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Dating: Culture clash or match?

A lot of people that I know like to date people who are most compatible with them. Whether it is socioeconomic class, race, or even culture. Culture can be especially tricky in the African American community. Well, technically I can only attest to the African American culture personally, but still.

It was a totally different experience dating a guy who came from money (aka silver spoons) and dating someone who grew up extremely poor. Although I shared common ground with both, the dynamics were definitely different. Not saying good or bad, just…different.

Silver spoons and I clashed on politics, while the guy who grew up poor thought I was way over the top with how I lived (i.e. we had different lifestyles, tastes, etc.)

When it comes to dating, are you comfortable exploring a relationship with someone who has a different culture than you?

How would you handle the “clashes” that may come when there are different socioeconomic classes involved?

How important do you think it is when considering a long term relationship? Does it make it easier when you both have the exact same background?

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

205 comments Add your comment

Robert

August 25th, 2011
8:38 am

Uptown Girls -vs- Downtown Girls……It really depends on your taste. Me, personally I love them both. For example regardless of your socio-economic status all women want a man who is attentive to their needs and responds accordingly. Whether I am “uptown” dressed in a tux for a night out or “downtown” playing bid wiss and eating fried chicken. I love experiencing the best of both worlds.

My 2 cents

August 25th, 2011
8:44 am

Good Morning. I think it does matter. I know someone who is considered middle class and currently involved with someone receiving public assistance and they live together. To me there seems to be a clash. Just the simple things seem to be an issue. For example, taking care of something one works hard to achieve. The car is now always dirty instead of always clean (the middle class let the welfare use the car to get back and forth to her part time job while using the second car for themselves.) The public assistance chick is always wasting things like water and food while the middle class one conserves everything because they actually do have to pay for it. The public assistance one decided after the child graduated from high school the kid would go to college but not FASFA was filled out, the SACT or ACT was not taken so she is now upset because the kid can’t get into college because the kids GPA was 2.7. From what I can see, the public assistance chick gets up at 2 pm in the afternoon on the other 5 days she isn’t working while the middle class gets up at day break everyday – even on the weekend when they don’t have to go to work. The middle class gets off work and cooks dinner everyday while the public assistance chick won’t even get up on the 5 days off and make breakfast OR cook dinner. Based on my friends experience, I think it does matter. My poor friend. Although I do know this doesn’t speak for everyone but I just think it matters.

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

August 25th, 2011
8:53 am

Not any more. I’ve seen the good and the bad of this. It wreaked havoc on my marriage, because they were from a higher social strata than my rural East Tennessee upbringing, and no matter how cultured I became, they never saw anything but hick East Tennessee…even though I am more comfortable in a tux or in a fancy restaurant in Manhattan, or London, or Paris, than they are. As the screen name says…BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS).

For a long time now, I have narrowed my focus to women who have degrees, intelligence, and have seen bad times as well as cotillions. That way, I know they are going to fit well on my arm if we attend a social function, but takes her shoes off, puts her legs over mine, and grabs a beer when we get back into the limo. Kind of like the Reese Witherspoon character in Sweet Home Alabama…with a foot in both worlds.

Mr. Unknown

August 25th, 2011
8:54 am

Morning good folks,

‘When it comes to dating, are you comfortable exploring a relationship with someone who has a different culture than you?’ Yes, Life is about exploring, learning, gaining experiences, I hate to hear when someone makes the statement, there are not enough good people to date. Its an excuse for those too afraid to go outside of their comfort zone.

‘How would you handle the “clashes” that may come when there are different socioeconomic classes involved?’ (Thank you google) This is more of can the donkey coexist with the elephant. The answer, sure for two open minded people.

Have a good morning yall

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

August 25th, 2011
9:02 am

That is why I get along so well so far with my current lady friend. We both are from East Tennessee, both graduated from UT, and although she grew up in a household with fabulous wealth, and I grew up with houses on three sides without indoor plumbing,we both have similar values. Even though she grew up in money, it was after being adopted by her new stepfather when she was around 9 or 10, so she had an early upbringing that was not “entititled”. She can be dignified, and yet get down ion the trenches almost as far as me. Works well…although her mother tells her she should marry for money ;-) Fortunately, I am at the low end of the wealth scale, but make enough to keep the spotlight off, lol….and I have a nice house I bought for a fraction of its full value so it looks good.

