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Can relationships beetwen people of different culture work?

DJ Santos
i am myself in a relationship with a girl from québec, and i am of creole portuguese origin.
I won't go into details about my relationship for now, because it's so complicated, i just wanted to have opinion of personnale experiences of others who are in or have had intercultural relationship.

Are you still in that relationship? What where the problems encountered?
Do you think relations like that can work, without one of the partners adopting the mentality of one of the person, concerning how relationship are run into their respective society?

Hope this discussion brings out good points and helps all that have to deal with the clash of cultures that relations like that bring out!
I never had an intercultural relationship with someone, but recently (about a month ago), I saw a movie about a white girl and a Muslim guy and the problems they were confronted with. I think a large part depends on what cultures you’re dealing with: it’s likely that there are more problems with two totally different cultures, than two cultures which are less different. I don’t know that much about Quebec or Creole Portuguese culture, but you have something Portuguese and Quebec was a colony of France, so in that point I guess there will be some cultural similarities.
The biggest problems between two persons of another culture who fall in love are not themselves (in my opinion, maybe you have other experiences with it), but their environment and especially their parents. Parents may be backsliding from their future daughter/son-in-law if they know that she/he is from another culture. And this may kill the relationship, despite the fact that the two lovers still love each other.

In general, I think it’s not because you have an intercultural relationship with someone that it’s doomed to fail. However, clear communication is very important (like in any other relationship.) Relationships between people with different social backgrounds are also harder than when the lovers have the same social background, but there are examples of good relations in which the lovers have a different social background. Just talk about it, make some agreements if you find it necessary, and then you might have the most wonderful relationship you ever had!
the answer is yes, one can have a relationship with someone of different origins, as long as those two can relate and communicate. I just got through a 3 month relationship with someone who i loved dearly, but unfortionate circumstances broke us apart. I have grown up in Wisconsin My whole life, and my ex-significant other was from Switzerland. Yes european girls are amazing and intellignet, open minded and most of all articulate with their linguistics. Lets just say i will miss her, because she was the world to me for those short months.
Hi, me and brothers are all brazilians and we're all into multi-culture relationships. For example, my oldest brother got married to a hawaiian girl. I, myself, got married to a colombian girl. The thing is that if you fall in love with a person that comes from a totally diferent culture, or not so different, then, first of all, YOU MUST be ready to give up certain components of you regular single life and so does the other person. Well, there will be occasions when your common lifestyle will be confronted by the other party's, but if their love is true and real, it will be greater than most differences betweem them. I'm not saying that it will be a piece of cake, but if both parties try hard enough, they might end up suiting each other's ways of life and needs... Boa sorte, meu amigo! Smile [/b]
It can work, but of course, it will be more difficult than being with someone from your culture. That's perfectly normal though. I think most of the time, you won't encounter 'culture' problems until you have been dating for a while or are really serious. Things like their family, their traditions can come into play here.

There's also a different mentality I think - like someone would think it's a social norm to do something, but in another culture, it would definitely not be accepted. But like others said, communication is key. Being open is also very important - some degree of tolerance/understanding can go a long way.
inter-cultural relationships can work if you are open-minded and are willing to compromise I was in an inter-racial relationship for a long time and we were ok. Our different cultures didn't make us break up but other things did.

