Break-Up Do’s and Dating Don’ts – Expat Dating Diaries

Expat Dating Don’ts and Break-Up Do’s

Co-P and I started having the inevitable (inevitable because he’s leaving Korea, not because he’s a cheater) break-up talk. ¬†It would have been fine had it not been in Haneda airport 6 hours before our flight. ¬†A few days later our fast, serious, fleeting, expat dating romance was over. ¬†Little did I know then, he was already seeing (and sleeping with) someone else. ¬†The confidence I had in our direct, communicative relationship was an absolute lie, and I feel pretty stupid having trusted him. ¬†Because of the exciting, dramatic, and rocky way our relationship began, I felt like most of the time we were playing relationship chicken. ¬†I had several trips lined up before meeting him. ¬†He said he wanted to come, and without too many jokes or dares he booked flights. ¬†I should have taken my own advice…

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! girl woman barbell weights muscles strength training athlete crossfit health fitness exercise working out people
Photographer: Alexandre Vanier

Looking back on our relationship (as shortlived as it was) I have a number of thoughts and feelings. ¬†We are completely different people with a few key common interests (fitness, food, and expat dating, it seems). ¬†Ultimately, we weren’t compatible romantically or with our timing. ¬†He tried to limit me to 2 tourist attractions per day on our travels. ¬†He wanted a 10 PM bedtime. ¬†I wanted to soak up everything (including the nightlife) in a new city. ¬†He followed the rules. ¬†I wanted to renegotiate them. ¬†There were so many times when I felt I couldn’t be as wild and outlandish as I wanted to be. ¬†In some respects, that’s a really good thing. ¬†Co-P pushed me to be the healthiest and strongest person physically I could be. ¬†I was well-rested, too. ¬†Ultimately, I got bored. ¬†I think he did, too.

Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! airplane travel adventure plane people vacation trip transportation vehicle helicopter
Photographer: Inge Wallumrod

As much as I’m content with my life without him as my boyfriend, there are still moments that give me pause. ¬†I miss having him as the friend I thought he was. ¬†There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from every relationship, and expat dating is no different. ¬†Take a look and see what you can extrapolate from every interaction. ¬†Here’s what I’ve learned…


Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people man woman couple dating talking romance candle lighting lights bokeh
Photographer: Austin Call

Expat Dating Don’ts

  • Don’t have your first few dates at favourite spots in your neighbourhood. ¬†You’ll hate yourself going back to a memory you made together there every time you pass them.
  • Don’t invest yourself too much in the beginning…or really ever. ¬†It’s important to keep a balance and your own social life. ¬†Don’t be one of those people who gives up on your single friends when you’re coupled up.
  • Don’t ignore the majority of your friends saying bad things about him. ¬†Especially don’t alienate them in favour of the ones who speak kindly.
  • Don’t ignore his ex gfs if they reach out to you. ¬†There’s a reason they sound crazy. ¬†That reason is probably that he hurt them something fierce.
  • Don’t let things move too quickly. ¬†If he’s asking you to be exclusive on the third day you’ve met, maybe there’s another issue. ¬†Pump the breaks if things are heating up a little faster than anticipated. ¬†It might be exciting to jump into a new relationship, but you also might be left with the feeling that you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. ¬†He might have self-esteem issues, be self-indulgent, or just want to stir up drama. ¬†Co-P posted about his new girlfriend the day before a trip we planned together. ¬†(Super nice way to let me know you cheated, by the way…). ¬†Expat dating is tough!
  • Don’t get hung up on past heartaches. ¬†There’s a reason he’s not the one with you on this date! ¬†Focus on this new person who wants to spend time getting to know you!
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! people girl woman couple clothing hand touch
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

Expat Dating: Break-Up Do’s

  • Do let yourself have a mourning period. ¬†Maybe you haven’t lost the love of your life, but you’re losing out on someone who has made an impact on it. ¬†You’ll be ready when you’re ready.
  • Do: ¬†It doesn’t matter if your mourning period is short. ¬†If you are ready to get back out there then do it!
  • Do: Say YES. ¬†If you get an interesting invitation then say yes! ¬†Surprise yourself with new hobbies and activities.
  • Do: Meet new people! ¬†It doesn’t matter if you want to get out on the dating scene right away or not, new people = new perspectives. ¬†Isn’t learning what we’re born to do?
  • Do: Widen your net. ¬†Meet people (new friends and prospects) you might not normally go for. ¬†Everyone thinks they have a “type”. ¬†If yours hasn’t been working for you, try something else! ¬†Whether you’re an expat dating or just meeting new pals, there are plenty of us in a concentrated environment. ¬†Go forth an experience new things!
  • Do: Look out for #1. ¬†Take care of yourself first. ¬†Don’t overextend yourself for someone who won’t go out of his or her way for you.
Because of the dramatic way our relationship began, I felt like we were playing relationship chicken. I should have taken my expat dating advice! sea ocean water waves nature horizon sky sunset sunlight sunrise sunshine people couple love man woman hug smile happy
Photographer: Christiana Rivers

I’m not looking for the stars and the moon in another human. ¬†I’m looking for a travel companion, good conversationalist, work-out buddy, party pal, and all around life partner. ¬†I’m looking for someone who won’t deliberately hurt me (or put me at risk) because he’s started to stray. ¬†Neptune has 13 moons. ¬†Uranus has 27 (and they’re outta this world, girlfriend). ¬†Our very own galaxy is full of stars and moons. ¬†If you’re an expat in Korea like me, you’ve likely circled the globe at least once or twice. ¬†He (or she) is out there, but you’ve gotta make it through the Star Wars first.

