The force of attraction between a man and a woman can be very powerful to the extent that you find yourselves falling for each other as the minutes tick by even when you know almost nothing about the other person.

That strong force is perhaps the reason why one might find him/herself in a relationship with someone who comes from a different country or even another continent.

These days, we have many of such interracial relationships and even marriages involving Nigerians and other nationals. In some cases, one party resides here and the other lives abroad and they only get to see each other physically once in a while.

Bounce News had a chat with Ms. Igho Peters, a Human Resource Executive with an advertising agency in Lagos who has been in a long-distance relationship with her U.S based boyfriend for the past 7 years.

According to her, “dating a foreigner can be a bit awkward at times and it also requires a great deal of effort from both people involved to sustain it.”

She shared with us 4 things you should know before getting into a relationship with a foreigner.

1. Cultural difference: Many of the things we might regard as sacred or important here in Nigeria seem superficial to people from the West. “My boyfriend thinks we Nigerians place too much emphasis on the word ‘respect’ especially in the area of greeting or using our left hand in the presence of elders. He thinks it’s ridiculous.” Peters says.

“He also believes that we are obsessed with religion here” she added.

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2. Bridge the gap: “The most obvious challenge in this kind of relationship is distance,” says Peters. Being that both of you have a long stretch distance between you two, it is important to keep the lines of communication open to bridge the gap. “The most effective way of maintaining a long distance relationship when dating a foreigner is communication. Video calling every day is must because it is the closest you can get to seeing each other physically. If you so much as shut down communication for just one week, the relationship is nearly as good as over,” Peters added.

3. Reality check: In Peters’ opinion, there’s the tendency for one or both of you to want to stretch the truth a little in an attempt to impress the other person. She says, “Most times, both parties are living on half-truths because you’re trying to impress your partner and this is quite easy to do since he’s not here to vet your claims and vice versa, so there’s always the probability of being in a relationship founded on half-truths or outright lies. So there’s that doubt hanging over your heads at the initial stage of the relationship but with time, you’ll be able to sift reality from fiction.”

4. The accent: This isn’t such a big deal but for someone who is quite impressionable, you might likely find yourself trying to match your partner’s foreign accent, sometimes unconsciously. Speaking on her own experience, Peters says, “At the initial stage you’re definitely going to feel a bit of self-consciousness creeping in from different angles. For instance, despite the fact that I have a BA in English Language from the university, I used to look up a dictionary to check my tenses before communicating with my (American) boyfriend when we just started dating. That was mostly because he found my pronunciation of certain words funny and would laugh when we talked over the phone. Thankfully, we’ve gone past that stage and I’m now even teaching him how to speak pidgin.”