Posted by Tracey on January 25, 2001 at 12:41:59:
In Reply to: Re: Does a Non-Greek Girl Have a Chance?! posted by BR on January 24, 2001 at 06:04:54:
: The first thing you need to do is guage his parental and community attachment. You basically need to figure out if he is motivated to be independant, and can be happy without the full approval of his parents (particularly his mom), and the Greek community in which he lives. It is important to note that he is not abandoning them in anyway, he only needs to realize that he is an independant person. He needs to listen to his heart and not his yaya. When his family recognizes that he is truly happy and that they can not control his life anymore (and believe me they would like to do that until he is 40), they too will come around and be accepting. He will not lose their love nor the communities respect, and you will find that you will be accepted as a part of that community too. And for those who won't respect him, or those who refuse to recognize your existance, forget about those people (And your boyfriend should too). ...
I strongly agree with what you're saying. Yet, in the past fifteen years I have come across a number of relationships (including one I had myself the memory of which still makes me sad) where the extent of involvement with the greek background was underestimated by the greek partner as much as by the non-greek partner. What was equally underestimated was the effect of constant subtle meddling not only by family but also friends and even chance acquaintances who had 'heard' the rumour.
Three German friends of mine did not make it past the second year, two not past the third year because they "gave up". Not because they were not independent enough, they simply couldn't take the constant pressure, similar to a chinese waterdrop torture, any longer. For some sticking up for their non-greek partner turned into a choice between their entire Greek background and their non-greek partner. In the end, at least two of the Greek partners wanted nothing more than their peace and quiet and were willing to sacrifice their relationships to regain it.
I do not wish to generalize my own experience, I merely want to describe what four women and two men who had relationships with Greeks shared in terms of "exclusion". Some attacks were subtle, sometimes only detectable if the language was understood well enough to catch the difference between being called by your name or simply HER/HIM, invitations explicitly extended only to the Greek partner without mentioning of the OTHER ONE. Some attacks could be fierce, such as anonymous phone calls, mommy taking up the habit of faking heart attacks, being disinherited, a non-greek woman married to a Greek husband being referred to as the gomena by her father in law, her children were called 'the bastards', people getting up and leaving as soon as you enter the room.
The problem these attacks raise is not so much the attack itself but the effect they have on your mood. Walk in happy, take the first blow smiling. Next time, you walk in you will be only half as happy, third time, you will walk in with the memory of a smile, fourth time you can 't remember you ever smiled in that place... and slowly the disharmony creeps into the relationship, - and who wants to be with somebody with a permanent mutra?
Yes, I do know Greek-/Non-Greek couples with successful relationships and part of their success stems from what they gained in terms of solidarity by surviving the "storm" of the first years.
Whoever wants to try needs faith, a strong backbone and eyes wide-open, the ability to protect the closeness shared from 'well-meaning' meddlers, and the talent to keep a good feeling, a sense of humour, trust, and harmony with each other, while fighting back to back.
I wish you luck from the bottom of my heart,
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