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cross cultural realtionship, cultural differences....emotional rollercoaster


DNAse
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Hi guys,

 

I need your advice. Sorry for the long text... I tried to keep it as short as possible.

 

I find myself in a very complicated situation right now. I'm 33 years old and from Germany. I went to México for a one-year academic exchange. In June, I met my ex (34 years old) and we had been together for 5 months when she broke up with me 3 weeks ago. The first 3,5 months, the honey moon stage, were obviously very nice. We both enjoyed each other’s company. We were both really heavily into each other- on many levels: personally, sexually etc. There was a huge attraction between us and also a lot of trust- we had many very profound conversations right from the start. During the first three months, she had a lot of free time, because she wasn’t allowed to work due to the pandemic. Consequently, we saw each other a lot. It was very balanced. As from September, she started a new job and that was basically also when things started to become complicated. She told me right from the start that she was a person who needed a lot of space. I was ok with that, because I also need a lot of space myself. However, nonetheless, we spent our first three months incredibly close. So when she started her new job, I think I couldn’t adapt quickly enough, because I had gotten used to the closeness. Eventually, we gradually went from seeing each other 3-4 full days a week 24h during the weekends and one day during the week. I was ok with that.

 

The bottom line is that we weren’t seeing each other that often anymore, but it was still mutual. However, she began to set rules, such as when we saw each other for the weekend, she expected me to leave the next day in the morning before 10 am so she could work. I tried to stick to it, but she didn’t- she would invite me to stay for breakfast, watch netflix together or initiate sex. As she nearly always initiated this, I didn’t think it could become a problem, but it turned out to be her major argument to break up with me. She told me “you don’t stick to our rules”, “it makes me feel uncomfortable to tell you to leave if you don’t leave by yourself”, “we have a different idea of a relationship”. Apparently it’s a cultural issue- Mexicans don’t like to throw you out of their house, so they are waiting for you to make the first move. I didn’t know that and she didn’t tell me until she broke up. If I had known, I would have set myself an alarm and gone straight back to my place the next morning.

 

In essence, she gave me a couple of reasons as to why she wanted to break up with me, but they were all pretty confusing and contradictory.

 

“I feel like your mother sometimes”- in September I was pretty ill and had to go to hospital 3 times. It wasn’t a good thing for her to see me like this but she also insisted to accompany me to the hospital. And when we first me she literally told me “You have to accept the fact that I’m a bossy girlfriend. This is what we Mexican girls are like.”. I did actually need some assistance because of the language barrier, so yes, she was kind of in this role of helping me a lot.

 

“You are not dominant enough”. Interestingly, when we first met, she told me that me liked me exactly for the fact that I’m not like a typical Mexican man and when we got to know each other she also told me she had broken up with her ex because he was too dominant. I'm neither dominant nor submissive, I adapt. She is very dominant herself, if I had adopted a dominant role, I would have become a dictator and she wouldn't have l liked that for sure.

 

“We are too different”- this I don’t think, in fact I do think we have a lot in common which is why we developed such a strong bond so quickly. Obivously, we don't have everything in common. She thinks we have divergent ideas of a relationship, however, in fact we never really spoke about our ideas of a relationship. She is just assuming that I want a close relationship.

 

On October 17th she told me she wanted to come around because she needed to talk. We met at my place and she told me said she felt she had to break up with me. We had a very emotional conversation and then she wanted to give it another try, because she felt she had never really given me a real chance to improve what she felt had to be improved. However, she never really did give me a chance. She turned pretty cold. Another 10 days later, I decided to pop around her house to talk (I actually wanted to break up because I didn’t like the way she was treating me), because I was confused by her behaviour. We were going to see each other on a Thursday, but I went around on a Wednesday to talk (she used that later as another reason to tell me I wasn’t sticking to her rules- she says she wants to meet on a Thursday and I popped around on a Wednesday- but I really couldn’t wait anymore). So we talked and I told her I didn’t like the way she treated me. She then gave me her same old reasons again and told me that she felt we were too different. We broke up, but I slept at her place, we were both crying the whole night. I didn’t exactly beg and plead, but I told her I felt it was a shame we never really worked on our issues, because I felt they were all solvable. She kept insisting she wanted to stay in touch with me and stay friends. I told her I didn’t know if I could be her friend. What I don’t get is that she is doing psychotherapy and I’m pretty sure she was discussing our relationship with her psychologist- it’s difficult for me to imagine that he would advise her to suggest a friendship in this situation! I don't know who implanted that idea into her head...

