The 3 Movies That Explain Why Love Is Hard For Suc (Los Angeles)
(More FREE relationship advice for Expats at: Protected content
#1 You’re Rambo in First Blood. Seriously, if you were not exceptionally strong, independent and resilient, you wouldn’t have been an expat woman in the first place, not to mention, a successful expat woman. When you first arrive in a foreign land, you, just like Rambo, probably feel nostalgic, lonely…and a little paranoid (“Why are they looking at me?”) and fearful (“I don’t want any trouble”). To make it through each night especially to make it through “the jungle” all the way alone, you have to pick up new skills fast, adapt the new environment fast, take care of your own “wounds”, eat “snakes alive” and “do what you gotta do” to survive and thrive, etc. Over the course of time, it is no wonder that your skin has become a little bit thicker than diamonds, in order for you to handle all sorts of tough situations and tough people. And your characters have become a little bit more solid that steel to be able to take care of all your own needs, emotionally, physically, financially, relationally and professionally, 24/7. Congratulations, your expat life has officially made you the self-trained invincible Rambo in reality.
However, the exact same traits that made the rock-n-roll hero in your own life are also making it hard for love to find you and stay forever with you. For example, when your date offers you his coat when you two are strolling the city at midnight, you respond no because you simply don’t feel cold and even if you do, you have prepared your own thin jacket in your handbag the size of a suitcase. Or when your boyfriend wants to show off his manhood by protecting you from the Black Widow on your bedroom wall, you end up taking care of the spider yourself-after you tell him the story about how you killed a snake with rocks while hiking by yourself a week ago. You see? While your extraordinary sense of independence and courage are making you successful as an expat woman, they can also ruin a moment when your man wants to build emotional connections with you. And you probably don’t need me to remind you how emotional connections are the foundation and nutrition to every successful love story.
#2 You’re Tom Hanks in Cast Away. If you think you’re way better off than Tom Hanks in this movie because at least you’re not stranded alone on a deserted island, think again. As an expat woman especially a successful expat woman, you’ve probably spent the majority of your time, energy and money on building a life from scratch, which includes learning a new language, finding a place to live, obtaining a new degree, looking for jobs…and making new friends. Since you’re on your own and there is so much for you to take care of day in and day out in your expat life, oftentimes your only or at least main emotional outlet ends up becoming your romantic partner. Now picture Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Is he a strong and independent person to begin with? Absolutely. But did he have an emotional meltdown when he thought his “ball friend” Wilson abandoned him? Yup, it wasn’t pretty, was it?
You, a successful expat woman, are no exception to the possibility of having such emotional meltdowns when problems arise in your relationship. It doesn’t mean you’re not a strong or independent woman, it just means that your social support has drastically changed, if not diminished, after you left your homeland. Your family is no longer just a phone call away. All your new friendships in your expat life are just not comparable to the close friends you have back home who literally grew up with you. You enjoy hanging out with some of your coworkers but you will never call them in the middle of the night, when you suffer from acute appendicitis and need to go to the hospital. Finally, one day you fall in love with a man who treats you like gold. Before you realize it, you have already become emotionally dependent on him. After all, he is your lover, your best friend, and your only family in this country…until he can’t stand the emotional burden anymore and run away from you. If this ever happens, just remember that you’re not a needy woman, you’re just Tom Hanks in Cast Away. And the good news is with time and effort, you can change the dynamic and avoid treating your partner as your only “ball friend”.
#3 You and your partner are Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. As much as you don’t mind your love life becoming a comedy, you certainly still expect it to have a happy ending. Well if you and your partner are as culturally different as Jackie and Chris’ characters in Rush Hour, it is time for you to watch or revisit the movie. Most of the funny parts in the movie are created based on Jackie and Chris’ cultural and personality clashes. One is a serious kung fu master from China-Chief Inspector Lee, while the other one is a carefree talkative Black cop who enjoys “dancing to the tone of Michael Jackson in the middle of the street”-detective James Carter. In the movie, what helps them overcome their cultural and personality differences, fight the evil, win the hearts of gorgeous women, and become “Xiong Di” (“Brothers” in Chinese) in the end is COMMUNICATIONS-lots of it.
As a successful expat woman, you’ve probably been in relationships with men from different cultural backgrounds. Or you’ll most likely find someone from a different cultural background. So next time when you’re in a cross cultural relationship, before you decide to give up because of the extra compromises and adjustments you have to make for your partner, remind yourself of Jackie and Chris in Rush Hour. Ask yourself: Did I communicate all my needs clearly and consistently to my partner? Did I try my best to listen to my partner and meet him half way? Are our conflicts reconcilable? If not, can we still live with each other and love each other? Etc. Really, cross cultural relationships don’t have to be difficult. Just learn from the movie-teach your partner some Kung Fu while letting him dance in the rain for you. Before long, you’ll probably end up being in the arms of someone who treats you just like a family, regardless of your differences.
May love find you soon. :-)
(More FREE relationship advice for Expats at: Protected content