take your culture seriously, but don't make it drive away the person you love because you might not find that again with someone from your own country or what have you.
if both sides are genuinely interested in the other culture and make a balanced effort to understand each other things have a good chance of working. if you have a false impression/image of what the other culture actually is, you could easily fall into the US vs THEM trap. each culture has good and bad, I prefer to judge a person on acts he/she commits as an individual, and not blame or make nuanced slurs about their entire race or culture.
Yes, if you are sensitive to the differences, and prepared to accomodate them. (Sounds a bit like a normal relationship). I've noticed that when I talk in my wifes native language I get a far deeper response from her, even though it means less to me. You may also notice some 'queer' behaviour which, if you ask about often relate to deep cultural norms, things they have never even questioned. It always makes me wonder about myself and what things my culture has never questioned....
Well, it is always good to relate to others of different cultures, one just have to be opened to learn to respect an appreciate the others, who ever they might be. If you don't respect the others then you just won't be able to relate to them in any kind of way.
Of course they work!!!!!!
I'm Chinese, and I live in London. So it's kinda hard to have NON-intercultural relationships.
There is not reason why they shoudn't work, and relationships between people of different cultures often turn out to be more exciting. While you may share similar characteristics and interests (hence leading to ar relationship), you may also have different ways of doing things, or have experience of different places and events which you can share with each other, hence making a relationship mroe exciting.
of course they can, open minds and open hearts, with the intrest of learning makes a great combo.
poet wrote:
of course they can, open minds and open hearts, with the intrest of learning makes a great combo.

It would be nice if you added a little detail about what you mean by "working with" other cultures. Do you mean in a business setting? a school setting? etc?

Here are some general tips, with the hope that you will add more detail later:
1. Often people in the culture of power have the luxury of not knowing that they have a culture. In other words, people in power may assume that their culture is the "default" culture. However, there's no intrinsic reason why any culture is any better than any other. They're just different.

2. Although groups of people can be said to have certain characteristics, there will actually be a wide range of acceptable behaviors in that culture, and a wide range of people who follow or don't follow those behaviors. For example, among my American friends and acquaintances, I am considered to be quite physically affectionate, while others are considered to be quite cold. In other words, people fall all along the range of affectionate to cold in American culture. In similar ways, members of other cultures will fall along ranges of other cultural dimensions. In addition, everyone has bad days every once in a while. That doesn't mean that everyone in the culture will behave the same way as any particular individual.

3. If cultures are not better than each other, but just different (and I claim this is true in most respects) then it stands to reason that when people of different cultures interact, the behavior of either culture might be acceptable, but the way the behavior is interpreted might be different. For example, I recently learned about a situation where President Bush attended a meeting of world leaders. At this meeting he greeted his European colleagues with hugs, while not hugging his Japanese colleague. This was interpreted by many people in Japan as showing that President Bush doesn't respect the Japanese leader enough to greet him in the same way as other world leaders. However, another possible interpretation is that President Bush was trying to be respectful by acting on his knowledge that Japanese people generally don't greet each other with hugs. Your interpretation of this situation might depend on your cultural background and the power relationship between the cultures in question.

4. Cultural expectations are relative. As mentioned earlier, among my American friends, I am considered to be quite affectionate, while my Mexican friends interpret the same level of affection as cold.

5. People may or may not choose to adopt behaviors from the new culture into their personal culture when interacting with a new culture. For example, if I'm an American and I think that greeting with hugs is great, I might continue greeting people with hugs despite my knowledge that Japanese people generally don't, because I choose to make it a part of my personal culture.

6. Culture and language are very closely connected. My thoughts on this issue vacillate from time to time, but I don't think it's too strong to say that language gives insight into culture and vice versa. Culture also affects such unconscious, daily practices as the amount of space we leave between ourselves and the person we are talking to, how and when we do or don't make eye contact with that person, how we make requests, and even when or whether it's appropriate to speak or not speak in a certain situation.

7. Culture is a very deep-seated part of how we live, and many people do not choose to abandon it right away, or ever.

Finally, some tips if you know you are going to be working with people of a certain culture, for example, if you know you are always going to be working with people from Hong Kong:
8. There are books available for some Americans to introduce you to the general cultural characteristics of other cultures. Search your local library or to find books about the target culture you are looking for.

9. Speak with other Americans who often work with people from the culture you are interested in working with. This might be other people at your job, university professors who do research in other countries, friends and acquaintances who have traveled to the location of origin of the people you are talking about, and so forth.