 

After that, we were in no contact fo 4 days when she got in touch with me again, asking whether we could stay in touch and if she could come around to visit me. She kept getting in touch with me after the breakup and kept insisting she wanted to stay friends with me and wanted to see me again. In fact, I never initiated contact with her during this phase. We met 3 times after the breakup, but it never ended well, we always ended up discussing the break up. I didn’t exactly beg or plead but I did tell her (again) that I felt it was unfair she was breaking up with me without giving me a realistic chance to adapt my behaviour. And I also told her that I wanted to be with her. I now know, it was a mistake, I should have just ignored the topic.

 

I don’t really understand the break up. At some point after our 2nd post breakup meeting, she told me she needed time and space. So I gave her time and space, but then she would get mad at me and complain why I was ignoring her. I wasn’t even ignoring her, I just didn’t get in touch with her. It just kept going back and forth like this, up to a point where emotionally I couldn’t cope with the situation anymore. She got me very confused.

 

The thing is that last week I had to back to Germany to take my final exam at uni. I was only going to be away for 2 months though. I asked her if she had broken up with me because she was afraid I wouldn’t come back. And then she said “No, I trust you. If you say you’re coming back then I trust you”. However, I don’t know if that’s the truth. The reason why she is doing psychotherapy is because she always has to have things under control. So I think the fact I went back to Germany is kind of the worst nightmare somebody with her personality structure could have- she will totally not have things under control while I’m here in Germany. She will have to trust me and I think that’s also something she has issues with, because she was once cheated on. He brother told me she might have a fear I wouldn’t come back. This would explain her contradictory behaviour. I can feel that she still loves me. Even after breaking up, she just couldn’t maintain her distance. The day before I went back to Germany, she came around to say goodbye, brought a cake etc. It was really a very lovely thing for her to do, but I couldn't really appreciate it.

 

She also gave me a lift to the airport the next day and accompanied me until the very last moment. It was very emotional. However, she seems to be annoyed at the moment. She told me she was fed up with my post breakup behaviour (engaging her in those “heavy” conversations again and again, although she doesn't like to speak about these things) and that we could talk every now and again but that right now she didn’t feel very much like talking to me. It’s been more than a week now since she last contacted me. I will keep up no contact, but I’m still very confused. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. I have never had a breakup this chaotic before.

 

What do you guys think? Is it worth fighting for? I’m still very much in love with her. It was love at first sight. We spent our first date 8 hours talking and it kept on going on like this, we have a very deep connection. She told me I was the first guy she felt safe and happy with and that she also found it a bit scary that she felt so well in my presence, because she had never experienced anything like this before..I think she is afraid of her emotions, because she doesn’t like to talk about how she feels. She doesn’t like to make herself vulnerable. I'm all confused... Before meeting her, I thought love at first sight didn't exist and I didn't believe in the concept of "the love of your life", but with her it was all different right from the start.

 

Thanks very much for your help!

Edited by DNAse
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I don't think so. She's working through some issues of her own. Be more cautious about who you choose as your partner.

 

Gather the rest of your dignity and self-respect please and don't be someone else's punching bag. There are all kinds of people out there with issues. It's up to you to walk away and think of yourself. You do not join in on a sinking ship. Start building your own raft. That's the number one rule in dating. If you can't do that hold off on it. She also doesn't want to be with you so continuing to make yourself available just reads all kinds of wrong for yourself, your peace of mind and your mental and emotional wellbeing.

 

Use the time now to work on your self-confidence and all the things you need to do for yourself. This is as good as over. I would not trust this person again as a partner.

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Thanks for your answer. I think punching bag explains it pretty well. I think, she was projecting the stress and pressure she was feeling at work on me. I think, she was thinking that I was stealing her time when in fact it was only her job and her poor time management. And yes, you're right, I have to accept that she decided against me.

 

It's just that sometimes it seems to me that dating in Mexico works in a totally different way than what we're used to. There is so much more drama involved. They breakup up and get back together and act like nothing's happenened. It seems to be part of their culture. And when they can't find problems, they are creating problems (that's what the psychologist told me that I saw to process the break up).

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A lot of couples marry or date outside of their culture. It's good of you to want to bridge that gap but I think you already know that type of hot/cold and rollercoaster feel isn't healthy in the long term. I'm sorry it's been so chaotic. I think it's better to make a clean break and continue to heal after the break up.

