Background Check: Dating Partners of a Different Upbringing

by | Jul 30, 2017 | Finding & Qualifying Dates

The mere fact that one of you is male and the other female is enough to have couples scratching their heads trying to figure out how to navigate dating and marriage. Beyond that, does it make sense to date somebody from a familial or cultural background different than your own? Variety is often the spice of life, but is there such a thing as too spicy?

There is no single relationship recipe. Some want to marry a personality like their own. It’s certainly safer and more predictable. Some prefer to marry a completely opposite personality. It can be exciting and thrilling, but also challenging. When it comes to background, my experience is that the more similar the background, the easier it is for couples to understand each other and ‘speak the same language’.

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Ideally each person will decide what is optimal for them independently, outside the strong influence of a serious relationship.

Whether you choose to use the shidduch system or not, it was crafted to facilitate this independent thought process. It assists singles in deciding the values they hold dear, the qualities they respect in a mate, and the type of home they’d like to build BEFORE becoming emotionally invested in a relationship.

Once invested, clarity goes out the window and is replaced with the fantasy that “Love will conquer all”. It won’t. If you don’t believe me, look at the general population statistics on the success of love alone in carrying marriage.

Once invested, clarity goes out the window and is replaced with the fantasy that “Love will conquer all”.

Some factors to keep in mind when dating someone from a different background:

Common Goals and Values: Do you value the same things in life and see yourselves heading in the same direction for the future of your relationship and home together?
Respect: A relationship without respect CAN NOT SURVIVE. Here’s a litmus test for respect. Ask yourself “If I had a child that turned out exactly like my date, would that be a good thing?”
Respectful Disagreement: Can you each maintain different opinions and give each other the space to do your own thing?
Confusing Differences:  Parents who are on the same page send children a message of consistency and safety.  It’s difficult and confusing for children to get different messages from their two parents. When they love both, they are caught without knowing whom to follow.
Acceptance: Can you accept and love this person for who they are without feeling you need to change them? If you can’t you will only be making two people miserable.
Face Value: Have you listened clearly to what your date is saying? They are serious. Sometimes a guy or girl will say “I’m not a traveling type”, “I don’t want a big family”, “I really can’t live in a messy house”.  We tend to file this kind of information away in the interesting and random pile. Often disagreements crop up later over these very topics that were plainly stated…and ignored.

While similar backgrounds tend to reduce relationship friction, I have seen successful couples from very different cultures and homes build beautiful lives together.  It takes more work, flexibility, compromise, and commitment. But if both parties are invested, honest with who they really are, and willing to seek the right guidance and coaching when needed, it can be done!

Wishing you all the shortest route to your longest relationship.

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