Finally, add detail to this question and I'm sure the answerers will be more than happy to oblige.
It is possible if each partner respects the other's culture and understands that there are differences between them that could be healthy for their relationship. I would like to emphasize also the importance of NOT compromising or sacrificing. You don't need to do sacrifices in order to be in a healthy relationship. Once you do that, or the other partner is forced to do that, you are actually throwing the first stone on this relationship to destroy it. You have to understand that you've admired the other partner because of the way he/she is. So don't ever try to change him/her.
see i think that ther is no problem as long you 2 love each other. when 2 people love each other, nothing can come between them (forget about freaking culture) but parents might som,etimes interfere or someone in youre family but when they see you 2 love each other very much (i hope so), they will accept it.
I think there is no problem as long as you guys love each other.
You can overcome most problem between you guys by different cultures.
But, some problems will happen to you by others.
you and your partner can understand totally. But the others, especially you or your parrner's relatives and friends.
They don't know about you as much as your partner. So it's very difficult for them to accept different culture.

So I think you'd better make srongg friendship with your partner's relatiives and friends.

There is no border in love but I think there is troubles in love.
Every lover has problems in their love. it is just big or small..

Good luck...
This brings back some good memories. I was involved in an intercultural relationship many years ago. The first problem I ran into was one of language. When I first asked her out, it was to play tennis together. She told me she couldn't because she went to the hospital for her "uncle". I honestly thought she was politely telling me no. Later I talked to a mutal friend and in our discussion, it came out that she was trying to say she hurt her "ankle" not "uncle" and could not play tennis. It was rather comical.

The differences in culture can be many. The closer your cultures are the easier it will be. I think the biggest problem most people in your situation run into is religion, depending on the degree of difference and how strongly each feels about theirs.

I think none of the obstacles are insurmountable, depending on your personality, but you do have more to overcome than someone who is not faced with those problems. Just remember to communicate(which involves listening). good luck.
Well, in my opinion I believe that culture doesn't play a major role in the feelings one feels towards one another. However, culutre does play a major role in the relationships when language barrier, animosity, hatred, distance barrier, etc. come into play. I myself am in a relationshiop with an individual from another culture and to be honest, I love learning new things, just not about her as a person, but about her culutre. Being in a relationship with a person from antoher culture opens your state of mind because eventually you learn to accept other traditions and look at the world differently, especially if your love one's culutre has dealt with a hard past.
i guess, all it needs is acceptance from both parties and the people around them... its the environment actually that makes the relationship of persons of different culture miserable... they ridicule them, curse them and look at them as "eye sores".... it shouldn't have to be like that...
from personal experience, i can tell you it works. Or at least it did for me. I am from Europe and my wife is from South Korea. we meet in Canada, 5 years ago and been together ever since and recenetly got married. I guess the key for us was that we accepted each other as we were, never tried to change the other and more importantlly both our families supported our relationship. So if it is real love and you both want to make it work, you can. I do not think that culture does play a major role but the feelings you two feel towards one another will.

One of the best things is such situation is that it will open your eyes and mind towards a different culture, about their customs and eventually you will learn to accept other traditions and look at the world in a much more open and understanding way. At least i know I do now.
Anything can work out as long as you both work at it and put effort into it.
You both should learn as much as you can about the others culture, so you can understand each other better. That would make things easier.
I was with someone who was brought up in a totally different culture and while it lasted for a while as we communicated and shared everything the differences started to show up quite quickly. It became so bad that I broke it off.
Subsonic Sound
It helps if you both speak the same language, and take your significant other's culture seriously, even though it's alien to you. That said, it can be fun to laugh at the more extreme absurdities, as long as you are laughing WITH them, not AT them. My girlfriend mocks my accent all the time, but never in a malicious way, and I know she likes it really. Smile

Now, some cultures are harder to reconcile than others. Particularly religious cultures, with laws arrived at through holy decree rather than personal logic can be difficult to understand, and harder to live with. If one or both of the cultures involved are religious, it starts to get tougher, but it is still by no means impossible.
yes it can work... if you dont go into it thinking that people will be negative about the choice you make.... and if they are - ignore it... its what you want and thats all that matters...

it can work, but you just gotta put in a lil effort!
I am quites experienced in intercultural relationships as I myself am derived from a intercultural relationship. None the less getting to the detail.