 

Your mind will be so much more clearer too once you're able to put some distance and space between you and your ex. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don't limit yourself this way. One step at a time.

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This sounds to me a little bit like you’re investing energy into trying to understand whys hoping once you know why you can fix it.

 

My two cents from an uninvested perspective, it doesn’t matter why she’s giving you such mixed messages, only that that is what she is doing. You can keep placing your hand in the fire that is a romantic partner who is not enthusiastically all in, or you can stop doing that.

 

I know I know I know that is much easier to say than do but if you take a step back, think about what you actually want in a relationship, think about what she actually wants in a relationship (as evidenced by her actions, whipping boy by the looks of it), then does this person really still come out as your ideal partner? You can love with all your heart but love alone is not enough

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Sorry to hear that. Do you know anyone else in Mexico besides her? How fluent are you in Spanish?

 

Unfortunately it seems like a case of homesickness and loneliness led to you clinging and depending on her way to much.

 

Camping out at her place all the time, needing her as an interpreter, showing up at her place unannounced, overstaying your welcome... and well... basically disrespecting everything.

 

Now that you are back home, you can reflect on why you would treat someone like that. Don't pursue a LDR, it rarely works.

 

If you return to Mexico, learn more about the language and culture so you can function there better without needing, clinging, etc.

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Sorry to hear that. Do you know anyone else in Mexico besides her? How fluent are you in Spanish?

 

Unfortunately it seems like a case of homesickness and loneliness led to you clinging and depending on her way to much.

 

Camping out at her place all the time, needing her as an interpreter, showing up at her place unannounced, overstaying your welcome... and well... basically disrespecting everything.

 

Now that you are back home, you can reflect on why you would treat someone like that. Don't pursue a LDR, it rarely works.

 

If you return to Mexico, learn more about the language and culture so you can function there better without needing, clinging, etc.

 

Yes, you're definitely right about that. The problem is that I had arrived end of december last year. I was doing my internship at the hospital and then 2 months later they initiated a very tough 4-month lockdown. I was basically imprisoned in my apartment- sometimes I wouldn't see another human being for 2 weeks in a row. It made me feel very depressed. It was a nightmare, I was living in Guadalajara for a year and I didn't get to know much of the culture. In fact, it was only after meeting her that I was finally getting to know the Mexican culture. She was basically my first real social contact. When I met her, I focused all my energy into her.

 

As for staying at her place- that was her choice. She didn't like my roomie and therefore didn't want to come around my place to visit me for more than a couple of hours. She felt we couldn't have any privacy at my place, so I always ended up staying at her place. I was aware of the fact that this could become a problem in the future, but I didn't know what to do about it. I could understand her reasons, I didn't feel comfortable either living with my roomie either. Later, for the last 2 months, I moved in with her brother. It was a great experience, he is a lovely person, but again I found myself in a situation of not having "my own place" and when she came over to visit, we didn't have privacy again. This situation automatically put me in an inferior situation, I was always dependent. The problem is that, because of the pandemic, I couldn't make any plans. In June, they were cancelling my flights all the time. I knew I would have to return in November to take my exam, but I never knew for sure if it would work out.

 

During those 5 months, I was myself but never really 100% myself- I was constantly worried about finding a new apartment, worried about flights being cancelled, worried about not being able to take my final exams, financial worries etc. I am not totally different when I'm at home, but I definitely feel more secure and more self-confident. Here, I got my car, my apartment. I don't have to beg for my medication. She has probably lost attraction over time because she felt I was too dependent, which I can understand. I will go back to Mexico in January and I will have a my own place then, I will also have a car and I think that I will feel much more confident then. Maybe she'll notice the difference, if not there will be someone else to do so..haha

 

As for my Spanish, it is very fluent now. When we first met, it was fluent, but not fluent enough to feel confident. And yes, I have quite a few friends in GDL, but it was difficult to meet up with them, because they were all very anxious and taking care of themselves because of the pandemic. I was reluctant to see them as well, because I have a chronic condition and didn't want to put myself at risk.

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This sounds to me a little bit like you’re investing energy into trying to understand whys hoping once you know why you can fix it.

 

My two cents from an uninvested perspective, it doesn’t matter why she’s giving you such mixed messages, only that that is what she is doing. You can keep placing your hand in the fire that is a romantic partner who is not enthusiastically all in, or you can stop doing that.

