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Thread: Long distance relationship problem

  1. #1
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    Long distance relationship problem

    Hello, i explain my situation.

    I'm in long distance relationship from almost one year. First months were amazing, both of us were so interested in each other, always being sweet and we used to talk really a lot. Unfortunately, in December 2018 we had first big fight in which i used words that hurt her. At the beginning, I didnt realize how those word can hurt there since we have totally different background culture (I am italian, she is japanese). However, we managed to overcome this fight in few days, things were back as they used almost immediately. Unfortunately, at the end of January I committed the same mistake, I am a person that get angry rarely, but when i become angry I say things that i dont really believeand i almost regret immediately what i say; also in this case, as for the first big fight, things came back as they were almost immediately.

    In March and April we met, we spent a long time together, and it was such an awesome period, we were so happy (we still had some arguments, but most of them because of our different cultures, things that can happen in a couple). However, after i left japan, she became so sad and depressed because we werent together again, and we needed to wait again other four months to meet. She were always complaining about herself, keeping saying that she is so bad and that she hurts me. All of these stuff made me exploded, this lead to our third big fight in which i used again bad words which i regret immediately. It's from this fight that things changed completely. It was the first time after three big fights that I realized that those words could have hurt her so badly (because we have different culture), also because for the first time she told me how much she suffered because of the first and second fight, never forgetting what I said. I tried everything to make her understand that I never believed those things i said, I tried to be so sweet with her in order to forgiven (also writing a song for her). But she began to not feel love towards me anymore, she wasn't sure about me anymore, i promised her that i would have never said those words anymore, that when i get angry i dont react in that way, and I actually never did those things anymore.

    This situation got worse and worse, until at the end of June, when she finally said that she doesn't love me anymore and that we should break up. However, we still didnt break up because she thought that breaking up was the only solution, but she was still so sad and depressed also after breaking up. So I asked her to meet one last time and try to solve this by meeting and also decide if having this relationship.

    So, after two months in which she didnt know her feeling anymore, we met (in August). First days she was still cold with me, but the more time passed, the more she was beginning to love me again, we enjoyed so much, we had so fun time and we were so happy, she finally told me that she loves me, she was so sweet with me. So I thought that finally things were back. However, after a week she left, she became again to think about future, and becoming so anxious about future, i try assure her that we can find a solution, but she really can't stop thinking about future, I understand her because im so scary and anxious about future too. Yesterday, we called after days and she told me that maybe she was pretending to be okay with me,
    and that she isnt sure that she loves me, but i really felt loved when she was with me.

    We dont know what to do, I love her so badly, I want to help her someway, I dont want to break up and she doesn't want to, because i really love her from the bottom of my heart even though our relationship is tough. So i asked her to write our story on a forum, maybe someone will suggest us about what to do.

    Thanks a lot and Im sorry for so long message.

  2. #2
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    Also my girlfriend wrote her version and her feelings, this is her message:

    We had three big fights since we became a couple. Those fights were because of jealous and cultural differences.
    Talking about the cultural differences, for me words were important. But for him, not much. And every fight, he hurt me by bad words. At third fight, I told him for the first time that those words hurt me as hell. I really couldnít handle our relationship anymore. I was so depressed for almost one month. He apologized many times because he didnít know it was that bad. Eventually I forgave him.
    But from that time, I became not able to get rid of those bad words. I know he wonít say those words anymore. But it stays in my head. And I started if I can be happy with him, if I truly love you from the bottom of my heart.

    I tried to get rid of every bad things. But nothing worked. And I became always in bad mood, not able to be sweet with him. It hurts him and also myself now. We both are struggling.

    My boyfriend is kind and amazing person. He just didnít know what was bad for me. I should have told him from the first time. But I didnít. And I kinda scared to get hurt again.

    I want to know how we can make our relationship works.

  3. #3
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    Ciao Edoardo, vivo in Italia anch'io.

    That said, I am curious which things you said to her that you're trying to explain as cultural differences? I have lived Italy for 7 years now, have dated Italian men (my current partner is Italian as well) and have a pretty solid grasp on the language now too. I have to say that only one of those men ever used harsh words with me, and it had nothing to do with culture, but everything to do with not controlling his anger and being disrespectful. I am hoping you're not using "culture" as a way of excusing being rude to her.

