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Parallax - Advice            December 11, 2000

  Bridging the cultural gap

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My girlfriend and I have dated on and off for about three-and-a-half years. Our main problem is our families. We come from different cultures and the families don't get along. My family thinks she's not good enough for me, and her family feels I'm not good enough for her. It has been a very stormy relationship: she is very possessive and we constantly fight. The crazy thing is - the more we fight, the closer we become. She brings me the most happiness and the most hurt.

A couple of months ago we had a major fight over her jealousy (outside her parents house, of all places). Her brother and uncle came out wanting to know what's going on, and feeling like my back was against the wall, I dumped her - very harshly. They told me - in no uncertain terms - to stay away from her.

We've spoken on the phone since then, and have agreed to remain friends. Her folks are still trying to turn her against me, but it's not working. We still love each other very much. She wants us to get back together and I am very tempted. What do I do?

a) Cut my losses and walk away? I understand that blood is thicker than water, but I feel very bitter and angry that her family keeps interfering in our lives.

b) Stay on and make a determined effort to find real happiness, as I believe she is my true love. She always tells me I am hers, and she desperately wants to make a go of things again.

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Her view:

Dear Feuding,

I don't think you should let your families come between you. What you did was pretty bad, and I can see why her family does not like you. However, I can make land on either side of your dilemma.

You claim she is your true love, and for true love one pulls out all the stops. One can live through terrible phases and snobbery, but these issues need to be worked through. They cannot remain the general state of a relationship regardless of how much you love someone.

So, I say, 'Give it a go.' Try to win her back and give it one last try. Recognize that it will be tough, and work through the family nonsense. If you cannot work things out over the next several months, you'll have to give up. Two forlorn lovers can keep trying for only so long.

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His view:

Dear Feuding,

I think that finding 'the right person' is difficult enough without having to fall in love with the person's family as well. On the other hand, a love-hate relationship with the addition of cultural chaos wouldn't make me think that I'd found the right person. The fact that you haven't pursued option 'a' doesn't necessarily mean you've found true love.

I also believe that adversity often brings people together…people who often are poorly matched. Once the common enemy is defeated - or forgotten - divisions resurface, because they never went away.

I suggest you go for option 'c.' Forget about the feuding families and concentrate on the two of you. Do you really believe she's the one, jealousy and all? Or are you just enthralled by the prospect of winning her against the odds?

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You Vote! 33% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 67% with HIS VIEW.

25% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 75% with HIS VIEW.

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