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How to Deal with Background Differences

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Photography: Katie Grant

When two people from two completely different backgrounds come together, the dynamic of the relationship can be an interesting one. You spent your childhood in an all girl boarding school while he went to a public school, you spent your whole life in UK, while he spent his in Australia, and you celebrate Christmas while he celebrates Hanukkah. Whatever the differences may be; religion, language, nationality, race, or socioeconomic class – you find yourself having difficulties understanding his background and vice versa. How do you then make a relationship work with all the cultural differences? What matters most is not about how different you both are but how you will choose to perceive those differences instead.

If you are having difficulties trying to bridge the gap of differences in backgrounds, consider following these tips bellow. If you put them into practice, you will find yourself being in a healthy and loving inter-cultural relationship.

1. Be open to learning

Before you do anything else, the very first thing you must be able to do is to have an open mind and be willing to learn your partner's culture. By getting to know your partner's cultural background, you are not just learning about the traditions he is used to but you are more importantly taking a peek into what made this man the person you have come to love.

2. Respect the differences

You both should have the freedom and the right to be able to celebrate your own cultural traditions without feeling like you are treading on each other's toes. And the only way this is possible is if you both respected each other's cultural differences. Just because you may not understand or agree with some things your partner grew up with, does not mean respect goes out the window.

3. Look for similarities

Even in the differences you will still find commonalities. In the midst of learning each other's backgrounds do not forget to notice and appreciate the similarities you both have. The more you get to know each other's backgrounds some things may even take you by surprise on how much in common you actually have.

4. It doesn't have to be a bad thing, differences can bring a lot of joy

If you are seeing the differences as a problem all you need to do is change that perception and flip it into a more productive point of view. A lot of people would love to be able to celebrate different kinds of traditions and to be able to do that with their partner would be a very exciting thing. Instead of having just one type of cultural tradition, now you can have two! Look at what your partner is bringing in terms of culture into your world as another blessing instead of something that you need to 'handle'.

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