Dating Abroad (국제 데이팅) Insights and Personal Experience – Part 1

Late-bloomer (according to Urban Dictionary): People who experience a delayed heyday in their 20s and/or 30s, when they finally have the factors (social and/or job status, money, body, looks, etc.) to get laid and gain attraction/popularity among the opposite sex. These people were typically categorized as nerds/geeks back in high school.

The term late-bloomer is not the ideal term I would use, but I admit that I never went on an actual real date until I was twenty-five years old. Now before you raise your eyebrow at me this let’s admit that we all are late at starting something. In my case I was late in socializing 1-on-1 with men.

My experiences with men prior to entering my mid-twenties was dismal. After I graduated college, I left Boston, moved back home, and started working. Unfortunately, I did not have much opportunity to meet any co-workers close in age in my first professional position. But, that was fine for me. Back then (2010) other then my old college crushes who rejected me, I was content with being single. I accepted my singleton self and occupied my time by preparing for graduate school and studying for the GRE. But, once I returned to the school environment I gave myself a second chance. I thought that I might meet someone smart, intelligent, and nice. Another fail. Grad school is not the place to look for men unless you are looking for some jerks or men already taken (*from my own personal experience).

Trying to spin the dating wheel again I promised myself to try and meet a nice guy abroad. Third times the charm as they say. Since I knew that I would be living abroad for over a year I hoped that I would meet someone who would be sincerely genuine. After moving to Korea and starting my academic year at Korea University (고려대학교) I didn’t quite meet anyone sincerely interested. I attended Korea’s infamous freshman MT(meeting training), joined campus clubs, and even went to weekly social evening events. But, nothing fruitful emerged.

The real reason nothing really emerged was a number of factors. For one thing I was not looking for a quick hook-up as I had seen start to take place during the first month of my semester in Seoul. Secondly, living abroad somewhat limited my chances in meeting someone not only with the same mother tongue, but also reduced my chances of meeting someone with similar cultural interests & hobbies. In my search for a connection I found that I was alone in my search at that time.

So I decided to instead focus on building up my relations and began looking into meeting people via language exchange groups to increase my social life. Since I was an actual newbie in learning Korean I thought it might not hurt to meet locals (male or female) and make new friends. To my surprise when I used the  iaminkorea.com website I received many friend/meeting requests from Koreans and foreigners alike hoping to become language-exchange partners. After a couple weeks of weeding out serious members looking also for friendship, I started meeting with four individuals (two guys and two girls) who became some of my first Korean friends.

One of the guys – a 27 year old Korean office worker who lived in the US for some time, eventually became my closest Korean friend. After talking and texting a lot, night and day, me and this guy started to become very close. Upon first meeting each other on school group outing I had invited him to he started to ask me out alone. Not too long after he began taking me out on actual dates.

My relationship with this man nicknamed Y started out as platonic. Though he was somewhat sweet he was broken. Having recently ended a LDR relationship with his previous  girlfriend he informed me that he was not interested in dating seriously. At first I felt a little upset since I started to enjoy our 1-on-1 dates, however, being busy with my grad school thesis dissertation research I just enjoyed his company and did not think too much about our unspoken relationship.

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Korea University, Tree Grove – Fall 2013

For months  me and Y dated platonically, as just friends, in a undefined relationship. He did what any typical guy would do, take me to movies, take me out to lunch, go on walks in park with me, sit at a cafe with me for hours, etc. He simply spent time with me and vice versa.

However, he while we began to date more frequently he would tell me how he was working on getting back with his LD(long distance) ex. While this was not news for me due to our platonic relationship, it hurt. It started to hurt…

New to dating I never imagined that I would begin dating someone who I viewed as nice, but at the same time was dating me platonically to satisfy his loneliness. However, I soon learned that’s what re-bounds are pretty much. Having not fully felt the effects  until months into dating I realized Y viewed me as a re-bound girl, someone he could go out with and feel refreshed around.

