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How to be in relationship with someone from another culture?

TheMixTheMix Posts: 3,049 Boards Guru

Being in a relationship can have it difficulties as it is without the added stress of dealing with cultural differences.

But, what do we mean by cultural difference?

This could be anything from:
  • having different religions or faiths,
  • having a different background or ethnicity,
  • having different family traditions,
  • speaking a different language and much much more.
Maybe you’re unsure how to speak to others about your partner’s culture or perhaps you don’t know how to ask your partner about a certain aspect of their culture or faith.

Of course having a cultural difference doesn’t mean that things have to be more difficult. Research shows that couples who are really open about cultural differences experience less relationship distress.

What kinds of cultural differences have you experienced in your relationships?
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    MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 672 Incredible Poster
    I’ve not been in a relationship with cultural differences. However, I have many friends with different backgrounds and cultures. I have to keep in mind my language (no swearing or blaspheme!) around some Christian friends. I also have to keep in mind topics like alcohol, or sex before marriage as some of my friends don’t believe in those things. I also have online friends from other countries and cultures where I have to remember the time zone differences, attitudes towards money, differences between the holidays they celebrate and what I celebrate (some don’t have Christmas!) even the fact that some of my friends don’t have a TV in their house!

    I am interested in learning about their cultures in general, but it also helps being open so I can avoid offending them in some ways.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It can be tricky - for example if they are not as open minded as you are - i had an experience where he grew up in a more restricted country and me in Europe, so it didn't always help with traditions and "old fashioned" beliefs! Also sometimes it can be hard if they speak another language and you find yourself in situations where you can feel a bit left out!

    But at the same time it can be pretty amazing sometimes to share different cultural differences/experiences and learn from each other especially if you are both open minded :yes:
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    StephSteph Posts: 448 Listening Ear
    thanks for your post Maisy :thumb: thanks for sharing your experiences with your friends that are from different cultures. Just wondering you mentioned that keeping in mind topics like sex before marriage and alcohol helps to avoid offending them, have you ever had a time when you did offend someone and what happened in the end?

    Has anyone else had a similar experience to Maisy that they'd like to share?
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    apandavapandav Posts: 2,072 Boards Champion
    Never been in a relationship with someone from a different culture, but one of my best friends is both Muslim, and has a different ethnic culture too. When we first became friends, I felt nervous not to offend her in any way, but now we are so close that I feel openly able to ask questions about her culture (as I'm curious and interested in my friend) and she is happy to give an answer - I do it in a polite way, and always respects her (she also respects my differences too) and I always tell her she doesn't have to tell me anything she is uncomfortable with. I don't have a religion but do celebrate Christmas in a more festive way, and my friend will always wish me a merry Christmas, and vice versa I will say "Eid Murbarak" to her (Eid is a Muslim holiday, and that's like the equivalent to saying merry Christmas), which I think it's really nice- how we can be supportive of one another and our differences in upbringing too. On a day to day basis she wears more western clothes, but in the past etc. when it's a special occasion and we meet up as friends she will wear her Asian clothes, which I really admire and respect her for embracing her culture.

    Well that's my friend, and it might not be the same case for other people, but at the end of the day we are good friends regardless of race, religion, culture or skin colour - that's the most important thing in my opinion :)
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    apandavapandav Posts: 2,072 Boards Champion
    Another thing I find really fascinating is- a few years ago my mum told me that one of my great grans (who I never met) was Jewish and she married a Christian (one of my great grandfathers). I don't really know much about it, but I'd love to trace back my family history etc. and I always wondered if that ment I could have had ancestors in the Holocaust. Anyways just shows, especially as back in those days it probably would have been more frowned upon.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have been in a long-term relationship with someone of a different cultural upbringing, as well as religious background. I think having such differences made for interesting date conversations! Our conversations were stimulating and exciting because we were both broadening our perspectives, and learning so much about each other and, in a way, another way of life. I found myself asking him things I wouldn't normally ask someone of my ethnicity, etc, and along the way came to realize just how interested I was in this other person. And the sentiment was mutual, of course!

    We started our friendship on the basis of mutual curiosity and interest. No topic was off limits, as long as we each approached it respectfully. And, if we felt awkward or nervous talking about something.. we would just say so! and it was never a big deal.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm currently in a relationship with someone of a diverse cultural upbringing from me. I am English whereas he is Filipino, I am agnostic whereas he is Catholic. I'm lucky in the fact that he has lived in England for the last 10 years and is fluent in the language. His family are very open-minded and appreciate the fact that I may behave in slightly different ways to them because of my culturally diverse upbringing.
    As he already knows enough about England and our culture, due to living here, the best thing we've found is that he sends me links all about the Philippines, along with language and culture.

    It can be hard to get around some relationships where you both share different cultures, but if you're willing to learn and appreciate the differences then it can make things easier.
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    StephSteph Posts: 448 Listening Ear
    Thanks for sharing this Samantha :thumb:

    Especially like this point you make
    It can be hard to get around some relationships where you both share different cultures, but if you're willing to learn and appreciate the differences then it can make things easier.
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