What it’s like to love someone in a second language

But the facts are that we live together in a Spanish-speaking country, we got to know each other while communicating in Spanish, and we live our lives predominantly in Spanish. That’s why I naturally shy away from speaking English with him. My native language feels unfamiliar in our relationship, but I’ve promised that I’ll be more flexible when we move to an English-speaking country.

While there can be many (mostly harmless) annoyances in a bilingual relationship, there are so many fundamental benefits, too.

Upside numero uno (see, I told you I was bilingual) is that you just have to become better at communicating with one another to make things work (no matter how well you speak your respective second or third languages). This might mean stopping mid-fight to clarify exactly what the other person is saying or just taking the time to explain things more clearly to one another, which has the added bonus of giving you some extra seconds to calm down. Alternatively, it might mean overplaying your “Oh I didn’t hear you, can you repeat that?” hand to make sure you really know what’s going on. (I honestly use that one far more than I care to admit.)

When you eventually reach a point of mutual understanding and minimal linguistic confusion, your relationship will be stronger for it. After all, communication is the foundation of a healthy partnership, and if you can negotiate that in two languages, I’d say you’re doing pretty damn well.

Upside numero dos is that, even if everything goes horribly wrong…well, at least all that extracurricular effort is likely to help you absolutely nail your final year Spanish exams. What are you waiting for? Go and find love in another language.

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