I cry every week and he doesn't understand why
November 5, 2012 6:00 AM Subscribe
I'm in a long-distance cross-cultural relationship with the love of my life. Unfortunately we're having communication issues that are hurting us both. Please help.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We've been together over a year, long distance the whole time. We have a weekly call scheduled for Saturdays, as U.S. weekends are the only times we can talk, due to time differences and work schedules. Other communication (email, text, unscheduled phone calls) is limited to non-existent for a variety of reasons.
My main problem: he is routinely late for our weekly call, sometimes half an hour, sometimes an hour. About 30% of the time he doesn't show up at all, and doesn't tell me he won't be coming until I text to ask where he is. We typically reschedule for Sunday when this happens. In the last seven days he has stood me up four (consecutive) times. He often has a legitimate reason (meeting ran late, family emergency, Internet bill wasn't paid so he can't come online, etc.) but he never notifies me of what's happening until I have waited for him for hours. This hurts me and makes me feel disrespected, unloved, unwanted, and worthless.
His main problem: he doesn't understand why this is such a big deal. The cultural differences are such that standing someone up or being hours late is not a huge transgression to him. He, in turn, is offended that I get upset and demand explanations. I went so far as to call him an asshole this week and tell him that I deserve to be respected and if he won't do it I will find someone who will. He was extremely hurt by this and felt my reaction was disproportionate to the offense. In retrospect I regret threatening to end the relationship, but a pattern has developed over the last year such that he only takes me seriously if I indicate I am willing to leave. Otherwise he finds my anger "cute" and sweet talks me until I let it drop.
How you can help: If you have an understanding of the West, can you help me to explain how lateness and being stood up is perceived in Western culture, and why I feel worthless and unloved when he does not respect our one and only means of regular communication? If you have insight into a culture which has a more relaxed view of schedules and punctuality, can you help me to understand why he does not see the need to let me know when he is late or won't be coming online, and also why standing me up on a regular basis is not a sign of disrespect?
Thank you in advance.