Love beyond boundaries – Why interracial dating is enriching our culture.
Australia is one of the most multicultural societies in the world. Many factors have contributed to this like economic growth, quality of life, and pleasant climates.
Since the turn of the millennium online dating has also proven its worth in terms of bringing diverse cultures together.
Relationship expert Samantha Jayne has worked with clients from many different backgrounds. Over the last two decades, she has experienced the cultural change Australia has made.
I remember when I first started in the dating industry back in 2005. Most people were opting to meet someone of a similar background whereas today they are so open and more focused on values, ethics, and aligned goals as well as chemistry.
Back then there was a minority of people who would superficially ask for a specific culture whereas today most people are open-minded.
In 2016, about 30% of registered marriages were from partners born in different countries, compared with 18% in 2006.
One of the biggest jumps in interracial-marriages was in 2014 — two years after Tinder was created.
Dating while living in a foreign country can be a great way to embrace the culture and traditions while also learning the language.
Dating someone that speaks English, is absolutely the perfect way to fast track learning the language Samantha said.
Although apps provide an easy way to meet new people, the dating scene to some can be difficult. Especially when arriving in an English-speaking country with little knowledge of the language.
Jiveny Blair-West is a dating and relationship coach who specialises in supporting singles to navigate the modern dating scene both online and offline.
In terms of foreign users in Australia, she shared the pros and cons of online dating.
- Foreigners can be seen as more exotic and interesting.
- Online dating gives foreigners a great opportunity to meet people, something which is often hard in a strange land.
- The way online profiles work, people who don’t speak English very well can take time to make sure their profiles reflect them well.
- Messaging and connecting with locals can be a great opportunity for foreigners to learn English.
- Getting to date in a different culture can give both people involved a broader perspective on life.
- Can be seen as less of a serious candidate for a relationship i.e. if they are just in Australia for a year or two backpacking or studying.
- Culture clash can be a real problem for international couples.
- The pressure to get married sooner for visa reasons.
- Not being fluent in English is a significant barrier.
Whether or not online dating for foreign users adds longevity or stability to their relationships, they break down social and cultural walls that still maintain a certain level.
This can be a wonderful thing – it can be very refreshing for us to experience a culture that is different to our own and often gets us thinking about the world and our lives in a more nuanced way. Jiveny said.
Growing up, we take the culture of our family for granted. We often think the behaviors, rituals, values, and relational styles of our own family are ‘normal. It’s not until we start dating and experiencing other micro-cultures that a variety of approaches to life become more apparent.
Finding out other cultures and traditions through a partner can give you a clear understanding of that country.
Dating apps provide a consistent platform for opportunities to meet people from all different backgrounds.
Samantha also added
As for dating apps, they are truly responsible for bringing together diverse cultures, and the divide is becoming smaller and smaller. You don’t notice the huge cultural difference that you did previously.
Through online interactions, it’s easier to get to know the person first and familiarise each other about interests and cultural identities.
This increases the chances of success as both users have more time to prepare themselves to make a good first impression. However, culturally diverse relationships may come with extra challenges.
Jiveny has worked with interracial couples throughout her career. The main issues may fall on family traditions and cultural expectations.
The downside lies in if/when these cultures conflict with each other or perhaps require one person to convert or abandon some aspects of their own culture for the sake of the partnership. This challenge only becomes magnified with interracial relationships, especially when each individual comes from a very different culture.
Long-distance relationship also serves as a barrier many interracial-couples may face. For those who need to work abroad or return to their home countries for possible visa issues or family matters, online interactions may be the only tie that holds the relationship together.
Ultimately, it can be difficult for long-distance international relationships to succeed. The added pressures of hopes and expectations around the relationship to keep the love alive can intensify other cultural challenges, so it will take a couple with great communication and a lot of love to make it work.
Over time, facing these challenges together may be difficult. Ultimately it comes down to how much you want to make the relationship work.
Like all relationships, the challenge of long-distance can eventually pay off if there is sufficient alignment of vision, values and the compatibility for a healthy relationship.
Having Your Widths
Getting back to the mechanics of the apps itself, cultural diversity may serve more as a challenge, but the main problems fall on issues like fake profiles and misleading photos for both male and female users.
Dreamwalk apps conducted a survey this year. It showed 51% of men and 49% of women in Australia have experienced this problem at one time or another.
Of course, this can happen to both foreign and local users but those who are new to a country should be extra cautious. Many horror stories have come out where dates have gone sour.
Fair enough, the pictures look beautiful, and that person could very well be but just stay mindful. Take a good look at their photos. Are their eyes too bright? Is their skin flawless?
It’s great going back and forth, messaging like crazy for days on end but don’t underestimate what a quick phone call can do.
Discussing the safety aspect Jiveny added,
The power of a quick five to fifteen-minute phone call is massive.
Through a phone call or facetime, it’s easier to suss out what type of person you matched with
On a phone call we get to hear the other person’s voice, and with it comes many layers of important information. Jiveny said.
If the dates are legit, and the person on the screen shows up then great. Next comes those icebreakers you memorized to avoid that awkward first date silence. That is where language barriers may be an issue.
A quick tip: learn ‘My English is not too good’ even before ‘hello.’ At least you’re practicing with a native speaker.
Like what Samantha said,
The perfect way to fast track learning the language.
Embrace the Challenge
Whether or not dating apps are your thing, they provide opportunities to meet people from different cultures.
So, making use of what’s available may help your experience of embracing new traditions. For newly arrived foreigners learning the language is key to fully enhance yourself when living in another country.
As Jiveny said,
It can be very refreshing for us to experience a culture that is different from our own.
For those who first arrive, just know many before have worn those shoes. That is what made Australia one of the most multicultural societies we see today.
Authors Bio – Richard Young
Richard Young is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia, and a graduate of The Morris Journalism Academy.
Originally from Ireland, he moved overseas in 2015 and began his writing journey.
Through traveling and living overseas, cultural, and social differences are a go-to-topic, as well as the social changes throughout multi-cultural countries.
Living abroad, Richard has found cultural diversity a fascinating avenue to explore and continues to develop new angles of interest.
He began writing in secondary school and always found himself gripped by the endless possibilities of what a blank page can offer.