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CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS

Making a Proper Decision!! (1)
by Dr. Ibrahim Yehia

Introduction

LS018924Relationships between foreign females and Egyptian males entail a wide range of aspects to discuss and evaluate. Despite the existing successful relations, many other similar relationships fail as well. In the later group, not only we can find that one partner is a victim of the other partner’s attitude, behavior and understanding, but also, in many cases, both of them could be victims of such relation!!! Why? Because both of them could not understand and respect each other’s mentality, culture and needs.

Liberating Truth
Some people believe that there is only one truth. But actually, truth doesn’t have an absolute general meaning. It is mainly measured by everyone’s perception, so it may differ from everyone’s angle of view. For example, if you look at the pyramid, it is square at the base, triangle at all sides, and just a point at the top. All these visions are right.

As there are constant norms in our life like honesty, loyalty, forgiveness, etc, and there are a lot of variables, or points of arguments like traditions, leadership, social contacts, working and clothing that differ from one culture to another. A major reason why many such relationships fail is mostly because of the failure of the couple to cope with these variables.

Short Term vs Long Term Relations
By analyzing these relationships in Sharm, we can see that there are two main kinds of relations; Short Term relationships and Long Term ones. Short Term relations are mainly based on a mutual benefit for partners rather than true love and willingness to build a real family. This kind of relations involves girls, or young women, who come to Sharm looking for a way to be eligible to live and work in Egypt. Others may come to Sharm on a visit and be impressed by the city and the good job opportunities that they couldn’t find in their own country, so they decide to live and work in Sharm without enough idea about the culture and traditions. In both cases, the easiest way for these girls to attain such goals is to get married to Egyptian guys in order to be permitted to live and work in Sharm. At the same time, many unmarried Egyptian men living in Sharm would find that an easy way to get married, escaping from the huge cost of marriage in Egypt nowadays.
In fact, we are not concerned with such type of relations, but rather we are here only to discuss serious or Long Term relations for those couples who want to build a good family and bring up good children.

Expectations vs Reality
Most of the problems arise when we face unexpected reality, or because we are not able to cope with it or to compromise our life style. Good understanding of the other’s culture and mentality from the beginning minimizes the gap between expectations and reality. I wonder how a foreign girl comes to Sharm and after one week she lives with her boyfriend whom she has just met “for the first time” few days ago!! Certainly, she starts to complain after a very short time.
Besides, many other problems are a result of the interaction between the foreign woman and the man’s family as in some cases they have difficulty to deal with them.

What arises the problem in Sharm?
We all agree that relationships, among same nationalities, have a lot of problems in every country. But in fact, there are certain problems that are specific to Sharm; they can be summarized as follows:

  1. Due to the fact that we are in an Islamic Arab country, most of the behaviors in Sharm are governed by traditions and religious beliefs which a lot of western women can not absorb or even understand. Also a lot of Egyptian men can not understand western culture.
  2. A wide range of nationalities live in Sharm with great variety of thoughts, beliefs and norms.
  3. Many people see Sharm a perfect place to live in because of the existence of a mixture of conditions like the weather, money, freedom and career that makes it difficult for them to leave such a great city. This group of people wants to live here and have successful relations but unfortunately, they are faced by the high percentage of unsuitable partners, hence it becomes difficult for them to find a perfect match. So there is high demand in both ways but with much less matching available opportunities.
  4. Not all Egyptians are the same. Here we have hundred differences and you can sort them into too many categories.
  5. Who comes to Sharm and why? This question is for both Egyptians and foreigners. What standard or category of good quality persons or ‘parasitic’ forms. What percentage between them.

Analyzing the problem:

  1. Understanding, in depth, the Egyptian culture, religion and the most important traditions and how they conflict with western culture.
  2. Understanding different categories of Egyptians, and the background of the population.
  3. Matching points between different nationalities
  4. Individual Life vs Family Life
  5. Language and proper communication
  6. Hidden goals behind marriage for both
  7. Good selection of your partner
  8. What is real Love?
  9. Stability for living in Sharm, where life goes up and down
  10. Traditions of marriage in Egypt and why some men prefer a western wife !

These points will be explained in details in future periodic articles with long term emphasis on getting people closer and more easy going with each other towards a better social life.

Any comments from the readers can be e-mailed to Dr. Ibrahim Yehia at: iynasr@yahoo.com