 

I know I know I know that is much easier to say than do but if you take a step back, think about what you actually want in a relationship, think about what she actually wants in a relationship (as evidenced by her actions, whipping boy by the looks of it), then does this person really still come out as your ideal partner? You can love with all your heart but love alone is not enough

 

The thing is that duing our first 3,5 months, yes she was my ideal partner. We got along really well. We felt really comfortable in each other's company. We were a good team. But when I look at our last month then I would say: No, she wasn't my ideal partner.

 

That's why I'd like to know what happened during the last month, what made her change her behaviour. I think it was a combination of many things but I am very certain it had something to do with the fact I was ill 3 times and felt very dependent and insecure (I couldn't find a new apartment, I didn't know about my flights, about my future etc.). I wasn't my most attractive self during this time.

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I think it was a combination of many things but I am very certain it had something to do with the fact I was ill 3 times and felt very dependent and insecure (I couldn't find a new apartment, I didn't know about my flights, about my future etc.). I wasn't my most attractive self during this time.

 

I don't think that's what it was. I think the problem was that there were no well defined boundaries in this relationship. That is confusing and exhausting for both people.

 

I don't want to diminish what you felt or are feeling at all. But it is pretty normal to feel like you've met the ideal person during that first couple of months. That's when everybody is on their best behavior and the hormones are cranking.

 

That two- or three-month mark is when the masks start to come off and you see what you're really dealing with.

 

I think she is still figuring herself out, which is not great at 34 years of age. She has a difficult time communicating what she wants and asserting herself, and she takes it out on you. It seems like doesn't even know what she wants, to be honest.

 

It's good that she is in therapy, but I don't think she is relationship material at this point, and I don't think you will do yourself any favors by holding on to anything more than a friendship with her.

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It seems like you know what happened, both from your insights ( no car, housing difficulties, chaos around flights/covid,etc)

 

As well as what she plainly and clearly told you (overstaying your welcome, disrespectful of her boundaries/schedule, and stating plainly"she felt like your mother").

 

If/when you go back, you'll have to get your act together. Guadalajara caters to foreign medical school students, so you need to get more info on living/studying there.

 

She may have figured out that you wanted a lot of handholding and didn't want that job.

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I don't think that's what it was. I think the problem was that there were no well defined boundaries in this relationship. That is confusing and exhausting for both people.

 

I don't want to diminish what you felt or are feeling at all. But it is pretty normal to feel like you've met the ideal person during that first couple of months. That's when everybody is on their best behavior and the hormones are cranking.

 

That two- or three-month mark is when the masks start to come off and you see what you're really dealing with.

 

I think she is still figuring herself out, which is not great at 34 years of age. She has a difficult time communicating what she wants and asserting herself, and she takes it out on you. It seems like doesn't even know what she wants, to be honest.

 

It's good that she is in therapy, but I don't think she is relationship material at this point, and I don't think you will do yourself any favors by holding on to anything more than a friendship with her.

 

I think you're right about the boundaries. We were talking about boundaries every now and again but then she didn't stick to her own rules and that's when I was having a hard time sticking to them myself. When she says I need to leave in the morning but then suggests watching a film together, my conclusion is that she doesn't want me to leave. Even if she is an indirect person, it doesn't make any sense to offer an activity that leads to the exact opposite of what you want to do, right? If she had wanted me to leave, she could have just not said anything and then I would have left.

 

You're also right about the fact that she is still figuring things out. I have the impression that she doesn't even know what kind of guy she wants to be with. Before she met me, she hadn't even had a close relationship before. When we broke up she told me that her idea of an adult relationship was to see her bf 2-3 times a week spending a couple of hours together. The thing is that she always says A and then her actions convey B. I'm more influneced by actions. I think that's the major problem we had. I don't have a fixed idea of a relationship, if we agree together that we will only see each other 2-3 times a week then that's fine. I also have a life outside of the relationship with her. However, if she says one thing and then leads me into doing another, then that's a problem. Obviously, yes, I could basically see her all the time, so I don't have this in-built desire to leave. Consequently, when she gives me a signal to stay longer, I will do it assuming she was serious about it. However, as it turns out, she wasn't honest about it and then I ask myself why she suggests these kind of things when in fact she wants me to leave. It's all too confusing..lol

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You ask, OP:

 

"What do you guys think? Is it worth fighting for? "

 

The quick answer is NO.

