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Intercultural relationships in Hungary

Hello,

We invite you to share some fun anecdotes and information regarding intercultural marriages and relationships in Hungary. This will provide some insight to current and future expats regarding relationship norms in mixed relationships and marriages in Hungary.

What are some of the best things about being in an intercultural relationship/marriage?

What are some challenges that you have faced or are currently facing? How do you address them?

Are intercultural relationships/marriages common and accepted in Hungary?

What are the benefits to being in an intercultural relationship/marriage?

Do you have any fun or interesting anecdotes to share regarding dating norms and rules for intercultural relationships/marriages?

Thank you for sharing your experience,

Priscilla

This could be a very, very long topic.
Married now since 1978 to  a Hungarian, many tales, some funny, some insane and some just totally off the wall.
I'll have to think a bit on answering this one!
One thing that I can think of right away is my mother's reaction to me telling her I met a nice Hungarian man.
My mom was overall a liberal person, raised under hard times by her native American grandmother during the US depression years.Overall she never judged anyone hard.
When I told her way back in 1975 that I had met a nice HU man, she lost her stuff, freaked the heck out on me out of the blue. Her older bro by 19 years had married a nice young HU women straight off the boat as to speak.Really loved her parents who overall helped raise my mother by baby sitting her as a young girl.'My other even in her 60's recited  childhood Hungarian nursery rhymes that she learned before going to sleep by her SIL and her parents.
When I first told my mom I was dating a HU, she said  quote," Oh GOD NO!, Anything but a Hungarian!" Unquote.
Blew me away since she was always the most liberal and loving person I ever knew.
Maybe for some reason she thought they were a bit too old style for me, she actually thought my husband smoked a pipe, had a stash and wore thigh high boots...
Stereo typical in so many ways, she was thinking of her SIL's FIL.
In the end however, she thought my husband to be a great person and even asked us to find someone like him for her other daughters...
She trusted his wise advice more then anyone else's.
Just took her  a good decade to convince her that he wasn't out to steal me away.
However now, we are living in Hungary and if my mom was still living,I wonder what she would say about that.

Marilyn Tassy :

This could be a very, very long topic.
Married now since 1978 to  a Hungarian, many tales, some funny, some insane and some just totally off the wall.
....

Totally agree on that. 

We've been together 23 years and still going and still happy and we've got two Fluffyettes!

I used to have a theory that more "Western" men were involved with Hungarian women as it always seemed to be that way around when we met people.  Even Mrs Fluffy seems to think this is more common.

Of course Marilyn is the exception to the rule (as all rules must have exceptions...err...I'll stop that train of thought now before I get tied up knots and explode).   

Mrs Fluffy says Westerners are more considerate than Hungarian men but I couldn't obviously say for sure.  There probably is or was more alcohol consumed some time back which changes the nature of many relationships sometimes.  We've also discussed if we (Westerners) don't drink as much - a lot of palinka gets consumed (and made) by older HU folks hereabouts. That might be a touch controversial.

My husband gave up his party days a long time ago.
Was never much of a drinker...
I did mention awhile back that as a silly teenager in HU he woke up one morning to find himself naked and in the drunk unit of a hospital tied to the bed... Another tales for another time.
That is enough to cure anyone from drinking.

