Hi friends! Today I’ll be sharing some challenges every multicultural couple faces.
For instance, I’m in an international long distance relationship. That means that while I live in Chile, my boyfriend is in the US.
Yes, we are very far away from each other, but when love is strong enough, you just don’t give up.
If you are also in a long distance relationship, click here for more tips and advice.
Multicultural relationships come with many challenges, but they are very rewarding in the long run.
We learn from each other every day and we understand our differences, but there are moments when the struggle is real.
In my case, I don’t only have to deal with a different culture, I also deal with a language difference. Those two things can make a conversation extremely frustrating.
To start, I would like to explain a little why I prefer to define my relationship as a multicultural relationship instead of an interracial relationship.
The main reason why I use the first one, is because that being a Latina is not a race.
The fact that you were born, or that your parents are from Latin America doesn’t make you automatically from a certain race.
People here come from different backgrounds. Their ancestors might be from Europe, Africa, Asia, or maybe they were natives.
Because of my overall look, I belong to the same race as my boyfriend, but because we grew up in different countries, we are from different cultures. That’s why the term multicultural relationship fits better in our case.
Now that I explained better, let’s begin with the challenges that every multicultural couple faces.
Also, a little disclaimer. These challenges are from my side of the relationship and my experiences. I haven’t asked my boyfriend about how he feels about this matter, but I’m sure we agree on most of them.
This was one of the hardest parts at the beginning of our relationship.
English is my second language, therefore there’s still a lot for me to learn. For example, slang. I learned formal English, so communicating with someone of my age can be a total different thing. Thank God for Urban Dictionary!
Another difficulty I have, is that when I’m with his family, sometimes they talk a little too fast for me. So I can easily lose the thread of the conversation.
I can’t even count how many times I made them repeat themselves (which can be really awkward). Sometimes I just nod, smile, and say ‘yeah’. Even if I didn’t understand what they were saying.
This goes hand-in-hand with the language barrier, and even though it’s not something that happens all the time, we have started a few fights because of the miscommunication.
There are times that when I’m trying to translate something in English, it comes out completely wrong.
For example, here in Chile (and in some other countries) we call our dad ‘viejo’. So if you translate Spanish slang in a good way, it would be ‘old man’; but if you do it roughly, you can say something wrong like: your dad is old or your dad looks old. Without meaning it!
We easily forget that we come from different places, and that we have different ways to express ourselves. We need to remember that we don’t mean it in a bad way.
I feel like this can be one of the biggest challenges for a multicultural couple.
Celebrations are fun, no matter where you come from! I love experiencing celebrations from other parts of the world. Like the Chinese New Year!
In a relationship where each person comes from a different culture, each of us must be respectful of whatever we want to celebrate or do in a certain celebration.
For example, my boyfriend’s family doesn’t eat turkey on Christmas because they do that on Thanksgiving. Here in Chile we eat Turkey on Christmas and sometimes New Year’s because we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
In general, we don’t have many differences. Which makes things easier.
As general advice, enjoy the celebrations and be a part of them. You might not like the food or how certain things are done, but have an open mind and try to enjoy.
4. Meeting Each Other’s Families
My parents lived in Australia for a few years, so they understand English. My sister also knows enough of the language to communicate. So at least we don’t have a problem with language when my boyfriend visits us.
However, the part that can be challenging is what we do in each other’s homes. What I mean is, what is acceptable to do in his/my house? What happens when a certain family member has a different sense of humor?
For example, Chileans are known to make fun of people. Sounds weird and little bit cruel, but that’s how we are.
My dad is exactly like that; he likes to mock and make jokes about sensitive issues. So I had to warn my boyfriend about him. The last thing I want is for him to feel out of place.
Multicultural couples have to deal with so many different things, and the last thing you want is your family making it more difficult than already is.
This can be real chThis can be a real challenge if you are a picky eater or if you are; for example, vegetarian, vegan, etc. For you it can be a normal thing to buy eat certain foods, while in other families some foods are a must.
I’m half Peruvian, and for me, that’s the best food in the world (if you ever have the chance to try it, I 100% recommend it). For my boyfriend, not so much. Even though he loves many things!
I don’t consider myself a picky eater. I give all dishes a changes before judging, but there are a few things that I find weird because obviously I didn’t grow up with it.
For example, in America they eat salad with dressings like ranch. At home in Chile, the main ingredients for a salad are lemon, olive oil and salt. The sauces don’t make sense for me but I have learned to enjoy it.
Also, my boyfriend’s family loves to make myself feel at home when I visit, so they got those ingredients for my salad. They are the best!
I always make the same example when I try to explain the culture differences between my boyfriend and I.
In Latin America, we kiss on the cheek when we say hi to a friend, family, acquaintances or even sometimes when we are just meeting someone.
The first time I studied abroad in the US I made the mistake of kissing a few people on the cheek. It’s just a habit that was hard to stop. I needed to remind myself that people respect their space and I needed to do the same.
When I explained this to my boyfriend he didn’t quite understand the idea. He didn’t get the why, and it’s something you just can’t explain. It’s a habit and part of our culture.
So every time we find different habits or traditions that might be weird, we try to learn more about them. The last thing you want is to be disrespectful to a friend or a family member.
As a multicultural couple need to be careful!
7. Fighting Stereotypes
As a Latina woman I had to explain a few stereotypes and misconceptions that my boyfriend had us. Hollywood does a shitty job to portrait us and even though I love Sofia Vergara, she doesn’t help either.
The first thing I had to explain my boyfriend that Latinos come in different shapes and colors. Also, even though there are similarities, each country has their own culture and tradition.
I’m Chilean; and even though Argentina is right next to us geographically, there are plenty of differences between us. Like the way we talk.
Stereotypes are dangerous in any aspect in life. We shouldn’t generalize. It’s not okay no matter what. It’s doesn’t matter if it implies a race or not, it can quickly become a discrimination issue.
Things like; ‘you must be so good at math because everyone in your family is an engineer‘ or ‘you must be so good at dancing because you are Latina‘, hurt the person if they aren’t part of the group that actually can do those things.
We are individuals that have things in common, but that’s it.
So, as a multicultural couple, we need to understand that our relationship is just between the two of us and no one else.
Not because I’m dating an American guy means I’m doing it with the secret intention of getting a green card. Some people just don’t understand there’s something called love.
Now tell me, what are your thoughts about interracial or multicultural relationships? Are you in one? Let me know in the comments!
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