When you first start living with your Turkish Partner you may find you have more problems than putting the toilet seat down and who left the top of the toothpaste tube.
Your different Cultures can lead to problems and issues that you just were not expecting.
Like me many people meet their Turkish Partner while on holiday in Turkey. For some it’s a whirlwind romance and for others like myself we embark on a long distance relationship only seeing your partner a few times a year for short periods of time.
You spend many hours online or on the phone talking and getting to know each other from a distance. It is very rare that you will actually decide to live together before you marry, unlike many in the Western World living together before marriage is still frowned on in Turkish Culture.
Once married either your partner or you will move to start your life together. And what they say is true you don’t really know someone until you live with them.
My husband and I were together for 5 years before we married, we talked online or on the phone and we met up as often as we could. But the amount of time we spent together was probably less than a year over the entire 5 year period.
Once married I waited one more year before I moved to Turkey to live with my husband. I thought I knew him well and that he knew me well from the thousands of hours we spent chatting.
Yes we knew each other and we understood each others ideas and opinions and each others history but what we didn’t know were each others habits and ways.
What we also didn’t really get to understand until we started living with each other was how both of our different Cultures would conflict with various things we did and how we acted.
Its very easy when meeting up with each other while dating and dealing with a long distance relationship, to be slightly different than yourself, first you have that holiday feeling and second you haven’t seen each other for months and you want to make the most of the time together and may overlook any hints of behaviour and Culture differences.
When we first moved in together we often had arguments and clashes over Cultural differences. I battled against many of the ways my husband was used to because I felt my way of life and the way I viewed it was being ignored.
There were times I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I got fed up of the Culture card being played, ‘This is the way it is here’, ‘This is how its done’, ‘You’re not in the UK anymore’ ‘What will other people think’
Turkish men also have very strong prides and if you wound it or embarrass him in front of his friends or family you can expect to end up with him in a bad mood or in a Huff, Turkish men a very good at taking the huff!
They are also can be very lazy around the home due to being pampered all their lives by their Mothers and following the example of their Fathers and other male friends and relatives.
All of these things can come as a surprise and cause a lot of problems, while you try to point out that this is not what is expected and this not how we do things in the West. Men are expected to pull their weight around the home, they shouldn’t get upset if we expect them home at 7 and then phone at 8 wondering where they are. We are not here just to clean up behind them or act like their mothers.
I am pretty sure I drove my husband round the bend with my ideas and Culture at the start and that he was scratching his head wondering what he had done.
It is important to find a middle ground in any relationship and in a mixed culture relationship its is also important to respect each others Cultures and why certain things and ways are important to the person.
We took time to discuss things, to look at the different issues. Sure at the time I might not have been too impressed with some of his ideas and refused to acknowledge them, but if I wanted my husband to compromise with my ways then I had to do the same for him.
It didn’t happen overnight, but we have now learned each others ways and understand the things that are important to each other. There is still those odd times when I hear ‘but thats they way its done here’, but now I shrug my shoulders and decide either to ignore it or go along with it. More often than not its nice to make my husband happy and he also now does the same for me.
My advice in dealing with the Culture clash is learn as much as you can about your partner’s Culture and ways before you make the big move. Learn to find compromises and take time out to talk about them. But don’t just plant your feet in the ground and say its my way or the highway neither of you will ever be happy. Turkish Culture isn’t all that bad in fact there is a lot we can learn from it, just don’t lose yourself in the process.
Have you struggled dealing with the different Cultures? How do you and your partner deal with the different Cultures?
© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.