 

This stood out for me:

 

"The reason why she is doing psychotherapy is because she always has to have things under control"

 

I am wondering what psychotherapy has to do with "control".

 

And you remark:

 

" She is very dominant herself,"

 

And,imagine dealing with this over a lifetime, OP!

 

"At some point after our 2nd post breakup meeting, she told me she needed time and space. So I gave her time and space, but then she would get mad at me and complain why I was ignoring her. I wasn’t even ignoring her, I just didn’t get in touch with her. It just kept going back and forth like this, up to a point where emotionally I couldn’t cope with the situation anymore. She got me very confused."

Surely you do not wish to be bound to this kind of controlling person.

 

The breakup is chaotic because she is chaotic in both thought and action.

Edited by LaHermes
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And when we first me she literally told me “You have to accept the fact that I’m a bossy girlfriend. This is what we Mexican girls are like.”. I did actually need some assistance because of the language barrier, so yes, she was kind of in this role of helping me a lot.

 

“You are not dominant enough”. Interestingly, when we first met, she told me that me liked me exactly for the fact that I’m not like a typical Mexican man and when we got to know each other she also told me she had broken up with her ex because he was too dominant. I'm neither dominant nor submissive, I adapt. She is very dominant herself, if I had adopted a dominant role, I would have become a dictator and she wouldn't have l liked that for sure.

 

I think the controlling aspect of some of the women in this culture is something you should think about... Certainly not all of them are probably like that, but I think she's letting you know one of her major flaws upfront. She likes a man to be a man, BUT she also doesn't want to give up that control.

 

Picking you meant she'd be able to control you easier (that's basically what she was telling you).

 

I think relationships work better when both people treat each other as equals in a partnership. Be aware of people who tell you straight up, "I'm bossy/controlling/demanding," and then expect you to just live with it.

 

At least she gave you the warning lol.

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It's funny how people will pick blame on cultural/religious differences, etc, when the real culprit is personality/behavior.

 

Maritalbliss86: "I think relationships work better when both people treat each other as equals in a partnership". this rings so true.

 

Your relationship is so out of balance...time to get off that Tilt-A-Whirl!

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It's funny how people will pick blame on cultural/religious differences, etc, when the real culprit is personality/behavior.

 

Maritalbliss86: "I think relationships work better when both people treat each other as equals in a partnership". this rings so true.

 

Your relationship is so out of balance...time to get off that Tilt-A-Whirl!

 

Well, I'm not blaming cultural differences, but I'm saying that they do play a role. Before I went to Mexico, I hadn't been aware of the fact that there would be such profound cultural differences. I was aware that there would be some issues, but I wasn't aware of how different life is actually over there and I think that this is something people will only understand if they have actually lived in a completely different culture for a while. In Germany, I have never had issues like this at all with my ex girlfriends. My role as a man was never in question. I grew up in a society in which men and women are equal, in which men and women have relationships without any major power struggles. In Germany, it's absolutely normal for a man to ask before he does things. In Mexico, women expect you to do things, without asking. That is a huge difference and it makes you look completely different. However, this type of behaviour, your socialisation, cannot be changed over night. It's a process of adaptation which takes a while.

 

And yes, you're right. The relationship was completely out of balance. She didn't only confuse me, we probably confused each other.

 

I'm beginning to understand now that it's better to forget about it and move on. But it's a tough process to go from having such a deep connection to no contact at all within only just one month. Even more so, because I have these huge exams coming up and my brain is trolling around with giving me flashbacks of our relationship and wanting to resolve things (which cannot be resolved)...I hope it'll pass soon.

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"The reason why she is doing psychotherapy is because she always has to have things under control"

 

I am wondering what psychotherapy has to do with "control".

 

Sorry, I didn't explain it very well. She is doing psychotherapy, because she can't deal with the fact she can't always have things (regarding her life) under control. It was causing her problems, especially when the pandemic started, and then she started psychotherapy in order to learn to let go of the thought of being able to always have the things, which happen in her life, under control. She is a very independent woman and doesn't want to be dependent on anyone. Therefore, she never really lets anyone get too close emotionally. To a certain degree yes, she does let you into her world, but when she starts to feel very strong feelings and fears that she might make herself vulnerable by trusting too much, she will withdraw. She wants to have a relationship but isn't aware of the fact that it will never work out if she doesn't let go of her need to be in control all the time.

