To tell the truth I had hoped to end my dating abroad posts for a while with the Dating Abroad (국제 데이팅):The Good, Bad, and Fierce Reality – Part 2. But, dating is a constant focus in my life so, let’s continue the discussion and talk about dating abroad fears & misunderstandings.
Since I started dating more seriously these last three years I’ve succumbed to a few fears many international couples similarly face when dating abroad or dating someone from another country. These fears tie in with commitment in the long-run when the relationship enters a phase of uncertainty due to a substantial list of reasons, with one holding the most weight: living location.
So many international couples who are committed to continuing their relationship must have a heart-to-heart discussion on where they would like to live permanently, if not for a moderate length of time. These discussions, however, are not always black and white. Many couples including myself find themselves within the grey margin of error, choosing to wait and see what might be the best prospect for both persons going forward. In making this decision one might think that the couple have made a sound judgement at the present time, but in reality fear can play a strong role in the results.
Fear of the unknown and fear of the outcome. These elements can play a strong role on the level of commitment in the long-run for many international couples including myself on occasion. In the these occasions misunderstandings may form. When succumbed to making decisions that best suits one or the other at that specific time then living location might not take precedence. Instead securing one’s footing becomes a mutual concern. Viewed positively for the individual and the relationship, these decisions eventually can lead to misunderstandings on the future of the relationship itself. For example, in my relationship living location has been discussed, however, me and my boyfriend have decided to prioritize securing our footing first. Entering into a LDR has not been the easiest decision for either of us, but it was made based on life’s happenings at that time.
What leads to continuous fear and misunderstandings in any international relationship is not knowing when things will all fall into place. Knowing is hard to determine for couples experiencing a LDR situation, a living location situation, or even a first-time meeting situation(*if they had met online). Many international relationships start off with not knowing more so than any regular type of ordinary same country relationship. However, what leads international relationships to more uncertainty is continuous fear of not knowing everything even when planning, which leads to further fear and growing misunderstandings.
One of the biggest misunderstandings some international couples face is: maintaining strong feelings of love. This in no way, shape, or form implies that international couples do not uphold or express strong feelings of love for one another, but rather implies that feelings of love can be mistaken or not recognized between the giver and receiver. As fears such as living locations become a fundamental factor in the international couples relationship constant expressions of love are needed to help support the relationship throughout uncertain periods. If frequent expressions of love are not given misunderstandings can manifest between a BF/GF. For example, misunderstandings on:
- how much the BF/GF love one another
- how much a BF/GF is giving up/sacrificing for one another
- how much time a BF/GF needs to make fundamental life decisions (i.e. let go or give up their lives, job, friends, or family and relocate for their significant other)
- the advantages/disadvantages of the living location (*if living location benefits only one individual in the relationship)
- on sticking to a concrete time frame (*with a future marriage in the mind)
- on the best time to meet each other’s family
- on maintaining independent lifestyles, traveling alone, and maintaining/making friends of the opposite sex
Just a handful of misunderstandings such as those listed above can manifest for international couples due to the uncertainty of how things will turn out for the couple in the future. This is why constant expressions of love are needed to help support the relationship throughout uncertain periods, as well as, for the relationship itself. However, sometimes BF/GF’s underestimate how much or how often they should show expressions of love and appreciation of one another. Sometimes due to unspoken assumptions or personal view’s on the stability of the relationship. But, all BF/GF’s should not mistake fluid stability as an expression of love.
No matter how close or far you are from a BF/GF in an international relationship you should always continue to build, grow, or nurture your relationship, by expressing your love in new ways and forms as I highlight in Confessions: Nurturing Love (육성 사랑). By frequently and consistently maintaining strong feelings of love for your BF/GF and vice-versa you will weather through all misunderstandings that may arise due to fears of uncertainty in your relationship.
Speaking from experience never let fears or misunderstandings ever shadow your feelings.