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What are intercultural relationships?

Although just a few decades ago intercultural relationships were illegal in major countries like the United States, today we encounter them everywhere we look, and we will have an honest discussion about them.

Learn more about the benefits and challenges of intercultural relationships by reading us to the end.

Intercultural relationships
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What are intercultural relationships?

One of the main consequences of globalization is multiculturalism. Nowadays, it is very likely that we will come to live with people from other parts of the world.

First of all, it is of vital importance that we take culture as that mold that will shape us during the first years of our life, and that will then accompany us throughout our life cycle.

When we speak of different cultures, we are not necessarily referring to people living at opposite ends of the world, since intercultural relationships can occur even between two people from the same country with a different sense of culture.

For example, in many Latin American countries there are indigenous civilizations that have their own space within the territory where their laws and customs are very different from those of the rest of the population, and they are recognized and respected as a different and, in many cases, original culture.

This could lead us to the fact that a person from the same country, but who is outside that culture, establishes a relationship with another who does. In this sense, we would be talking about intercultural relations due to the difference in customs, laws and even language.

This could be taken to a much more global example where, for example, a person from Venezuela establishes a relationship with someone from Germany. When living together on a daily basis it will be obvious that the cultural clash that will exist between the two is inevitable.

Young affectionate intercultural man and woman looking at one another

Why are there growing the number of couples from different cultures?

The reason why there are more couples from different cultures is uncertain, since if we were to ask them one by one we would find that the reasons why they are with that person is different from the next one, since there is no globalized reason for it.

Let’s start with the adoration of other cultures, it may be that a European is enchanted with the Latin American culture and this will make him/her, unconsciously, begin to look at people who reflect it by nature. He will then feel a certain attraction that goes through the adoration of that person’s culture.

Another reason why there are more couples from different cultures nowadays may be migration. Exchange students, going to work in other countries, or any reason why a person now leaves their home country and is forced to live and interact where they are.

People who go more down the path of romanticism might tell you that it’s all about love. That when “true love” comes, it doesn’t matter what race, sex, or country of origin it is. Being connections that “can’t be avoided”.

As well as it has also come to witness couples from different cultures for convenience, where people develop a certain level of preference for others due to the benefits that a legalization or naturalization in the country of origin can mean depending on the country where you are.

However, what has been said so far can be summarized by remarking how interesting it is for human beings to know and try new things, including cultures. The dynamism that a couple that may be culturally opposed to each other can have will be something incomparable to the usual.

Benefits and challenges of intercultural relations

Benefits of intercultural relationships

It is a celebration of freedom. For example, just a few decades ago, interracial marriages were forbidden in the United States (meaning white or African-American people from different cultures).

You will see the world from a new perspective. In every way you think possible, when you are with a person from a different culture than your own, you see beyond your point of view. There are things that increase in themselves, such as holiday calendars, spiritual richness, among others.

They usually have smarter children. Carmit Tadmir, Ada Galinsky and William Maddux conducted a series of studies where they concluded that the children of bicultural relationships are innovative, flexible and more creative, which is why their cultural background will be richer.

Double celebrations. As countries have their own rites, rituals and festivities, intercultural relationships tend to see this as a double opportunity to share more of their own culture with their loved one. 

Diversity of solutions. When facing problems, couples work together to solve any issue that might come. Intercultural relationships have the opportunity to face problems from different perspectives and ways to solve any issue. An open couple who accepts each other propositions and bond together their strenghts can jump any obstacle. 

Challenges of intercultural relationships

Getting rid of prejudices. Although it can be a good opportunity to learn to see the world from a different perspective, for the most closed-minded people it can be a challenge to get rid of their prejudices and accept the behaviors or customs of others if they seem to go against their own.

Learning from the native culture and language. Although in some cases learning a new culture and language may be somewhat easier, there will be others where it will be complicated and not necessarily for lack of interest.

Knowing how to respect personal time and space. From one culture to another the perception of time and personal space can vary greatly. In these cases it is recommended not to take anything for granted, to be flexible to any other interpretation of reality.

Extending or generalizing differences. In some cases it is possible to attack or generalize aspects of another person’s culture. When we allow ourselves to be carried away by prejudices and accusations, situations only tend to worsen to the point of not allowing mutual understanding.

Creating one’s own routines. It is completely healthy to be in constant search of concerns and passions that can be shared as a couple, if you add the cultural component you can create good quality time together and foster knowledge and understanding of the other culture.

Where to spend more time. There is the intercultural relationships challenge to decide for longterm what is the best option of the place to live. As usual, the place where the couple meet gets to be the country they live, but at somepoint one of the couple will be nostalgic and will desire to spend some more time at home.

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