Monday, April 27, 2009

Dating and Relationships..Is sharing your Italian American background an important factor?

This is the question that has haunted me really my whole life. Dating as American is hard, dating as an Italian-American is even harder. I can tell you the dating game is complicated and not so cut and dry. I've dated since my early or late 20s with a few relationships in between but no solid long term till now relationship. Many people think because I grew up in an Italian American household that my father was a tyrant with dating and no men were aloud around...blah, blah, blah..this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, my father is sort of the opposite of your conservative Italian father.

He believes, I should find someone that I really love, find a profession that I love, be prosperous, and do what I want, so the little wifey ideals are non-existent! Basically dating was never really an issue, I think it became more of an issue for me because I was exposed to different cultures at such a young age. I spent a lot of my summers in Italy, socializing and even dating. I will say dating an Italian man is most definitely different than dating and Italian American man. There are significant differences in the sense of social mannerisms.

For instance, Italian men are definitely more charming or all about the 'sweep you off your feet' tactic. The part in the movie 'Under the Tuscan Sun' where Diane Lane is on the beach with the Italian guy and he says "Francesca, I could swim in your eyes.." (I think)..that is really what an Italian man would do and say. I mean romance is alive there no doubt. Now, I'm not saying its not alive here in America but as Americans I really think we are different when it comes to the social mannerisms. Look, love is love and I'm not one to argue it or define it...I mean really what do I know. I don't know everything especially when it comes to relationships, but I will say the question of whether heritage makes a difference in a relationship is a big one.

I always say to my Italian cousins you guys really don't have to worry about meeting or falling in love with someone other than Italian because the majority of people where they live are true Italians, with the same ideals, religions and family upringing. Here in America, I have to be prepared to go out and maybe meet someone who has a different religion, upringing and total value system. I mean its hard. We end up questioning ourselves about 'is it only about the connection or does being with someone of Italian descent make a difference?' The answer to that question, might be non-existent. Something to think about.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Interestingly enough, I came to Italy and found someone who had a rather out-of-the-stereotypical Italian upbringing...which fit perfectly b/c I didn't have the stereotypical Italian-American one. Just goes to show you that Dio li fa e poi li accopia :)

Anonymous said...

I know you're right, what will be-will be.

René Seindal said...

I'm Danish, currently working in Venice. My wife is Sicilian, currently working in Denmark. We come from different countries with different cultures, we've had to learn each other's languages, and we now work in each other's countries, and yet it can work if we want it to.

Its all about wanting to be together and being willing to make sacrifices and compromises to be together.


Mark said...

A caldo ti posso rispondere che... Being half Italian and half Italian-American, and raised in Italy gives me some unique but not insormountable challenges to overcome in dating and ultimately finding that "right" mate. I've gone round-and-round with this dating thing and ultimately I've realized that someone close/closer to my ethnicity and culture works best for me. And, while not central, religion does play a part. More comments to come... ciao

Mark said...

I also think that as an IAm single, we could benefit from more IAGs here in DC. I love NYC (half of my heart is there) and its great IAm single scene in the city and boroughs but quality of life and prof opportunities are great here in DC. Combining the two would be heaven. Then again, there's always Amtrak... and Alta Velocita'? ;))

Anonymous said...

You guys want to read a book called "Pepe and Poppy" by an Australian guy called Joe Novella. It's a book about a calabrese marrying a greek in the 80's. It's really touching, funny sometimes sad and it really shows what it means to be in love no matter what religion or race.

I got it as a present from my cousins in Australia.

Not sure where you can get the book nowadays. Amazon?

Best book ever

Anonymous said...

Bella ragazza, if you do not want to date someone of a different value system or of non Italian heritage, you do not have to. You are your own person and may choose whoever you wish. No one has any business to force you away from the life that you love, and into one which would change it. I wish you good luck and a very happy life. Arrivederci :)

Anonymous said...

Well, Filipinos are obviously not bad for Italians, same thing with Irish, Spaniards, Greeks, Portuguese, Eastern Europeans, or Latin Americans, for example, because they have similar things like religion, ideals, and family upbringing. I can tell you, even these cultures are pretty strict and conservative like Italians too.

Antonia said...

I am Italian American and would love to find an Italian-American guy to date. I think it just would help with so manny of the difficulties that couples from vastly different cultures face. I have been told most of my life to find a "nice Italian boy" by my family which I'm sure influences my thinking.

Italian American Girl said...

Dating is never easy especially when you're looking for someone who shares the same cultural background. Thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I am an Italian American woman in my mid 20's and living in North Carolina. I have struggled my entire life with dating because I am a rarity amongst my peers. I have experimented in dating other Catholics (Irish mostly), other cultures with similiar family structures such as Spanish and Greek men, and even the southern gentlemen they sing about in country songs... And I have yet to truly connect with any of them. I find myself having to explain why my family does things or why I find things important and often in the end, I walk away unsatisfied, disrespected and frustrated. I love to travel and visited Rome last year and for the first time I felt completely at home. While there, I met so many fascinating people that within minutes, even with me speaking very little Italian, it felt like we had been friends for years. I found myself actually engaging in conversation and debate instead of explaining and apologizing like I spend so much time doing here in the states. I have tried to date since my trip, but of course it has been unsuccessful. I suppose my options are to move or hope that the right Italian or Italian American man moves close to me because I've been made a believer.

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"Wait, you mean your family eats pasta EVERY NIGHT?"

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