SlimNu

August 25th, 2011
9:14 am

Good morning….I need a nap already. As far as the topic goes, I want a guy that treats me right. If he comes from money, as long as he or his family isn’t looking at me like I’m po black trash, then I’m good. My exes family weren’t rich but they were used to nice things, nice homes, and all that jazz. However, the keep up with the joneses or thinking some folks are beneath me mentality would irritate me at times. My folks/fam don’t come from money and struggle like many other people today. However, we are just good down to earth folks. I likes that…

SlimNu

August 25th, 2011
9:14 am

Oh, and just like the “Countess” from Housewives sang, Money can’t buy you class lol

Catols

August 25th, 2011
9:15 am

I agree with you Randyt. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you but with the attitudes of the family members. My mother was not very fond of my husband and it definitively caused issues in the marriage. And we were from similar backgrounds. Having dated men from different cultures I can tell you that typically as an American woman it can cause issues. As American women, even here in the south, we are taught to be our own person and in some cultures that doesn’t seem fly.

The first time my boyfriend from Panama told me it was the woman’s job to make sure he had beer. Well lets just say he understood that I was happy to get him a beer if he asked nicely but it wasn’t my job.

Not that I am not open minded to dating men from other cultures, but now I am aware that in some cultures my straightforward approach to life isn’t appreciated. As long as the gentleman is okay with it then we can move forward otherwise I find that one can not have too many friends and we leave the relationship there.

UGA 1999

August 25th, 2011
9:28 am

Interesting topic this morning….

Casual Observer

August 25th, 2011
9:30 am

Wow!!!! My two cents is really pissing all over poor people this morning……..Sounds to me like 2cents might be a liitle envious that the poor little girl from the projects came across the tracks and put Theo Huxtable on lockdown before she could sink her claws into him…..But tell us this…if she is such a waste of humanity and such a drain on him, why is he still there??? Why do you care????

Back on topic….. One of the best things about our society is that folks can and do have the freedom to move both up and down the ladder when it comes to all of our interactions….Rich girls falls for the handy man…Poor guy makes good and marries the daughter of the CEO…..Maybe we should eliminate some of the boundries and just find teh person that makes us happy…..

Samitha

August 25th, 2011
9:32 am

I dated a Progressive but I’m just not into murderous, world conquering, do-gooder, control freak, thieving, corrupt, two-faced phony’s. That’s why I only date guys who are into liberty, sound money, non-aggression against sovereign countries, peaceful trade, income tax abolition, and marijuana legalization.

It’s the difference between dating a loser and a fake like Obama and a principled statesman like Ron Paul.

Amia

August 25th, 2011
9:36 am

Just because you have money, it doesn’t mean you have class. Just because you don’t have money, doesn’t mean you are classless. I know a guy that was raised in an upper middle class family, but you would NEVER know it. He acts like he was born and raised in projects and lacks education. His sister is the complete opposite. I also know a friend who you would swear was from upper middle class, but she was actually born and raised in the true ghetto. She’ll tell you. But you would never know. It’s about mindset. I love the balance. I love a man who will mix and mingle with my family and friends at good ol southern bbq but also can go to an upscale restaurant and not act like it’s his first time. I love it when I can talk about southern foods/traditions and turn around and talk about world news and “exotic” foods we’ve tried. That to me let me know you have an open mind and you’ve been somewhere besides Applebee’s and Fridays! I like it when I can talk about world news and then switch to comedy or some silly movie. My point is, I love the balance. So I don’t care what your background is as long as your mindset has a blance and forward thinking mentality. Hope this makes since. I have had to stop typing so many times this morning due to interuptions.

Audra

August 25th, 2011
9:38 am

I think there’s something to be said for someone who’s had to work hard for what they have, and now has an education, social status, etc., but didn’t always have those things or didn’t come from them.
Folks who haven’t had to work hard because they were wealthy/privileged to begin with tend to think that everyone should be on the same plane as them, or else they’re lazy. On the other hand, if someone has never worked to achieve anything, then they tend to think that those of us who have are just “lucky,” and don’t see the hard work and sacrifice that went into it.
In short, a balance is good. This is one of the main things that drew me to my husband – he had made his own way in life and was successful, but always knew where he came from and what it took to get there. A foot in both worlds, as some have said. ;)

Seriously?

August 25th, 2011
9:47 am

Samitha – You cannot seriously speak to the difference between dating the two individuals name because I would bet every cent that I own that you have dated neither of them.

Seriously?

August 25th, 2011
9:48 am

Rich man Poor man

August 25th, 2011
9:48 am

I have been with a very rich man, and am now with a man who doesnt make as much as I do, the rich man was always treating me like he was my father and everything he did for me I owed him something in return, the guy who makes less than me, we have the best times, always laughing, and always enjoyig each others company, he is a blessing to me, the way he treats me and the things he does just could not be replaced with money.

Leggs

August 25th, 2011
10:13 am

Good morning!

Does it make it easier when you both have the exact same background? Probably, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to date someone with the EXACT same background. No doubt, if dating a NYer we will have more reference points on similarity than dating a good ole country boy from Columbus, GA..No offense, just threw that in of the country boy I do know. To be able to talk on a level where ones upbringing/lifestyle is similar can enhance/pique one wanting to delve further in getting to know the person. Having a common bond no doubt helps.

