Romance and the Expat

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the good folks at InterNations, experts on expat life, have come up with an interesting array of love and relationship statistics, and some of them may surprise you!

by / Published: 6 Feb 2018

Romance and the Expat
Photo: iStock

With approximately 150 million Valentine cards exchanged annually and copious amounts of flowers and sweet treats given as gifts, the origins of Valentine’s Day might not bode well for lovers when you realise what the real story is. The Catholic Church recognises three Valentines as saints and they were all martyred, so where’s the romance in that? There’s all kinds of ancient Roman rituals, paganism and executions when it comes to the tale of Valentine; today we go out for a romantic dinner and eat lots of chocolates.

To coincide with this Valentine’s Day, we’d like to talk about romance and the expat. InterNations is the largest global network for people who work and live abroad, and they offer relevant information and organise social events to get people together. InterNations also conduct an annual Expat Insider survey (conducted throughout the world with over 10,000 respondents), and based on 2017’s results, these are their findings about expats and their love lives.

Long-Distance Relationships

The conclusion was that expats in long distance relationships were considerably less happy with life. Older expats were less likely to be in a long-distance relationship while those who were 25 and below made up the highest percentage of those in one, mostly due to the fact that they were carrying on relationships from university. International long-distance relationships were most common with expats from Egypt, India and the Philippines.

Multicultural Love

Expats go to a new country and fall in love with the food, culture, history, islands and the local people. As we move towards being closer than ever in terms of travel, technology and education, it is only natural that we appreciate other cultures. More than half of expats in a relationship have partners from another country, with men slightly more likely to meet someone new once they have moved. Mexicans, Danes, Australians, Austrians and Americans were enthusiastic about dating someone from their new country of residence, while the Finns and Swiss were most likely to fall in love with someone from yet another country.

Flying Solo 

This is an interesting subject as many expat women move when their partner gets a job abroad, yet they are more likely to be single than expat men. So, what happens? Simply put, the romance fizzles out for both men and women, with one in ten being single. A lack of romance is a downer with 12% of single expats being unhappy with their life in general. The statistics are interesting too with Italians and Venezuelans topping the list at being single; and Swiss, Dutch and Danish expats most likely to be in a relationship.

Same-Sex Relationships

The conclusion to this part of the survey is that expats in a same-sex relationship are happier with their life in general than those in a heterosexual one. The survey revealed that 45% of LGBT expats date someone from their new country of residence and although they sometimes feel unwelcome due to their sexual orientation, this does not stop them from enjoying their time as an expat abroad.

For more information on the survey and the report, read here.