 

She doesn't want to be in control of her partner though- she is afraid of losing control over her life and her emotions. She was never really controlling with me. She was only bossing me around when I was ill in order to make sure I took my medication and following my doctor's advice, but in general, she wasn't bossing me around. I never felt inferior or dominated when we were speaking. The only situation when I started to feel we weren't having a relatinship on equal terms was towards the end when we started to have these issues as to when we would see each other.

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DNA.

 

"Before I went to Mexico, I hadn't been aware of the fact that there would be such profound cultural differences. "

 

I am a little surprised that as you were going to work in México (or indeed any other foreign country) you were not given one of those cultural awareness courses, even if only a short and intensive course. These have now become the norm, more or less. There are companies which earn a living in this line of business, yes!

 

Just to remark that there are over 14.000 Mexicans living in Germany. Perhaps you might have connected up with some of their associations or groups before you travelled.

 

And the other way around:

 

https://www.walk-together.org/freedom-stories/27/building-bridges-mexican-professionals-germany/

 

I get it DNA. When you said she is "doing" psychotherapy I assumed you meant she was studying to become a psychotherapist.

 

From your posts I gather that you are now back in Germany. But... were thinking of going back to México. There are other countries, other places and other people, everywhere.

Edited by LaHermes
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Well, I'm not blaming cultural differences, but I'm saying that they do play a role. Before I went to Mexico, I hadn't been aware of the fact that there would be such profound cultural differences. I was aware that there would be some issues, but I wasn't aware of how different life is actually over there and I think that this is something people will only understand if they have actually lived in a completely different culture for a while. In Germany, I have never had issues like this at all with my ex girlfriends. My role as a man was never in question. I grew up in a society in which men and women are equal, in which men and women have relationships without any major power struggles. In Germany, it's absolutely normal for a man to ask before he does things. In Mexico, women expect you to do things, without asking. That is a huge difference and it makes you look completely different. However, this type of behaviour, your socialisation, cannot be changed over night. It's a process of adaptation which takes a while.

 

And yes, you're right. The relationship was completely out of balance. She didn't only confuse me, we probably confused each other.

 

I'm beginning to understand now that it's better to forget about it and move on. But it's a tough process to go from having such a deep connection to no contact at all within only just one month. Even more so, because I have these huge exams coming up and my brain is trolling around with giving me flashbacks of our relationship and wanting to resolve things (which cannot be resolved)...I hope it'll pass soon.

 

Yes cultural differences do exist for sure and sometimes the differences are huge! Maybe part of her behaviour is because of the culture but the rest is just her character. You can certainly find a woman in Mexico who is not a control freak. As you wrote she is actually the first woman you met there. Not good. Usually the first people you meet as a foreigner are not the best ones.

 

If you are interested in dating women in Mexico, keep searching, this is not the one no matter how much fun you had the first 3 months. As a Greek I am very familiar with petty power struggles, I understand completely what you are saying and this is why I am saying dump her and keep looking.

Edited by dias
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Sorry about all this.

 

If there's one thing that's pretty universal—spanning cultures, spanning continents, spanning centuries—it's that it really stings when something goes from being so enlivening and promising to, well, to the shattered mirror you're trying to piece back together today. It's also—no comfort here, I know—the more common story to romance. Like baseball, there are lot more strikes than hits, a lot more hits that don't end in a score than those that do, and so on. It's what makes it all so wondrous, of course, at least when it's not inducing whiplash.

 

All of that is to try to encourage you to see this as a human story, not a Germany vs Mexico story. I'm writing in the US, for instance, with no experience dating in Mexico, but so much of what you've described is familiar to me in the sense that this is generally what it looks like, and often feels like, when we find ourselves romantically entangled with someone who may not quite be sincerely ready for romance and/or who we may not be as compatible with as we presumed when they were more fantasy than reality.

 

Simple takeaway I'd be working toward, in your shoes? You want whatever was great with her, but for longer than a few weeks. Wonderful. It's out there, in Oaxaca, in Berlin, in wherever you want to plant your feet. But it's not in her, not in whatever alchemy you plus her create. Something to mourn, that, so you can let go of this chapter and open up to whatever is next.