Like LLCoolJ used to say. He married his wife and has stayed married to her because they’re cut from the same cloth. They know what it was like growing up the way they grew up. They understand where they came from and where they are, and the commonality is an important ingredient for him….

Reio

August 25th, 2011
10:15 am

Just based on experience, it’s probably preferable to gravitate towards people with the same socioeconomic status as you. Too many clashes otherwise. I’m a professional(IT) now, but as a child, I can remember very vividly, my sisters and brother and I going to bed hungry. But my mother(dad was not around – divorced my mother when I was 2) always taught us to strive for good grades and to get an education. After finishing college(UAB), I started my career and never looked back. People I grew up with are still around the old hoods, but we lost touch over the years. Most never bothered to at least investigate more education after high school and appear content with their current status and lifestyles. This is fine for them, and I would never look down on them. But I knew that America has more to offer than what we had, and I was willing to do what I needed to do to achieve it. My wife shares this experience.

UGA 1999

August 25th, 2011
10:21 am

Reio…..agreed!

Leggs

August 25th, 2011
10:25 am

@Reio ~ I felt the same way. I would look around my neighborhood knowing American had much more to offer. I remember telling my mother that my soul was too sensitive for the struggle. As a child I couldn’t understand if all. I knew if I had a chance, I would do all I could to better my life. Not stay on the street corner like many of my friends, or get knocked up by the guy up the block pretending to like me just to get my drawers. Never wanted to accept the assistance of the government. I knew if I stayed true to myself, I could do better. Although I’m still broke, I’m not street broke!

Innocent Bystander

August 25th, 2011
10:25 am

Lately, I’ve taken to dating Asian women. They come from more old fashioned male dominated societies. Now before anyone jumps on their soap box and starts denouncing me as a chauvinist, consider what that means. As an American male, I’ve been raised to treat women with respect and equality. Add in a woman who has never received that kind of treatment before, and what do you get? Undying gratification. That appreciation resonates much more with me than the “this is what I am owed” attitude exuded by most of the local ladies I have experience with.

Those of you reluctant to date outside your own cultural confines may be missing out. After all, isn’t life about moving outside your comfort zone in order to find new and exciting experiences?

kimmie

August 25th, 2011
10:26 am

Morning All!

My 2 – If MC & PA are living together, how can PA still be getting welfare? Smells like some fraud to me or your story is bs. Wonder which one is true? :shock:

In my experience, it really depends on the individuals involved. Just because a guy didn’t come from money didn’t mean he was going to be down 2 earth or nice to me. Same with money guys. Didn’t mean he was going to be a snob. It’s all about the upbringing and attitude. I know some less fortunate or not college-educated that seem to wear it like a chip on their shoulder. That’s no fun to be around either.

The biggest thing I had a problem with was dating those of a different culture or radically different religion. I’m a modern woman with some traditional values and I’m not changing that. I’m not in a position of servitude with my spouse just because I was born female. I couldn’t deal with men from some other cultures for this reason, and they couldn’t deal with me. So I squashed that by avoiding to date them. Problem solved!

SexyCool

August 25th, 2011
10:26 am

B.B.

August 25th, 2011
10:30 am

I’ve watched friends date and marry people that they have a few things in common with, but they don’t line up on important things:
1. Politics (She lied to him about voting for obama, when she’s really a conservative, because he’s a flaming liberal -and she didn’t want to upset him).
2. Money/Career plans: (She’s in school to have a successful career & is responsible with money, He’s just now gotten a full-time job that doesn’t involve the service industry, refuses to finish his degree – and blew through a huge inheritance).
3. Religion (He’s an outspoken atheist, she’s a mellow christian).
4. Maturity (He’s older than her and is past all the drama, she’s 22 -not graduated from college and all she does is start drama -she’s also verbally and physically abusive to him).
5. Morality (She’s a sociopath that has cheated on him at least three times from when they started dating to their engagement -with his friends, no less. He’s a nice guy that wouldn’t hurt a fly.)

Do I see any of these relationships making it to the long term… the simple answer is no. Sadly, some of our friends have bets on how long each will last.

Leggs

August 25th, 2011
10:36 am

@BB ~ same bet on KKardashian…

B.B.

August 25th, 2011
10:39 am

@Innocent Bystander -Just keep in mind that many of us don’t have that attitude to start with. It comes from years of dating your male counterparts that weren’t raised to treat us with respect. So after years of being disrespected, sure -we start to realize we deserve better. And you can’t fault us for having a baseline of expectations -besides, I’ve known so many men that cheated on their women because they were”doormats that never demanded anything.”

I’m not going to say there aren’t some “princesses” out there that were spoiled rotten by mommy and daddy to have an auto sense of entitlement -but they’re a minority. I’m grateful for everything my boyfriend does for me -but if he couldn’t give me what I need, I’d rather be alone than be frustrated with him.

kimmie

August 25th, 2011
10:40 am

People trip me out betting on other folks’ relationships to fail.