My sister had a HU BF before I even met my husband, it didn't work out because he was too controlling.
HU men tend to be that way but for me it works out fine. I could run over a less strong willed person, need to be "controlled" or I may go out of control!! ... No I think my husband is a rare bird, a true gent from birth.
He respects women and goes out of his way to protect them , often from themselves as in my case!
One story that sort of proves my point is this:
When our son was one year old we split up for 6 months or so. He stayed in HI and I took our son and moved back to Ca. with my parents and started beauty college. I was only 22 years old and my husband 29 and still getting used to being in the US. Long story but we had to take a break.
When he was ready to face his role as a father and full time worker to support his family we got back together and got officially married.
When he came to Ca. to meet my family, he had never met them before then, only once my step-dad for 5 mins.
He brought a bouquet of flowers and a gold and diamond bracelet.
I said thank you and started to take the flowers.
Husband said, no, they are for your mother and so is this bracelet.
His small way of saying thank you to her for watching his family while he got myself together.
I asked , well where is my gift then? Repley, "I'm right here".
40 years later he is still there for me all the time.
Oh sweet yes?
He never makes any big decision about anything without thinking of how it will effect others before he thinks how it would benefit himself.
A real diamond he is. Corny but true.
His mom raised him right.
I also had a very bossy mother and being a middle child and 3rd daughter, I guess I am used to people controlling me to a degree,but only those people one can respect and that have my back.
Every relationship has it's quirks and sometimes they just work and other times they don't.

On the subject of relationships etc.
One thing that was always in the way of our family life in the old days was the fact that while we moved away from all my family and friends in Ca. to Hawaii, my husband had at least a dozen Hungarian single male friends over there in Hawaii.
As a new family with a baby I resented all of his friends asking him places while I was with the baby all the time.
I of course never minded as that is a mother's role but him having freedom and me not was not exactly a fair deal.
Took a big break up to change things.
Now he has finally cut ties with most of his old friends, they now have their own families and kids to keep them busy.
If a relationship is important people have to let go of the past and go forward I think.
Sometimes you have to let people go to make room for new ones like a wife or husband.
My parents marriage broke up over friends, my dad got too close to the wife of our neighbor.
Doesn't matter what background or culture a spouse comes from but they must always put their spouse and children first.
Most of my husbands old friends were nice people but as they were single and he wasn't, it just didn't jive well.
I see so many young couples still hanging out with singles people, males best buddies with females etc.
Guess I am old fashioned or have experienced what could go very wrong with that.
Sometimes there are things that seem very old school , like men and women not mixing as friends after a certain age or once one marries etc. Seems not to mix with modern ideas but makes one also wonder how in the past people didn't divorce as often and families stuck together .
I see now with my many, many cousins who's parents stayed married a lifetime that these cousins are very well off now.
A few of my male cousins have divorced but they all married Asian women and are happy as can be.
I think perhaps there is a bigger difference in eastern and western cultures then between different European or N. American countries.
All these male cousins were son's of immigrants from Italy, my 4 aunts all married immigrant's from Italy. My cousins still go to Italy often to visit that side of the family.
It is so odd when my HU husband and Japanese DIL or my son's old Asian GF's were together. They say hello and can sit in the same room for hours without saying another word between them with no problems or becoming paranoid about no one speaking.
In the west if someone doesn't talk to you for hours, you usually tend to think negative thoughts.
Most people in the west can not handle silence for long.

Hi
Well explained most of the things and seems you are a genuine person.
Regards,
Bandara

Whatever I say about this subject will sound awful so I wont say anything .

I can add in all honesty with a bit of love that any relationship with a stubborn Hungarian is going to be a challenge for a faint of heart.
They can be overly emotional and get their feelings hurt easily if people slight them even a tiny bit.
I wonder if it is more lack of communication then actually them being overly sensitive.
In the 43 years I have known my husband I have had to explain his ways to more people then I care to remember.
Anytime a person laughs or make a off hand jester many times a Hu will take it to heart and be offended.
I think it is because in the HU language people do not play these semi rude sarcastic games with each other unless they are very, very close friends or family.
Having people they hardly know make light of what they say or do is very much taken to heart.
It takes a person with a sensitive and highly respectful nature to have a serious long term relationship with a Hungarian.
My roots are also from the eastern side of Europe, grandparents, father etc. so for me it was easier then for most to know my role and how far to push.
I actually am the only white, American female I know in all these years that has made it this long into a marriage.
No brownie buttons for me but just stating the facts.
I'm no push over but know how sensitive people really are plus I have a low ego range in general.I know my own self worth and don't get overly excited when I am being corrected.
Know how to let sleeping dogs lay and can walk over egg shells if needed.

