Most of us goris would admit that being in an intercultural relationship is much more complex than being with another ‘white’ man from our own country.
The core relationship issues that face nearly all couples are arguably about compatibility, love, future needs and trust combined with stress factors like job, money and family issues.
But in intercultural /multicultural relationships, these are just a small part of the relationship issues we face.
There are inherently more difficult pressure points in our relationships that require a great deal of compromise, patience and respect if you’re are truly serious about making the relationship work (well that’s been by experience anyway).
From the online group of goris I have met, most of them have created blogs to share these problems/difficulties about their relationship and find support from the few other people out there who are in the same situation.
Whether it be about cultural differences, expectations of each other and our ‘roles’ within the relationship, issues with parents, in-laws and acceptance, visa issues, culture shock in our partner’s country, managing long-distance relationships, language problems or something else, I think most of you would agree that at some point in our relationships, we have really struggled because of all/some of these added ‘pressure points’.
For god’s sake we even have pressure points relating to what food we are going to cook at home!! (Most people wouldn’t have that problem- ‘just steak and veges thanks darling’)
For me and Rabindra, it has taken us a long time to accept the differences in one another and acknowledge how different we really are.
I’ve had to teach him about ‘my’ culture i.e. we meet our boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents almost immediately, couples show affection in public, we are independent women who have our own jobs and money and not expected to just cook/clean at home, it’s common for couples to live together before marriage and so on.
He’s had to teach me about ‘his’ culture, which is pretty much completely the opposite of what I have written above 🙂
It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination. We have both made major compromises out of love for one another but like I said earlier, it has taken a lot of patience and determination to get to the place we are now.
So you might be wondering where am I going with this whole blog post?
Well I’m a little bit baffled because I know some other girls in intercultural relationships like me and they don’t seem to have any intercultural relationship ‘pressure points’.
When I first met another Australian girl who was in a relationship with a Nepali, I was so excited to talk with her about all the issues I seemed she would have faced like me.
I wanted to know- How was she going with learning the language? What are you going to do if you don’t get a visa to stay together? Have you been to Nepal yet? How long did it take your man to tell his parents about you? What Nepali recipes can you cook? What is it about his culture that you love/hate?
Well, the answer to most of these was she wasn’t interested, she didn’t know or hadn’t experienced it.
She told me if his parents didn’t accept her, that’s not her problem, and that they will get over it.
Ummm I don’t think she realises how different Nepali people are regarding how they treat their elders. I’m pretty sure that if they can’t accept you, he is going to have a very difficult time in deciding between his parents and your relationship into the future.
I met another girl on the weekend who was married to a Nepalese guy and didn’t even know what ‘namaste’ was. Can you believe this?
They had a shotgun wedding pretty quickly (I’m not criticising others who have had a marriage registry quickly) but I must admit, I couldn’t help but think that his family know nothing about her and he is probably using her for something else like a visa or sex (I don’t normally judge that quickly but I got the impression she had no interest in his culture which makes me think the relationship is bound to end up in divorce down the line).
I have had to ask Rabindra lots of difficult questions since the start of our relationship. Big things like- what will you do if your parents don’t accept our relationship and want you to get an arranged marriage? What will we do if we don’t get a visa to stay together? Etc etc
These were ‘deal breakers’. If he couldn’t make these commitments to our relationship, how could we stay together?
My impression of these relationships where there are seemingly no ‘pressure points’ are mixed. My theories are as follows:
(1) The guy may be very ‘Australian’ and the guy doesn’t bring up his culture much with his partner therefore not many cultural ‘pressure points’
(2) She doesn’t care about his culture and hasn’t come across many of the cultural issues they will most likely face down the track
(3) She might find out these issues down the track and it will lead to divorce
(4) He’s using her and trying to make the relationship go as smoothly as possible for the meantime
(5) Maybe she is just a real easygoing person who can deal with everything very smoothly
Maybe I am completely off-track here by making these judgements but I must admit I’m very perplexed about their easy road to marriage. For example:
Does she not care that his parents don’t know about their relationship? Do she not care that they are doing many things against his culture that could cause problems down the track? Does she not care that he hasn’t invited her to Nepal yet to meet his family/friends?
Do you know of any other goris in similar circumstances?
Are you one of them who could possibly shine a light onto this issue?
Have your say.