One Love, Two Cultures: Making It Work

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One Love, Two Cultures: Making It Work
Cross-cultural love is easy to start but harder to maintain.

Couple StandingThey say that fate has a hand in every connection. But the night my husband and I met, fate seemed to be cutting things awfully close. Richard lived in England, and was in New York City for a week’s vacation.

I was in graduate school at Columbia University. It was the ultimate coincidence that we happened to be in the same bar, a little dive called the Subway Inn on Lexington Avenue and 60th Street. We fell easily into conversation, and by last call I was pretty sure that this was the guy I was going to marry. Fortunately, he felt the same way.

As anyone in a cross-cultural relationship can attest, falling for each other is easy. But dating is much harder.

Seeing each other casually isn’t really an option if you’re not living in the same time zone when you first meet. You have to make a commitment, early on, to nurture a relationship that may require securing a visa before going out to dinner. Add in the complications of diff erent cultural approaches to love and marriage, conflicting ways of communicating, and language challenges, and it’s enough to give even the most ardent romantic a headache.

So, after a year of impassioned emails, gigantic phone bills, and whirlwind romantic visits, I found myself adjusting to life in Richard’s small Lancashire village. My journalism career was put on hold: I had been rustling copy at a prominent international newswire, now I was churning out cappuccinos in a Manchester café.

After the social buzz of New York, my life seemed bewilderingly dull. Apart from Richard, I didn’t know a soul in England, and I missed my friends and family desperately.

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