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Furthermore, as a new generation embracing and becoming more comfortable with cultural differences, might not some of us become examples for future generations of the mixed-culture couples that lasted, if we last? In my work as a dating coach, I'm hearing more and more clients say that they are open to dating someone of another ethnicity or religion.Am I saying that those who date outside of their culture are not in tune with their own?Certainly not, but they certainly have embraced other cultures more and are willing to look past any real, imagined or expected obstacles.Some responses: “Love is love.” Jennifer (23), Angolan “I would only prefer to date a Congolese man because we both understand each others cultures.The connection is just better because we can relate in many ways since we’ve had a similar upbringing.” Sarah (24), Congolese “I love my Ghanaian brothers, especially those who can speak my tribal language. Especially when telling jokes, it just doesn’t sound the same in English.” Nana (24), Ghanaian “I will be with anyone as long as they are compatible to me and I’m attracted to them. I’m British.” Christopher (28), Nigerian “As long as they are not Jamaican.” Bijoux (28), Congolese “Dating someone from your own background has far more positives than dating someone from another background, such as cultural understanding, speaking the same language etc. I’ve brought a Nigerian, Jamaican and Congolese home.“Dating is one thing, but marriage is another”, an aunty told me. Marriage and dating are two different things, clearly, but which factors are fundamental when deciding whom to marry? Love is love, as one of the respondents said, but is it better to stay within cultural boundaries to save ourselves from the potential future troubles that might result from mixing cultures – as some elders advice – or should one ignore boundaries and deal with issues if they arise? Having to decide which culture my children followed more or which one was dominant in my household is another consideration, as I find it important for reasons of identity.
In Africa, those who speak the same language have a similar culture.
Outside our homes, we spoke the same street language, ate the same type of food, listened to the same type of music and were attracted to the same type of guys (or girls).
There were no cultural preferences, except they had to speak English and couldn’t be a “freshie” (someone who’s recently moved to the UK from Africa). However, as I got older and continued to date people from other countries, I realised there was always a barrier in the way, almost like a culture clash, and language, I felt, was the ultimate clash as it is one of the key markers of culture.
As one uncle put it to me [I’m Congolese], “If you married a Nigerian, how would you cope if he wanted to retire in Nigeria? Could we really say that relationships would be easier if we were with someone of the same origin?
If you’re going to marry a foreigner, marry a white man.” These were the words that fell from my friend’s mother’s mouth when her daughter told her she was dating a Nigerian man because she was tired of Congolese men. ”, said my friend in response, defiantly challenging her mother, to my dismay (anybody knows better than to challenge an African mother! White people “White people don’t have much culture; it’s easy to adapt either way. Was it really for our own good to find our life partners within our own culture?
When I spoke to another Congolese person they understood me, but when I spoke to someone who didn’t speak my mother tongue, conversations couldn’t be as natural as I wanted them to be.