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:40 am

Morning,

So many things we place emphasis really doesn’t matter much. To be still hanging on to status at a certain age clearly shows not much growth. To acheive and stive for betterment….for myself is my goal. Someone along the way that fits is the extra. Not to sound harsh but I could really care less what people have, where they went to school, what they drive…it’s neither here nor there to me. Fretting over whether or not you’re a fit if our degrees match or not or if our accounts match or not or if you have etiquette or not….is silly…of course IMO. Do you and what works. I’m not buying into careers and lifestyle matching in order to be a good fit. IMO, it comes down to personally more than anything. My mama was well educated, prim and proper. My daddy was uneducated. Yet and still, he was the man. He was not educated but not by any means was he a dummy. He possessed enough of something to get the girl, keep the girl, make a life and moved on into the next life….keeping and holding it down all the while.

Going outside the race to gain submission is a cheap shot. If you got it you got it…if you don’t, you don’t. :) Of course and yet again, that’s just my opinion.

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 25th, 2011
10:41 am

Cool to read some people know what a balanced man is, clash of the classes I don’t relate to. I was raised to respect women, be sensitive to their needs and never raise a hand at one. It made no difference to me about your status when it comes to getting to know you. Thing is she may have a hang up about status, which would be fine I can accept or move on. I know people in poverty like I know people who is well off, your money and status is yours keep it to yourself.

Good Morning:

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:42 am

Kimmie – People trip me out betting on other folks’ relationships to fail.

Me too. Always sitting on the outside looking in. For that reason alone, I hope they make it. Too much emphasis on the nonfactors. A lot of what was listed are nonfactor. You got love? You got a good chance for making it.

kimmie

August 25th, 2011
10:43 am

I’ve known so many men that cheated on their women because they were”doormats that never demanded anything.”

BB – So that made it okay that they cheated? Just because their women didn’t make demands on them? Weak excuse. They would have cheated anyway. Not much of a man.

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:44 am

Where is Dan? Is he married yet?

Casual Observer

August 25th, 2011
10:45 am

Its amazing how everyone has a friend that is dating a total loser….. I wonder how many of us have friends telling the same stories about us and the people we choose to date?????

Leggs

August 25th, 2011
10:45 am

@kimmie ~ I agree, but bet many are betting on their marriage. Just like many had bets on Whitney/Bobby.

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:46 am

I think B.B. was refuting the dude’s statement on going outside the race and that maybe he should take a deeper dive as to why maybe, just maybe (his perception of) the reason the women in his race are not as submissive as those Asian women he’s glaring about.

I took B.B.’s statement to say maybe it’s because of some of the things women of his race have endured….not that that’s okay.

kimmie

August 25th, 2011
10:49 am

Leggs – Folks in the public eye are just fodder for conversation. I’m talking about people you know and live and work around. It’s sad to have that negetive energy around you, is what I’m talking about. And the ones everyone thinks are perfect for each other usually are the ones with much mess going on at the house.

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:50 am

Whitney and Bobby had a drug problem….that will kill any marriage/relationship/life. Whether you’re degreed and pedigreed and taking dope or whether you’re from the alley and taking dope.

Leggs

August 25th, 2011
10:50 am

I believe SC said he got married last Saturday and his pics on FB were nice.

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:51 am

Awwww, that’s nice. Thanks Leggs.

Congrats Dano!

cba

August 25th, 2011
10:51 am

Reminds me of the movie, Jumping the broom

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
10:52 am

cba – Did you go to the wedding?

UGA 1999

August 25th, 2011
10:53 am

Kimmie….you do realize that women cheat too.

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 25th, 2011
10:53 am

Kimmie great point, it’s true and laughable how you put it.

cba

August 25th, 2011
10:56 am

No, No Celisea, I was speaking how this topic is similar to the movie, very affluent girl meets working-class man.

Leggs

August 25th, 2011
10:56 am

Beatrix Kiddo

August 25th, 2011
11:05 am

Of course they do or you wouldn’t have any body to cheat with.

Celisea

August 25th, 2011
11:10 am

UGA 1999

August 25th, 2011
11:11 am

Beatrix….you got it.

Reio

August 25th, 2011
11:14 am

With respect to dating different races, one thing I learned(reading & limited experience), is that it’s very helpful to this kind of relationship if this person has friends of your race before meeting you. Often times these relationships start and the only friend of your race, is you. So the other person has no idea what to expect or sense of comportment at the outset. This could be problematic.

Casual Observer

August 25th, 2011
11:21 am

As a man of color who happens to have dated a number of women outside of my race, the biggest issue I have found is that she better have a thick skin because sisters will give her (and me) the BLUES about dating one of thier successful brothers….