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Interacial marriage - it's so difficult.


Denisa
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I met this guy over a year ago, and we got married nearly 4 weeks ago. I love him to bits, but i'm white and he is asian. We had an asian wedding, his family likes me, and are over coming the barriers however I'm finding the whole culture change very difficult, and sometimes we fall out because of it. I wear asian clothes when i go round to see his family. I don't eat and drink what i used to. In fact that has stopped and I miss it so much. I'm feeling so down as I love him and I do all this for him, but whatever i do, it doesn't seem to be enough. There is so much more to do, now I've become a muslim, i have to learn the language, i have to learn more about the culture, get used the "the woman's" position in Islam. I'm scared, i don't know whether I'll be able to do it all. He is so sweet to me, and loves me to bits, but sometimes he forgets how much change i'm actually going through. His family have changed my name to a "muslim" one and i found that very upsetting. I feel like my personality is being changed.

Is there anyone who's done this, how does it work? is it all going to be ok?

there is so much I could write about, but i find it too upsetting.

I think i'm having a bad day....

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Have you talked about all of this with your husband? Of course, in any marriage/relationship/commitment communication is so important - if he is unaware of your true feelings about this, there is no way for him to try and help. Maybe because you have been so accomodating in the past he thinks everything is fine? I am also Asian (but Asian-American) and all of my relationships have been interracial. There are such distinct cultural differences and I have made it a point to tell my significant others all the things I value deeply in my culture and would like them to share with me, but I try to find ways to make it comfortable for them as well. Good luck!

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Hey Denisa,

I was just in an interracial relationship (I'm white, she was salvadorean/hispanic), and it was by far the hardest thing I've had to do yet. Her family was actually the easy part as her mom loved me, her dad I didn't really see that much, and her brothers thought I was the best guy she'd ever dated. It was more so her friends as well as her own perception of it (she'd never dated non-hispanic men). Anyway, I totally understand where you're coming from in terms of changing eating habits, acting differently around his/her friends and family, etc. My only advice to you is to stay strong and let him know that you respect his culture, but he also needs to respect where you came from (if that is the case). Too often interracial relationships are one-sided where one partner tries too hard to appease the other's background. You need to make sure you don't lose your American culture either.

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It sounds like you are doing a tremendous amont of changing. Regardless of how much you have to change, if it feels uncomfortable to you then you guys should talk about it (he should change a little too!). In a sense, this is a general relationship issue -- even if you were of the same race/culture, there might be expectations of changing personal habits etc. in any relationship. The key is both of you have to compromise.

 

Curious though, did all these demands on you happen after the wedding? While you were dating, meeting his parents etc., you must have felt the differing demands? If the former is the case, it seems odd, and maybe unreasonable, unless you agree to it.

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Well it seems that me that you have gotten in over your head. It seems to me that you are doing these things for your husband and his family and not for yourself. I think that you need to have boundaries as far as any relationship is concerned. I want to know if you knew exactly what you were getting into when you married this guy.

 

I dont think that this is so much of an interracial issue but it has to do with control. Your husband and his family are exhibiting control over you and having you do all of this stuff which you seem to think is too much too fast. The problem is if you fight this with your husband and his family your marriage is probably going to end up in divorce. Your husband and his family seem pretty control as to what they want you to do. You need to decide exactly how you feel about making all of these changes.

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Denisa, your problem is an interesting one because on top of the interracial factor, you have to deal with a religious conversion as well. In general I think it's detrimental to any marriage if a person gives up who they are to fit the marriage. If someone really loves you, they'd love you as are -- demographics, faults and all -- and wouldn't want to change a hair on your head.

 

I'm sure your husband and his family love you, but it's clear to me that you're slowly erasing yourself to become one of the family. If you're unhappy with things now, it's not going to get any better the more you're assimilated into their culture. It's best if you discuss these things before you got married, but it's never to late to talk.

 

Talk to your husband and tell him how you feel and see what compromises can be made. I'm sure he would rather you tell him what you fear, then to keep silent until things reach a crisis point. Good luck!

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>Talk to your husband and tell him how you feel and see what compromises can be made.

 

in all likelihood, such a conversation will be unsuccessful. you need to read some of the literature about "the woman's place" in a muslim culture/society. you need to do some more research. you will not be pleased by what you find, is my guess. as a woman, you are a 2nd class citizen now, better get used to it.

good luck.

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>Talk to your husband and tell him how you feel and see what compromises can be made.

