Don’t you think that it is more and more frequent to see multicultural couples and families? In such a globalized world and especially when you live abroad, interacting with people from other places and the chances of falling in love with someone foreign are much greater. 30 people who are in a relationship with someone from a different country to theirs have shared their views with me.
Among the interviewees, 4 of the 30 share their mother tongue with their partners. The remaining 26 communicate either in a third language (9) or in the mother tongue of one of the two (17). For most of the latter, language is an indifferent factor for good communication, some point out that it is even an advantage; first of all for the possibilities of practicing another language but also to avoid conflicts as Alba, Spanish with a German partner, says: “speaking in another language makes you think more about what you are going to say” and Russell, English married to a Spaniard: “When she is angry with me she can speak very quickly in her mother tongue and I have no idea what she is saying.” Esther, a Spaniard, with a Belgian partner, assures that it can also lead to funny situations: “there are many comical situations because we understand what we want or we translate expressions literally”. On the other hand, the disadvantages include that the difference in language can lead to many misunderstandings and as Roberta says, Italian with a Danish partner: “The sense of humour can be different, sometimes we do not find the same things funny.”
What are the advantages that the interviewees see in having a multicultural relationship? All mention the enrichment offered by this type of relationship from both a cultural and idiomatic point of view, Spanish Ana with Italian partner sums it up: “It opens your mind and teaches you new ways of thinking and doing things that you may have not thought about before. It makes you more understanding and tolerant.”
And the challenges posed by this type of relationship? Different schedules, meal habits, different ways of communicating and the integration in the respective groups of friends when language is not shared, are the most mentioned.
Marina, Spanish with an English partner, shares the success formula to overcome the differences: “we respect each other’s habits and we have created “our own way” that is a mixture of both of our cultures.”