M: Gina, who is in a relationship with Woo, a Korean national, is wondering how long an interracial relationship can last. They’ve been going out for about a year now. I think she can answer her own question with the length of time she and Woo have been together. Just like a same-race relationship, no one can know with certainty how long it will last. Maybe it is more challenging to be in a relationship with someone who does not share the same culture as you but the time spent together can make one learn or unlearn things about the other person.
DJ: A study conducted by the Korean Immigration Service shows the Philippines as the third preferred source of foreign wives after China and Vietnam. But it’s uncommon to find interracial relationships without challenges, particularly when a couple runs into conflict asserting their respective values based on their own cultural identity. In Korea, for example, age is power. It is necessary to ask for parental blessing before someone gets married. Thus, her future in-laws play an important role in every decision and in the success of their relationship. Tradition dictates that elders always be treated with the utmost respect. While these are important in the Philippines too, we’re much freer to choose who we want to marry and how we live our lives particularly when we’re of marriageable age.
M: Only time will tell. That I think pretty much sums up whether or not a relationship, interracial or otherwise, can last. There are no guarantees that even if you’re both Filipinos, Bisdak, and from the same neighborhood or community, your relationship will last forever. There are “forevers,” yes, but in reality, in relationships, “forevers” are not a given. You have to work on it, decide to love whether or not you feel loving or loved.
DJ: There are realities to consider too, Mic. Like language. It often poses a concern when a couple doesn’t speak the same tongue. It is a good practice to have an English-Korean dictionary available when they have serious things to discuss. By now, Gina’s probably well acquainted with Woo’s talking to her in a loud voice. And this is open to interpretation when on a misunderstanding. It’s just common for Koreans to speak that way and he isn’t really waging war against her. They can talk things through. Go straight to the point and communicate how one feels. It’s hard to fight and make culture an excuse. And while it’s Gina who sent us an email, I also hope Woo is just as committed to making the relationship work.
M: Instead of Gina wondering if their love can last, why doesn’t she communicate with Woo what her concerns are? Is he going back to Korea soon? Is she willing to relocate if ever he decides to go back home? Are their families in favor of their relationship? Whether we like it or not, our Filipino families are taken into consideration when it comes to our relationships. Has Gina’s parents met Woo? Do they like him? But at the end of the day, it is Gina who decides whether she wants a future with Woo. And they both have to decide whether they will move forward—whether here in the Philippines or Korea.
DJ: Loves comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and nationalities. While I understand her concern, she can keep the relationship by keeping her mind open. But Gina needs to stay true to herself too and not sacrifice her integrity for any man, Korean or not. It matters that she and Woo are together because they love, respect and accept each other for who they are.
May 05, 2018
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