    In any case, she is being clear that she doesn't feel the same way she used to. Words hurt, whether you meant them or not. It also shows her that you don't learn from your mistakes, as this has apparently happened three times now. Only actions and time could show her that you have gotten your temper under control, but you two also have the problem of significant distance between you. What was the plan there? Were you hoping to move to Japan? Or she move to Italy? Or move together to another country completely?

  4. #4
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    Ciao!

    I read a lot about japanese culture. One thing I learnt is that they rarely say things directly, totally different from italian people that most of the times they say what they think. Sometimes this attitude can lead to misunderstanding in which the japanese person can feel offended. I really don't want to find any excuses, I know i shouldn't have been rude, but i really think that some words told by me have been perceived in a different way by her, mostly, because of this reason. For example, italian language has so many bad words, in japanese really few.

    As we both said previously, I learnt from my mistakes, it's been 4 months that i dont behave like that. I didn't realize my mistakes before the third fight also because I really didnt know that she could get hurt so badly and also because she didnt tell me how bad they were for her.

    The plan isn't completely clear, but or she comes in italy in 1 year and half or I move in Japan.

    Thanks for the answer.

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  6. #5
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    Originally Posted by Edoardo96
    I read a lot about japanese culture. One thing I learnt is that they rarely say things directly, totally different from italian people that most of the times they say what they think. Sometimes this attitude can lead to misunderstanding in which the japanese person can feel offended. I really don't want to find any excuses, I know i shouldn't have been rude, but i really think that some words told by me have been perceived in a different way by her, mostly, because of this reason. For example, italian language has so many bad words, in japanese really few. .
    Yes, I know this very well! It is a colourful language indeed, and yes, I agree that Italians tend to be quite direct. Again, how it's perceived is very contingent upon what you actually said and how she interpreted it. What was it you said to her?

    Before you two exhaust yourself looking for ways to fix this, though, I would look at the bigger picture here. What are the realistic chances one of you will relocate to the other's country? What are your job prospects in Japan, and hers in Italy? Having relocated to Italy myself, I can tell you the process and paperwork are not simple and the current employment situation - especially for foreigners - is not great. I am sure you know this. I spent a lot of money and time obtaining the current residency and work permits I have. It can be done, but it's not easy or cheap. Have you looked into the process to secure a work visa for her in Italy, or for you in Japan? These are relevant questions because you need to consider the real viability of this trans-continental relationship. It's a huge and life-changing commitment.

  7. #6
    Silver Member MirrorKnight's Avatar
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    Regardless of cultural differences, it should not have taken you three offenses to learn if she told you very clearly after the first occasion that it was unacceptable. You say it has been 4 months since your last outburst, how does she know that it will be the last?

    I am Chinese, Japanese culture is similar to ours, but even more formal, traditional and conservative. For example gender roles in Japan are still very institutionalized. I lived in the UK for most of my life, the UK is much more liberal than China, and from my understanding, Italy is even more liberal than the UK.

    So just be aware of what you are getting yourself into. You are dating across the vast chasm in cultural difference and cultural norms. Even Chinese people find Japan to be stifling with their social etiquette, implicit rules and social hierarchy. We have similar rules and social norms, but we do not take it anywhere near as seriously, or enforce it so strictly.

    If you make a commitment to make your relationship work, you will need to reach a consensus with your girlfriend about reaching an understanding on your values, world views and where you plan to make your home and family. It is worth mentioning that Japan is a very homogeneous country with no culture of integrating immigrants, so if you decide to live with her in Japan, you will forever be considered an outsider. So I would personally recommend that if you make a go of it, she should go to Italy.

    Don't take my word for it, check on Quora for expat experiences of living in Japan.

  8. #7
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    I said things like I'm so tired of you, or I'm so sick of you.