C'mon.  Give us the other side.

Oh, being married to a Hungarian man is a never ending storry full of funny, sometimes embarrassing moments. I've only been in this storry for 7 years. First: the language - you go to the market and see written in plain view what in my language would be the name for "small dick" ( pulyka ) the next word sounds like nothing so you get over it. After you die laughing you look under the sign and discover they are not that small ( the turkey necks), on the contrary. Of course they also have a town whose name would sound for an English speaking person like the place of God ( Göd ). There is the street Váci út which in my language sounds like a place for cows and so on. The language, for me at least it's a great source of entertainment. Of course for him, my language is funny sometimes as well. On the bright side of the topic, our son speaks from the start 3 languages ( we still use English to talk to each other ). Another funny storry related to the language is my confession to my mother in law on my wedding day that I'm a lesbian. I was only trying to say in her language ( Hungarian ) that I'm suffering with the heat. And the list can go on in this topic at least, slightly decreased in number nowadays as I'm learning the language.

That had to be a "riot" on your wedding day telling your MIL that you were gay while marrying her son.
Yes, funny stuff like that happens all the time.
One thing that was very funny but hard to express by just writing is something that happened when we lived in New Mexico.
We were driving to a Lake in NM and passed a mountain range with a sign stating the name of the mountain.
It was called, "Elephant Butte".
Out of the blue my HU husband looked over at me and asked, " Vhy( why) zay( they) call it za (the) Elephants Butt! It did look at bit like the back end of a beast but they way he asked and oh so seriously had me in stitches. Anyone who is married to a Hungarian knows they really dislike being laughed at so it was a odd situation of me trying to explain the difference between a butte and a butt.
He really didn't like being the "butt/but" of a joke.

Marilyn Tassy :

That had to be a "riot" on your wedding day telling your MIL that you were gay while marrying her son.
Yes, funny stuff like that happens all the time.
One thing that was very funny but hard to express by just writing is something that happened when we lived in New Mexico.
.....

Really Marilyn, you have so much to share, you should really consider that book. 

At least get it scribbled down on paper for posterity!

Mrs Fluffy - earlier in our relationship -  said she had seen a bird's chest.   I said, where? How did you get so close (thinking it was say, a Robin) and then she said it was in a tree.  I said, wow, your eyes must be really good as it's so far away to see that detail. What colour was it?  Answer: Brown, grass and stick colour like the others.   We continue to have some smiles over that together and it's entered our family lore.

Reminds me that I've also announced to people in a meeting (In another country's language - Dutch) that I was going to do some No. 2s.  I meant to say something else. Needless to say they were both surprised and rather entertained. I clearly made an impact as I had gained small scale notoriety over the following weeks as a Dutch word mangler. 

The end came when I went to see a guy in his office and he had my e-mails on his noticeboard and he told me his wife and kids were very amused by my corrupted linguistics  and could I write more in Dutch? 

I think you can guess I cut down to the basics thereafter.  A little knowledge goes a short way.

Bird's chest, very cute story!
I wish I had remembered more of these funny word plays, so many over the years.
Now crazy enough, I am starting to loose words in English over here myself.
Can't remember ATM what I said last week but I got my English phrase all turned around and backwards.
I joke with my husband that if he ever forgets how to speak English, we will be in big trouble, he said we could use sign language and that we have known each other so long that we can read each others minds.

Well it does seem Hungarians know and understand English a bit better than some.