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Well, I'm not blaming cultural differences, but I'm saying that they do play a role. Before I went to Mexico, I hadn't been aware of the fact that there would be such profound cultural differences. I was aware that there would be some issues, but I wasn't aware of how different life is actually over there and I think that this is something people will only understand if they have actually lived in a completely different culture for a while. In Germany, I have never had issues like this at all with my ex girlfriends. My role as a man was never in question. I grew up in a society in which men and women are equal, in which men and women have relationships without any major power struggles. In Germany, it's absolutely normal for a man to ask before he does things. In Mexico, women expect you to do things, without asking. That is a huge difference and it makes you look completely different. However, this type of behaviour, your socialisation, cannot be changed over night. It's a process of adaptation which takes a while.

 

And yes, you're right. The relationship was completely out of balance. She didn't only confuse me, we probably confused each other.

 

I'm beginning to understand now that it's better to forget about it and move on. But it's a tough process to go from having such a deep connection to no contact at all within only just one month. Even more so, because I have these huge exams coming up and my brain is trolling around with giving me flashbacks of our relationship and wanting to resolve things (which cannot be resolved)...I hope it'll pass soon.

 

It'll pass. Give yourself a chance to focus on your studies and exams. Part of letting go is accepting the other person has left the relationship.. you're still in denial. There is nothing left to do. I'm so sorry.

 

Those feelings will subside when reality starts to sink in. Everything you're going through is normal. Your thoughts, rationalization and struggle. You'll find ways to think differently in the coming weeks and months.

 

I'm a mixed race female who married a Cuban American. I have been with both passive and dominant partners. In the end it's attunement and kindness that are the great equalizers of all race and ethnic differences. Patience and openness helps. Love doesn't know boundaries but you do have to accept when something is over or when mental health issues are at play.

 

I hope you find peace. There's a lot more yet for you.

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DNA.

 

"Before I went to Mexico, I hadn't been aware of the fact that there would be such profound cultural differences. "

 

I am a little surprised that as you were going to work in México (or indeed any other foreign country) you were not given one of those cultural awareness courses, even if only a short and intensive course. These have now become the norm, more or less. There are companies which earn a living in this line of business, yes!

 

Just to remark that there are over 14.000 Mexicans living in Germany. Perhaps you might have connected up with some of their associations or groups before you travelled.

 

And the other way around:

 

https://www.walk-together.org/freedom-stories/27/building-bridges-mexican-professionals-germany/

 

I get it DNA. When you said she is "doing" psychotherapy I assumed you meant she was studying to become a psychotherapist.

 

From your posts I gather that you are now back in Germany. But... were thinking of going back to México. There are other countries, other places and other people, everywhere.

 

I hadn't planned to stay in Mexico for a year. I had initially planned to stay 4 months but then, due to the pandemic, I couldn't return to Germany (flight cancellations, unsafe travel conditions etc.) and ultimately ended up staying 11 months in Mexico. I do have a few Mexican friends in Germany, so, as I said, I was aware there would be cultural differences. BUT there is a huge difference between staying in a foreign country and getting along with the people, and actually having a romantic relationship there. I integrated myself very well in Mexico, even to a point that my friends told me I appeared to be more of a Mexican than a German. However, platonic social interaction with friends is totally different to having a romatic relationship. I hadn't planned to engange in a relationship before going to Mexico. It just happenend. We met and fell in love.

 

I love Mexico. I love the cultue and I love the people and that's why I will return. My point is, however, that although you understand the culture/social rules ("dating rules"), doesn't necesarily mean you will be able to apply them right away. It takes some time to fully integrate. It's definitely not something you can learn by taking a course. It's something you have to experience and basically a matter of "learning by doing" through "trial and error". Communication, and especially communication between men and women, is very different in Mexico to what is like in Europe. You can't undo 30 years of socialisation in just a couple of months. In every day life, it's not that much of a big deal if you don't understand all cultural differences right away. However, when you have a relationship, which involves strong emotions, little mistakes can have a big impact. If you don't communicate well, it can backfire very badly. For instance, Mexicans don't like to say "no", instead they will just keep beating around the bush until you guess that they actually mean no. They will do many things for courtesy but it doesn't necesarily mean they are doing it because they are 100% convinced it's right. Therefore, if I say "no", like I'm used to, because it's totally normal in Germany, Mexicans can easily feel offended. Conversely, if my ex was beating around the bush in order to avoid saying "no" but I didn't get it, because I'm not used to this type of conversation, it can also cause problems, because I will assume she really wants me to do whatever she is offering me to do. It's not always very easy to correctly interpret this type of implicit conversation. I have already experienced both extremes:

 

A) She offers me to help me with something and I didn't want to accept it, because I felt it would be asking too much of her. However, as it turned out, she felt insulted for me not accepting it.