Finally coming to terms with our relationship I knew I had to draw the line. I would either tell him to date me seriously, or tell him to leave me alone. I chose option one. The reply that I received hurt me yet again. He was not interested. So we ended our platonic friendship dates and said our goodbyes. However, three weeks later Y and I met up. He wanted us to continue to meet. He didn’t want our relationship to end and neither did I. So we started dating seriously, and soon after I finished my year at KU he asked me to stay in Korea for him.

Looking back, I think Y was my first love. I don’t want to make this statement sound cliche, but I fell in and out of love during that relationship, and it was the first time I ever cared for a guy deeply.

Starting the new year(2014) off with a promising relationship, I had only high hopes in landing a job while I worked on my second thesis dissertation to complete my graduate studies. My ideal plans did not take flight. Midway into the start of the year me and Y got closer, but we also fought a lot. We fought about me finding suitable work in Korea, about me traveling outside of Korea, and about me returning to the U.S.

Being in an international relationship back then (my first) was not easy. My life in Korea after graduation was not concrete yet Y had asked me to stay. I knew that he was not asking for my hand in marriage, but he insisted that I find a good job or simply teach English in Korea. However, I knew that his reasons for wanting me to stay & keeping me close were for his own benefit more so than mine.

Y and I became estranged spring 2014. We mutually contacted each other less than usual. My reason for the lack of contact was due to completing thesis dissertation. His excuse well…he was cheating on me by that time.

Just before the cherry blossoms blossomed that year,  we had a fight about our feelings for one another.  I asked Y how much he cared for me one night over the phone. He told me clearly that he cared for/ liked me, but felt no strong attachment towards me. Afterwards, he began to talk to and meet with other foreign women. I quickly found out that he was cheating on me with his new foreign female friends, after seeing pictures of him with other women posted on his Facebook account. Seeing the pictures was enough proof for me to know that we were finished.  Still though I slightly hoped that he would change and realize how much I cared about him, how I was re-adjusting my life for him, and that I wanted to stay by his side. But, he didn’t. Not too long after I graduated from graduate school and received my degrees, I went on post-grad vacation to Cambodia/ Thailand. Afterwards, I went home on vacation. While my vacation home was not a permanent departure back to the U.S. the trip confirmed for Y that there was no more ‘us.’

Me and Y never saw each another again. We talked briefly by text when I did return to Korea that summer to travel around the country and job hunt, but it led only to more discontent between us. Into the first month of our break up I realized I fell hard for this guy I dated while I was living abroad. I fell hard and felt used, which led to lots of speculation on why our relationship ended abruptly. Back then it was not so obvious, but our relationship faced many strains and was also placed on a time frame by my ex.  After fully understanding this I am happy that I was able to recover fairly quickly from that bad relationship, and date more men (Korean, European, and  American) afterward.

For anyone male, female, or person looking for adventure in love and are open to experiencing an international relationship I have some advice I hope you take into consideration. First, make sure that you understand the person you are getting involved with: their interests, goals, or idea of their relationship with you. While we all can not be sure of who we are meeting, especially if its just a casual meet-up or a fixed date, I hope that you learn more about the individual’s dating focus. Unfortunately, I was somewhat naive 3 years ago and had been taken advantaged of by my ex. Sadly, I should have better grasped his view on our relationship. But we all make mistakes and through our mistakes lessons are learned.

Dating abroad can be complicated. It can be good, bad, or fierce…

As mentioned this was my first relationship. It was also my first international relationship.  I have had more since that ex and I have learned something new from each and every one. Currently, I am in a LD international relationship with a man who is sincerely genuine.

 

 

 

 

 

*Note: All  pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.
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7 Comments Add yours

  1. xmoineaux says:

    This was really beautifully written. I’m similar to you, I’m a late-bloomer (started dating at 19) and had a totally awful experience with my first love. It took me around 2 years to get over it.

    I’m happy though that you found someone worth your love. Does he read your blog? I think he would be really touched by some posts you wrote.

    Like

    1. yeppunshikan says:

      Thank you. Ah~ I actually was a little hesitant to talk about an ex. The blog is not really a reflection for me, but rather insight on a past experience with international dating. My boyfriend does read my blogs, haha. He hasn’t read this one yet, but I am sure he will be touched. I am glad I met him after meeting a few curve balls along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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