Years ago i was dating a Georgian. He spoke english well but got meanings wrong, like all the time. Ok this was a big guy i mean stereotypical bond villain soviet looking guy about 6'5 crew cut black hair, he actually did work as a mercenary so i guess those movies are kinda accurate. Ok one time he and i were at a fried chicken buffet i do not even like fried chicken but he loved it. Anyway the people working there saw him come in and well knew he and all his Russian friends would show up and clean the place out. So they started saying stuff and honestly being very rude and right wing. Oh this was in USA in FL.  Ok the mgr comes out saying the wanted him to leave and he did not serve commies. This was in like 2000 way after the cold war ended. Anyway my bf pounds on the counter and yells at the top of his voice "Shut up before i kiss your ass!"

I laughed so hard!

That's funny Felicia!
Maybe that scared off the manager more then we will ever know!!

I do remember once in Hungary think it was our first visit over in 1978,my MIL said some odd things that upset me allot.
She couldn't figure out why I couldn't speak Hungarian.
Like a 23 year old Ca. girl would learn that when she lived in Ca. and had no intention of moving to Communist Hungary to stay.
It's like asking someone to learn Chinese just because they are visiting there.
No one in Cal. was going out of their way to learn Hungarian back then, Spanish was much more useful to learn.
Ok, so we are staying with my in-laws for 6 weeks time.
We brought our 2 1/2 year old some with us.
Out of the blue she , my MIL asked my husband why he didn't marry a Hungarian women instead of me since I couldn't speak Hungarian.
Right away I had to put her on my blacklist, mentally at least.
I laughed it off but never forgot.Sad to say I never really got over that comment.

Another crazy time was in Ca. My mom had married her 3rd husband after she became a widow, she was getting on in years and her health was very bad.
She married a crazy, American/Irish red headed guy 5 years her jr.
He had his own issues, was married 6 times before my mom, twice to the same women. Was a 2 x POW and suffered with PTSD, hench so many broken marriages.
He put his 2 daughters through school, one through Stanford Law school. Neither daughter spoke with him because of his PTSD episodes etc.
Ungrateful girls really.
Ok, so my mom owned her home and bought it before she married this 3rd husband, she did more for him then he could ever do for himself, She just wanted a man in the house because she still had minors in home and wanted a "father figure" around for my bro.

We had a custom of going to my mom's for Sunday dinner which was a long standing thing.
She got to see her grandson and he could play with his aunt and uncle who weren't all that much older then he was.
Mom loved cooking and having people over so it was good for her too to have company visit. She was very ill and this was a weekly boost to lift her spirits.
Must of been around 1982, my Hungarian husband was already a US citizen.
We went to my mom's front door and my step-dad opened it up.
He was well in his cups and in some odd mood.
He said my son and i were welcome to come in but my "blankety-blank" Commie husband was not welcome.
My mom flew off the handle screaming etc. telling my step-dad to know his place and it wasn't even his house, he was lucky himself to have a roof over his head etc. She really was mad.
My husband wouldn't hear of going inside, we  left for the day.
It took over 6 months and many phone calls and sorries from my Step-dad before my husband visited my mom's home again.
My step- dad was always super nice and friendly with my husband after that.
I wonder what," heck "my mom  had been giving him for 6 months.
In some way I understand because the N. Koreans had tortured him in the POW camp and he saw allot of his friend pass away in there.
Not easy sometimes to get people  to get along.

Marilyn Tassy :

I do remember once in Hungary think it was our first visit over in 1978,my MIL said some odd things that upset me allot.
She couldn't figure out why I couldn't speak Hungarian.
....
Out of the blue she , my MIL asked my husband why he didn't marry a Hungarian women instead of me since I couldn't speak Hungarian.
Right away I had to put her on my blacklist, mentally at least.
I laughed it off but never forgot.Sad to say I never really got over that comment.
.....
Not easy sometimes to get people  to get along.

Wow, lots in that post.

Mrs Fluffy was asked at the airport (by the passport guy) once why she felt the urge to be with a foreigner.  "Not enough good Hungarians?".   No-one would ask that in the UK as it's none of their business and I don't think it would even cross their minds.  It's just a fact.

