They have been very logical in their approach, explaining that the negative impacts of differing cultures will not show in the dating phase and that they will only show after a long-term marriage, children, and home cultures are involved. And they know a few intercultural married couples who divorced because of eventual cultural clashes. And because my boyfriend and I have different nationalities, they argue that our future is very uncertain. They value stability a lot. They want me to stay in the same country as they are in or at the least a neighboring country.
Now, my boyfriend is working in Europe, while I am working in Asia, which means we are doing a long-distance relationship, and my parents are expecting me to just slowly ease out of the relationship. Of course, that is not happening. My boyfriend and I are still very much in love.
I understand that the potential risk is definitely there, but I don’t want to end my relationship because of things that could possibly happen in the worst case scenario. I don’t want to end my relationship because of my parents’ perspectives. But because their argument is logical, I don’t know how to persuade them. I discussed it with my boyfriend too, about family, education, and all the possible things that might clash in marriage, and we managed to find middle grounds and solutions. Of course, I’m sure there will be many more problems after marriage that we can’t see now, but I believe that if intercultural marriage can work with some people, it can work with us too. I wanted to just let them get familiar with my boyfriend and slowly accept him, but now they are expecting me to slowly break up with my boyfriend, to the point that they refuse to meet him because that would be investing too much in the relationship.
I don’t know how to deal with my parents. What should I do? — Parents Don’t Accept My Cross-Cultural Love
First of all, it’s your life, not your parents’. I’m not sure what you need to “persuade” your parents to do? Accept your boyfriend, I guess? They won’t even meet him! And, look, if you’ve been dating for four years a guy whom your parents refuse to meet because he comes from a different culture, ethnicity, and country, there’s a name for that: racism. How do you deal with racist, xenophobic parents? You disregard their opinion about your relationship and live the life you want to live. If they have a problem with it, oh well. They can either choose to get over it, accept you and your relationship, or cut ties with you. The latter would suck, and I sympathize with you. But if your own choice comes down to racist parents or a man you’re in love with, I’d choose love.
As for the potential problems you think may arise in marriage because of your different cultures, talking about them now will go a long way in helping you understand expectations you each have, areas where you have room to negotiate and compromise, and areas or topics that may be non-negotiable for each of you. It sounds like you’ve already begun having these conversations. This may help you think of topics you haven’t yet addressed. Good luck!
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.