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Relationships across cultures and/or religions - can they work?

Danny!Danny! Deactivated Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
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As we live in an increasingly global world, we're more likely to mix with people from different cultures and religions. This means that an increasing number of people find themselves in relationships with people with very different beliefs and values to themselves.

There's an interesting question and answer piece here from a man who asks:

"if 2 people are attracted by each other, love each other (or at least believe to) and have the sincere intention to build (or at least try to) a strong relationship that would last, can they achieve their objective even if they are extremely different (both intrinsically and in what life has offered to them since their encounter)?" [http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/home/2012/4/30/were-from-different-culturescan-it-work.html]

Do you think a relationship can be happy and successful when you have very different core beliefs, may be seen negatively by others from either belief set, and need to do some very different things with your time?

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone with very different beliefs to your own? Would you?

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think as long as they love each other then it shouldn't matter if they have different beliefs. As far as what other people think, I think they should concentrate on their own life instead of getting involved with other peoples.

    One of my friends friend is married to a guy that is Hindu. She isn't Hindu herself I don't thibj she's religious at all but they've both accepted it and he still follows his religion so I guess that is a perfect example that people can make it work if they want to

    Sent by Sony Xperia
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    A good friend of mine has recently married her Western boyfriend - after plenty of years together (she is Chinese). She has told me repeatedly that she does not find Asian men attractive and it's always been the case for her - her type is Westerners. This is totally fine, and her and her now husband make a really lovely couple. I have heard quite a few stories from her about how her mother was never quite happy with her choice, and how she would often put him down to her, criticizing his job, how much he earns and laughing at him when he attempted to speak Cantonese or messed up a tea ceremony.

    Her husband doesn't really like his mother in law (nothing new here I think) but I do think that a lot of this negativity stems from the fact that her husband is white and not asian - and therefore is going against her mother's wishes. I don't see that skin colour should make any sort of difference and as long as your child is happy, that should be the main thing. It seems like family can play a strong factor in inter-racial couples - and it can play quite a detrimental role on the relationship sometimes, if the couple lets it. My friend and her husband didn't let it I'm happy to say, and I think they are wonderful together - despite the animosity from her parents :)
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    **helen****helen** Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Supreme Poster
    I met a guy at uni who was religious and ended up marrying an atheist. They were fine until children came into the mix and he'd assumed that he could welcome the children into his religion. She had other ideas. Was a massive cause of conflict for them and led to separation - I'm not sure if they did divorce in the end though. In this case, it struck me that the children conversation should have happened earlier...
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    Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Posts: 16,688 Skive's The Limit
    **helen** wrote: »
    I met a guy at uni who was religious and ended up marrying an atheist. They were fine until children came into the mix and he'd assumed that he could welcome the children into his religion. She had other ideas. Was a massive cause of conflict for them and led to separation - I'm not sure if they did divorce in the end though. In this case, it struck me that the children conversation should have happened earlier...
    I'm not speaking from experience but I can't imagine a relationship between people whose beliefs differ on such a basic level ever working. I think they're all one conversation-that-should-have-happened-earlier away from breaking up.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wow. Just seen this thread because I was going to ask about something.....

    I'm 30yrs old and white. She's 26 and Asian (Pakistani). We've only just started chatting to each other online since the weekend. She's an amazingly beautiful woman and I CANNOT believe she's talking to me. We met on a dating site. She told me that she looked at my profile and when I didn't send her a message, she sent me one asking if I like Asian girls. I said yes and we took it from there. We've talked mostly about everything now. She even asked me questions on sex last night !!!! ......I'm running out what to say about her.

    She's a little shy like me... and she enjoys some of the same things as me.

    She told me that her parents don't want her to date guys, (something to do with her culture????!), but she dates them any way.

    She doesn't like Asian guys, only white guys.

    She's told me that I'm cute lol

    I want this to work but I'm worried that something might happen if her parents find out that she's dating.
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    Danny!Danny! Deactivated Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    I wasn't very specific about what types of belief I was talking about at the beginning, and I wonder if it depends on what kind of beliefs we're talking about?

    In Helen's example, the beliefs are about bringing up a child, which have very important and real consequences in everyday life.

    But beliefs about ethics and how we should live our lives aren't necessarily the same as as beliefs about theology.

    In my personal opinion it's very important to match with a partner on some fundamental beliefs, but we can also happily mismatch on others. So a liberal religious person or atheist might find themselves living similar lives in terms of ethics and morality, and therefore match up fine even if they disagree fundamentally on theological issues. But two people of similar religious beliefs might have fundamentally different views on what a relationship entails, how to interact with other people or how to bring up a child, which could make their relationship impossible.

    So maybe what's important here is being able to identify for ourselves what beliefs and values are really important to us (and therefore that we wouldn't feel comfortable with compromising very far), and looking at matching those with someone?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was going to edit my post.

    I should have said that I have no objections in dating someone who is of a different ethnicity as me.

    I would rather date someone Asian then English since they are more caring, and blah di blah di blah and slim lol

    English girls can be rather boring.
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    Danny!Danny! Deactivated Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    As an interesting aside, I came across this story in the Guardian.

    The Chinese government are offering cash incentives to couples where one partner is a member of the majority ethnicity Han Chinese, and the other is a member of an ethnic minority. It's an interesting piece of social engineering, a bit like UK governments offering cash to encourage marriage as opposed to other forms of long-term relationship.

    It raises an interesting point of the value to society of relationships across perceived religious/ethnic/national/cultural divides.
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