 

in all likelihood, such a conversation will be unsuccessful. you need to read some of the literature about "the woman's place" in a muslim culture/society. you need to do some more research. you will not be pleased by what you find, is my guess. as a woman, you are a 2nd class citizen now, better get used to it.

good luck.

Perhaps so Kenneth, but if she loved him enough to marry him, she at least owes herself (if not him) to make a genuine attempt to try and work things out before walking away from a lifetime commitment.

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>Talk to your husband and tell him how you feel and see what compromises can be made.

 

in all likelihood, such a conversation will be unsuccessful. you need to read some of the literature about "the woman's place" in a muslim culture/society. you need to do some more research. you will not be pleased by what you find, is my guess. as a woman, you are a 2nd class citizen now, better get used to it.

good luck.

Perhaps so Kenneth, but if she loved him enough to marry him, she at least owes herself (if not him) to make a genuine attempt to try and work things out before walking away from a lifetime commitment.

 

smallworld, I don't know if you understand the gravity of kenneth's statement. I totally missed the portion of her initial post describing being a newly converted muslim, but I doubt that if she'd known about this that she'd have been totally into it. Kenneth is right, she is now a "2nd class citizen" and chances are she's stuck if she doesn't like the situation (muslim culture is very heavily against divorce... in those cases, women usually get absolutely nothing and the man gets all of the assets).

 

Denisa, did you know, I mean TRULY know, about all of this before you got married or was it a rushed thing?

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Vert, I understand that there can be little to no compromise over their marriage situation, but what I say still holds true. They have to talk. If her husband will not bend or compromise (as he probably won't), then her conscience is clear. She's done all she can to work things out and is free to leave. What else are they going to do???

 

As for assets, they've only been married for a month, so I don't think that's as important an issue at this point. To me one's own identity is more valuable than any amount of money that attempts to control it.

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My mother is white, father is Asian. When they married, my mother didn't change a thing about her. She was raised a Christian, him a Buddhist. My point? She didn't change and they learned to appreciate each others culture, religion, and way of life. Nowdays, my mother even cooks an occasional Thai dish.

 

My point is that you can be married to him without changing everything about yourself and who you are. You might even despise him later in life because of it. He married you because (I assume) he loved you as you were, not because you were going to change. Change if you wish still, but be proud of who you are and realize that the two of you can exist together while appreciating and sharing each others differences. There's nothing better than having the best of both worlds. I know firsthand because I'm a product of it.

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Hi guys!

Thanks for all your replies.

Yes we do talk, a lot actually, he knows how i feel, and tries to get his family to easy on a bit. He's been very supportive in all this, and when i ask him about it, he takes time to explain it all. He's totally fantastic in all this, but i do think his family have a strong influence on him. Yes i was aware of it all before i got married to him, but what you have to remember is that in Asian culture you can't actually "date" or see each other until you are married, so i was going round his house only to get myself familiar with his family and the way of life. I love him and (now) his family too, but as some of you said, the religion habbits to get to me sometimes. My husband is only asking me for some time. Which i know i need to do. I need to be more patient. When we are on our own, everything is fine, and we live a "normal westernised" life, it's only when we visit his family - which i only do on weekends.

Yes he married me for who i am, and doesn't want me to change, but he loves his family and is trying to compromise there. I think he sometimes feels like a piggy in the middle, trying to keep both sides happy.

One thing is sure and that is i'm not thinking of leaving him, as we only just got married and i love him to bits. I know that we can get through this difficult period, although I know it's going to be a bumpy ride!

And you are right, woman's position in Islam is to be known as "2nd class citizen ", which is extremely hard to get used especially when we go to some wedding's or do's - as women party alone! They wear scarfs on their heads, when there is a "strange" man around. I don't do that. Because I'm not comfortable with it.

and Chai714 thanks for your email. I love to see happy stories! And you are a true example of it.

I wish things were the same here, but because i love him, I'm willing to do this. What i didn't tell you is that he has moved out and we live together, and in Asian culture - guys never move out, so this is another issue we deal with, as his family is still hurt about that. So yes it's all about sacrificies....

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Hi Vert

 

No, we didn't have an arranged marriage. yes he is asian-british, but i'm eastern european. I met him at work and we just hit it off. It was hard for him to break the news to his family, but we went for it and now people are starting to accept us - still hard work though!