 

B) She says she will do something but then it turns out she only did it for courtesy.

 

These linguistic/cultural subtleties a extremely difficult to handle.

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Yes, OP. I know you cannot learn to fully integrate by "taking a course". These courses are merely intended to give people going to work or do business in other countries some preparation. There are no courses, that I know of, which would prepare you for falling in love with someone from another country. L.

 

Meantime, I have to second what Jibralta said.

 

"I think she is still figuring herself out, which is not great at 34 years of age. She has a difficult time communicating what she wants and asserting herself, and she takes it out on you. It seems like doesn't even know what she wants, to be honest.

 

It's good that she is in therapy, but I don't think she is relationship material at this point, and I don't think you will do yourself any favors by holding on to anything more than a friendship with her."

 

And echoing Bluecastle:

 

"Something to mourn, that, so you can let go of this chapter and open up to whatever is next."

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Yes, OP. I know you cannot learn to fully integrate by "taking a course". These courses are merely intended to give people going to work or do business in other countries some preparation. There are no courses, that I know of, which would prepare you for falling in love with someone from another country. L.

 

Meantime, I have to second what Jibralta said.

 

"I think she is still figuring herself out, which is not great at 34 years of age. She has a difficult time communicating what she wants and asserting herself, and she takes it out on you. It seems like doesn't even know what she wants, to be honest.

 

It's good that she is in therapy, but I don't think she is relationship material at this point, and I don't think you will do yourself any favors by holding on to anything more than a friendship with her."

 

And echoing Bluecastle:

 

"Something to mourn, that, so you can let go of this chapter and open up to whatever is next."

 

Yes you are definitively right.

 

She is not relationship material. I have to accept it, and as it was already mentioned, my brain is still in "denial", which is why I'm still going back and forth in my mind. Rationally, I know it doesn't make sense. Emotionally, I want to get back together with her and reset our relationship to the beginning, when things were still great. However, I guess it's true that she wasn't really herself during this phase. She was hiding her true self. I'm not saying her true self means she is a bad person though. It's just that her true self and myself don't seem to be compatible, or let's put it this way: her "I'm stressed out with work"-self isn't compatible with me. I still have a lot of respect for her. She did a lot for me. She is very intelligent and a lovely person. I'm sure she would also be a great friend, but obivously that's not what I want right now.

 

Another factor which probably makes it difficult for me to deal with the situation right now is the pandemic. We are currently in lockdown, I can't even go to the gym or meet up with friends to distract myself. It's horrible. All I have is my exam revision, but I'm a restless soul, I need my workouts in order to let off some steam. I am going through quite a few difficulties in my life at the moment: leaving my daily routines in Mexico, leaving my friends, breaking up, being ill, having the biggest exam of my life coming up etc. I think I am managging pretty well given the circumstances, but it all feels like a huge burden at the moment. And obviously it sucks even more to be left when you're going through tough times like these.

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I truly sympathise DNA. I am rather restless myself. Lockdown is everywhere, and I find it difficult, and restrictive and tiresome. It isn't in my nature to live like this.

 

You are managing well, and none of this will last forever. I hope you have recovered well and feeling in better form as the exam approaches. Good luck with everything!

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However, she began to set rules, such as when we saw each other for the weekend, she expected me to leave the next day in the morning before 10 am so she could work. I tried to stick to it, but she didn’t- she would invite me to stay for breakfast, watch netflix together or initiate sex. As she nearly always initiated this, I didn’t think it could become a problem, but it turned out to be her major argument to break up with me. She told me “you don’t stick to our rules”, “it makes me feel uncomfortable to tell you to leave if you don’t leave by yourself”, “we have a different idea of a relationship”. Apparently it’s a cultural issue- Mexicans don’t like to throw you out of their house, so they are waiting for you to make the first move. I didn’t know that and she didn’t tell me until she broke up.

 

This is what stuck out for me: Your ex-girlfriend made a rule that you had to leave the next morning before 10 AM. What the?! You could've stayed at her place, minding your own business, whilst she works. That's what couples do. It seems to me that you aren't on the same page.

 

As to whether this is worth fighting for: ask yourself this? How does she make you feel? I strongly believe that people in your life should bring you joy. Well, joy is certainly worth fighting for.

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