Multicultural Breakup
September 28, 2008 11:49 AM   Subscribe

The short end - my insecurity, slight bickering, possible anxiety combined with cultural/language differences pushed a great, overall, happy, loving/in-love, great sex relationship over the end. Now im hurt, of course, confused, and still want a future. HELP!

I dated a woman for a year and 8 months, prior to which we were friends for 6. She was my best female friend and i hesitated to date her for the risk of losing her as a friend.

My personal issues have stemmed from a previous volatile relationship that unfortunately spurted up in my most recent relationship. issues of insecurity, coupled with bickering habits from the past have lead to a few troubled times.

Previously we've discussed these issues as being limiting factors of how far we could actually go. We both believed with a little TLC as well as some therapy, my issues could be resolved. So we continued to date.

At first she was content with our cultural differences. She was raised catholic, i was raised hindu but neither of us are devoted. My parents don't speak english as well as hers but both of our families supported the relationship. Despite this, she felt it was what she wanted long term....

Recently she and i visited my parents and she had dinner with her ex bf, while i was out of town. I became insecure about this and thus began a "spat"-at the same time the notion that our families being incompatible was fueled in her head.

So we broke up. Her conclusion was we're not the right fit - our families arent right for one another, the wedding wouldnt be right for her, she wants a family where both sides are able to fully communicate with one another. And ultimately she doubts it would work long term.

The unfortunate thing is, i know she loves me so this is terribly hard on her. She wanted it to be right but it seems she has large doubts. We never fully discussed the details of our lives like marriage but i feel as though i could have made necessary sacrifices to fit her needs.

Of course, i love this woman dearly and since i know i can fix my personal issues, i have a sense of (false) hope. Our breakup has gone okay, kinda dramatic but still understanding on both parts. We've enlisted the do not contact rule...

Do things like this ever work out? Is there a possibility of moving on while still seeing where things lay in the future? All similar posts lead to 'move on, you were better without her' but we loved each other dearly and the family issue seems the largest obstacle.

Also:
--I've lost a large chunk of my friends due to them moving out of the city, how can i build a support structure?
--How can i STOP calling, texting, emailing her?
--Should i use CL for random hookups to move on? I dont know the success rates and im kinda fearful of what will become of me. And i dont want to move on but its probably best(?)
-- I feel like i need more women friends in my life which i don't have many of...how can i make more?

overall advice is also appreciated. thanks
posted by AMP583 to Human Relations (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
--How can i STOP calling, texting, emailing her?

Just don't. It's like craving a Big Mac. You get the urge and it seems like a really good idea but it's bad for you and you'll feel like shit after. If you feel the urge, immediately do something else that will occupy your mind.

--Should i use CL for random hookups to move on? I dont know the success rates and im kinda fearful of what will become of me. And i dont want to move on but its probably best(?)

No. Random hookups in the wake of a failed romantic relationship will leave you in a very bad place emotionally. The need to compensate immediately for that void left by your ex is understandable but you'll find quickly that you're just filling a void with another set of voids: empty and meaningless physical relationships. Unless you're 100% sure that it's what you want (and if you want my opinion, it doesn't sound like you are), stay away from this.

-- I feel like i need more women friends in my life which i don't have many of...how can i make more?

For general friend-making I'd recommend a site like okcupid. It's not just a dating site so just looking for friends is widely considered okay but you WILL get the terribly desperate types messaging you looking for dating. If I can interject my personal opinion here, I would say that you should not follow these leads at this point. Keep your "Looking For" section set to "New Friends" and make that your goal and stick to it. It sounds like you need some time. Don't let yourself fall into anything too quickly.

Do things like this ever work out?

Short answer: no. Longer answer: sometimes, but in your particular case from the information you've given I don't think it will. You can make all the sacrifices in the world (hint: you shouldn't) but at the end of the day she is the one saying you're not the right fit. In a nutshell, live your life and don't hold out hope for her.

Full Disclosure: I had my heart ripped out recently by a cold, careless person and I'm still in recovery mode. Any advice given is probably still tinged with bitter hatred for all things love.
posted by saraswati at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2008


The unfortunate thing is, i know she loves me so this is terribly hard on her.

You know that huh? Let's look at things critically here:

SHE: Waited until you were out of town and had dinner with her ex - she may have even had desert as far as you know... Regardless, this reminded her that there is a whole world of possibilities out there for her. She's been thinking a lot about how the two of you just aren't a good fit - the difficulties between your two very different families being just one example, and she made the right choice and decided to end the relationship.

