Relationships are hard work, everyone agrees on this don’t they? Throw in the confusion of the collision of two cultures and the relationship is even harder. Never has clear communication been so important. Both members of the couple must be willing to share, in words, how they feel and what they expect from each other.
Both must be willing to discuss the meaning of the words they are using, how the language is being used. For example you might ask “Are you seeing anyone else right now?” and the answer could come back as no, not right now. Which could actually mean ‘not right this minute since I am with you, but later or yesterday I am going to be seeing someone else’. It is annoying but you have to be very specific about language.
Never assume anything. Never assume that your interpretation of your significant other’s remarks is correct. Always try to find out more in order to grasp the true meaning of what you are hearing. Don’t assume that he or she has the same ethics, morals, beliefs and convictions as you or that he/she has any of these at all. Americans tend to think that their way is the right way, the best way, the only way. Well, it isn’t!
You may have to be willing to change your long held positions on some things in order to achieve harmony with your new significant other. Personal rules from which you thought you would never stray may have to be shelved forever or for a while. An obvious example is the position of women in relation to men. In the United States most women have been raised to expect equal treatment and equality in marriage. This expectation is not necessarily shared among the majority of the women or men in the world!
Family acceptance can be an obstacle in a cross-cultural love affair. Your families may not accept your relationship and withdraw support. If you have children together, there may be confusing issues of identity to deal with. Which cultural heritage will you emphasize?
Cross Cultural relationships that are long distance are the hardest of all for obvious reasons. Trust becomes the number one issue. Faith in the other person’s fidelity is essential. The trust that leads to blind faith, and that is what it is, really, must be refreshed often and the other person reassured regularly. Finding the time and money to spend significant amounts of time together is really important. And then being truly prepared for immigration issues that will arise when you try to bring your new love to visit you here in the United States is vital to your future with your lover from another country!
Cross Cultural relationships are truly challenging and even difficult to achieve, but can be extremely rewarding and worth the trouble. Just be aware that what you are attempting to do is fraught with insecurity and subject to the whims of immigration policy.