You know when people say that “at the end of the day, we’re all the same?” It’s a nice sentiment, but it isn’t really true.
Different races have different customs, traditions, beliefs, etc. And when people of different races get into relationships, they learn things about their partner’s culture.
AskReddit users shared their personal stories about this.
Let’s see what they had to say.
1. Not very affectionate…
“My boyfriend is half Japanese, and his very un-emotional relationship with his mother, and his father too, was a huge shock to me.
My parents are european immigrants from the Balkans, and they’re incredibly affectionate. My brother and I are affectionate with each other and will hug anytime. I hug my parents nearly every day (before the pandemic).
I grew up holding hands with my cousins in public, but my boyfriend absolutely hates PDA of any kind. We’ve gotten into numerous arguments about physical affection in public or even at parties around our own friends.
Naturally he thinks my relationship with my family is very weird. Because we hug…”
2. Running late.
“Being late to social gatherings is so ingrained in their culture that showing up right on time is considered rude. She has literally made me pull into a parking lot and wait so that we were at least ten minutes late to dinner at tita’s house.
And we were still the first ones there by far.”
3. Keep it coming!
“I learned very quickly that when you are eating food at my Greek SO’s house, you always leave a little bit on your plate. If you don’t they’ll say “Oh you’re HUNGRY!” and pile 5 times as much food onto your plate.”
4. Let’s cut the BS.
“My wife had to deal with Korean people who will frequently comment about your appearance as a greeting.
My aunt meeting my SO: Hii nice to meet you! your face is so small.”
5. I like the sound of this.
“I’d never seen someone cry tears of joy eating good pasta until I met my Italian girlfriend.”
6. That’s interesting.
“When I was dating a Mexican, I’d go to his family parties and they would play the most foul mouthed gangster rap. f*ck tha police blasting at a 5 year olds birthday. Abuelas and abuelos up and dancing to it.
I made a comment about how liberal his parents and grandparents must be. He said “oh they dont know English. This absolutely wouldn’t fly if they knew what it was about.””
7. When in Sweden…
“First Christmas in Sweden with a big Swedish family and everyone took back 6-8 shots of snaps (45% alcohol) during dinner after 2-3 glasses of wine pre-meal and not one person acted drunk.
I spent the evening stupefied at the alcohol tolerance. It’s not just that they drank more than should be possible, but they acted so NORMAL after.”
8. Too much touching.
“Being so touchy touchy. I’m Asian and she’s Hispanic, ‘nuff said.
Also what surprised us was the foods. There were so many things present in our opposite cultures but used in a lot of opposite ways. Like certain ingredients used savory in one culture and sweet in the other and so in. But a lot of ingredients in common.”
9. A tale of two cultures.
“Black British with a Jamaican family. Married to a white British guy.
Was most shocked by funerals. When we had his nannas funeral I was shocked that people were invited and only immediate family. We did the funeral, then went to a pub and there were sandwiches, cakes, tea etc then everyone was heading home by 5.30pm.
Jamaican and Caribbean funerals are NOTHING of the sort. People turn up because they knew the deceased person years ago. Some people don’t even make plans to go to the funeral they arrange to go to the “after”. There’s hot food served like a properly catered function in a hall or centre, there’s sound systems set up, and people dance.
Also sometimes a couple old men in hats playing dominoes. There’s also usually a “nine-night” so nine nights after the person passes away you hold a big party essentially to chase away bad spirits. Lots of music, drinking, food, smoking, etc.”
10. Let’s go down the list.
“A few things (I’m white, he’s Haitian)
The family drama! There is ALWAYS some kind of drama at any given moment of the day!
Eating super late on holidays like Christmas or thanksgiving. I swear “my moms cooking it should be done by noon” is loosely translated to “we arnt eating until 9’oclock at night and someone still has to run to the store a couple times.
Intentional tardiness. I like to be early for things and he can just dilly dally around and be okay being late for things. His mom can’t leave the house until about an hour after she has to be somewhere.
The excessive pushing to get married and have kids! I attended his brothers Haitian wedding and the entire time “when you guys going to get married” “when you guys going to have kids?” I swear for the entire 6 hours.
The partying! I’m cool with this part though! Everything’s a party!”
