iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2013
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 3:19am

Hi Everyone,

I've been on 5 dates and we really chat up a storm!  We have different cultural backgrounds which I think influences how we date. He's from a middle-eastern country where  there is regulation of relationships between the sexes. I'm American but lived in a moderate muslim culture before, so I do expect someone who is serious about a relationship to move slower and I'm ok with that. I know he feels kisses are for affection and can't sleep with someone he doesn't care about.

On our first few dates he shook my hand so I decided to hug him at the end :) That worked because I got a big hello hug on the fourth date. He also took my hand with no further prompting on the fourth date. We meet weekly so it's been a month, and lately have been in touch more by phone. He's vacationing abroad, and sent me a text before boarding and made sure to send me a Merry Christmas, some photos from his trip so far and to tell me he wishes I was there with him. I didn't expect that actually.

There has been no kiss yet. On one hand I have moved from feeling relieved that he obviously isn't only interested in something physical to ok...let's test those waters since we have have plans to go places and see things all the way to the summer! I'd like to find a way to approach what his dating goals are and how to tastefully show him that I'm interested in more affection. Question: Should I just kiss on the cheek next time I see him and see how he reacts? I feel that a kiss can tell you if there is romantic chemistry. It's hard to tell with a guy who doesn't flirt or is not very touchy. I think that is a cultural difference maybe.

His profile says dating is set to the category "wants to date but nothing serious" but he writes that there should be no rush and let things evolve to create a more solid relationship. I haven't asked him about his dating goals because I thought that was part of the exclusivity talk. I think it's too early for that talk, but I've also never met a man who openly is thinking ahead and involving me in that future...but who isn't really flirty! I'm confused. He introduced me to his good female friend from his country and her husband on our second date.

Question: I'm curious if I should be dating other men or not. It occured to me that because our cultures date in different ways, that he may not be dating anyone else whereas I'm going on first dates still and I'm not sure how he will react if that came out. His profile leads me to think I shouldn't expect a relationship but his actions paint the opposite picture.I'd like to tastefully inquire and could use some advice so I can decide if I should continue meeting other men because my relationship goal is to meet a potential partner.

** I use the term relationship goals becasue at we are 31 not teens

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 8:24pm

After 5 dates, I think it's fine to discuss each person's dating goals. I would mention his status on the dating site about "nothing serious" and ask him to expand on this. In my opinion, if a person is afraid they'll scare the other person off by asking them these things, then they weren't the right person for them to begin with if they can be scared off. There is no right or wrong about what a person's dating goals are, but two people need to match in that area.

I would delve into his culture. What would his parents think of him dating someone outside of his culture? Even at 31, they still could be an influence in his life. What do men of his culture think of women as a whole? Is he an American citizen or green card holder or just here for education? Where does he live permanently? Hopefully, he doesn't need to marry an American to stay here, because you have to make sure you're not being used. Ask him what his culture is like as far as holding hands and kssing goes. Usually if I got to the point that I was kissing a guy, I'd want to be exclusive and see if we could make it work while getting to know each other without outside interference. Since you two haven't kissed but are already to your fifth date, it's a very weird situation. I wouldn't go in for a kiss. You don't know his culture. You need to discuss it like I said earlier. You have a right to know if he usually takes 2 or 4 or 6 months, etc to decide to be exclusive with someone, or if he doesn't plan to get serious with someone until he's 40 or at a particular financial place in his life. Your time is precious. You need to know if you should be dating others or not, and how to proceed. Remember that you are the treasure, and you're in the driver's seat. You decide what type of situation is best for yourself, and if the other person is not on the same page, then it wasn't meant to be. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2013
Fri, 12-27-2013 - 11:53pm


Thanks for the reply. You raise some good points. He's on track via his education to become a citizen so that's a non-issue.

I do think I should check in with him and see what his goals are. I think I'm most nervous about the conversation because I think if there is nothing physical then it can't be exclusive. But, I don't know if in his culture the concept of exclusive/non-exclusive exists. I guess I will have to ask! Obviously, it would be a mistake to assume...he may/may not be expecting me to get to know other men which I am.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
In reply to: xxxs
Sat, 12-28-2013 - 12:38am

 I would say be very cautious.  It also depends on what country he is from.  Do your research.  Remember he may act one way here and totally different there.    There is a lot of risk if you are out of the US.  In  Many Moslem countries the programming is very strong. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2013
Sat, 12-28-2013 - 1:35am
You raise a good point. It is hard to know someone outside of their country. Certainly he has the chance to date openly not in secret like at home. For that reason I was happy to meet his friends female and male even if I thought it was a bit early. But it will be a challenge to know how he feels about certain topics with certainty.
Avatar for Agent_86
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-29-2014
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 8:26pm
May I recommend... Ask him if his parents and him closely share cultural and moral beliefs because you don't want to embarrass him in front of his parents by doing something that might offend them. It will ease his mind a bit, I'm sure.

Then ask him what he prefers in private. This will let him know that you recognize YOUR relationship with HIM as a private matter that the two of you share, and it matters to YOU BOTH.

That's what I'd do. FWIW, my track record is nothing but failure, LOL!