Love Abroad


Romantic relationships, wherever in the world they unfold, take a lot of work. You’ve got two human beings, often two different genders, with different life histories, world views, assumptions, moods, energy levels and priorities, trying to communicate with one another and carry out some sort of common goal. In the case of intercultural relationships, which involve two individuals from different countries or cultures, and very often different native languages, the complexities only increase.

These are the sort of things you don’t necessarily take into consideration when you go abroad and fall head over heels for the dreamy -Mediterranean guy who you met at a language exchange. And it’s true that dating someone from a country and/or culture that’s not your own can lead to a host of romantic encounters: discovering your home away from home with him by your side, him whispering things in your ear in a language you still don’t understand (leading previously mundane phrases like “pass the salt” to now take on a romantic tone) taking day trips together to places you’ve never seen before, or introducing him to parts of your own culture.

But fast forward a couple of months or even a couple of years later and now you’ve fallen in love and possibly even made a big life change based on this relationship. You’re far away from your family and social support system (and they don’t cease to remind you of how much you’re missed back at home), your in-laws don’t understand the way you do things and the fights you have with your significant other take on an entirely new significance when the person you’re furious with is one of the main reasons why you’ve decided to call this country your home away from home.

As a professional who specializes in working with expats, I’ve had several of my clients who are in intercultural relationships share with me the difficulties they experience in their personal life and their relationship with their significant other. And I recently began wondering if there weren’t other women in similar situations here in Madrid, who could benefit by coming together to share their experiences, which is why I’ve started the ¨Women in Intercultural Relationships Group.¨

The women who have attended are from countries all over the world, but share in common the fact that they are all in a committed relationship with a partner from a country different from their own. The group is designed to be specifically for women, rather than for both partners, as most of the women in attendance are living outside of their home country. This way the group can offer them a chance to connect with other women whom they can relate to, and discuss the complexities involved in being in an intercultural relationship.

Hope to see you at a future meeting!