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Can People From Different Backgrounds Last Long-Term?

"Can People From Different Backgrounds Still Make It Long-Term?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

So I grew up in the Midwest and I loved it. I've recently gotten involved with a man from a nation in Africa. I'm falling for him, and vice versa. We aren't ever bored with each other; conversation is great; chemistry is amazing. The issue here is we were talking about our future, and there is a key difference. He would move back to where he grew up, especially if children were on the way. I won't move away from my family (I want my parents to see my children, especially since my mother isn't able to travel on airplanes due to a medical condition), but I recognize it's not fair to keep his away either.

I do really see a future together, but what should a girl do in this situation? We can cleanly break now, but I don't want to! I'd be heartbroken.

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princess27 princess27 4 years
Break it off now while you can. That's my opinion.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
I had to make a similar decision. The guy felt like my soul mate. But I thought long and hard about the future and cultural differences and broke up with him. I am so grateful to my young self to this day for making that decision. I'm less concerned about the visits than I am about the huge differences in upbringing and culture. Have you visited his homeland? What are women treated like in his culture and his family? Because when you get married he will almost certainly revert to expecting what he grew up with, no matter what he thinks or says now. Would you be happy living the way his mom, aunts and sisters do? I saw so many friends and even relatives marry Arabs, Iranians, Asians because they both dismissed the differences, being enlightened about race ("we're all the same at heart") and in love. The guy would always say: "Oh I don't go for all of that macho stuff. I like a strong, independent woman" only to find out he definitely DOES believe in all that macho stuff once he's married. Being married brings out surprising things in men and women, it's amazing how convention can assert itself. After being married and experiencing 'the American married life' almost every man decided at some point he wanted to be home, for good where he is the undisputed boss. None of my friends' marriages survived, despite a lot of great intention and a lot of initial love. It was often disastrous, with kids involved. If your husband were to take your kids over to the country he was born in chances are you'd have zero legal right over them if he decides he and they are staying -- you and your kids are your husband's property in most cultures. Nothing you or the U.S. government could do. Think about that. Being in love we all tend to smooth over differences and believe in the best when we get married. It's natural. But when it comes to culture, you're talking foundational sub-conscious sides of both of you. I'd HIGHLY recommend if you marry someone outside of yours they are firmly committed to being the U.S. at the very least. This guy isn't that, he wants to be home. If he grew up in a traditional culture chances are he assumes he'll be making the family decisions. I'd take that seriously as a sign you'd need to be able to make your home in Africa with all the lifestyle changes required to marry him. Good luck!
henna-red henna-red 4 years
I agree, it's better to break up now, amicably, if compromise isn't abundantly possible. You're saying your love is very committed to returning home to Africa. A lot of African students have that bring back and give back to the young people comming up behind them at home, the advantages of the skills learned at college abroad. Before you move more deeply into this relationship, speak very clearly about boundaries, and family situations. Love does not conquor all! Love blinds us to all of the practical realities and then leaves us in an emotional mess when our hopes and expectations fall short down the line. Kurni is can't be only one partner making the sacrifices....that causes a lot of resentment and pain, and poisons happiness and joy. It doesn't work for one person to give up all for "love". So have the hard talk....and be real, be honest. You both have strong familial bonds and obligations....that's something that attracts you both to the other. Yes, it can work coming from two very different places....but it can be an enormous amount of work....and remember, he's here adjusting to your culture and your will need to be prepared to do the same....which may not be all that easy, depending on where he comes some homework around the women in his culture and how they live, how they're treated, what the expectations are. Be smart, and prepared before taking any serious steps. best of luck
kurniakasih kurniakasih 4 years
It sucks, but can't you guys compromise and move to a location in the middle between your and his family? Then take turn visiting his family for a year then the next year is yours, etc? If both of you are set and not willing to make any compromises (and you know, that compromise works both ways too, it can't be one person making the sacrifices), then you probably are not compatible with each other. I'd say, it's better to break up now amicably then later on, when it's harder, when children are involved, when you're so unhappy (assuming that you'll be the one making the sacrifice) or he's so unhappy (if he's the one who has to sacrifice). Good luck.
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