My MIL thinks I understand her but I haven't got a clue.  Talking more loudly (as she's apt to do) doesn't make any difference of course.  She has the most annoying habit of interrupting conversations in English.  It's almost like it's perceived as background noise and means nothing. 

I try to be generous in my forgiveness.  But she's of a different generation and  product of those times and that's just the way she is.  Quite difficult.

Wow same thing happens to me when we were with my HU  hubbies family, they would barge in the middle of a sentence or question.
After a long while I just would get up and leave the room, take the bottle of booze with me!!
My father used to speak Slav, not even sure what dialect  it was since they were Rusyn which is a off shoot of Slavic languages, they pretty much can understand each other with a few words and sounds being a bit different. Close enough though to not be misunderstood too much. The Rus/ Ruysn/Lemkos actually use allot of HU words in their language.
When my parents were dating in Conn. USA, my dad would only speak his native language with his family, he had 7 siblings though so my poor mom had to suffer through their dates on Sunday family dinner times.
I begged my dad to teach me some of his language when I was a kid, he started then said, "Why, you will never need it".
Little did he know...
Yes, in the states if anyone dared to asked why you are with a person it would be on CNN news!
There would be blood involved one way or the other.
Not anyone's dang business and who is judging which race is the "winner"?
At least in my view anyone who comes as far as to move to the USA from anywhere is a winner and a doer overall. Their home countries were just not allowing them to be themselves for one reason or the other. The US has allot of issues but if anyone tries hard and is willing to work, they can still have a pretty nice lifestyle there.

Marilyn Tassy :

Wow same thing happens to me when we were with my HU  hubbies family, they would barge in the middle of a sentence or question.
After a long while I just would get up and leave the room, take the bottle of booze with me!!
....
I begged my dad to teach me some of his language when I was a kid, he started then said, "Why, you will never need it".
Little did he know...
Yes, in the states if anyone dared to asked why you are with a person it would be on CNN news!
....

Interesting!

I think it's because it's just not relevant to them - or they think so.  Even my kids notice it - they are obviously bilingual but they notice people barging in without a 2nd thought.  Hungarians don't do it to each other.  Presumably they jump in when it's any language - so long as they don't understand it.

We've made that conscious effort to teach our kids both languages. Even my mother has said (stupidly) that surely they will get confused.  As if!  Kids have been speaking multiple languages for thousands of years and it's perfectly normal.  In fact, they will be better at mathematics and live longer if they are polyglots.

My youngest has a tendency to ask Mama if there's some confusion.  If Mrs Fluffy not there, he simply has to do it in English and struggle through.   The eldest one is totally in control of both languages.  Strangely it's thumbs up for the Internet on that bit only.  She watches and reads a lot on web sites in both languages so it's very reinforced. 

As for who is with whom...pffft...come on passport control/immigration people...give me a break! 

But some other surprises pop up. 

Some years ago, a French guy said to me, "You are married to a Hungarian? That's an unusual pairing!" 

Now really, come on, what is NOT an unusual pairing? 

I replied, "It's not unusual for us!"

Unusual pairing, funny.
My dad was 100% eastern European , born in Poland, mom half German and the rest Mohawk and English( might of been Welsh but not sure).. Many names on that side that confuse me, many Jones, Jacksons and Rice names, not sure if they were Eng. or another UK country.

Talk about odd couples though, on mom's side her mother was half native American who's first husband was a full blooded Mohawk.
She had one son, mom's 19 year older half bro, made him 3/4th Native American.
He married a Hungarian women who literally came off the boat with her parents.
I'll say though their 2 daughters were real beauties plus both could dance, one did ball room dancing as a pro. Sadly they have passed on now but I remember both of them, really pretty, Indian and Hungarian ladies.
My grandmother the half native and English women married my grandfather who came from a very strict German family. His parents came over and got very wealthy in the US, maybe they had some funds in Germany when they came over.
Long story, they owned a textile factory and expected my grandfather to take over and to only marry a German women.
Well, he threw a monkey wrench in their plans... Ran away from home, joined the US Army at age 14, later rode the rails for adventure and close to 50 years old married my grandmother and had my mom.
Needless to say he was written out of his families estate... He was born in 1882,a totally different time for sure.
For some people personal freedom is more powerful then money or riches.

fluffy2560 :

I think it's because it's just not relevant to them - or they think so.  Even my kids notice it - they are obviously bilingual but they notice people barging in without a 2nd thought.  Hungarians don't do it to each other.

