Advice on long-distance intercultural relationships

Lindsey and Juo met while Lindsey was studying abroad at Ewah Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea in 2015. She was there to study for a full year when Juo out of nowhere texted her on Instagram. Lindsey was hesitant at first, but decided it would be a great way to make a friend in Korea. After a few casual dates with friends, Juo asked Lindsey to be his girlfriend on her 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. living in South Korea. They can be seen every 4 months for 2 months at a time. Giving all his effort in the relationship and using the distance to grow his affection. Lindsey and Juo will graduate from college this December, and Lindsey plans to return to Korea in July 2018 after applying to be an English teacher there.

Questions for her

On our first date …

Honestly, I kept thinking about all the things that could happen … with the worst case being a scene straight out of the movie “Taken”. He made the trip to my campus and waited patiently for me with flowers and a heartfelt letter in hand. We had lunch, tried to talk, but our nerves got the better of us, and then we went shopping for a winter coat, as I had no idea how to prepare for winter after spending my entire life in Florida.

For the first few months of dating, my deciding factor would be …

any kind of lie. If you are not sincere in the early stages of our relationship, that is a means of instability later on. The other (silly) thing for me would be eating with my mouth open … that’s always been a bother of me.

I learned that He is right for me when …

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

I had a moment of culture shock when …

We decided to wear a couple’s set for the first time! In America, it’s not popular for couples to look like this by wearing matching clothes, so when we did it I thought it was very interesting but I LOVED it at the same time. Now, I feel like Juo and I are matching some part of our outfits most of the time and we both enjoy it!

3 things I love about him are …

the way He cares about me. He always asks me if I have eaten or how I have slept. He offers me his coat when it’s cold or his shoulder when I’m tired. For example, we were going home on the subway one night after a long day and Juo had taken the time to wear her jacket to cover my legs so that I could sit comfortably on my skirt while resting my head on her shoulder.

The second thing is that you understand me. You take the time to listen and listen to what I am saying. He’ll listen to me unburden myself and then tell me that everything is fine and to let it go. Don’t let our language difference get in your way. If you need more explanation, you will ask and never say it doesn’t matter or give up and that’s important to me.

Third, he gives everything for our relationship.. Always think about our future and talk openly about it. He feels comfortable around me and shows his love to me continually. There has never been a time when you cannot feel your true mind or your intentions. For example, a recent topic we’ve gotten stuck on is the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčadopting a dog or cat when I move to Korea. It may seem like a simple topic, but it really is planning a part of our future and wanting to grow together.

The biggest mistake about your country and your culture was …

the idea that Korean guys in Korea would never see a relationship with a foreigner as real. They always told me to be cautious and that they might just see you as an easy target or a fun experience to show off to their friends.

The most beautiful things he did for me were …

Make a personalized photo album of all our memories of our first year together. As a one-year gift to me, Juo created a huge book filled with image after image of all the things we had done together. It had the dates written on all the pages and little captions for each photo. I could not believe that he had done something like that and for me, it was the most special thing that I have received because I could see all the time and the love that he had put into it. It is something that I will cherish forever.

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

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

that I can be patient and I can say that I learned what it meant to show love beyond physical actions. Love can be seen in the words that are said and in the effort that they give every day. I know distance is only a problem in a relationship if you make it one. I have become such a patient person and now I understand that waiting is only part of our journey. Juo and I are in this for the long haul and if that means waiting months and months, so be it. Honestly, it was a skill that he 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 relationships with AMWF, it would be …

be yourself without limitations. There is never a limit to how much you can learn about someone else’s culture. There is never a limit to becoming a better version of yourself without changing who you are. Ultimately, there will never be a limit on who you find love and a connection with. Know that it’s okay to hug people of different races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures because no one says you have to find love in someone or something familiar.

Questions for him

Asking her out for the first time was …

exciting. I saw her for the first time on Instagram and thought she was so beautiful that I had to message her. After talking together for a while, I couldn’t wait to meet her in person, so I mustered my courage and asked her.

I learned that she is right for me when …

She told me that she would love me forever. Some people think it’s easy to say, but for me, that’s something very special because I can really feel their mind. Besides, he always knows how to surprise me. For example, he would mail me letters for no reason and fill them with our photos. She always writes a sweet message to me inside too.

I had a culture shock when …

she told me there wasn’t really a public transportation system in Florida. She said there was no metro and no big bus system and I was surprised! After visiting her in Florida for the first time, I later understood that most people used cars, so there was no need for public transportation.

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, I know that she will be by my side and I will absolutely do the same for her.

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

The biggest mistake about your country and your culture was …

that I thought their eating habits would be similar to what I saw in movies and TV shows. I thought that when I went to America I would see everyone eating fast food or frozen dinners every day, but that was not true. I will say that I think eating out is definitely more popular there than in Korea, but it’s not what the movies make it sound like.

The things he likes to do with me for fun …

they are traveling and talking! We are obsessed with traveling and creating memories around the world. 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 for when I go to visit her in the United States. With her, there is never a dull moment. Whenever we video chat, call or text, we always laugh at something or make each other smile.

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

the need to understand. After being with Lindsey for almost 2 years, I have improved my understanding and listening. Although she is American and I am Korean, I realized that this does not influence our ability to understand each other. I feel like we know each other better because we are both interested in each other’s culture.

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

that if you are in a long distance now or would like 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 should show all your love and feelings for that person. Talk about your future. Know where you both want to be in the future and plan for that. It will keep you both excited and set a goal for everyone to achieve.

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