Mudcat Café message #1133857 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67653   Message #1133857
Posted By: Ellenpoly
11-Mar-04 - 10:05 AM
Thread Name: BS: Dating Behaviour - am I out of touch ?
Subject: RE: BS: Dating Behaviour - am I out of touch ?
B&B, I've already said a whole lot more than I meant to in the beginning, and if I could have written this one as a personal message, I'd have preferred it, but since I can't so be it.

The man I married back in the early 70s was Greek, and between meeting and marrying, all of 5 months elapsed. I had no intention of EVER getting married to anyone, and only agreed to marry him to help him get a Visa so he could go to the States and work if he so wished.

I had no expectations going into the marriage that it would last, and perhaps that turned out to be beneficial, as I found I was continally being surprised at what we had in common and how many new ideas we had to share with each other. Every day was a surprise, and we stayed together for a decade.(The other side of the coin is that we were both mentally unstable as hell, and it's a miracle we both survived the experience..but that's another story.)

But the point I'd like to make here is, my being American and his being Greek became a really difficult hurdle at some time fairly early on. For all the exterior facets of this man being presented to me as an enlightened Citizen of the World, I found you only had to scratch the surface to find the Greek, who is educated from infancy to look in the mirror and see a little Alexander the Great staring back out at him. The statistics of marital break-ups between Greek Men and American Women is something in the 90 percentile range, where the other way around (Greek Women and American Men) is almost nil.

If you have even an inkling that you don't know this man well enough, take that as a sign to go slowly and make sure he is what he seems to be. I was shocked to find that my "wasband" expected me to be the traditional cook, cleaner, housekeeper, and mother...and he was shocked to find that wasn't going to be the case, as I couldn't at that time in my life, tell a frying pan from a spatula and didn't especially want to (nor did I want children which was almost inconceivable to most Greeks). There was intense pressure from his family for me to conform to type as well, and if in the end we hadn't hashed it out as friends (something that is as foreign a notion to many Greek men as the notion that perhaps Greece did NOT give "the light of civisation to the world") the relationship would have ended within weeks. In our case, we decided to explore our strengths and weaknesses (HAH! TRY to get a Greek man to ADMIT to any weaknesses!) and we managed to come through the fires in most interesting ways.(It turned out he was an AMAZING COOK and loved doing it as well, thank the gods) and as I said in a previous posting we worked together 24 hours a day well and fruitfully for many years.

BUT please let me emphasise this, there can be EXTREME differences between cultures that can absolutely make a difference on whether a relationship will thrive or not. I do find that taking the man out of his country is often a way to break through some of the most entrenched cultural ties, but in the end, time will be what tells you the truth here...xx..e