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im currently in an interracial relationship myself... we've been going out for a while now.. and because both of us are still in university, marriage is not exactly gonna happen in at least 3-5 yrs or so. but i totally understand being your shoes. I went out with this Muslim guy(He's from Iraq) and I'm Chinese( Malaysian born) and we met while he was in Malaysia studying.. When it came to meeting his folks, it was the worst experience of my life.. I was wearing quite conservatively as I respected the whole religion . His folks were staring at me and pointing fingers, raising their voices in Arabic.... We were together for more than 6 mths then... I felt so out of place... But knowing my status, I apologised to them and I ran out of the house. I couldn't stand it.. We broke up few mths later bcus he knew that his parents were not gonna let him see me, ever... As for my current boyfriend, he's white( he converted to Buddhism before he met me) and I'm Asian(buddhist my birth).. So far so good... But yeah,these things take time and it is definitely a challenge but it'll all be worth it in the end take is slow and in the process, dont change yourself but change what others think of you.thats the most important.

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Hi Diider

Thanks for your email. It must've been hard for you when you went out with the Iraqi guy, sorry it didn't work out, but you seem happy now, so maybe it was for the best. Yes you are right, it takes time, and after we had a long chat, we both agreed to meet half way in everything.

I know that our love can get us through this "getting used to changes" period and i believe one day i'll look back and realise that it wasn't that difficult. But you are right, I won't let people change myself, all i can do is make them like me for who I am.

Hope all works out for you.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Lana

 

Thanks for your email.

 

i found it really interesting reading your email. Yes of course it would be ok for you to use the articles, but maybe not names (especially mine!). I have to say that when i wrote that first article i was having a really bad week but all the thoughts from other people have helped me a little.

if you need any other information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Take care

 

D.

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I think you it's important that your husband accept your traditions as much as you accept his traditions. Marriage about bring two ways of life together, and having them equally important. You shouldn't abondon who you are just for him. Instead, you should also remember who you were before you were married, and make it as equally important as who is.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi I Understand What You Are Saying I Am In Exactly The Same Situation I Am Muslim .look Al I Can Tell You Is That Islam Is Not Just A Church On A Sunday . Islam Is A A Whole Way Of Life And If You Really Do Not Have Islam In Your Heart Believe Me Life Will Be Very Difficult.be Patient Learn The Religion And One Thing At A Time .do Not Let Anyone To Push You Into Anything.it Must Come From You .a Little Advise Your Name Islamically Does Not Have To Be Changed It Only Has To Be Changed If Your Real Name Means Something Not Good Or Against Islam .dont Worry About Your New Family When They See A New Muslim They Tend To Get A Bit Too Exited But The Most Important Thing Is You Must Have Islam In Your Heart For You Not For Them Or Anyone .if You Want To Talk More Post Me

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i know some couples who have handled this by moving farther away from relatives, so that the contact is not continual and limited to holidays or a visit or two a year.

 

as long as you and your husband are getting along that is important, but if you are discovering that all the joy is draining away from your life having to conform to the expectations of his family, that is really difficult. so you can try to get used to it, and if you can't perhaps he would consider moving away to control the interaction.

 

sometimes that is what has to happen if the family is very overbearing and won't leave you alone. of course they won't like it, but it could help your marriage survive and thrive.

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My mother is white, father is Asian. When they married, my mother didn't change a thing about her. She was raised a Christian, him a Buddhist. My point? She didn't change and they learned to appreciate each others culture, religion, and way of life. Nowdays, my mother even cooks an occasional Thai dish.

 

That's my experience with East Asian interracial relationships. But I get the feeling the original poster was referring to South Asian (Indian, Pakistani) or Southeast Asian (Indonesian, Malay) when she writes "Asian" (i.e., the British use of the word Asian).

 

In general, Buddhism is a lot more tolerant than Islam too.

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You shouldnt be changing for him and his family. Wearing Asian clothes around the family? Changing your name? That's way overboard. Its almost like you are being controlled and manipulated. You are yourself, they are themselves. Why change for them? Do they change for you?

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Denisa, as another British-Asian and a Muslim guy, kudos to you both for keeping up the communication and supporting each other through what must be a hard period for you. That bond will sustain you, no matter what the outside world says or does. There's not much more I could add beyond what the other posters said, but I wanted to put my two cents in and congratulate you on being so patient and loving in a world where there is very little of that. All the best.

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Advice is to move far away from the relatives as another poster said. Ugh, if my family ever tried to force anything down my future wife's throat I'd tell them to screw off.

 

But really, convince him to move far from the relatives for your own sanity. It might strain relations in the short term but it really will be short term pain for long term gain.

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