    What you say it's true: if she comes in italy, she would study master degree at university, we already checked all requirements and she could do it, the process of enrolling at uni is pretty long and there are many things to do, but we know all passages we need to accomplish. Also her family knows about this and they are okay about this.
    On the other hand, I'm an electronic engineer, I know finding jobs in Japan for a foreigner isn't that easy. However, I'm also learning japanese so badly, I already got a certification, and i'm aiming to get a more advanced one. In addition, my working field involves more foreigners than another field in japan, so this could be an advantage.

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    Originally Posted by MirrorKnight
    Regardless of cultural differences, it should not have taken you three offenses to learn if she told you very clearly after the first occasion that it was unacceptable. You say it has been 4 months since your last outburst, how does she know that it will be the last?
    Unfortunately, she told me clearly that she got hurt so badly because of those words only after the third time, it's not an excuse though, i shouldn't have done at first place. In these 4 months we had arguments and i didnt have any outburst, it's obvious that i can't guarantee 100% that it will never happen, but of course i did and im doing the best to not make same mistakes.

    Originally Posted by MirrorKnight
    I am Chinese, Japanese culture is similar to ours, but even more formal, traditional and conservative. For example gender roles in Japan are still very institutionalized. I lived in the UK for most of my life, the UK is much more liberal than China, and from my understanding, Italy is even more liberal than the UK.

    So just be aware of what you are getting yourself into. You are dating across the vast chasm in cultural difference and cultural norms. Even Chinese people find Japan to be stifling with their social etiquette, implicit rules and social hierarchy. We have similar rules and social norms, but we do not take it anywhere near as seriously, or enforce it so strictly.

    If you make a commitment to make your relationship work, you will need to reach a consensus with your girlfriend about reaching an understanding on your values, world views and where you plan to make your home and family. It is worth mentioning that Japan is a very homogeneous country with no culture of integrating immigrants, so if you decide to live with her in Japan, you will forever be considered an outsider. So I would personally recommend that if you make a go of it, she should go to Italy.

    Don't take my word for it, check on Quora for expat experiences of living in Japan.
    I'm aware about foreigners condition in Japan. I know there is no culture of integrating immigrants, thank you for telling me your opinion, really appreciated.

  10. #9
    Bronze Member WaywardKiwi's Avatar
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    Hi Edoardo,

    By way of background to my opinion; I have been living in Japan for 3 years (originally from New Zealand) and I have been in a relationship with a Japanese woman for amost one year.

    Personally, I don't see much value in going into an in depth discussion around Japanese cultural and social norms, comminication styles, the expat experience in Japan here. I will say that while I understand many of the perceptions and opinons expressed on those subjects, I disagree to some extent. I am happy to discuss my experiences and opinions as they may be relevant to you in a private chat.

    However, in terms of you actual relationship, I think you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. LDRs are very difficult, and are primarily built and maintained on communication. In your case, communication has been a consistent issue from early on in the relationship. You communication styles (whether culturally or individually informed) are very different. You have spent these bursts of time together, and had a blast, but they are unlikely representative of the reality of living together. In the intervening times apart you have expressed that you are 'sick of her' or 'tired of her'. Why did you feel that way? What was the trigger that made you angry? Add to this, She already has concerns about the future, and is unsure whether to continue. Patching this up, over the distance and taking into account the communication difficulties you have already encountered is likely a herculean task. It is admirable to fight for someone you care about, but I am concerned you are idealising the relationship, and given that the ultimate goal is for one of you to relocate to an entirely different culture and society, I would urge to you be as objective and honest with yourself about the relationship as you move forward.

    I wish you all the best, whichever way you go,

    T

    EDIT: By the way, I would take online reports of the foreigner experience with a grain of salt; in my experience, people are far more inclined to come online to air their greviances than their appreciation, regardless of the subject. I am also happy to share Japanese language resources and tips, as I am studying the language too!
    Last edited by WaywardKiwi; 09-09-2019 at 10:38 AM.

  11. #10
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    The internet makes people think they can sustain international long distance relationships. Sometimes the distance & the cultural distances are just too much to overcome. That August meet was sort of a last ditch effort. Although you had fun when you were together it helped solidify the reality for her: this was a lovely romantic fantasy but it's not sustainable.

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