How to Date a Non-Greek

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In the plot of the popular movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the main character, Toula, dated and eventually became engaged to someone who wasn’t Greek. Even if you think that ending up with a fellow Greek is ideal, there’s a chance it may not happen.

In fact, in such a melting pot society, the probability is high that you’ll date at least one non-Greek over the course of your single life. And, even though you both may live in the same country, it can often feel like you’re from completely different worlds. Here are some basic tips that will help you survive the differences.

Communication Skills
Most Greeks are effective communicators. Chances are very good that you know exactly what your Greek friends and family members are thinking as they are thinking it. If they feel sad, they’ll cry. If they feel happy, they’ll laugh. If they’re upset, they’ll tell you exactly why. It may seem hard to believe at first, but a lot of people outside of the Greek culture aren’t as willing to share their emotions and thoughts with you.

This can be frustrating for both of you. If you’re expecting your date to be open with his thoughts and emotions, watching him hold back can feel like a slap in the face. Your best strategy for dealing with this is to be patient. He will probably feel more comfortable sharing his thoughts and feelings as you get to know each other.

Dealing With Family
Your family is boisterous and loud. His family is quiet and reserved. When you get together with his family, you find the silences to be a little awkward. When he visits with your family, he feels overwhelmed by it. They’re simply louder and more animated than what he’s used to. What can you do?

First of all, it helps to be understanding of the fact that you come from two different cultural backgrounds. Also, don’t try to change each other. Let your family be as loud and outspoken as they want. If his family doesn’t feel like talking, don’t force them to open up. When accepting each other, you have to accept your family differences as well.

Religious Traditions
The Greek Orthodox Church is an important part of the Greek-American culture. If you’re a practicing Orthodox Christian it may be difficult to date someone who isn’t, especially if they aren’t even a practicing Christian in another denomination. Many aspect of our cultural traditions are tied to the church.

Definitely speak to him this early on. Express how important the church is to you and ask him if he is open to converting. If this is important to you and he won’t convert, determine if this is something you can deal with or if you need to let the person go.

Dating a non-Greek can be tricky. Even if it doesn’t appear that there are any problems now, they may arise. It’s a good idea to determine what your values are and what is important. That way, when conflicts arise related to cultural differences, you will know exactly how to handle them.

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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