The other day I had a conversation with a fellow co-worker about the difference in dating and marrying men from the same country vs foreign men. Being women of diverse backgrounds we each talked about our family lineage, and relatives who chose to marry men with similar background lineage, but non-American. Our conversation brought to light some interesting viewpoints for why some men or women might choose to date & marry a fellow native, or decide to date & marry a foreign-born individual.
Coming from diverse backgrounds me and my fellow co-worker are American, but we also possess outside heritage. Due to this we both have grown up with blended cultures, norms, traditions, as well as, as dating interests. Discussing our dating interests in more depth my co-worker had highlighted her interest in dating a fellow native American-born man over a foreign-born individual. What mattered most in dating for her was her BF fitting in culturally in America.
At first I did not fully see eye to eye with her viewpoint in fitting in. As many people are aware America(U.S.A.) is known as a melting pot country. But, like in any other country American-born citizens can be differentiated from naturalized and/or foreign-born residents. This is because every country has certain undertone features that only native-born citizens are naturally aware of or accustomed to.
Cultural awareness and customs are significant for individuals whether dating a fellow native BF/GF or dating a foreign-born BF/GF. Its significance, however, depends on each individual’s preference. Speaking from my dating experience I never thought too much about my boyfriend’s cultural awareness to American culture even though I had started dating while living abroad. But, discovering that my boyfriend did possess knowledge and a high interest in American culture helped in forming a stronger connection between us. The same could said for me and my awareness of Korean culture, traditions, and norms. Having studied, lived, and worked in Korea helped me in further developing cultural awareness to a degree.
As a foreigner and non-Korean citizen I did not fit in culturally in Korea. This however did not concern my boyfriend. Since day 1 he chose to date a foreign-born female over dating a fellow native because he was open to meeting someone with a diverse background. For him cultural awareness to Korean culture was certainly welcomed, but fitting in culturally did not matter.
Since returning to America I have wondered about whether or not my boyfriend could acclimate to American culture, and most of all I wondered how much it mattered. For some couples recognizing certain undertone features that citizens are naturally aware of or accustomed to is important in a relationship. The reason it is important is because these couples do not need to worry about their BF/GF having any difficulties in fitting in or understanding standard norms of a country such as music, fashion, sports, entertainment, food, etc. But what about the couples that decide to date a foreign-born BF/GF?
The only difference between dating a native vs foreign-born BF/GF is deciding whether or not to date for similar interests or for adventure. Many native couples I have known, or met have told me that their BF/GF’s have many similar & same cultural interests as them in music, food, etc. For friends I know who are dating or married to foreign-born BF/GF’s I have been told they enjoy the adventure of sharing new culture, language, and traditions between one another.
Ultimately fitting in with one’s culture can be a deal breaker when deciding to date a native vs a foreign-born BF/GF. For some individuals dating someone who grew up in the same country is important. For others it is not. What is important though is developing a connection with your native or foreign-born BF/GF and continuing from there. For me personally, I believe that fitting in culturally is important for a BF/GF to a degree. It is important because it will help in strengthening your understanding and cultural awareness to your BF/GF’s background and country. As mentioned earlier discovering that my boyfriend already possessed knowledge and an interest in American culture led to a stronger connection forming between us; in addition to my cultural knowledge of Korea.
Me and my boyfriend find adventure in our relationship. While we do have a number of shared cultural interests we have a number of differences too. Our differences, however, play little to no role in hindering our relationship. In addition our different backgrounds allow us the opportunity to share parts of our culture, language, and traditions with one another, which makes our relationship unique & our international relationship adventure even more special.
사람이 밖에 없어요 (*there is no one but you)
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