It can and can not work depending on the indeviduals and of course the type of cultural mix, allot of people are assuming ya it can work of course it can but in certain cases depending on the two cultures involved it can be doomed to fail as well.

what I mean for example I have a part African and part European cultural background and have lived half and half of my life in the respective continents, being multy cultured myself and having traveled allot I have learned to adapt quickly to a new cultutre and language, this paragraph highlights my individual exposure.

In the cases where i have had relationships with similar people I have had no problems as far as culture is concerned.

However when I mixed with africans I had no problem as the culture there is quite sad in a way from a point where what ever I said was right and this frustrated me as my europen side did not want someone who would just submit all the time I wanted to interact with a character so in a sort of positive way for me (had I want to be the man in charge) this would have been fine but it was not what I wanted and I think the same will go for asian and eastern women.

and the flip side to this is the european women here it depends if she is south european or northern europen, Southern european tend to be strong in their cultures yet comfortable with their femininity so they dont get intimadated by men and have nothing to proove so the cultural difference will rarely be a clash, however northen/scandinavian women are a hand full they feel they constantly have to proove their independance and intelegence they feel intimatated by men and constantly test and question any decission you may make they feel they need to proove equality between men and women 24/7 and this inturn results in a somewhat selfish relationship the sad part is she will love you to bits but this female power will show a huge face in the relationship.

All the above mentioned problems can be overcome by communication and building trust in the relationship because cultutre is the little rules (sometimes silly rules) that we reference our lifes on and different cultures have emphsis on different areas, and when this trust between the two people involved is established then you find you both will easily let go of some of your issues with certain things as you work away from the culture and work towards each other with trust, this can make things pleasant as some people say if you dont like it lump it I believe this is not the way to go in a relationship rather understand and believe it i.e. trust what is being told to you is true and you will not have to lump anything with regard to cultural diffrences, but rather enjoy the variation it brings into your life unfotunately like any relationship both parties have to know the diffrences and be determined to work with it and of course the love will have to be strong in order to reinforce this determination.

I am still in a multy cultural relationship with a swedish girl and all is going well only through determination and true opening of the mind.

To you I wish you good luck and remember both the french/canadian and Portuguese are very strong cultures and my from geographically close origins but are very different so be sensitive each step of the way and time, trust love and experiences will see you throw, if you are the stronger character be sure to drop your pride and submit now and then and make it clear that you thought otherwise but you submit in love and TRUST that she means well to you and this will help her build her trust based on your faith in her differences and that she means you no harm so there is no need for defence

none the less cheers and good luck
Of course it can! I am a Brazilian guy and live in the U.S. I have only been with American women. I cannot see how a intercultural relationship will not work (unless maybe if you don't speak the same language - but I have seen even THAT work).
I think that any two people of any diversity can have a life long love affair. I think that the real issues are chemistry and personal commitment. That chemistry thing is just a must. Personal commitment to a variety of ideals is vital. Establishing the trust to get there is the one hurdle I think is the most difficult. I've had relationships with women of several ethnic/cultural identities. I'm finding that its really just about attraction, trust, and devotion. If I take more than I can give, everything is at risk. Give everything and take only what I recieve and nothing is. Two random people with these things can have everything, I think.
of course they can it's just like any other relationship you just have to work at it a little bit harder. I myself have been involved in a few intercultural relationships and i believe the hardest thing is how other people accept or dont accept your relationship. The easiest thing to do is ignore the people who are against it after you can choose freely who you get involved with or not.
I think as long as there is love/care between the two of you, everything will be fine
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