YOU: Find yourself alone and feeling hopeless, realizing that a lot of your friends are moving away... fretting over psychobabble notions of "support structures" and thinking that some random skanky hookup on CL is a good idea for getting over your ex - whom you've been harassing via text, calls, and emails...

Of the two, she sounds infinitely more mature and capable - just one more reason why the relationship was set to end.

No, I don't think there is a possibility that you can work this out. For one you're being insular and acting out of hurt and loneliness rather than out of a real desire to be with this woman. You knew things weren't a hundred percent while the relationship was on - you had a red flag when she had dinner with the ex, and it's only now, after she's taken her tooth brush back that you're pinning for her. You don't need a girlfriend, you need a security blanket.

So what should you do?

Follow the same advice that's given in any of these "Halp! I just got dumped!" AskMes: get out, meet new people, join a club, take up a hobby, stop obsessing over relationships, join a gym, go to the gym, focus on yourself and self-improvement.

Most of all, just stop contacting her. Leave her alone. Trust me, she's sick of hearing from you and the new guy is probably wondering WTF is up with you, her crazy ex. Delete her numbers, delete her emails, get her off your IM, unfriend her from Facebook... you get the idea.

There are a million different ways to move on. Pick one.
posted by wfrgms at 12:37 PM on September 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Take things a day at a time. Nothing dramatic will happen to get your over the pain and loss, just time. It's not easy, but it does get easier.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2008


Am I correct in assuming you're Indian (immigrant?) and she's a white American?

If so, I've met lots of guys in your situation (mainly through marriage to an Indian woman). I can't tell much about you from your post, and everyone's situation is different, but here's my two cents FWIW.

You might suffer from what my wife calls "Indian male syndrome," whereby guys from India (or born here to parents from India) just seem to have a hard time dating white girls. In short, the cultural beliefs and practices that make sense in India where male behavior is concerned just don't cut it with American women. Sometimes it's just plain culture clash; sometimes it's assumptions and values about gender and gender roles; sometimes it's really problematic stuff like believing it's appropriate to slap your girlfriend when you're angry (yes, I know a couple where this ended the relationship). If you were born here, it may be what you learned growing up where these issues are concerned (Did your dad/brothers/uncles convey strong beliefs about "the way women are," how "difficult" they make life, and how they just "can't understand certain things" the way men can? Red flag!).

In conversations with women (Indian and non-) who have dated Indian guys, the perception is that they tend to be arrogant, controlling, stubborn, materialistic, patriarchal, and juvenile in dealing with anger and frustration, and that these characteristics are more common the higher you go up the socioeconomic ladder. However biased or unfounded these perceptions are in individual cases, if you feel that your dating problems might have anything at all to do with these character traits, you might want to seek counseling from a counselor who specializes in South Asian psychology or cultural issues.

Again, none of this may apply to you, and I feel bad stereotyping in my reply. White Americans, after all, have their hangups too (God knows). But you asked for help, and this might be the problem. I wish I could recommend a book or something, but I don't know of any offhand.
posted by Rykey at 1:05 PM on September 28, 2008


I didn't immigrate here - i was born here. I've dated a few "white" women. It's not about the way i was raised, i was never raised to believe women are difficult, or anything negative really. My only downside might have been not knowing how to treat women like princesses.

Your suggestion of seeing something who deals in South Asian psychology sounds interesting.
posted by AMP583 at 1:11 PM on September 28, 2008


As hard as her decision has likely been for you, I think it was a prudent one, not just for her, but for you. If she can't understand and appreciate how your family background would make things more interesting and rich, then, in a way, she's not really appreciating you (and, I mean, Indian weddings sound sort of awesome from everything I've heard about them). I mean, what sort of sacrifices are you supposed to make to meet her needs? Send your parents to English classes?

I think some time single--really single, not just fucking random craigslist chickies--would do you some good, especially as you say that issues from a previous relationship were impacting this one. Rebuild your own self-esteem and confidence, maybe get some counseling, have fun doing things for you--taking classes you're interested in, or socializing platonically with people. That way, when you get into a relationship again, it won't be clouded with issues from this one, or the one before it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:25 PM on September 28, 2008


Such counselors can be tough to find. As luck would have it, my wife is one. MeFiMail me if you want-- I'd be glad to put you in contact with her about finding one in your area.
posted by Rykey at 1:28 PM on September 28, 2008


My only downside might have been not knowing how to treat women like princesses.

Don't do this. Women aren't princesses - they are just people. If you're dating someone, treat them as you would anyone you like and respect, but *please* don't elevate them artificially. It's almost always a cloying turn-off.

