Sasha Answers: Cross-Culture Love
Dear Sasha, I'm your standard Western woman and have been dating a Korean for four months now. We are great together yet in just these four months we've managed to break up and reunite. We separated because I asked him to be more expressive about his feelings for me. He is great with showing it - surprise breakfast drop-offs, flowers, carrying my coat everywhere we go, asking what I need at the store (the little things that make one squee) and he is also very good with the "I love you's" but he didn't get me anything for my birthday and it put me in a sour mood. When I told him how important these things were to me and didn't get a response from him I asked again until he finally said he couldn't give me what I needed; that our cultures were too different and that we should just end it now before wasting too much time. I am used to bringing something up, talking about it and moving on. When I tried that tactic and didn't get a response I kept on it until the whole thing imploded! Was I wrong to pick at it like that? We love each other and want to build a family but our communication styles are so different.
My mom married a full blown China man (my dad). Of course this isn’t a bad thing, but the reality is that they both had to make room for each other’s differences and make adjustments. She had to learn how to eat every meal with chopsticks, and he had to learn how to put up a Christmas tree. So L, heads up 7 up, there will be differences along the way, but f-ck, when it comes to relationships when are there not?
Now while I agree that your cultural backgrounds do come into play, I also can’t help but feel that you guys are using it as a bit of crutch instead of putting in the work. I mean, I get that it sucks that you didn’t get a birthday present, but it seems pretty extreme to want to call it quits because of that.
Perhaps this has less to do with a cultural mismatch and more to do with a couple mismatch, you know? You need to get to the bottom of that STAT. But if you do love each other and you do see a future with him, it’s worth finding out if the two of you can find a way to synch up. That means explaining, in a hissy-free environment, what’s important to you, while at the same time hearing him out and bending to his needs as well.
And sh-t, if all else fails, I’ll do a man swap with you because if you’re getting flowers and surprise meals on the regular then I’ll happily sign my ass up to that relationship.