Five Things I’ve Learned about Dating, Sex, and Love with Men Abroad

I’d like to start off by saying, in general, I’m not a romantic. Despite my young age, I’m somewhat jaded because of my previous experiences with love and long-term relationships. This being stated, I find everything about travel and the experiences that go with it, absolutely romantic. When I’m outside my culture or country I find it exponentially easier to fall in love with people, places, and cultures. I think part of this is because none of it feels real; when I’m outside my normal day-to-day life, I find it easier to take risks. While I’ve had my fair share of heart breaks, I take more chances when traveling abroad and thus far, I have no regrets. There’s a lot of romance in travel, all the new places and people… there’s the potential for anything.

ro·man·tic (rō-ˈman-tik) a.

Dole Air Race Lockheed Vega ""Golden Eagle"" NX913

1: consisting of or resembling a romance  2: having no basis in fact : imaginary  3: impractical in conception or plan : visionary  4a: marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized  b: often capitalized: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of romanticism  5a: having an inclination for romance : responsive to the appeal of what is idealized, heroic, or adventurous  b: marked by expressions of love or affection  c: conducive to or suitable for lovemaking (romantic. 2013. In Retrieved April 5, 2013)

I’ve come to realize that I may actually be addicted to the romance of travel… it’s exciting and different. I’ve experienced a lot whilst abroad; this includes a lot about the world, cultures, and… men. I’ve dated, had flings, and even *dare I say* fallen in love, overseas. Although my experiences are all my own (and I don’t claim that my experiences necessarily reflect those of others), I’ve found some overlap amongst my own experiences. What follows is a list of five things I’ve learned about datingsex, and love with foreign men in my home country as well as men I’ve met while living and traveling abroad.

1. The moment is fleeting — just go with it.

It is absolutely possible to be hopelessly, swept off your feet by a lad whilst abroad; however, I’ve found that unless you have relocated for a reasonable amount of time, sometimes it’s better if you leave some things unsaid and just live in the moment, preserve the memory. Often these lovely moments and memories of love and lust are tainted once you return to the real world (your home country  or residence) and are still infatuated with or holding onto something or someone you met… particularly if you find that staying in touch is difficult and/or unrealistic.

2. The ways in which men flirt in different cultures varies greatly, but when it comes to wooing a foreign woman, there are a few staples they will all rely on to spend a little extra time with you.

This does not make any of these things any less memorable, amazing, sweet, or even romantic. These include, but are not limited to:

  • showing you the sights of their area and relating childhood or teenage memories from these places;
  • a traditional dinner and a movie followed by (if you don’t ask first) to pop up for a cuppa;
  • taking you to the equivalent of their local “look out point” for a make-out session, historical or other cultural sites that they may have never been to, but sweetly stumble around giving you a tour (so cute), since they are, after all, local. - I couldn't help noticing that you're mind-blowingly hot

3. Flirting varies greatly by culture and region, this is exciting.

I’ve found men in the Mediterranean are more forthcoming when it comes to flirting, like the cat calling in Greece, “psst, psst, psst”. Let’s face it, flirting is cultural and in many of the countries known for its aggressive flirts (think Mediterranean and Balkan countries), the act of flirting, itself, is frequently just a way of interacting with anyone from the opposite sex and absolutely harmless. Men in the United Kingdom are less obvious and almost need a few drinks in them before approaching a woman. American men are often very forward (particularly when under the influence of drink) and, at times, a bit cocky. It’s only to mask any anxiety they may have in approaching a woman. 😉 Flirting in other cultures may be overt only when it’s… well, harassment. Trust your intuition; if you’re uncomfortable then something is wrong.

This is a good time to point out that although there are many cultural traditions regarding flirting, dating, sex, and love, there are just as many exceptions. As an American, I think in my culture that it is generally expected that men will approach women if interested; however, I’ve never been one to follow the rules and neither are many of my friends. If I’m interested in a man, I will approach him (without provocation, what a lucky guy 😉 )

4. In my own culture, it is quite common to “date around”; however, there are several cultures in which this is not as common.

There are many cultures where “dating” seems to be less of a process and more of a proposal; if you’ve accepted and gone out on a date with someone, you’re in a relationship. This is something I experienced in South Korea, and learned is quite common in the Balkan countries as well (I have a lovely, Croatian roommate who found dating in the ‘States a bit confusing, and rightly so).

topher208. "Keep Calm and Use Your Words." 8 July 2012. Deviant Art. 9 April 2013.

topher208. “Keep Calm and Use Your Words.” 8 July 2012. Deviant Art. 9 April 2013.

5. Although there is something quite romantic about dating someone from another culture, you’ve got to be careful and you’ve got to communicate.

There are different standards and etiquette for dating in different cultures; this means there are even more potential misunderstandings in dating, sex and love (great, as if these things weren’t complicated enough :( ). While it is important to be understanding and mindful of your partner’s culture, your comfort is also important. Communication is key in any relationship,  but particularly when your partner is from outside your own culture. The chances your partner can read your mind are slim to none, so in the words of my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Buckley “USE YOUR WORDS.”

In conclusion

Travel and romance go hand in hand, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind. Dating outside one’s own culture is exciting, but it requires more than just an open heart. Enjoy the romance while it lasts, and remember: while it is romantic to have a fling whilst in a foreign country, don’t wear rose colored glasses in order to have or prolong a foreign romance. Live in the moment because that’s what you’ve got.


I’d like to hear about your experiences. What are some things you’ve learned about sex, dating, and love whilst abroad? Did any of my points echo with you out there?

6 thoughts on “Five Things I’ve Learned about Dating, Sex, and Love with Men Abroad

  1. Man-oh-man. You’re so right about it being easier to fall for people when you’re abroad.

    I was 16 when I first moved to the UK. Before we moved I was ALREADY a writhing cloud of hormones liable to engulf the nearest guy without notice. But once we landed in England? EVERY MAN was the future Mr. Yankeebean. Husbands appeared everywhere. My make-out numbers sky-rocketed almost over night.

    When I lived in the States I had a “type” that I was looking for:

    Preferably a musician

    But when I arrived in England, my type became:


    To be fair, my future husband actually WAS one of those English men, but it took two solid years of pulling any guy within a 5 mile radius to find him.

    • American Burd

      Hahaha, I love this response, Yankeebean. My type in the ‘States is actually quite similar to my type anywhere else, but I tend to fall a bit harder whilst abroad. I blame it on the fact that it’s easier for me to romanticize a long-distance relationship.

  2. My experience with romance abroad consists of seducing a didn’t-see-me coming farm hand in Limerick and, much later, having dozens of men stop me on the street and propose marriage in Lilongwe!

    • American Burd

      @turnipseedtravel Aren’t random marriage proposals abroad so funny? The first few times it happened I thought it was surely a joke. There truly is an art to seduction abroad…

    • American Burd

      I don’t believe it is “short-sighted” at all as I’m quite certain we are talking about completely different things. You are talking about traveling with your wife – so actual travel with someone whom with you are in a relationship with. I am talking about just the people you randomly meet when traveling. I agree it’s worth putting the effort in when you are in a relationship already with this person. I, however, am not talking about that. The people you meet along the way can be great memories… but they don’t necessarily need to be anything more than that.

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