Long-Distance Cross-Culture Relationship Advice

Lindsey and Juo met while Lindsey was studying abroad at Ewah Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea in 2015. She was there to study for a full year when Juo messaged her on Instagram out of nowhere. Lindsey was hesitant at first but decided it would be a great opportunity to make a boyfriend in Korea. After a few casual dates with friends, Juo asked Lindsey to be his girlfriend on his birthday in November or 2015. Since Lindsey returned to the US in June 2016, they have been in a long-distance relationship with Lindsey, who lives in Florida, and Juo, who lives in South Korea. They see each other every 4 months for 2 months at a time. Put their full power into the relationship and use the distance to make their hearts beat faster. Lindsey and Juo will both graduate from college this December and Lindsey plans to return to Korea in July 2018 after applying to teach English there.

Questions for you
On our first date…

To be honest, I kept thinking about all the things that could happen… where the worst-case scenario would be a scene straight out of the Taken movie. He made his way to my campus and waited patiently for me with flowers and a heartfelt letter in hand. We grabbed lunch, tried to talk — but gotten nervy, and then we went shopping to buy a winter coat as I had no idea how to prepare for winter after living in Florida all my life had spent.

For the first few months of my relationship, my deal breaker would be…

any kind of lies. If you are not honest in the early stages of our relationship, it means instability later. The other (stupid) thing for me would be to eat with my mouth open…that’s always been just a pet peeve of mine.

I’ve learned that he’s the right one for me when…

He told me that he would always take care of me and that no matter how long it took, he would wait for the day when we could be together. His commitment sealed the deal.

I had a culture shock moment when…

We decided to wear a couples outfit for the first time! In America it’s not popular for couples to show off by wearing matching clothes so I found it so interesting but at the same time I LOVED it. Now I feel like Juo and I often combine some of our outfits and we both enjoy it!

3 things I love about him are…

the way he takes care of me He always asks me if I ate or how I slept. He offers me his coat when it’s cold or his shoulder when I’m tired. For example, one evening we were riding the subway home after a long day and Juo had taken the moment to use his jacket to cover my legs so I could sit comfortably in my skirt and rest my head on his shoulder could.

Second, he understands me. He takes his time and listens to what I say. He will listen to me and then tell me everything is fine and let it go. He doesn’t let our language differences get in the way. If he needs more explanation he will ask and never say don’t care or give up and for me that’s important.

Third, he gives everything for our relationship. He always thinks about our future and speaks openly about it. He is comfortable around me and constantly shows his love for me. There was never a moment when I couldn’t sense his true thoughts or intentions. For example, a topical issue that we’ve been stuck on is the idea of ​​adopting a dog or cat if I move to Korea. It may seem like a simple topic, but it really is planning a part of our future and wants to grow together.

The biggest misconception about his country and culture was…

the idea that Koreans in Korea would never consider a relationship with a foreigner to be real. I’ve always been told to be careful and that they might just see you as an easy target or a fun experience to brag about to their friends.

The best thing he ever did for me was…

Create a personalized photo book with all our memories of our first year together. As a year-long gift to me, Juo made a huge book full of pictures of all the things we did together. He had dates written on every page and small captions for each photo. I couldn’t believe he made something like this and for me it was the most special thing I’ve ever gotten because I could see how much time and love he put into it. It’s something I will cherish forever.

The second was that he proudly waited for me at the airport with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers I have ever seen and we both fought back tears as we hugged for the first time in months. Seeing the love of your life waiting for you with the biggest smile on their face is one of the best moments anyone can experience in a long distance relationship. These moments are priceless.

During that relationship, the most important thing I learned about myself was…

that I can be patient and I can say that I’ve learned what it means to show love in a way that goes beyond physical actions. Love shows in the words you say to each other and the effort you put in each day. I know that distance is only an issue in a relationship if you make it one. I’ve become such a patient person and now I understand that waiting is just part of our journey. Juo and I are in this for the long haul, and if it means waiting for months, so be it. Honestly, it was a skill I’ve lacked in the past, but this relationship has changed that.

If there is one piece of advice I could give to my western friends who are in AMWF relationships, it would be…

be yourself without restrictions. There’s never a limit to how much you can learn about another person’s culture. There are no limits to becoming a better version of yourself without changing who you are. After all, there will never be a limit to who you find love and connection with. Know that it’s okay to hug people of different races, ethnicities, religions and cultures because nobody says you have to find love in someone or something familiar.

questions to him
Asking her out for the first time was…

exciting. I first saw her on Instagram and thought she was so beautiful I had to send her a message. After talking for a while I couldn’t wait to meet her in person, so I just plucked up the courage and asked!

I’ve learned that she’s the right one for me when…

She told me she would love me forever. Some people think that’s easy to say, but for me it’s very special because I can really feel their thoughts. Plus, she always knows how to surprise me. For example, she sent me letters in the mail for no reason and filled them with our photos. She always writes me a sweet message.

I was in culture shock when…

She told me that Florida doesn’t really have a public transit system. She said there was no subway or major bus system and I was shocked! After visiting her in Florida for the first time, I later understood that most people used cars, so public transportation was not necessary.

3 things I love about her are

She loves me unconditionally. I have never felt this kind of love before and it makes me feel special. No matter what happens, I know she will be by my side and I will absolutely do the same for her.

She always thinks of me. She recently told me that whenever she talks about me or thinks of me, she touches our couple ring that we wear. I feel like we share our feelings. If I’m happy, I can share that happiness with her. When she is sad, I can understand her sadness and do my best to make her happy. she understands me, she makes me happy, she’s beautiful… how could I not love her? Sometimes I still can’t believe she’s my girlfriend!

The biggest misunderstanding about their country and culture was…

that I thought her eating habits would be similar to what I’ve seen in movies and TV shows. I thought when I went to America I would see fast food or frozen meals eaten every day, but that wasn’t true. I’d say I think food is definitely more popular there than in Korea, but it’s not how it appears in the movies.

The things she likes to do with me for fun…

are out and about talking! We are obsessed with traveling around the globe and creating memories. Every time we are together we always plan a trip. Our first trip together was to Tokyo, Japan in 2016! These days we are already planning our next trip when I will visit her in the US. It never gets boring with her. Whenever we video chat, call or text, we always laugh at something or make each other smile.

During that relationship, the most important thing I learned about myself was…

understand the need. After being with Lindsey for almost 2 years I have gotten better at understanding and listening. Even though she’s American and I’m Korean, I realized that doesn’t matter to our ability to understand each other. I feel like we know each other better because we’re both interested in each other’s cultures.

If there is one piece of advice I could give to my Asian friends who are in the AMWF relationships, it would be…

that if you are in a long distance relationship now or want to have a relationship with someone from another country in the future, I will just tell you not to give up! If you can’t stay together now, you need to show all your love and feelings for this person. Talk about your future. Find out where you both want to be in the future and plan for it. It will inspire you both and set a goal that you can all achieve.

Thanks to Anna Reco | #LongDistance #CrossCulture #Relationship #Advice

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