What Not to Say to Your German Significant Other

-or- More Fun Confusion with DuoLingo

Turns out my handy dandy app is not just for improving my linguistic skills; it can also raise important cultural distinctions. The other day I was playing with DuoLingo again, and was working on one of the family or people categories. At one point the sentence “Eine Beziehung ist ein Abenteuer“*or ‘a relationship is an adventure,’ popped up for me to repeat aloud. BV was sitting there, so I said (semi-sarcastically), “oh honey, isn’t that sweet. Our relationship is like an adventure.”

He gave me a confused/funny look and said, “sweet? Why sweet? That’s not really a good sentence.”

Disclaimer: may not apply in DE. VIa

Disclaimer: may not apply in DE. Via Pinterest

Huh? Now it was my turn to be confused. Why? Isn’t that a good thing? Adventure, excitement, spontaneity, aren’t those all desired qualities in a relationship? Don’t I see tons of ‘Pins’ a week touting ’25 date adventures’ and other nonsense cluttering up my Pinterest feed?ย  Turns out, maybe not so much in Germany. It’s like a whole damn nation of Yodas running around here.

I don’t want to generalize and say that all Germans would agree with the sentiment but he said it was a fairly common line of thinking. He explained it like this: if a relationship is described as an adventure, that means it’s maybe something dangerous or something you shouldn’t be doing, e.g.. having a one-night stand, being unfaithful to your partner, or other “illicit” behaviors. Being adventurous within a relationship is fine, so if you want to go out and get crazy with your partner, go for it! But having an adventure implies that you’re straying from the secure place you “should” be in. Stability and routine aren’t so scoffed at here, which I guess means there’s less bitching when your coupled up friends don’t want to go out partying on Saturday night. This is not a bad thing. But I can’t agree that adventure is bad either.

On second thought, maybe I’m only saying that stability is okay because our last few weekends haven’t involved much beyond pajama pants and amusing ourselves with the cat and her acrobatic hunting abilities…. hmmmm….. Nah. Personally, I say to each his own.

Stability and routine might sound boring to some people, and adventure and excitement might sound like too much to others, but I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. I’d like to strive for a healthy mix. If I can spend a fair amount of time in my PJs watching movies, but still go out and explore new places, that’s great with me. I was glad that DuoLingo brought up this subject because then BV and I had the chance to discuss what kind of adventures we want to go on together. The list was quite extensive; clearly we have no desire to be boring yet (or ever). If others think we are, that’s their problem, not mine.

Unfortunately we are limited at the moment because he really needs to focus on his university program, and frankly the money just isn’t there right now.ย  But when school lightens up for him and our bank accounts are a little more flush, we’re all over it. There’s still a lot of world to see, and I’m really happy that I have someone who wants to do ALL THE THINGS with me… even if we don’t want to call it an adventure. But honestly? I’d rather just call it life, anyway.

So I’m curious… has anyone else run into this line of thinking? Are adventures bad news or is the real enemy routine? ย 

11 thoughts on “What Not to Say to Your German Significant Other

  1. So going to ask mein Freund about this tonight – DuoLingo seriously has some of the weirdest sentences, but I can already imagine he sees adventure as a bad thing. He won’t even let me pick fights, which is seriously disappointing since I need that sometimes.

  2. Pingback: The Week in Germany: Relationships, Skiing, War, Graffiti, and Green Beer | Young Germany

  3. Pingback: What Not to Say to Your German Significant Other | LAB

  4. I’ll pass this along to my German! I think it sounds like you’ve got the perfect balance – sounds pretty similar to my life right now actually! Dating a German is great ๐Ÿ™‚

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