Britney in my Seoul – Oops, I did it again…

Britney Spears in Seoul, South Korea

Saturday June 10th Britney Spears played a show in Korea. ¬†She was actually in Tokyo when I went with Co-P, but we didn’t go to the show. ¬†We actually began the break up process at Haneda Airport, but that’s a story for another time. ¬†Oops…I did it again. ¬†Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see her live, and I certainly didn’t think it’d be in Korea of all places! ¬†Even cooler? ¬†With G Dragon playing a show and Ultra Music Festival this weekend we got our KRW 99,000 tickets (just over $100 Canadian) upgraded TWICE. ¬†I was sent to 3 different windows and had to wait a long time while they got their act together, but I walked away with VVIP tickets which had a value closer to $400 Canadian…each! ¬†I got all gussied up with fabulous fellow blogger “A Fat Girl’s Food Guide“. ¬†We had all kinds of laughs I really needed outside the venue, and went inside just before the show.

Britney Spears in Seoul Korea


There was no opening act. ¬†Britney got straight into it and didn’t stop for an hour and a half. ¬†She was strictly business, purely professional, and an enchanting entertainer. ¬†The fan favourites were all a blur, fading into one another in a medley that got me in the zone! ¬†Last night was a reminder that if Britney can make it through 2007, I can make it through the day, too. ¬†When you breakdown you can go further into the madness or take the opportunity to rebuild. ¬†There’s a blessing and a beauty in the breakdown. ¬†Others may have torn you down, but only you can truly rebuild from the wreckage.

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea


The past year has not exactly been my easiest. ¬†I came to Korea to give myself a break from a stressful job and a toxic work environment. ¬†After a healthy, comfortable, calm year in Busan, I decided to take on the capital city: Seoul. ¬†I was right back in a difficult work environment with longer hours and less time to dedicate to fitness and finding friends. ¬†Sprinkle in a couple of dating disasters and Itaewon drama, and voila! ¬†You’ve got yourself a pretty shit sundae. ¬†It’s getting tougher and tougher to pick myself up. ¬†I truly believe that you should take as many lessons as you can from a negative situation. ¬†Reflecting on our actions, reactions, and the ones from the people around us is crucial to personal development. ¬†While I often feel like I take one step forward and 3 steps back, I want to move forward and enter my 30’s with joy and energy.

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea

Work, B*tch

On Mondays I aim to ease into the week. ¬†I get to work with the youngest kids on Mondays. ¬†While conversation is tougher, the cuddles tend to be plentiful. ¬†My gym doesn’t open until 8 AM on Mondays, so I take it easy. ¬†I talk to my parents on Skype every Monday and always look forward to our weekly ritual. ¬†I’ve partnered with Sprout Seoul (Natural Healthy Whole Food Service in Korea), so I skipped out on my weekly meal prep in favour of flavour. ¬†I’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or dessert¬†free of over-processed ingredients, chemicals and additives. ¬†I’ll be sharing pictures and honest thoughts on the menu here daily, too. ¬†Last time I ordered from Sprout I was down 3 kg within days. ¬†I’m thrilled to be on the 5 day plan. ¬†If you order from Sprout Seoul, make sure to mention The Toronto Seoulcialite or That Girl Cartier to get a free snack!

…One More Time

I’ve read that we should start now rather than waiting for a special occasions. I say, take what you can get. ¬†New Year’s Eve, a birthday, a new job, a break-up or even a Monday is an opportunity. ¬†I’ve got a recent break-up, a birthday on the horizon (August 6th if you’re keeping track), and the Monday trap tomorrow. ¬†I want to take these opportunities as spring boards to a better me. ¬†As cheesy as it all sounds, a fresh start is exactly what I think I need. ¬†With a new gym membership, Sprout Seoul, a little Restylane¬†c/o Eunogo, some rad new friends, the love of more than a couple drag queens, and Britney in my Seoul, I’m Stronger. ¬†Now get to work, b*tch!

Fat Girl Food Guide Toronto Seoulcialite That Girl Cartier Britney Spears Seoul Korea


Expat Dating Diaries: The Eternal Expat

Expat Dating - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Frank McKenna

The Eternal Expat

The Eternal Expat is one of the most likely men you’ll meet from my list of the¬†7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. ¬†Flitting from city to city and country to country ‚Äúsampling the local fare‚ÄĚ, this guy has found a good life. ¬†Probably considered to be generically attractive from a North American perspective, he‚Äôs got an even more charming personality. ¬†Somewhere down the line he was likely a varsity athlete, fraternity brother, or both. ¬†He‚Äôs got natural game and women everywhere seem to swoon. ¬†He‚Äôs never settling down in one place, and¬†for him you‚Äôll never been enough. ¬†He might make a grand gesture. ¬†He might make it seem like he’d have you join his nomadic lifestyle and travel the world together (#travelcouple, #instaromance, the whole nine yards). ¬†When it comes down to the actual plan, he’s a lone wolf and you’re just dead weight.

