Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Cultural Misgivings

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This topic contains 49 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by avatar Silvermoonlight 3 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 37 through 48 (of 50 total)
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  • #847423 Reply
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    MMB

    Confused,
    The bottom line is they’re asking you, because they don’t know. They don’t <i> know </i>. And because they don’t they’re seeking answers just like any other human being would. These all seem like very normal questions that people typically ask when they are going somewhere for the first time or doing something different (except the visa/marriage one). Reframe it in your head. For example: “Hi, Jane we’re going to New York next week. How safe is it for us to be wandering around Times Square after dark?” See, very normal question. You are the only “expert” that they know on this subject. Help them.

    #847424 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    That’s some very heavy concern-trolling there, Confused. Being sexually harassed in his 20s isn’t something he’s claiming to be struggling with now and needs mental health help with.

    Easy on that.

    #847425 Reply

    Talk to your fiancé! You absolutely need to share these feelings and these things with him. He needs to handle and take the lead on his family. Don’t make a guidebook, if it comes to that, he should do that. I would choose to believe most of these questions and comments are ignorance and aren’t meant to be offensive. Choose to do that so that you don’t start disliking/hating his family. I don’t think they mean to offend- sometimes people are just idiots.

    #847426 Reply
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    Fyodor
    Member

    BGM, obviously we never know who is telling the truth, but sometimes people have a lot of pent up grievances and they end up getting upset at the most recent thing, which isn’t always the worst thing.

    #847427 Reply
    bittergaymark
    Bittergaymark

    Concerned Bride: Thank you so, so much for what I am sure is a most sincere concern for my well being.
    .
    Frankly, I’d worry less about my alleged dislike of strangers on the internet and more on your readily apparent dislike for your soon to be inlaws. But hey — that’s just me.

    #847430 Reply
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    ConfusedBride

    Again with your assumption jumping @bittergaymark! Apparently you can dish it to others on a personal level, like their culture and childhood experiences, but apparently you can’t take it.

    #847432 Reply
    bittergaymark
    Bittergaymark

    What assumptions am I making? You have been quite clear that you do not like your husband’s family very much. His mother and Grandfather in particular. But I suspect we shall soon hear more damning tales about other members in the next few posts.
    .
    As far as not taking what I dish out. Please. Hate to disappoint you, but you’ve hit no nerve. Like many, I suspect, I feel zero shame for the fact that I have my very own me-too story — like most everybody else. Truth? My experience wasn’t THAT traumatic. It was gross, fucked up and yeah, I got canned as I wouldn’t blow my horrifically unattractive boss. It wasn’t exactly my dream job — hell, it was a temp celebrity photographer’s assistant gig… it wasn’t exactly a great loss when I got let go for dubious reasons.

    #847433 Reply
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    MaltaKano

    Oh, LW, I feel for you. The little unintentionally offensive questions and comments can really drag on you after a while. It doesn’t matter if they’re well meaning- it still hurts. I suggest you ask your partner to take the lead with his family. Tell him he needs to run interference for you because the resentment is building up. If he doesn’t know how much this is affecting you, tell him!

    There’s also nothing wrong with asserting yourself a little in the moment – if father in law says something dumb, it’s okay to say “yikes, that doesn’t make me feel great” or “that’s a common misconception, but…” or “woah, that’s kind of offensive actually!” IDK, but I’d keep it light and friendly and just kind of teach them how to act around these issues by allowing yourself to have more honest (but still kind) reactions.

    #847441 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Honestly, and yes I know it’s off-topic but, everyone’s sexual harassment experience is different. It doesn’t necessarily cause a person to become damaged or traumatized or even need counseling. Please don’t put a stigma there.

    #847444 Reply
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    ron

    MMB — They’re asking, because they don’t know covers some, but not all of the questions. “Are you marrying my son so you can become a citizen,” is a terrible insult and WAAAY beyond the pale.

    #847449 Reply
    Dear Wendy
    Dear Wendy
    Keymaster

    Agreeing with others in that some of the comments (like the citizenship one, eek) are so offensive, and others are just plain ignorant but trying to understand and I’d cut a lot of slack (Especially for grandma who’s two generations removed from you and represents a time when things/ cultural understanding and empathy and awareness were so different). Be really appreciative that your fiancé’s family are traveling a long way – and as non travelers – to a place they apparently know nothing about and is a developing nation (which can be very intimidating for people who don’t even leave the country to go to developed nations). Let less offensive comments like about the food roll off your back and the more offensive ones, you need to bring up to your fiancé as soon as you can (in private) and tell him to address them with his family.

    There will be more comments that make you cringe. You’re going to have to pick your battles but let your soon-to-be-husband do the actual battling since they are his family. And when you see genuine effort being made by your in-laws, be show to show acknowledgment and appreciation. Send some heart-felt thank yous after the wedding saying how much you appreciated them coming to your home country, etc. and starting now, supply your fiancé’s family with some printed info about your home country that will be helpful for the as first-time visitors.

    #847481 Reply
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    keyblade
    Member

    I’ll add that I regret allowing some “jokes” and offensive comments surrounding my ethnicity from my husband’s family, roll off of my back in the early days. There was no good way to react, but looking back I wish I had been more honest with my husband. I wasn’t because I knew he was already embarrassed about some of their opinions and he had his own feelings to manage, but I wish I had made it clear at the time that I thought their opinions and comments were racist/rude instead of smoothing it over. I think in the long run we might have been closer with them.

    I think Wendy’s reply had great suggestions for ways to take a lead and create a positive experience for your in-laws as opposed to just being reactive towards slights. Efforts to validate concerns will help relationships and create more goodwill than centering most of your focus on conflict.

    I fully acknowledge that the current actions of the United States have put much more weight on immigrants (especially those from central or south America) and I understand how citizens advising you to take on extra work of making privileged people comfortable at the expense of your own comfort might be a hard, bitter, pill to swallow.

    IF your feelings towards your in-laws words are impacting you on a deeper level, it may be worth discussing your feelings with your fiance. Sometimes just having someone listen is all it takes to feel better.

    You could also ask your fiance to tell him elderly grandparents that if they are uncomfortable with the food choices, accommodations, or have other concerns about traveling abroad, or to your specific country, he fully appreciates their concerns and would very happy even if they only attended the reception.

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