Dating Outside Your Culture: Do Opposites Attract?

happy couple

In a relationship, there are things just as important as attraction and a shared outlook on life. One of them is background. Whether socioeconomic, educational, or cultural, you should consider your and your potential partner’s backgrounds before getting serious.

Your backgrounds may not affect your feelings for each other, but they will definitely affect your relationship or marriage. Fiction may depict Prince Charming’s getting their happily-ever-afters with damsels in distress, but what does really happen in real life?

Fortunately, many married couples who come from different backgrounds enjoy their marriage. However, they view themselves quite differently as an individual. For example, the spouse who grew up poor tends to go with the flow and spend as they need to get by. Meanwhile, the spouse from a well-off household is unafraid to spend money, even for things without vital importance.

Your background shapes who you are. So before seeing someone from a different background, consider the following:

1. Marriage Won’t Change Where You Fit

Some people might think marrying rich will make them fit in with the elite society. But in most cases, that’s not true. This is why many millionaires rely on exclusive matchmakers to find them a significant other. They know that’s how they’d find a match from their class.

A cross-class marriage isn’t doomed to fail, though. But if you “married up,” you might feel uncomfortable in your new class. Alternatively, if you “married down,” you might feel more at ease with your in-laws. It’s different for every couple. But even if you never fit in with your spouse’s class, what’s important is that they never make you feel left out.

2. A Person From a Different Background Might Have Different Values

A rich person usually values their business and family traditions. That means they may see their children as heirs to their fortune. That doesn’t mean they can’t be loving parents, though. But they may set high expectations for you and your future kids.

If they see your potential as a parent to an heir, your rich significant other will likely marry you. Otherwise, you might end up parting ways, even if you have strong feelings for each other.

3. Your Backgrounds Influence Your Career Plans

The upper middle class is often quite diligent in planning their career advancement. They outline their long-term plans, meet with mentors, and take steps to reach each of their goals. On the other hand, while not less open to advancement, the working class are not as active in creating opportunities for themselves. Instead, they only take advantage of them when they appear.

If you come from the upper-middle class and you date someone from the working class, consider this difference you might have. It can affect the way you view money and opportunities. Your privileged background allows you to take more risks in your career, something that your partner might find impossible to do. If they object to your plans to develop your career, try to see things from their perspective, then decide what to do next. It could be a red flag if they seem to drag you down.

4. Cultural Differences Might Create Awkward Scenarios

Dating a foreigner is one of the best ways to discover other cultures. But it can also create plenty of awkward scenarios. It can be a language barrier or traditions you find absurd.

You’ll be exposed to these awkward scenarios during family gatherings. If you don’t speak the same language, you might feel left in the dark during conversations. If you’d attend traditional events together, you might accidentally do something offensive because of your ignorance.

Luckily, it’s easy to resolve ignorance nowadays. Just research about your partner’s culture and traditions before experiencing them. Ask them to do the same for you. If you manage to settle your differences, your relationship can last without issues related to your backgrounds.

5. Your Backgrounds Affect Your Hobbies

A rich person is likely to be into golfing, shooting, or any other expensive sport. Someone from the middle class probably enjoys video games and team sports more. And someone from the working class likely spends their free time with family, friends or catching up on other responsibilities.

That’s just a generalization, though, so don’t immediately assume that your partner won’t enjoy your hobbies. But if their background really does define their pastime, consider if you can enjoy doing the same things together. If you can get into each other’s hobbies without feeling coerced, then you might be the right one for each other.

Backgrounds may be a sensitive issue in relationships, but it deserves to be discussed more often. It neither promotes nor discourages cross-class or cross-cultural relationships but only sheds light on how it can affect attraction and interactions.