Even if an intercultural relationship appears complex to outsiders, it may offer rich rewards to its participants. If you are interested in dating someone whose cultural background does not match your own, take some time to learn about intercultural pairings. By finding out what the experts have to say about the challenges and benefits of intercultural dating, you can give your own relationship the fighting advantage.

What Intercultural Dating Means

Culture involves the characteristics of a particular group of people, including a number of factors like religion, language, eating habits, social habits and even music. Thanks to advances in communication technology, and with so many people relocating from their native lands, the lines of culture have somewhat blurred as various groups of people intermingle. Intercultural dating can involve interracial couples, although this is not always the case. While interracial dating often falls within the scope of intercultural dating, it doesn't always fall within this context. You can date someone racially similar to yourself who is immersed in a vastly different culture than your own.

Cultural Stumbling Blocks

Some cultures give rise to more challenges when it comes to intercultural dating. For instance, in many Asian cultures, parents tend to hold firm opinions on who their children should date, according to Anita Malik, editor of "East West Magazine," in an interview for an NPR segment entitled "Intercultural Relationships: Can They Work?" Those from cultures considered more collectivist -- in Japan, for example -- tend to draw definite distinctions between those within and outside of the culture, making it difficult for intercultural relationships to flourish, explains Ling Chen, of Hong Kong Baptist University,
in the book "Handbook of International and Intercultural Communication."

Advantages and Challenges

When a difference between cultures is assumed by onlookers based on differences in skin color and other physical characteristics, you can face unsettling scrutiny, advice and judgement, according to an article, "Challenges and Benefits to Interracial Dating," by California State University, Fullerton. On the other hand, being part of an intercultural couple may afford you the opportunity to learn more about other worldviews and customs, grow stronger in your own beliefs and even model for those with insular viewpoints that your relationship is similar to others of like-cultures.

Ways to Scale the Walls

One crucial key to intercultural communication is self-disclosure, according to Chen. If you have a romantic interest whose cultural foundation differs from yours, honestly and frequently communicating your experience as an individual, apart from your society, can help bridge the gap. Successful couples also tend to demonstrate mutual adjustment and an understanding that cultural differences matter more to those around them than to themselves. Those who are firmly committed to the relationship and are willing to go against the grain when it comes to both familial and social norms are more likely to go the distance in an intercultural union.