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Photographer: Denis Gavrilenco

New Notches

The main goal of the Eternal Expat is to carve as many notches on his bedpost as is humanly possible. ¬†He loves to have the girlfriend experience. ¬†He loves it so much that he’s collecting as many as he can manage and in as many countries as his passport will allow. ¬†Let’s be clear: this guy does not want a girlfriend. ¬†He wants adventure between the sheets and on the open road. ¬†He has 1 priority, and darling as lovely as you are, it’s never going to be you alone. ¬†Tucked¬†between expensive dinners out, museum trips, and spa experiences, the eternal expat must be a master scheduler. ¬†He can juggle multiple languages and even more women. ¬†Remember marinated cherries? He was juggling THREE of my friends all at once and one more he brought¬†on vacation! ¬†I wonder just how many other rolodex members he had on rotation…

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Photographer: Leeroy

Red Flags

The Eternal Expat won’t ever let you see his phone because he’s sending the same messages to you and half a dozen other girls. ¬†He will make it seem like he wants to date you exclusively right off the bat. ¬†He will tell you how amazing and beautiful you are. ¬†Far too early for heartwarming discussion, he’ll tell you straight up how much he likes you. ¬†He’ll tell you exactly what he thinks you want to hear in an effort to avoid having “the talk. ¬†Try to see through the bullshit. ¬†He probably does like you a lot. ¬†I bet you are beautiful and amazing, too. ¬†Just take it all with a grain of salt since all these lovely things roll off his tongue easily.

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Photographer: Samuel Zeller

Long Gone Silver: Emotional Pirate and Booty Chaser

If you encounter someone you think might be an “eternal expat” communicate your expectations and desires immediately. ¬†Don’t let yourself get surprised or hurt down the line thinking you’re in an exclusive relationship when he’s on a completely different page. ¬†If he’s not where you are, move on. ¬†You won’t change him. ¬†Why would you want to waste your time trying? ¬†It’s unlikely he’ll wake up one morning and realize what an idiot he’s been and what a loss you are. ¬†If he does, it won’t happen until he’s Long Gone Silver and you’ve moved the eff on. ¬†If all you want is a good time then that’s totally fine, too. ¬†Be adults and talk about the kind of relationship you want to have. ¬†He’s¬†got plenty of experience and¬†you’ll hopefully be more than satisfied. ¬†If you want emotional satisfaction, however, don’t walk that plank.

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Expat Dating Diaries: The Local – Chasing the White Horse in Korea

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Photographer: Elijah Hail

The Term:

Riding the White Horse in Korea

I read every Korean blog Google populated in the first few pages and happened upon the concept of “riding the white horse in Korea”. ¬†What this meant was that there were certain locals in Korea who preferred socializing with foreigners, but only as a novelty. ¬†In less politically correct terms, this typically referred to a Korean man wanting to have sex with an All-American-looking woman. ¬†There are many Koreans (male and female) who do not subscribe to the homogeneous ideologies of this small nation. ¬†There are many Koreans who don’t make fetishes of particular races. ¬†I have several North American friends who are dating or who are married to wonderful Korean men. ¬†This article is part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date, and is not about those people.

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Photographer: Trevor Paterson

A Horseless Carriage

In my year in Busan, I met and socialized with a ton of Koreans in our little neighbourhood of Hwamyeong. ¬†On Friday nights we played guitar, a friend from a more central location brought a cajon, and we sang outside the local convenience store while eating instant ramyeon and drinking soju and/or beer. ¬†There was never a time I felt like I was singled out as a caucasian North-American. ¬†We were friends who enjoyed playing music together. ¬†On the other hand, there were plenty of caucasian males who would mess around with anyone they could, but would exclusively date Korean women. ¬†This is the North-American equivalent/opposite of what we’ll call “the local” from this point on. ¬†Seoul was a different dating story…

Riding the White Horse in Korea That Girl Cartier people men women friends crowd walking city signage bar korea mall shopping
Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

The Local

“The local” is chasing the white horse in Korea. ¬†He just wants to screw date¬†someone foreign he can show off to his friends. ¬†As a caucasian woman with blue eyes and blonde hair I‚Äôve found that, more often than not, this type of local‚Äôs intentions are pretty transparent. ¬†I¬†don’t believe a significant other should be a status symbol.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier people men woman wet market basket meat fish utensil refrigrator signage pail lamp light korea
Photographer: Alexandre Chambon

Where (not) to meet The Local

Korean men frequently try to pick up at events called “language exchanges”. ¬†This goes both ways, but I often hear about foreign women who want to improve their Korean skills and are instead propositioned. ¬†Most people who have been here longer than a couple of months will scoff, roll their eyes, and dive into their own personal anecdote about a language exchange situation gone wrong. ¬†They often involve the suggestion¬†they¬†“practice” Korean and English in a DVD Bang (a room with a tv, dvd player, couch, and a box o’ tissues), a love motel, or her apartment (as many Koreans in their 20’s still live with parents). ¬†This is definitely a consideration when thinking about why many foreigners give up on learning Hangeul. ¬†Language exchanges are great places to meet women who are new to Korea. ¬†Guys chasing the white horse in Korea tend to lurk here.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier guy fitness athlete health boy people court black and white asian
Photographer: Poodar Chu

Western Status Symbol

You shouldn’t date someone or even befriend someone because you think she’ll impress your friends (or teach them English). ¬†My old school asked me to help a young CEO of a Private Equity firm. ¬†I think he wanted to introduce his employees to someone who looked different to the women with whom they would typically interact. ¬†Meeting these men who couldn’t look me in the eye for the first two meetings was insightful. ¬†I wasn’t introduced for my teaching abilities, but for the way that I looked. ¬†Fortunately, these¬†guys realized that I could discuss the Financial Times and other such¬†publications. ¬†Within a few meetings¬†I was taken more seriously and some of my suggestions for their business were put into place. ¬†I stopped wearing makeup or particularly fashionable attire. ¬†I definitely don’t think I was brought in as a white horse in Korea, but it was pretty close.

