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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » cultural differences & dating

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Author Topic: cultural differences & dating
Member # 46852

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Hey everyone!

I came onto this website looking for information about relationships and sex and all that jazz, but I think those who come from cultural backgrounds that don't exactly encourage owning your sexuality or dating freely at a young age deserve a nice little space.

Both of my parents are South Asian, and if you don't already know, it's the land of arranged marriages and anti-dating sentiment. (Right-wing political groups have unsuccessfully tried to ban Valentine's Day in India. 'Nuff said.) Websites like these are a lifesaver for a teenager that simply cannot (and will not) talk to their parents about sex or dating. Don't get me wrong, it's hard for any family, but cultural differences can make it even harder.

How do you deal with living in the U.S. (or UK or any other Western/liberal country) while managing a generational/cultural gap at home with regards to dating & sex?

Posts: 1 | From: htown | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43276

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I try to expose my parents to the western way of thinking about dating. They used to be not okay with me dating, but I bring up stories of my friends who have boyfriends or are already engaged to the man of their own choice and eventually they kind of loosened their expectations. Its gotten to the point where I am East Asian but they were okay with me dating a South Asian boy. I try to keep an open line of communication. However the funny thing is the South Asian boy I dated, his parents were very determined to give him an arranged marriage and refused to let him date anyone not of his race. Plus we were both pretty young and still in high school at the time.
Posts: 53 | From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Member # 35643

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You're right, it can be really difficult.

I'm also a South Asian person living overseas for more than 20 years now. I've found that my parents have gotten more liberal with time although they are still more conservative than most people living here. Also, there are times I've felt hurt by people here making jokes about "sending you home to marry you off" or about getting hitched to someone "fresh off the boat".

Maybe the biggest thing for me has been having friends going through a similar situation. When I think about it, I've had at least 30 friends and acquaintances living abroad but getting together through some form of arranged marriage. And more than that number getting together in less traditional ways, with or without family support.

I think bringing the subject up gently can be good, as you mention, Silverwing. Like my parents are very against "de-facto" couples who live together unmarried, for example. But we at least have some discussions about pros and cons these days.

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Member # 43276

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I actually read somewhere that the divorce rate for arranged marriages are much lower than love marriages. I am personally for arranged marriages if that is the kind of marriage that both parties one and if both parties initially love each other. I know of one couple who just got married through arranged marriage and they seem to be getting along really well. What I really like about arranged marriages is that both parties enter into the marriage with similar values, like making the marriage work, starting a family, etc. It's just my opinion though. I am a big fan of stable and non-dramatic relationships.
Posts: 53 | From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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