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 it up.
If you are also in a long distance relationship, click here for tips and advice.
Multicultural relationships are hard sometimes and come with many challenges. They are very rewarding in the long run. We learn from each other and we understand our differences, but there are moments where the struggle is real. In my case I don’t just have to deal with a different culture, I must also deal with a different language. Those two things can make a conversation extremely frustrating.
I said in the beginning, that I’m in a long distance relationship, but not only that. We are also a multicultural couple. To explain a little about my relationship, I prefer the words multicultural relationship rather than interracial relationship. Why? I don’t consider being Latina a race. Living in Latin America doesn’t mean you are from a certain race. Here you can find people that come from Europe, Africa, Asia and obviously every country has their natives. And for the record… I’m not sure what race I fit in.
So let’s start! The following challenges are from my side of the relationship. I haven’t asked my boyfriend about how he feels about this matter, but I’m sure we agree on most of them.
Challenges Every Multicultural Couple Faces
This might be the hardest part. English is my second language, and there’s still a lot for me to learn, like slang for example. Urban Dictionary is my best friend in those moments when I have no idea what my boyfriend means to say. It’s also difficult when I’m with his family. Sometimes they talk a little too fast for me. 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 I if didn’t understand what they were saying.
This goes hand-in-hand with language. It’s not something that happens all the time, but when it happens, it’s normally a big fight. There have been many times when I was trying to say something that sounds good in my head and in Spanish. Then at the time of translating it into English, it sounds wrong. We forget we come from different places and we have different ways to express ourselves. We need to remember that we never mean it in a bad way. This must be one of the biggest challenges for a multicultural couple. No one likes arguments!
I love celebrations, especially when it’s about a culture expressing itself. Each of us must be respectful of whatever we want to celebrate or do in certain celebrations. My boyfriend’s family doesn’t eat turkey on Christmas because they do that on Thanksgiving. Yet we do here in Chile. In general, we don’t have many differences… which makes things easier. As general advice, enjoy the celebrations and be a part of it. In my opinion, that’s not really a struggle a multicultural couple goes through. It can be so much fun!
4. Meeting Each Other 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, this can be challenging when we need to do certain things in our homes. What is acceptable to do in his/my house? What happens when a certain family member has a different sense of humor? Chileans are known to make fun of people. 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 difficult.
I have a thing for this. I’m half Peruvian, and for me that’s the best food in the world. For my boyfriend, not so much. Even though he loves many things! The problem is when I have to eat at his house. I’m not a picky eater and I find good many things… it’s just I can’t understand why they cook that way. Salad with sauces like ranch? How they can prefer that over the good old mix of salt, lemon and olive oil?
For example, 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. I have made that mistake of kissing on the cheek many times when in the States. I have to remind myself that some of them freak out a little with that. Even my boyfriend raised an eyebrow when I told him we do that. He didn’t understand why. So every time we find different habits or traditions on our way we have to learn quickly from them and try not to forget. The last thing you want is to be disrespectful to a friend or family member (Oh, the horror!). Us in a multicultural relationship need to be careful!
7. Fighting Stereotypes
This is stronger on my side of the relationship. For some people, being a Latina means certain things… when in reality it’s not like that. Especially because Chileans are a little different from the other countries of Latin Americans. Stereotypes go hand-in-hand with discrimination. So as a couple, we need to understand the relationship is 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 to get a green card. Some people just don’t understand there is something called love.
What are your thoughts about multicultural relationships? Are you in one? Let me know in the comments!