Making any relationship work whether it is an intercultural relationship or not can be demanding, and at some point turn out to be a total nightmare. As much as some couples may find their cross-cultural relationship interesting and exciting, to some, it is a tough and a rough journey. This is because of the many challenges that may be faced intercultural relationships. Couples who are in intercultural relationships or marriage will agree on the same.
For Jane and Brian’s case, their relationship has not been a smooth walk in the park, simply because they are from different cultures. Jane is a Jamaican/African American while her boyfriend is a Cameroonian. Just like any other cross-cultural couples, they too have faced a lot of challenges, which almost led to them giving up on their 4-year relationship.
Below are some of the reasons that can make an intercultural relationship a nightmare for couples.
Fear and doubt
Many cross-cultural couples usually have that fear or doubt in their relationship. Fear results from not knowing what to expect next. While doubt raises a lot of unanswered questions; like whether the relationship is ever going to work in the long run? What if both families are against our relationship simply because we are from different cultural backgrounds? What will happen next? Among other questions.
Misunderstanding and disagreements
Misunderstanding can arise due to simple reasons like preparation of meals, handling finances, sharing of house chores, religion, etc. Alternatively, couples may find it hard to agree on how things should be done. For instance, one spouse may be used to doing things in a particular manner while the other finds it better for it to be handled the other way.
Stereotyping, family resistance, and attacks
The aspect of stereotyping is something that is not new and has been experienced by many. Intercultural relationships may face resistance and attacks from family members and friends. Your family may refuse to accept and recognize your relationship simply because they do not like your partner, he/she is from a different race/country, has a different skin color or because of their cultural practices. This can go beyond the aspects mentioned above.
In any relationship, you will always expect your partner to have your back no matter what. However, this may not always be the case as some partners may do the opposite and choose to take sides with their family members in case of conflicts or arguments and neglect their spouse even if they did not start the argument/fight. As much as this may be hurting, the best thing is to try as much as possible to avoid arguments or conflicts with your in-laws.
Couples in intercultural relationships should always put in mind that everything about them is different, and the best thing to do is to learn from each other. The same applies to learning each other’s foreign language, as it will help to make communication more effective and efficient between them and the family members. Failure to learn can lead to misunderstanding and quarrels since no one will be able to understand each other.
The issue of having to relocate to your spouse’s foreign country can sometimes be a problem especially when you love your home country, family members, work environment and friends. Relocating can mean that you have to leave everything behind including your friends, work, and family and join your spouse, all which can be inconveniencing. When such is not addressed properly and in due time, then it can lead to fights or breakups between the couples.
Loss of cultural identity.
The good thing about an intercultural relationship is that fact that couples learn new things about each other’s cultural traditions, food delicacies, religions, new ways of doing things among other things. The biggest challenge that can lead to someone losing their cultural identity is because of adapting to the new cultural practices of your spouse. For instance, certain cultural festivals that you are used to celebrating may end up being forgotten completely.
Lack of support
To make your relationship work, you need the support of your spouse, family members, and friends. However, lack of support can lead to your relationship breaking up especially if those whom you expect to give you the necessary support are the same people who are judgmental towards your relationship.
Despite the challenges faced, couples in cross-cultural relationships can still make their relationship work by stumbling upon their cultural differences.