Dating as an expat has its own set of challenges and perks. Luckily, anyone looking for a partner in an international setting has plenty of options, including online dating.
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Expat singles: dating challenges and advantages
About two-thirds of those living in a foreign country are in a relationship, according to a 2017 survey by InterNations – leaving a sizable potential pool of singles remaining to date as an expat.
The singles might be out there: in fact, Cartus’ Trends in Global Relocation survey showed that nearly a third of relocated expats are single. But the question remains: how do you find a great date while living abroad? Even people in their home country can find it hard to meet the right person; expat singles have to navigate some additional hurdles while trying to flirt with the locals.
The dating scene itself can differ drastically in some countries. The most obvious obstacle may be culture clashes (for example, differing expectations about gender roles) or lacking a common language. The former means that cultures have differing views on things such as holidays like Valentine’s Day, for instance. The latter issue can be remedied by taking language classes, but even expats who master a new language might find that locals and longer-term expats keep their distance from someone foreign they expect to move back home.
In addition, singles living abroad may work long hours and sometimes travel for business. That’s hardly conducive to traditional meet-and-greets.
On the other hand, dating as an expat can have advantages. Expat singles may be especially open-minded. They’re often keen to meet new people, too, since they’re all in the same boat – away from their old circle of family and friends. The opportunities for amazing experiences for a date in a foreign country is a huge bonus.
Get yourself out there
Of course, hobbies and sports are always a great way to mingle. Consider joining a sports club or take lessons for an activity you want to start doing. Some people recommend Meet Up as a fun way to find people nearby who are interested in the same activities, whether that’s skating or going to museums or concerts.
Though you might get in shape and have some fun by participating in these activities, it is not a magic formula for finding romance.
How to meet your match: expat online dating
Online dating sites present the perfect solution to some of the challenges single expats face while living abroad. Online dating is now the most popular way to meet a future spouse according to a study in the United States. There’s also evidence that marriages resulting from online dating sites are happier.
Online dating allows the freedom to log on and contact with other single expats when it suits you, rather than putting in hours at random social events hoping to meet someone – and being disappointed if it doesn’t work out. It also broadens your romantic horizons; a good match doesn’t necessarily live in the same city as you do, although you shouldn’t go into a long-distance relationship unprepared.
Expat online dating sites also let you get to know someone in advance before you invest a lot of time dating someone who might not turn out to be a good match. By exchanging messages with other single expats, you can both have fun and learn a lot about them – and avoid possible culture clashes before they happen.
Where and how to try online dating while living abroad
Expat singles can find various online dating sites catering to the international community in their adopted country.
One well-established online dating site for singles living abroad is Expatica Dating. It links you to the local expat online dating scene and helps you find your dream date, no matter where you live. When you start using an expat dating site, keep these online dating tips in mind.
Tips for online dating as an expat
- Take your time: Resist dismissing profiles too quickly. Give each one a chance.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover: Try not to judge too much by the photo; some people just don’t take a good photo. Most people are more attractive in person.
- Be open-minded: Don’t rule someone out immediately just because they’re not your type. One of the benefits of dating as an expat is the opportunity to meet new types of people.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff: Don’t obsess over small details like not having the same favorite movie. In a different country, the chances of finding someone with an identical cultural background are small. Take a wider view: does the person seem like-minded, intriguing, or have interesting experiences?
- Read between the lines: Be circumspect about what people say. When you read ‘I’ve got a great sense of humor’, you might want to ask: is it Monty Python, Mr. Bean, or Seinfeld that makes them laugh? Consider whether the way they express themselves makes you laugh.
- Be patient: Don’t feel despondent if you don’t match right away. It can take time to meet someone really special.
- Be open to differences: Accept that someone whose native language is different than yours expresses things differently than you. Sometimes a strange turn of phrase isn’t meant to be offensive. It isn’t a lack of intelligence, just a case of mistranslation.
- Take the risk: You may start to feel close to someone through messaging. However, you won’t know if you’re really compatible until you meet up. Don’t be scared to take your online relationship to the next level!
- But use common sense: When you do meet in person, arrange to meet any new connection in public. That’s just common sense, for safety’s sake.