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier architecture building infrastructure room wooden bench people man guy thinking alone sad male asian
Photographer: Can Anh Khai

Dating Korean Men

I can’t speak from firsthand experience as I haven’t dated a Korean man while living here. ¬†I’ve been asked out on dates, but the way the question was posed didn’t really feel like it was a date. ¬†Dating conventions tend to be quite different from back home, and I just haven’t had the time for the runaround. ¬†I find Korean men to be quite beautiful. ¬†They often dress very well and have their own style. ¬†The #1 sales of cosmetics for men come out of Korea. ¬†While I enjoy getting dolled up, I don’t spend too much time on it. ¬†If my man takes longer to get ready than I do I’ll get antsy and peace out. ¬†Men in Korea tend to be more in touch with what we call their “feminine side”. ¬†I think I’m a bit aggressive and outspoken for them (and the aforementioned North-American counterparts).

Riding the White Horse in Korea ThatGirlCartier horse animal stem grass bokeh trees sunlight sunshine nature plants branches fog
Photographer: Annie Spratt

A friend of mine went on one date with a local Korean guy. ¬†After that one date they were exclusive (from his perspective). ¬†She went along with it even though she was still dating other men. ¬†This is why communication is important.¬† He would bring her around his friends and show her off, but there was no way he was introducing her to any family members, including his cousin who was his best friend. ¬†He wanted to meet more of her caucasian (only) friends. ¬†This “white horse in Korea” is a woman with some serious sexual prowess. ¬†No matter how she tried to entice him, he couldn’t keep up. ¬†Their relationship ended when she popped into the shower with him to spice things up. ¬†Things didn’t perk up – she never saw an erection from him again. ¬†Guess the white horse in Korea isn’t for everyone.

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Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier letter box mail
Photographer: danist soh
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Getting “that message” from an ex¬†both incredibly gratifying and infuriating. ¬†It seems like it’s the new vogue to write an apology letter to your ex-girlfriend. ¬†It’s like it just sits there waiting and waiting for the exact moment she’s over you. ¬†The moment she’s moved on and might just finally be happy, he clicks ‘send’. ¬†Is this man’s 6th sense? ¬†Has Google created a new alert? ¬†Am I the last to know that they’ve created the latest algorithm in social media f*ckery?

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier dark night box light letter signage neon
Photographer: Adam Birkett
He Hurt You

In this letter, he¬†finally takes responsibility for all the things he¬†did wrong. ¬†All the times he lied (and the corresponding gaslighting), all the times he¬†perpetuated gender stereotypes, all the times he just wouldn’t listen. ¬†How did he¬†come to the realization that this was the perfect moment to bare it all? ¬†Why is right now the perfect time for him to come to his senses? ¬†How does man’s 6th sense determine the right time to connect?

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier facebook social media smartphone mobile technology letters
Photographer: Wilfred Iven

I have no doubt that a recent post encouraging communication between partners is the most recent source for “the apology letter”. ¬†What about the other times, though? ¬†My rebound after H got his friend to message me on Facebook to see if I was going to Busan for an event. ¬†This friend owns a travel company and it was pretty clear that there was no way in hell I was getting on the bus for this sold out trip. ¬†How do these people know that you’re off the market? ¬†Most of these messages come from men with whom I’m no longer even connected through social media. ¬†Even if they are¬†able to look on Facebook or instagram, the messages are sent before there’s any sort of public trail of the relationship. ¬†It’s like how dogs can sniff out fear. ¬†These douche-canoes can sniff out happiness and want to stifle that shit immediately.

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier - flower pink petal bloom garden plant nature autumn fall tulip violet love passion intimate lettering
Photographer: Brigitte Tohm
Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

I went out with a military man who was just dying to make the blog. ¬†He was, indeed, a Tinder fail story. ¬†He lied to me about his location for no reason with the full knowledge that Tinder shows you the distance between you both. ¬†We lived pretty close to one another already. ¬†When he said he was out in the bush running drills, he was actually cursing the high cost of a side of guac at Lotte World Mall. ¬†I wouldn’t have cared if he was too busy to hang, but don’t tell me you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes out in the peninsula. ¬†The night before H came to Korea, I got a lengthy message from MM apologising for it all. ¬†He even told me he had gone deaf in one ear and had nearly lost his job. ¬†We had only been out maybe 3 or 4 times. ¬†He owed me nothing. ¬†Some cosmic force in the universe (or man’s 6th sense) must have whispered that Cartier might be happy so it was the perfect moment to insert his thinly-veiled attempt at roping me back in.

Letters from the Ex: Man's 6th Sense stone wall letters symbols
Photographer: Matthew Wheeler

What does it all mean? ¬†Well, man’s 6th sense seems to hit him like a pile of bricks once he realizes there’s a chance you won’t agree to another shot. ¬†It’s not that he wants you back, he wants you to want him back. ¬†Toxic relationships are less partnership, more power struggle. ¬†He wants to have the upper hand back and he can feel that it’s gone. ¬†The best part? ¬†By this point you really should no longer care.

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Photographer: Chelsea Francis
Get Creative

Gentleman, what you must realise is that your messages contain several of the same phrases. ¬†When you all write the same thing, it doesn’t sound genuine. ¬†Here are some of the canned phrases in each message I’ve received:

  • “I just want you to be happy.”
  • “You’re an incredible woman.”
  • “You deserve the best in life.”
  • “Even if we don’t get back together, I hope we can at least be friends down the road.”
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend - Man's 6th Sense - That Girl Cartier - card board letter paper slogan hand green tree plant nature
Photographer: Corinne Kutz
It is well.

