willing to allow things to be what they were going to be.

I have met many people who moved abroad just to have a change in pace and one day they met someone that they were interested in, became good friends, and eventually fell in love and got married. I actually have seen this happen on several occasions. I have even met people who were dating several people and not interested in being in a long term relationship, and then they met someone that made them change their minds. Some people come with the intention to stay a short time and meet someone who makes them want to become permanent citizens, so it’s very possible that fate changes all plans if you are open.

Looking for love

Now, we all have met someone who is fixated on being in a relationship. You know, one of those people who are looking for the next best thing and always would like someone to introduce them to your friend who is single. Well, when you move abroad those people will be there. I personally think that being in a relationship is something that happens naturally, but hey I’m single and some of the people who are getting married this year were put together by a match maker, so what do I know? Living abroad doesn’t change any of that.

Love is universal

I guess, when it’s all said in done what happens next after you notice the nice looking guy and he notices you all depends on what both of you want, and it really doesn’t matter where you are in the world as long as you are on the same page. So, is dating different when you live abroad? Sure it is, but I think that for the most part it’s universally the same. When two people have an understanding about where they are in live and they are clear on what they want, then I don’t think that where you are in location matters. If you are looking for a long term relationship, then I think you need to be flexible and very honest. And if you aren’t you need be equally honest. However, I believe that if you want to find true love while back packing across the world it is possible.  All things are possible if you are willing to be open to the possibilities.

Tips on dating while living abroad
  1. Be clear on what you want
  2.  Be honest and make sure the person you are dealing with is being honest (can be difficult, but ask questions)
  3. Be open to dating
  4. Don’t limit your self
  5. If it didn’t get you what you wanted at home, maybe you should do something different
  6. Have fun and enjoy the process 

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