Dating someone from a different culture can portend many obstacles in a relationship. Disagreements can arise for a variety of reasons, and sometimes working out these issues can be difficult to communicate because of cultural and language barriers. For a relationship to work, both partners must be aware of each other's differences and be open-minded.
How and when individuals spend money is a cultural topic that varies between different cultures. In westernized countries, the idea of splitting the bill or going Dutch is more popular and socially accepted, whereas in many traditional patriarchal societies, the man must always pay for the meal. Before you endeavor to find an all-expenses paid relationship or shell out the balance of your paycheck on your partner, discuss your financial situation with each other and explain what you are comfortable spending regarding meals and excursions. Too often, couples are unaware or too embarrassed to discuss these details, but it can help save the relationship in the long run.
Familial obligations are a looming issue with which many cultures are familiar. In Asian cultures especially, the call to defer to and revere one's parents and elders is expected throughout a child's life. It also is not uncommon for adult children to live with their parents until they are married, and sometimes even after that. For some Western people, always putting family first can be a dating turnoff. It's important to be open with your partner and explain the situation so both you and your partner feel comfortable.
Social customs vary from culture to culture. Everything from wearing shoes in the home to proper tipping can present a cultural conflict in a budding relationship. Every culture has its own unique social taboos and mores. Depending on what country you are in, it is necessary to abide by these rules, regardless of your own nationality. Take a lesson from the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," and follow the standard etiquette.
The relationship between men and women is a thorny subject in many cultures, especially in those where women are considered subordinate to men. There are several countries which still advocate and practice polygamy or eschew women's rights and freedom. If you are politically or socially active, you may get into heated debates with your partner about how these governments should enact new policies or be overthrown. As right as you think you may be, you should always be sensitive to your partner's background and heritage. Making a political diatribe against a foreign country can make you sound elitest and ignorant. Ask questions and learn how your partner feels about specific gender roles before you make your comments.
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