It’s lovely for you to admit that you were wrong. ¬†It’s validating to have all those worries and frustrations confirmed as your¬†own f*ck ups. ¬†I’m glad you’ve managed to clear your conscience. ¬†Next time, don’t bother drudging up the past. ¬†The notion that I’ll ever see a¬†travel romance again is ridiculous. ¬†We didn’t work out. ¬†I’ve released your ghost. ¬†It is well.

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Seoul Dating: How to Get Him to Commit

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Photographer: Jena Postma

How to Get Him to Commit

I’ve been seeing tons of click-bait¬†headlines making their way through the travel, expat, and lifestyle communities. ¬†Figured I’d give this one a shot, too. ¬†So sue me, right? ¬†Not quite – read on to see how you too can get him to commit with this one amazing tool.

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Breaking the Rules

I’ve already gone back on my word by entering into a relationship with a) someone I met through Tinder, and b) on my list of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. ¬†If you’ve read¬†Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man¬†you’ll know that there are some dirty dawgs out there especially in and around Itaewon. ¬†I met my new Co-Pilot at Souva, which has quickly become the latest hot spot for my coupled-up pals. ¬†In our first week and a half we had been to at least 7 restaurants together, watched 4 movies,¬†made dinner twice, and climbed a freaking mountain. ¬†He mentioned me to his parents and mine¬†got the Skype update 2 weeks in. ¬†I know you’re still wondering how to get him to commit, but I’m sure you’re also wondering if good ol’ Cartier’s going to get boring with a boyfriend.

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Photographer: Matthew Kane

No More Drama

It wouldn’t be the Seoul expat dating community without a little bit of drama (I know this is what you came for :P). ¬†This wouldn’t be the Expat Dating Diaries without unnecessary drama, right? ¬†Well, shocker! ¬†My new beau went out on dates before he met me! ¬†There are a few women with whom he’s been out who are friends of friends of mine. ¬†One in particular was pretty pissed when he let her down easy (via text – party foul, I know). ¬†After she screamed at me, I told him straight out that if we were going to do this we wouldn’t be with anyone else. ¬†If either of us change our minds down the line that’s¬†fine. ¬†That said, a¬†certain conversation needs to happen if either of us want to start seeing other people. ¬†This leads me to the most important tool you can have in your arsenal if you want to know how to get him to commit. ¬†Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. ¬†How do you get him on the same page? ¬†This one’s simple…

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. still items things puzzle painting fine art gustav klimt the kiss bokeh

The One Amazing Tool

What’s this one elusive tool to use when wanting to know how to get him to commit to you? ¬†COMMUNICATION. ¬†There’s no big secret. ¬†He’s not a f*cking mind-reader.¬† TALK with your Seoulmate! ¬†Communication¬†is a tool we all have within our big ol’ bag o’ tricks, but when it comes down to it we rarely feel confident enough to share our feelings effectively. ¬†The biggest flaw in my last relationship is that I felt powerless what it came to¬†expressing my wants and needs. ¬†When I tried to initiate a conversation about things which bothered me, he “was bored” and didn’t want to hear it. ¬†In my mind, my last relationship was just a silly little travel romance in the beginning. ¬†Never in a million years did I think¬†he’d skip out on an epic SEA adventure to come live with me in South Korea. ¬†I didn’t tell him what I needed and wanted right from the start. ¬†When he started weaving dreams of a real future beyond Asia, somewhere we might settle down, I scoffed and moved on. ¬†When I started to believe the fantasy, he pulled away. ¬†We weren’t on the same page at all.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people write notebook diary pages sheet work office pen polaroid pictures photography black book plate coffee tea mug cup novel laptop macbook apple keyboard technology
Photographer: Thought Catalog

Fake News

For someone who “hated social media” as much as he did, he sure checked his instagram likes regularly. ¬†It blew my mind that he thought I was demanding he give up the “opportunity of a lifetime” to come live with me. ¬†It drove me mental that he wrote his younger female travel companion a love letter on Facebook when he took off from Cambodia to come to Korea. ¬†When he left Korea to head home, he shared: “too many people to name. ¬†It’s been emotional.” ¬†I was proud to be with him, yet he tried to hide me. ¬†He was always pleased to be tagged in cool hipster photos at the palace or beachy pics with the lads. ¬†Unfortunately, he refused to acknowledge our life together publicly. ¬†Looking back that should have been a HUGE¬†red flag. ¬†I wanted to shout from the top of every mountain in Korea that I was happy with him, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his own network he had a girlfriend. ¬†It’s such a night and day difference to have an intelligent, accomplished, handsome gent tell me he’s happy to be with me at the top of a mountain we climbed together.

That Girl Cartier - Time and time again girls lose their minds over men who choose someone else. How do you get him to commit? This one's simple. people man woman couple lovers sweet nature trees grass forest trunks
Photographer: Emma Frances Logan Barker

Looking Forward

Maybe this relationship will crash and burn tomorrow. ¬†Maybe it’ll withstand the tests of all the small town (ahem HBC) murmurings. ¬†If you don’t have the exclusivity conversation with your desired partner, then you can’t be angry with him (or her) for continuing to date.¬† If¬†this person meets someone else with whom they have more in common, you can’t fault them for wanting to pursue a relationship. ¬†You didn’t communicate your desires. ¬†If you’re not getting the answer for which you’ve been searching, then move along. ¬†He’s not going to fall in love with you just because you’ve been hanging around. ¬†It doesn’t matter if you have beer-flavoured nipples. ¬†No matter how much you pretend to love Star Wars, if he doesn’t love what you’re actually into then what kind of foundation are you building?

How to get him to commit?  

Talk to him (or her) for f*cks’ sake!

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Seoul Dating: This Is What You Came For…isn’t it?

