Founder of Perfect Partners Gloria McDonald discusses how having parents from another country can affect relationships.
Host: What if you were both raised in the same country, speak the same language, but are from different cultures because one or both have immigrant parents? Gloria MacDonald: So, again there are a lot of similarities here if you are both born in the same country, raised in the same country, you are going to potentially say you are going to look the same in this particular case that we were talking about. Speak the same language. Let's say we are talking about the U.S. or Canada. You both speak English, but there are differences because one or both you have immigrant parents. I have a friend who is a perfect example of this. She is Caucasian. Her parents happen to come from Greece so and she has married a man who is a Canadian and his family has been in Canada for ever and ever. So his roots would be Anglo-Saxon and she says, "It's amazing." Although, she doesn't speak Greek any longer, she actually was born in Greece but she came to Canada when she was like two years old. So she doesn't speak Greek. Her native language is really English.She said it's amazing how much just the influence of her immigrant parents being Greek has had on her and how with her in-laws she will never be one of them. She will always be an outsider and they are just different traditions. Again, around how you celebrate holidays and what types of food you eat at holidays and there is always a curiosity factor by the other family that's like, "Oh, oh, you do that. Oh, well that's different," and it's seen as strange and unique and quirky and all these kinds of things and it can be very subtle but that other partner will know for life that they are not one of us and even though, if not necessarily a conscious thing, it's there and there is a feeling that's there.I have another example of a client of mine born and raised in Canada but his parents were originally from China. He does not speak Chinese. His only language is English but he has very different values than I think most North Americans would in that his parents live with him and he totally expects to spend the rest of his life as long his parents are alive living with them and he wants to get married and have his wife live with them and I have tried to explain to him that most North American women would want to have their own home. They would want to have own kitchen. They would want to be able to cook their own meals and they want their own freedom and space. Two very different cultures. Again, he is born and raised in Canada, but with immigrant parents and those immigrant parents have had a huge effect on his idea of values, family values and his whole culture. So these things can create huge points of friction.
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