11. A family affair.
“I’m white that married a Mexican. The biggest thing for me was that EVERYTHING is a family affair. Like, I call my family every other week or whatever, but my husband’s family does everything together.
My first taste of this was when we were dating, and it took the whole family to switch out his mattress for a bigger one. I was like, you couldn’t do that yourself? He looked at me funny when I said that.”
12. Time to eat.
I grew up in a house where my dad is a good cook and we’d always have family dinner together so I thought I was in a food oriented household.
Well a month after I started dating my husband he brings me to a big family dinner. Grandparents were there and all the aunts and uncles. Twenty people around one of those big lazy Susan tables. I was the only white person in the whole restaurant.
They would all be chattering away in Cantonese and suddenly I’d hear my name followed by laughter and a big scoop of something landed in my bowl. Not wanting to be rude I tried to eat everything. If I was really unsure I leaned over to my boyfriend or his mom and ask what it was and their answer invariably was “it’s good, you’ll like it”
On the drive home my boyfriend said I had been the dinner entertainment because everybody thought it was hilarious that this little blonde girl ate everything, they even ordered a few really authentic dishes just to screw with me. But I ended up impressing everyone because I didn’t bat an eye.
He told me later that was the night he decided he was gonna marry me because I whole heartedly jumped into his culture and tried everything. I’m to a point where there are dishes I know I don’t like but if something new is in the table I always try it.”
13. All about the Benjamins.
“How open his family is about money. I never knew how much my parents make I have no idea how much money my sister makes. But I know my sister in law makes 5k more a year than my husband because every time one of them gets a raise they call each other to gloat (no bad blood just an ongoing sibling rivalry. I think she’s gonna win honestly)
I know what my father in law makes and every year he goes over our taxes with us so he knows down to the penny what my husband and I make.
It’s honestly so refreshing to not have a taboo about money. It’s made me so much smarter financially. My husband and I bought a house two months before we got married and ended being house poor. We didn’t have any spending money outside food bills and mortgage.
I felt no trepidation going to my mother in law and asking her to help us nail down a budget and savings plan for the next six months to help dig us out of the hole we were in.
Some of this is cultural but some of it is just his family being very very open with each other.”
14. Very honest.
“Hispanic culture has zero version of political correctness. They are extremely blunt. “Hey you look like you got fat” isn’t uncommon.
The people have a better view of life in many ways than I grew up. Much more family focused.”
15. Wow, that is crazy.
“Back in high school I dated a Lebanese girl. We had to date in secret because her family was super strictly against her dating anyone especially a Non-Muslim and Non-Arab guy.
Anyway eventually her cousin found out that we were having s^x and that information got to her dad who ended up sending her and her sister back to live with their uncle in Lebanon because “America corrupted his daughter”. I never saw her again.”
16. That’s nice.
“How accepted I am into their family.
I come from an emotionally mentally and often physically abusive home . My family is american. I was very much a true life cinderella. I was strangled by siblings and told it was my fault. If I fought back, I was punished with severe beatings.
I was never good enough even with the highest grades or best behaviour, but my siblings barely passed school and it was celebrated with huge fanfare.
I am now dating a Hispanic man. His family is so comforting and helpful and loving. It’s crazy. The only time I got hugged in my family was when I was losing my cool over how unfair everything was. And it was always I love you all equally.
No just I love you, not it was I love you all equally. His family is just hey I’m going hug love you and leave. Or I missed you. Or be careful. Or behave and a kiss blown.
I actually had to have a talk with my SO because I’m not a big hugger. I have trauma that is stirred up by hugs from people. It’s a trigger for me. Because a hug with both arms up top can very quickly be one strangling. And it has before. So I had to have him talk to his family. Because it was seriously messing with me.
And his family was totally cool about it.they constantly offer what I assume would be mom and dad level help in a happy home. They are always asking if I’ll be there for holidays. They sent me a present for christmas even though we’d only been together for a couple months.
It’s insane just how accepting and loving a healthy family is. And I’m not sure if it’s the healthy family relationships or if it’s the culture difference. But I love it.”
Those responses are really interesting.
We’d like to hear from you. Have you ever dated someone of a different race? If so, what surprised you about their culture?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments, please!