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Seoul Dating: This Is What You Came For

Dear Wonderful Readers and Internet Trolls,

It has come to my attention that I’ve become known around Seoul¬†as “the girl who goes on dates and then writes about them”. ¬†Cool. ¬†Let’s go ahead and clarify that, shall we? ¬†ThatGirlCartier¬†has been around since 2009 (on Twitter). ¬†If you want the roots of the name itself, go check out one of my first posts on this site. ¬†On instagram? ¬†You can creep me back to 2012 there. ¬†You’ll see pictures of food, fashion, fitness, culture, travels, a variety of weights and hairstyles, and oh yes – a couple of ex boyfriends. ¬†That’s life, ladies and gentlemen. ¬†Expat dating is tough! ¬†Seoul dating is a minefield. ¬†Just like Juicy Couture sweats and UGG boots, some things don’t last. If Juicy is any indication, some things might just return (you know who you are and yes, you’re welcome back – just say the word).

Gossip Girl Seoul Dating That Girl Cartier

xoxo Gossip Girl

The idea that I’m some sort of “Land of Morning Chaos – xoxo Gossip Girl of Seoul Dating” is ludicrous. ¬†That said, if any¬†of the show’s designers want to dress me I would not put up a fight. ¬†Also, wasn’t Gossip Girl a dude in the end? Writing bits and bobs about my silly Seoul dating life seems to be a bigger deal to men than it is to women. ¬†Men seem to either really appreciate¬†my writing from an outside perspective, or take what’s written too¬†personally. ¬†To those who understand this to be entertainment and defend me and my right to write, thank you! ¬†To those guys who “would never go on a date with a dating blogger”, well this one’s for you.

Seoul Dating That Girl Cartier

Express Permission

If an expat dating experience ends up on That Girl Cartier it’s because express permission has been granted to share whatever has occurred on the date. ¬†Tinder often initiates Seoul dating.¬† I’ve mostly got stories in the vault which aren’t all that interesting. ¬†A lot of people ask to be featured on The Toronto Seoulcialite.¬†¬†One guy even snatched my phone for a couple’s selfie just in case he “made the article” I was thinking about writing on¬†Olympic Park. ¬†This is not new. ¬†Expats constantly ASK to be featured on the site.¬†The marketing men, military men, locals, teachers, or anyone else from the list¬†want to be here. ¬†It is astoundingly easy to get material, because people love having our experiences shared anonymously online. ¬†Sometimes they’re exaggerated. ¬†Most of the time they’re not.

Expat/ Seoul Dating That Girl Cartier

Hey Friends,

I recently shared a tidbit on my personal Facebook page from a comically bad first date. ¬†My personal profile is just that: personal. ¬†Venting and sharing anecdotes on my personal page should not be grounds for an attack. ¬†I feel that everyone’s entitled to share¬†personal opinions on Facebook. ¬†November 8th and 9th, January 20th, and the past month have been great indicators of just how many personal opinions people share on Facebook. ¬†I’m a writer. ¬†Your antics won’t get published to my site without permission. ¬†Please continue to be ridiculous and make me push my own boundaries, too.

Remember friends, readers, and trolls, this right here?  This is what you came for.  

I wouldn’t have 3 times¬†more views on this silly little website than its informative sister site if it wasn’t.

WDTDT: Who Pays on the First Date?

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Photographer: Wilfred Iven

Why Do They DO That?!: Who Pays on the First Date?

This new series entitled “Why Do They DO That?!” (henceforth: “WDTDT”) is all about the things¬†that some men do which baffle women. ¬†On wine nights the ladies have gone through it all. ¬†We’ve asked “why would he go back to her?”, “why won’t he call/ text?”, “why won’t he kiss me if he says he likes me?”, etc. ¬†The thing that baffles me the most is what they won’t do, or the sneaky and conniving things that some men do. ¬†This leads me to the age old question (for our generation, at least), “Who Pays on the First Date?”

Read to the end for my personal take!

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Photographer:  Jay Wennington

It Begins…

This is a situation I’ve encountered first-hand, but have heard from other gal pals as well. ¬†I find that this is particularly prevalent with guys you meet online. ¬†Whether it be Tinder, POF, OK Cupid, or even instagram, these particular guys have a heavy rotation for a specific reason. ¬†You chat for a bit online and he¬†suggests meeting up. ¬†He suggests a trendy new restaurant you’ve wanted to try. ¬†Great! ¬†You share a couple of dishes and he either says he’s not going to drink at all or he has a cheap bottle beer. ¬†Trying to match the vibe of the date, you either have the same beer, something of the same value, or water. ¬†You don’t want to go overboard, right? ¬†You don’t want him thinking you’re some sort of alcoholic or that you’d win first prize in a pie-eating contest.

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Photographer:  Mitch Rosen

He likes You (maybe)!

You finish up, you’re still a bit hungry, and he suggests you move on to the next spot. ¬†Awesome! ¬†He wants to spend more time with you. ¬†He likes you! ¬†What you may or may not realize is that in your effort to be polite and accommodating, he’s been in control the whole time. ¬†He grabs the cheque, you pull out your wallet, and he insists on paying. ¬†Ever so sweetly and carefully he lulls, “you can get the next one”. ¬†Why do they DO that?! I think you know why…

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Photographer:  Alex Knight

Bourbon by the Barrel

Your next spot is uber hip with a great atmosphere, low lights, and expensive cocktails. ¬†He’s pulled this trick before and wants you to foot the bill for his top shelf Boulevardiers. ¬†This might be the point at which you’re tuned into his ploy, it might not. ¬†Most girls I know don’t want to poke the bear, so instead of saying something we’ll go along with it and balance out his suddenly extravagant tastes with house wine or draft beer. ¬†While he’s downing two at once, you’re pacing yourself.

