It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Cross Cultural Divide,” a woman from Belgium whose Croatian fiancé wanted her to spend her entire two-week vacation with his family in Croatia. She complained that his friends and family don’t try to speak English with her even though they can and that she works hard and would like to spend part of her vacation relaxing by herself or with her own friends. “But he’s really pushing the stay for two weeks together, even suggesting I stay home a few nights with his mom, as he goes out to party. Yeah, I’m not really feeling that one.” Keep reading to see what she decided to do and how it went.
The holiday was challenging but great. I stayed for 10 days, after which he stayed for another week (he’s still there as I write this). The first few days were exhausting, what with everyone wanting to meet up since no one had seen him for a year. I got that, but I also reminded him that he did have one more week after i left, and that we needed some alone time. On one occasion, he told me he didn’t know wether he would have friends left that way, which I felt that was a snarky remark. Especially since most of his friends there are also couples who took their alone time and understood our need for privacy.
So we got off to a bumpy start, arguing a few times. I asked him to at least show me some affection when we were in a group, which he found hard to do at first. I mean, he’s all I have over there, he should try and put me at ease. Right? I told him I wanted his friends and family to like me, and he said that if my friends wouldn’t like him (they do), he wouldn’t care. I told him that that was crazy and he kind of took it back. So yeah, lots of tension and stuff. But then an amazing thing happened.
There was traditional celebration in the whole town, and I met friends of his I hadn’t met before and we really hit it off. I was even cracking jokes in Croatian as his friends cheered me on. We danced like a couple of teenagers throughout the night, walking home in the light of the sunset. After that, we somehow found the right balance, though some of his single friends were still dissapointed that he spent more time with me than them. The same friends who ignored me last year continued to do so this year even now that we are engaged. I told him I didn’t care for them for this exact reason, and he understood and was dissapointed in those friends himself.
We stayed with his family, which was also challenging: no privacy at all, but despite that we got along just fine. I threw in some Croatian words occasionally and they liked me for it. They even talked about our kids to come and that they’d need to get the house ready for more people. My boyfriend and I have talked about maybe buying a boat or getting our own appartment there, if our budget permits it. We also talked about taking holidays in other countries, which he’d be willing to do.
Thank you Wendy, for giving me sound advice (as you always do) and I also want to thank everyone who took the time to comment and gave me more perspective on the situation! The comments mostly confirmed my feelings and made me question myself as well, which is always interesting. I must say though, my boyfriend is not a control freak or a jerk; he’s a really sweet guy who I think is just torn between two worlds. But I’m sure we’ll work it out, as we keep talking and reflecting on our lives and the future.
And to answer Addie Pray: no I don’t live in Bruges, but it is indeed a very cute and fun city. And yes I love french fries with mayo, as disgusting as that may sound haha. I guess it’s just how I was raised.
Thanks again. Kind greetings from Belgium!
Thanks for the update!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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