July 24, 2022

International Online Dating: Different Cultures, Different Challenges

By Tim Zelmer

There was a time when the largest determining factor in any romantic relationship was proximity. The girl next door, down the street or on the other side of town was pretty much the extent of the options available for most single men. As travel became easier and more necessary for work after the Second World War, the field broadened and people from different states and even different countries began getting together. Still, however, proximity was the overriding factor in the vast majority of relationships. Letters and the occasional telephone call were all well and good, but it was difficult to sustain a relationship when there was only at best sporadic contact and no visual contact at all.

All of that changed, however, with the advent of the Internet, and the various ancillary technologies that have grown with it such as voice communication, instant messaging and webcams. Communication with people on the other side of the country or the other side of the world is now not only possible, but commonplace. With the explosion of the information age and the openness and ease of communications afforded by the Internet, international online dating has become a multi-billion dollar a year industry, with millions of men and women participating in it. Women in Greece are now enjoying the time they spend online with men in Ottawa, and men in St. Louis are forging meaningful and rewarding relationships with women in the Ukraine.

As with any other form of romantic relationship building, international dating brings with it new and, in some cases, unfamiliar challenges. While it is true that people all over the world share common needs and desires, people from different cultures possess different customs and belief systems and, in some cases, process information differently. Assuming, for instance, that forging a relationship with a woman in Moscow is going to be exactly the same as charming a girl from Cleveland is probably not going to work out terribly well. Below are a few things to keep in mind as you hit the international online dating scene.

* Language Differences: Obviously if you find yourself an online dating interest from an English speaking country (assuming, of course, that your primary language is English) then this shouldnt be an issue, but what about if your interest to use our above example is a woman in Moscow? Basically, most people who look into international online dating will be able to speak English at some level, but their proficiency with the language will vary greatly. The key to meaningful communication is to make certain that, until you are sure of how well a woman understands English, you keep things fairly basic. Avoid using long, complex words or sentences to express your thoughts to begin with, because there is every chance that if you dont you will spend as much time explaining yourself as you will getting to know the woman. Be patient, and be prepared to explain what you mean when asked and also be prepared to help her find the right words. Open communication and clear dialogue is essential to building any romantic relationship online.


One thing you should always avoid at first is text speak, until you are very comfortable with the woman you are communicating with. LOL, BRB BBIAB and other such examples are certainly common enough in the states, but unless the woman you are communicating with is familiar with them, they will seem like gibberish and could even serve to lower her first (or second, or third) impression of you. Additionally, you will want to keep your use of slang to a minimum at first. If the woman has only remedial or even intermediate English skills, she is likely not to have mastered even frequently used slang terms as yet.

* Humor: One aspect of a mans personality that survey after survey indicates is extremely attractive to women is his sense of humor. The ability to make a woman laugh is important to not only getting any relationship off on the right foot, but also to building the relationship and moving it forward. In the world of international online dating, humor is a necessary component of forging a mutually satisfying relationship but the rules are a little different. In order for you to make your international dream-girl laugh, she is going to have to get the joke, and actually find it funny.

Part of the concern here harkens back to the language challenges mentioned earlier. Jokes or quips that rely heavily on double entendre or word play i.e. Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas, what he was doing in my pajamas Ill never know will only work with your online partner if she has sufficient English skills to appreciate them. Another area to avoid at least at first is humor that is heavily dependent on sarcasm. Not only can sarcasm be very challenging to someone with limited English skills, but it simply doesnt translate very well to the instant message and/or chat room medium. Generally, it is better to avoid using it until your relationship has progressed to the talking and/or streaming live video stage.

* Time Zones and scheduling: Of course, if you are considering international online dating you are probably going to realize that time differences will exist between you and your partner. However, along with realizing that the difference in time is there, it is important that you keep in mind what these differences mean in terms of your relationship. For instance, returning to the example of our woman in Moscow, if you are in New York City (Eastern Time Zone) then when you get home from work at 5:00 and sign online, it will be 1:00 AM at your online girl friends place! Conversely, if you want to have a chat with her just before you go to bed, the odds are that she will have just awakened and be rushing around (as we all do) to get ready for work.

One of the keys to international online dating is scheduling time with a woman you are interested in, and then remaining on that schedule if at all possible. This will require a bit of give and take on both your parts staying up a little later, getting up a little earlier or blocking out lots of time on the weekends. Remember to be considerate of her time, if you expect her to be considerate of yours!

* International Online Dating services: While there are many ways to meet women from other countries online, many busy people (both male and female) choose to use online dating services to make their initial connections. While virtually all of these services charge their customers fees, some studies indicate that not only does using services of this type decrease the time it takes to meet a person you are interested in, but also increases the likelihood that your online relationship will progress into something special and fulfilling. When looking for an international online dating service, make certain that their website is secure, and verified by independent agencies (McAfee, GoDaddy, etc) as being safe. Make certain that they list their fees upfront, and make certain that they offer everything you are looking for (private chats, streaming video chats, etc) before you sign up. Just like anything else, when you are shopping for an international online dating service, make certain you read the fine print.

International online dating can be a very fun and rewarding experience and there is no reason not to think that if you lucky, you might actually meet the woman of your dreams. But as with anything else in life that is new and different, it is important to understand some of the basics before getting into it. By following a few simple rules, and making certain that you communicate in a clear and considerate manner, who knows the perfect woman might actually be in Moscow, and yet only as far away as your laptop!

About the Author: Tim Zelmer is the Public Relations Manager for


, one of the largest marriage and dating services for men seeking relationships with Russian women on the internet.



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