Spirit hennessy bottles bottle service brandy bar drinks alchohol club

Photographer:  Olu Eletu

So…Who Pays on the First Date, Then?

In this situation, you’re both paying. ¬†That said, you’re paying through the nose for his wild night out¬†since he’s made¬†the initial investment. ¬†This has actually happened to a friend of mine and me in Seoul with the same guy. ¬†She’s had some bad luck having also been out on a date with The Military Man (yep – Mr. Cherry Freak himself), too. ¬†This guy has the same M.O. each time: he takes the girl for Korean Barbecue, orders¬†some soju (maybe $2 a bottle?), eagerly foots the bill, and then suggests much pricier spots in Gangnam. ¬†When the remaining cheque(s) arrive, he sits back, sneers, and gives the same line without missing a beat, “your turn”.

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Photographer:  Gabriel Gurrola

Who Should Really Pay on the First Date?

I think that in this day in age, especially if you’re both teachers in Korea making the same salary, it’s ideal to go Dutch. ¬†If you’re in a relationship show that you care for one another by thoughtfully bringing over his favourite beer or wine for movie night. ¬†Never arrive at someone’s place empty-handed. ¬†This is pretty much a rule whether you’re dating or not (and with men and women, alike). ¬†If you are dating, go back and forth, but don’t be a doormat (that one goes for guys and girls, too). ¬†A relationship is a partnership. ¬†If you want a sugar-daddy (or a sugar-mama!) there are plenty in and around Seoul. ¬†If you want a partnership, however, it’s a two way street, ladies and gents.

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Have you been out with someone who played you with the line, “Your turn”? ¬†Have you felt like you were completely missing your backbone in that situation? ¬†Let us know in the comments!

Expat Dating Diaries: The Military Man

Expat Dating - The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date - That Girl Cartier

Photographer: Amanda Jordan

This is not directed at any one person (save “the cherry incident”), it’s simply part of a lengthy and sarcastic series on The 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date!

I’d like to preface this edition of the Expat Dating Diaries with a lengthy¬†note to all readers. ¬†Scroll down to TL;DR to skip! ¬†This series is designed to be sarcastic. ¬†It’s designed to incite a knowing laugh from women around the world living abroad. ¬†Many of you have met men like the ones in¬†The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date. ¬†This is not a man-hating article. ¬†This is not a man-hating series. ¬†In fact, it’s quite the opposite. ¬†I love dating! ¬†The stories and laughs I get from horrible dates make for girls’ night hilarity. ¬†The shared moments and memories from great dates make all the bad ones worth it.

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Photographer: Tyler Barnes

To the gentlemen reading (we’re about half and half, right now according to Google), thank you for checking out my blog. ¬†Sorry for the make-up and mush, but I’m assuming you knew what you were getting yourself into. ¬†You probably¬†can’t relate at all to these guys, you can see a couple of traits here¬†and¬†there in yourself, or you just want a good laugh at someone else’s expense. ¬†You could switch these statements right around and apply them to the ladies, too. ¬†I’m sure there are a number of traits you recognize in women from which you’d like to stay away. ¬†Why am I only writing about the dudes? ¬†‚ÄėCause I don’t date women.

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Photographer: Takahiro Sakamoto

I have several friends married to wonderful men serving in the military.  Some of them even met in Korea and got married here!  My family has a history in the RAF (my badass Grandmother) and the RCAF (my Grandfather).  I dated a kind and generous man in the Air Force.  I have no issue with the military.  If you find a diamond in the rough, the Military Man will be the most loyal and caring gentleman in the world.  The standard review of the Military Man (MM) in Korea, however, is that he’s a dirty dawg.

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Photographer: Richard Revel


Whew! ¬†Now that that’s over with, let’s move on to the story. ¬†The Military Man wants to settle down‚Ķin theory.¬† Being deployed over and over again means he‚Äôs a lone wolf. ¬†More often than not he‚Äôs ‚Äúexclusively dating‚ÄĚ a few lovely ladies. ¬†I‚Äôve seen this countless times and am heartbroken for my friends who have been hurt.

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Photographer: Alondra Olivas

Three’s A Crowd

This is the kind of story I hear again and again.  My friend from Busan met a Tinder guy in Seoul for brunch.  He flew down to party with us in early spring.  They continued to see each other long-distance, and she was smitten.  The thing about men in Korea is that they seem to think that they’re entitled to two separate entities: foreigners and Koreans.  They seem to believe that never the two shall meet.  One long weekend 6 months into dating, she went up to stay with him.  She left his place Monday morning as he had to work.  Imagine her surprise when that very afternoon she saw him walking hand in hand with his Korean girlfriend off base in Gangnam.  Wasn’t he supposed to be at work?  Hadn’t they banged at his place that morning?

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Photographer: Skor

The Cherry Incident

My favourite MM is a guy I have actually met on several occasions.¬† We met through mutual friends on a day known in history as ‚Äúthe cherry incident‚ÄĚ.¬† This guy is in the army and has quite possibly the most beautiful apartment I‚Äôve ever seen in Korea.¬† Marble counter-tops, hardwood floors, a Japanese toilet, and le piece de resistance: a washer and a dryer. When my gal pals, my ex, and I were invited over to his place, he provided top shelf alcohol, mixes, and garnishes and told us to help ourselves.

cherries fruits food healthy bowl

Photographer: Danielle MacInnes

For nearly 2 hours he rattled on and on about these beautiful, succulent, marinated cherries which were perfect in a Manhattan.¬† My friend had to try them, of course!¬† She couldn‚Äôt open the jar, so after an eternity of trying she handed it over to me.¬† Just as the lid to the jar popped open, time stood still and I heard a slow motion ‚ÄúNooooooo!‚ÄĚ from our host MM.¬† The rest of the night was tainted by the wailings of a sullen MM butt hurt that his pristine jar of cherries had been opened and would have to actually be used.¬† He also hit on me in front of my (now ex) boyfriend, then proceeded to tell me he wanted a one night stand with any of my friends in attendance.¬† Class act, MM.

