Last updated on June 17th, 2021 at 12:23 am
The thought of dating abroad never crossed my mind (well, maybe a little). But I came to Thailand intending to focus on myself and immersing myself in a new culture.
And although I focused on those things—I didn’t last a week before I started dating. It all started when my friend added me to a Facebook group for Black women dating abroad.
Everyone’s experience in that group made me more intrigued.
I did what any inquisitive person would do and asked how people dated abroad. Mostly wondering how to find new people. Almost everyone said Tinder, and I barfed a little in my mouth.
I thought… HECK NO!
In the states I tried it—well, barely—I gave up almost instantly because of the chaos in my DMs. Most men were trying to hook up or were weirdos, and at the time I thought Tinder wasn’t for me.
But I figured, why not? Let me see what Tinder was about and who I could meet while I was here. Since then, I’ve met and dated people from 5 continents and learned so much about myself.
From my first-hand experience, I can tell you what it’s like to date abroad and if it’s even worth doing. Weighing the pros and cons, will help you figure out what’s best for you.
So, should I start with the good news, or bad?
I’ll kick it off on a light note.
Diversifies your dating pool
When you’re abroad, you meet so many expats or travelers from literally everywhere. As an American I thought I was accustomed to diversity, but when you date abroad, it’s a whole ‘nother world.
I’ve gotten the chance to date people from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Africa, England, France, and Colombia. Yeah, America is a melting pot, but in many ways it’s segregated. I wouldn’t have met people from these places back home as much.
At the very least, it gave me the opportunity to learn about a variety of cultures and gain more confidence in dating.
Dating abroad shows you how attractive you are to different demographics too.
And if that’s not a good enough reason, you can make new friends and connections along the way.
Someone once told me “sometimes the person you’ll end up with is who you least expect.”
Most of my life I had a specific type I was attracted to, with certain physical features and personality traits. But so far it hasn’t worked out.
I’m not saying having a type is a negative, but when you are dating abroad that specific type might be inaccessible. I know living in Thailand the kind of guy I was looking for was scarce or non-existent.
I either had to be open-minded or just wait to date when I’m back in the US.
When I first got to Thailand, I was pretty bored socially, so I wanted to put myself out there. None of the guys I’ve dated have been my typical type, but through this experience it’s helped me solidify what I want in a partner.
Now I can focus on what’s important to me and get VERY specific so I could attract that into my life. But had I not been open, I wouldn’t have gained clarity about what I want.
I wouldn’t have dated people from different backgrounds because they weren’t my “ideal partner”. I wouldn’t have had such amazing experiences and grown more confident in dating.
Everyone’s experience is different, but your openness can help you find what you’ve been searching for all along. Give different people a chance, so you can give yourself a chance at finding whatever it is you’re looking for.
Meeting someone who understands
If you’re a traveler or an expat, it might be difficult to find a partner that understands your lifestyle. The want—more like need—to travel the world.
When dating abroad, you can find someone whose values align with yours. As someone who’s been abroad over a year, dating people from my home country has had its challenges. Because I can’t sit still, and honestly, I don’t want to for now.
If you meet someone who lives a similar lifestyle to you, both of you can connect more easily. Who knows, it could be your next travel bae?
And you could even find another expat or traveler of the same culture as you. In Thailand, there are TONS of Americans and Westerners here, which makes it easier from a cultural standpoint. We can bond over our similarities, including our love for being abroad.
I look back at my time abroad, and it’s been the greatest experience of my life. I’ve fallen in-like with someone who made me feel all the corny emotions. Although our time together was short lived (expat life) I was happy to have experienced it.
Dating abroad has given me stories and has been a huge part of my growth. I’m not going to lie; it’s been difficult at times but the important thing was I enjoyed myself.
It’s like all the fun with little to no risk (ok there’s always some risk involved). But it’s not as awkward as dating in your hometown and running into that person on random occasions.
You get to connect with people from all walks of life, learn new stuff, and have good company.
Okay, are you ready for the cons?
Can be short-lived
A lot of people I met are transitioning, whether they’re moving to another country or on an extended vacation. This makes it hard to genuinely connect with people because you’re not sure if it’ll last or you’ll stay in touch.
I got discouraged when I was dating. It seemed like most people I met were only out to have fun. If you’re looking for something more serious, you can definitely find it but it’s a challenge.
I get it though, people are abroad to explore, find themselves, have fun, etc.
Know what you want going into this.
If it’s for something casual, be transparent with yourself and everyone involved. If you’re looking for something serious, be honest. This means turning some people away, even if it’s uncomfortable and you like them.
Better to be upfront and find someone who wants what you do to avoid further confusion down the road.
Dating Western vs Eastern people can be vastly different. I’ve been met with challenges for both, but for different reasons. When dating non-western men, I found myself being frustrated with their lack of knowledge. Whether it was about my hair, body, or role as a woman.
I’ve had someone say to me “if I don’t like your hair, I ask that you change it” and “why did you dye your hair, I don’t like it.” I even had a person tell me, “you look like you’re gaining weight.” I’ve noticed in some cultures, they prefer a blunt truthfulness, that we sometime consider rude in the US.
To be fair, I’ve had similar experiences with Western men. I had to use those instances as teachable moments to let them know their comments were unacceptable. And the level of frankness is an immediate turnoff.
Some cultures are big into gender roles, others not so much. Some believe in PDA while others frown upon it.
If you’re dating someone with a different culture than yours and you have to find common ground.
Where to next?
So, you meet your potential mate abroad and you both want to commit to each other. Do you stay in the country you met, move back to your respective countries, do the long distance thing, or find somewhere new to go together?
It all depends on your ability to compromise with each other and where you’re at in your individual journeys. Figuring out your next move can often put a strain on your relationship. For it to work, you’ll both need to compromise.
Dating abroad is whatever you make it. It can definitely be the time of your life, the chance to meet the love of your life, or both. Whether you go for it, is ultimately your choice, but it’s worth taking a chance.
Be transparent, have fun, be open-minded, and most of all be true to yourself through the entire process.
Have you dated abroad or would you try it out? Drop a comment below.
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