It may sound cruel, but I just don't think this girl was into you. One ends a relationship for no other reason. Family incompatibilities are just noise - polite noise, but not the real reason. If she loved you, madly, she wouldn't give a damn about a wedding, or family language barriers, or anything other than being a part of your life.

Her breaking up with you is OK, but you'll do yourself a service by not focusing on her story about why it happened. Instead, give yourself time to recover, and then try dating again -- with someone you're attracted to and have interests in common with, and who feels similarly about you.
posted by ellF at 1:33 PM on September 28, 2008


Date other women asap. Stop clinging to one person in the belief that she is "the one".

Go back into my posting history and learn about how clinging to one person always creates problems like this. All of these problems are unecessary when you learn to be independent.

Being independent and having significant "others" is something you have to work at. But it is very satisfying and liberating.
posted by Zambrano at 1:47 PM on September 28, 2008


My only downside might have been not knowing how to treat women like princesses.

2nding ellF... that's the line that stuck out like a red flag to me. Putting women on a pedestal is exactly the wrong thing to do. It'll make you feel bad inside, and will make you look needy and desperate to women. How about treating yourself like a prince?

As for how you can stop texting/calling/messaging her... just realize that each time you do it, you're losing a little more of your dignity. Seriously, I've (recently) been where you are. Imagine her getting that message when she's making out with her new guy. She hears her phone beep, they stop making out, she checks the message. He asks "what is it?" She says "Oh, it's nothing important." And they go back to making out. Point is, she's not waiting around for you to text her. She's getting on with her life, so you should get on with yours. Cold turkey.

(yes, of course, it's easier said than done. so what?)
posted by mpls2 at 2:25 PM on September 28, 2008


I love Metafilter but I think the group mind can be quick to judge and start making snide remarks. Those of you who have made some snarky comments above might want to think about your own tone and attitudes before casting stones. AMP583 has feelings and is probably in a very sensitive state.

My take on this is that there appears to be a strong subtext of doubt on both sides. It could well be to your mutual benefit to be apart. If for some reason it turns out to be the relationship of your lives, you'll come back to it when the time is right. But now even you acknowledge you need to build a new structure around your existence.

Maintain dignity in both your own eyes and hers by not sending any further communications. If she contacts you, behave in a civil and neutral fashion. Act respectfully.

As for Craigslist hookups, personally speaking I think that sometimes it can be useful to meet other people in order to put previous relationships into context. You don't even need to go all the way - just go on a few dates. But there is a "strictly platonic" section, too, and you'll likely find just as much value from meeting up with a few men and women with whom you can forge new bonds. Once your own positivity and direction is established, you'll find people naturally gravitate towards you, thus obviating the need for the casual encounters section.
posted by skylar at 3:23 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


My only downside might have been not knowing how to treat women like princesses.

Don't do this. Women aren't characters out of fairy tales.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:26 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


It may sound cruel, but I just don't think this girl was into you. One ends a relationship for no other reason. Family incompatibilities are just noise - polite noise, but not the real reason. If she loved you, madly, she wouldn't give a damn about a wedding, or family language barriers, or anything other than being a part of your life.[...]
posted by ellF at 10:33 PM on September 28 [+] [!]


This. Seriously. If she were really in love with you the family would not be enough to keep her away from you. She's using it as an excuse to get out of the relationship. I would advise you to get over this girl any way you can, and definitely stop contacting her. It makes you look pathetic.
posted by nonmerci at 7:00 PM on September 28, 2008


My only downside might have been not knowing how to treat women like princesses.

Actually, it sounds like the OP believes women want to be treated like princesses. Well, maybe sometimes, but citing this as his main "flaw" does kind of sound like he might benefit from a little research and/or introspection.
posted by amtho at 8:30 PM on September 28, 2008


If you're sympathetic to the mission of any local women's centers or non-profits, join up as a volunteer. You'll have something in common with your co-volunteers who are likely to be women, and that's usually a good basis for forming friendships with anyone, including females. Also, because "fit" is a two-way thing: "My parents don't speak english as well as hers..." Presumably, her parents don't speak your parents other language as well as your parents do. When the fit is right, and parents are supportive, communication problems and incompatible wedding styles are not insurmountable obstacles, but rather a common part of the process of two people sharing a life together.
posted by PY at 9:50 PM on September 28, 2008


Judging by your other posts, girl in question does indeed want to be treated like a princess.

This will not hold for other ladies in your life.
posted by shownomercy at 10:01 AM on September 29, 2008


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