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Photographer: Jeff Cooper

Fast forward to March when I moved from Busan to Seoul.  MM saw me on Tinder, and when we didn’t match he went and found me on instagram.  I was all moved in, but for two months he insisted he needed to help me move.  It’s impressive the creative ways these guys think up when trying to weasel their way into your apartment.

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Photographer: Leeroy

Musical Chairs

While I haven’t dated this guy, I’ve now met 4 girls who have.  One of them was actually his live in girlfriend during the cherry incident.  We didn’t meet that night, but I would later find out that she (and 3 other friends of mine) had been wined and dined by this MM.  He’s tried to intercept a couple of my friends’ dates by inviting their party of two over to his table.  He even flew a Tinder girl from the United States to Vietnam to meet up for a tryst, and when she wouldn’t put out he cancelled her ticket home.

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Photographer: Erik-Jan Leusink

The MM manages his time (and women) exceptionally well.  He’s an sensational liar and a master manipulator who can maintain several relationships at once.  Camouflage is key.  His phone is glued to him at all times.  He’ll never let you see it, of course.  MM must reply immediately for fear of mixing up names and dates.

Here lies Episode II of the Expat Dating Diaries and the 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date.  

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My Two Great Loves

That Girl Cartier - My Two Great Loves

When I was in high school, Sex and the City was in its final seasons. ¬†I thought Carrie Bradshaw was the height of sophistication, and that one day I’d find myself a Chris Noth look-a-like to sweep my off my feet on Pont-des-Arts (the love-lock bridge in Paris). ¬†I wasn’t far off! ¬†I was 17. ¬†I had been to Paris twice. ¬†I was obviously pretty damn close. ¬†I was even closer by the love locks at Namsan Tower when H and I decided $7 was too pricy for a romantic gimmick. ¬†There are so many quotations from dear SATC which I’m sure resonate rather shamefully with most of the women in my generation and beyond. ¬†Recently, I was reminded of a concept Charlotte brought up in season 5’s “Anchors Away”. ¬†In one scene, she states, “Everyone knows you only get two great loves in your life”.

The idea that we only get two great loves would terrify most people, but I think this irrational fear is far more prevalent than most people might realize. ¬†This irrational fear of mine is compounded by the fact that one of my “two great loves” isn’t even a person. ¬†You see, I recently lost someone who I thought might just be my last great love. ¬†It’s ¬†silly to think something so short could have meant so much, especially since it’s so one-sided. ¬†Nonetheless, I’ve replaced him with my first great love: food.

When I lived in Vancouver we were somehow invited into the glamorous world of Vancity foodies. ¬†Perhaps service is just paramount there, but I regularly dined at Michelin Star Restaurants and hobnobbed at hole in the wall bars. ¬†In Toronto, I had a food blog and somehow managed to get on a few PR e-mail lists. ¬†Now I was eating great food all the time…free of charge. ¬†I got fat. ¬†I mean, I guess I was a bit chunky moving home from Vancouver to Toronto, but with an expense account and a few years working in hospitality management, I was an absolute porker.

Culinary delights can often be as pleasing as the embrace of a loved one, especially when dining in good company. ¬†I think that in my last relationship I may have had some of the best dining experiences ever. ¬†A threesome with your two great loves? ¬†I’m not sure I could have asked for more.

I had wanted to write my “The 7 Worst Guys An Expat Can Date” series in sequence finishing with “The Travel Romance”. ¬†This should be an epic ending, but I can’t quite seem to admit to myself that it’s beyond over. ¬†I can pinpoint the moment the exact moment I think I knew this would be more than a couple of smooches on the beach past midnight. ¬†I had had lacklustre Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup) for breakfast at our hostel in Phuket, and was craving some rich Thai curry.

I spent the day taking a Muay Thai sparring class followed by a tour of Wat Chalong. ¬†I was hungry. ¬†The “never dine alone” culture of Korea left me praying for a dinner companion. ¬†Though we had no wifi beyond the hostel, we still arrived back around the same time. ¬†I got my massaman curry and spicy dinner companion¬†in one fell swoop.

When you’re in lust, love, or on vacation (I’m still not sure what this was) everything is just better. ¬†Sun and salt water make my hair soft and wavy. ¬†I care less about what I’m wearing and more about who I’m with. ¬†Sunsets are more profound. ¬†Food tastes better. ¬†Whether I was in Thailand finally trying authentic versions of my favorite dishes, or sitting in a crappy all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Hongdae where the exhaust backed up, everything was better. ¬†Sugar is an addiction. ¬†Food is one of my two great loves. ¬†Right now¬†I feel like I’ve got a monkey on my back telling me to chase the dragon.

“Some love stories are novels. ¬†Others are short stories. ¬†It doesn’t make it any less filled with love”. ¬†This is not my account of “The Travel Romance”…it’s just a tribute. ¬†For now, I need to make healthier choices with the first of my two great loves, don’t you think? ¬†Have you felt addicted to sugar or food? ¬†How did you kick the habit of going back to the ex? ¬†Let us know in the comments!

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