Can two people of different nationalities come from two different cultures and backgrounds and have a successful partnership?
Well, when two worlds meet, there is one primary secret ingredient that will make a mixed relationship work.
If I wasn’t living in the Middle East, I might not be interested in the subject that much. However, for the last 15 years, I was always surrounded by Arabs and bonded with them well. Both men and women. And I found their culture and traditions fascinating.
They are very cool, fun, kind, and open people.
Even when I was living in Germany and traveling for my work, half of the people I was hanging out with were from the UAE or France. And as you might know, France has a large population of Muslims, mainly from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunis.
The UAE, and Dubai in particular, is a tolerant melting pot with a mix of around 200 nationalities. And we are all coexisting here together and living in peace.
Therefore being in a relationship or marrying someone with a different religion is a high possibility.
It is also well-known that Arabs like women from other nationalities, especially from the East of Europe, and Christian women find Arab men very datable and marriage material.
They are handsome, have a good sense of humor, know how to treat women, and have strong personalities.
But how is it to date and get into a serious partnership with someone from another culture? What changes? And how?
I know for a fact and from my own experience that you will have to meet halfway and compromise, especially since some Muslims can be more conservative. Or Christians not being very tolerant and understanding.
Any relationship can be challenging, and it means compromise and hard work. But from what I have been through and seen in the Middle East, a mixed relationship takes a little more than that.
Most Muslim men will come with childhood luggage where they were taught in their households that drinking, partying, and having sex before marriage is a capital sin. (haram)
Of course, many of them end up living a very open life (nothing wrong with that), but the expectations and requirements change when it comes to their girlfriends, fiancees, or wives.
On the other hand, a Westerner woman is being taught by her parents to be independent, get a diploma and a job, and live her life on her terms.
When these two worlds meet, the hardship starts because both sides will bring in the relationship what they learned at home, their adult values, and cultural behaviors.
Either way, both sides should make an effort to understand each other’s cultures and religions and learn to live with one.
And one important aspect. Forcing the other person to do things they don’t want to do just because they have to understand, accept and embrace your culture – no matter what – Is WRONG!
The only and only way to make it work is to meet halfway.
Besides all the other things you have to do in a partnership to keep the engines running.
From my experience and other mixed couples that I saw around me, I can tell you that it is possible. Very possible.
I dated Muslims and Christian Arabs before living in Dubai, and since I am here in the Middle East, I mainly had relationships with Arabs (Muslims and Non-Muslims).
Most of them were ok, but I also had my share of experiences worth telling.
For Example, I Dated An Egyptian Guy A Few Years Back, And I Dealt With The Following.
- He was 29 and a virgin until one year before meeting me. We had sex three times in 4 months, and every time after, he said he would burn in hell because he was not supposed to do that before marriage. Like it’s haram.
- He was not drinking alcohol (no problem with that), and he said that if we lived together and his parents came, seeing the alcohol in the house would be a big issue for him.
- He told me that he couldn’t understand how I could enjoy a glass of wine with my food.
My Reaction To Those Three
- I almost accepted the lack of sex for those four months of a relationship. I wanted so bad to be with him that I brainwashed myself to think that sex is not that important and we can have enough if we get married. As soon as we broke up, I looked in the mirror and asked, “Are you stupid”???
- I told him if his parents were coming by (they live in Egypt), I would hide the alcohol out of respect but otherwise, no way. My friends drink it, and if they come over, I can’t give them tea. They would laugh in my face. Plus, his parents or no one else will make rules in my house. Period.
- I told him he didn’t have to because I was not questioning him or trying to understand that he was praying five times a day or going on Friday at the mosque. And by the way, I respected that.
Another one had an issue with what I am wearing (and I am talking about casual attire I would wear in a mall, duh!). A Jordanian guy already had three wives, and he considered me to qualify as the 4th one. By the way having four wives is quite an old practice in our century, so most Arabs choose not to have so many beloved ones nowadays.
The point is that it is all about compromise and understanding the other person. For me, it’s clear. If I am forced to obey some men’s rules because he was raised in a certain way or because his mommy, daddy, or friends would think that my western culture is inappropriate, I am out.
It’s not a dictatorship; it’s a partnership. And we have to meet in the middle. This secret ingredient will make any relationship work and a mixed one too.
Have you ever been in a mixed relationship? Any challenges you faced? Please drop me a comment. I would love to read about your experience.