Cross-racial, cross-cultural, cross-continental dating?


#1

大家好!

Say, I don’t suppose anyone here has any experience dating* someone who is not considered of the same “race,” and/or from another culture, and/or from another country entirely? If so, could you please elaborate on any special pitfalls, warnings, etc.? If you married that person, what advice would you have?

As a laowai in China, I’ve fallen (hard) for a Chinese girl. :blush:

*I am aware that “dating” may imply a casual, non-serious relationship and thus, some members on the forum prefer the idea and term “courting.”


#2

I technically am from another country, from another culture, and dated someone outside of both, including race!:D

In all honesty my husband and I didn't encounter a lot of problems because I was also very Americanized. We both grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, eating chips, going to similar school systems, etc. So there weren't any huge cultural shocks. Not to mention, as I was growing up I always rebelled against anything cultural so that wasn't a problem:p

Potential pitfalls:

  1. Cultural clash. Like I said I fortunately didn't encounter that because my husband was and is still very open-minded to those things. He has and does eat the traditional food, likes the traditional clothes (at least, on me:D), has been at family gatherings where there's traditional music he can't understand (and neither can I for that matter, oh well), etc. He and I have come to an understanding that we are going to raise any future children in BOTH cultures. If we didn't have that kind of understanding, I hate to say it but there would have been no future between us.

Also consider cultural differences in terms of values and morals. I was raised very strictly and didn't have a lot of experience about life until I was in my early 20's because standards are different for women versus men. I wasn't allowed to cut my hair, date around, go to friends houses, etc. Some of that stuff I don't agree with and some of it I do, and it influences my worldview. My husband's upbringing was more permissive and when we share stories about what we did when we were younger, I am aghast at times of what his parents allowed him to do. I also tend to hold rather traditional views compared to most people my age. For example, I was raised with the expectation that elders automatically deserve your respect; my husband believes that people need to earn respect.

  1. Family issues. To put it bluntly, my family was racist for a long time. Didn't like white people, didn't like America, didn't like American culture, thought it was immoral, etc. However they were able to get over it:) Some families can't, or will not. Many families consider it a slap to the face if you date or marry outside your race or culture because there is the thought of "our kind isn't good enough for you?"

  2. Faith issues. I consider this to be of the utmost importance. Often when you're encountering someone from a different culture and/or race, they might not share the same faith. If your faith is important, this is something you must know right away. I can't remember where I read it, but there is a stat which noted that the highest divorce rates occur with interfaith and interracial relationships.

  3. This might make people important to you in your life uncomfortable. I'm not talking about family, but friends, coworkers, etc. In some ways, people outside of your family react to this differently than your family, at least they may express it differently. They may express signs of uneasiness, especially if they meet the girl in question (in your case).

  4. Consider what SHE has to go through. It's one thing to be in your shoes, but chances are it's much, much tougher for her if there are problems. Especially if she is a female from a different culture and/or race. Take it from someone who knows!

In the end though I married my husband. I was going to marry him regardless of what anyone said:cool:

Hoped this helped somewhat.


#3

Don't assume that you well understand her thinking and outlook. These can be quite different in some ways. You should try to understand her if you want to live together happily. These would be more than the differences which exist between a woman and a man. I married a Philippine woman and in fact have moved there after retiring. I have found many differences in outlook there from that of Americans, some of them a factor if you marry someone from there, differences involving such things as family life, personal relationships, and different ways husbands and wife interact. I won't speak of these because Chinese culture might be different in other ways.
I married a Catholic. That is what I always aimed for, but there were difference enough already involved.
Reading helped me. I appreciated the book called "Culture Shock, Philippines," and I see that there is a book called "Culture Shock, China" that is in print.


#4

[quote="Argh, post:1, topic:219814"]
大家好!

Say, I don't suppose anyone here has any experience dating* someone who is not considered of the same "race," and/or from another culture, and/or from another country entirely? If so, could you please elaborate on any special pitfalls, warnings, etc.? If you married that person, what advice would you have?

As a laowai in China, I've fallen (hard) for a Chinese girl. :blush:

*I am aware that "dating" may imply a casual, non-serious relationship and thus, some members on the forum prefer the idea and term "courting."

[/quote]

Race, national origin, cultural differences (IMHO) mean nothing if both people respect and love the other. The only qualification that I personally have (NOT trying to impose it one you) is whether or not a woman that I would date is Catholic. For me, that is a prerequisite.


#5

My uncle who is caucasian is married to an asian woman. I think they've been married for over 25 years and have four children. I think the hardest part is that you have two different cultures which pretty much you have to bring together. I know it's doable because my Aunt and Uncle did it but as they say it requires a lot of understanding, patience and communication. My advice would be for you two to start understanding and adapting to each other cultures, know the traditions, the way they think, talk about what you like and what you don't like on each other cultures and family. The more you know the other family's interactions the better. Be aware that if you get married you'll have to live with that for the rest of your life so be sincere to each other and I wouldn't rush into marriage. Take your time to know each other as best as you can.


#6

The most important lady in my life is black, and I'm white. While no one has ever said any racial thing toward us, we've gotten a few odd looks here and there-probably because, as my friend says, "There are no black people in NH".

Our families are fine with it, though you will meet a bigot here and there. Spunjalebi was on to something. My friends family was alot less accepting than mine was.

We are both Americans, so there really isn't a huge culture difference, more of a class one. I come from a bit of money, while her family is definitely working class. Having said that, even some cross-class activites where wierd for us-she always joked around that she was the only black girl who hiked up on the mountians (she was, I never saw another black person there) and she was also the only black girl going to a catholic church! (She wasn't catholic, she went with me though)

Good luck my friend.


#7

Since it seems you are trying to discern whether this woman is to be your future wife, I'd say that a major difference between most Asian families and most Western families is that the whole idea of "leaving and cleaving" really doesn't exist. It is quite culturally acceptable for adult children, both male and female, to live with their parents until marriage, unlike most Western families where demonstrating an ability to live independently is often considered a prerequisite before marriage. Parents tend to assume authority over their children far into their adult life. Most Asian cultures traditionally practiced arranged marriage, and many friends I know of Asian descent, while not going for arranged marriage, would never dream of marrying against the wishes of their parents. Extended family is also traditionally much more important in Asian culture, so often adult children are expected to help care for not only their parents, but grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles, etc.

So, I'd say that it is very important to "court" not just this woman, but her whole family.

That being said, every family is different, some are more traditional than others. This woman may be very independent, and her parents may be more "hands off" than what I have described. But please know that if she does seem closer to her family than you are used to with other girls, this should be seen as not unusual at all for Asian culture.


#8

[quote="Rascalking, post:6, topic:219814"]
Having said that, even some cross-class activites where wierd for us-she always joked around that she was the only black girl who hiked up on the mountians (she was, I never saw another black person there)

[/quote]

This sounds like me. I am probably the only Southeast Asian who shoots a rifle, goes camping, and fishing:shrug: Hey at least my husband and I were able to make an intercultural bridge!:cool:


#9

I’m curious. If you marry someone and only they know your language and you don’t know theirs How do you communicate with their family and do you raise your kids bilingual?


#10

I know someone that married a Filipino woman. He is in his 40s. She is 21. He is a middle class American but to her Filipino family he is the rich American. They almost expect him to take care of both his wife and kids AND them. There is a lot of tension in the marriage because of the expectations that each has. To the wife, her culture demands that the husband care for her family financially. In America, there is no such expectation of helping out relatives.

When dealing with foreign cultures, be careful of the differences in family values.


#11

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