Au contraire! My wife's family's conversation are often one huge mass of interruptions. As if multiple conversations are going on at the same time. I think it is more what you said first: if something being said was not relevant to them, interruptions occur. Does not matter they are all speaking Hungarian.

fluffy2560 :

As for who is with whom...pffft...come on passport control/immigration people...give me a break!

People here can be overly nosy at times. NOYB is not really understood as well as it should be.

Growing up in a large household of 6 kids and 2 adults, we had to give each other time to speak, wasn't always easy to get out your 2 cents worth though.
I learned to be a fast talker and to get to the point about subjects, otherwise you would be run over by louder voices.
It does make on feel disrespected though when someone butts in while your speaking.
My mom was strict about these things most times, We had to wait our turn to speak and if we didn't she would often physically tape our mouths shut, child abuse or self  presevation, hard to say.

Marilyn Tassy :

Unusual pairing, funny.
My dad was 100% eastern European , born in Poland, mom half German and the rest Mohawk and English( might of been Welsh but not sure).. Many names on that side that confuse me, many Jones, Jacksons and Rice names, not sure if they were Eng. or another UK country.
.....

Jones is typically Welsh. Rice is often Welsh as well.  Other Welsh last names names are Thomas, Williams, Hughes,  Lewis, Jenkins and Evans.  Jackson is more Scottish.  There whole villages of Jones and Williams people. 

However, these days, it's all mixed up all over the place in the UK and many other countries, so impossible to say for sure what people's recent (i.e. <200 years) origin is.

My own family name is often thought to be German (by Germans) but actually is fairly common name from South London and not of German origin at all as far as I know.   

But what's in a name anyway?  The Donald isn't really a Trump at all.  I am sure his father didn't know it's got a less than polite meaning in some British English dialects.  His (Scottish) mother could possibly have  have known that but neglected to mention it perhaps.

Marilyn Tassy :

Growing up in a large household of 6 kids and 2 adults, we had to give each other time to speak, wasn't always easy to get out your 2 cents worth though.
I learned to be a fast talker and to get to the point about subjects, otherwise you would be run over by louder voices.
It does make on feel disrespected though when someone butts in while your speaking.
My mom was strict about these things most times, We had to wait our turn to speak and if we didn't she would often physically tape our mouths shut, child abuse or self  presevation, hard to say.

I also come from a large family and it was a major fight to be heard at all.  But we just had to jostle for position and attention. My parents were pretty laid back and just let us get on with it amongst ourselves. I am not sure what the best solution was then or even now but I know  no tape was required!   Your Mom would be in trouble nowadays.

klsallee :

....Au contraire! My wife's family's conversation are often one huge mass of interruptions. As if multiple conversations are going on at the same time. I think it is more what you said first: if something being said was not relevant to them, interruptions occur. Does not matter they are all speaking Hungarian.

Sounds like trying to get to the front of the queue.  It's OK if it's a party  and there's chit chat going on in the "scrum".  But if there are just a few of you and the MIL butts in all the time, it just comes across as rather weird at best but very rude otherwise.

klsallee :

People here can be overly nosy at times. NOYB is not really understood as well as it should be.

For sure.  Sometimes I think I would qualify that NOYB with another letter NOYFB.  But maybe a bit early for that level of language this sunny Spring day and unlikely to cheer up a passport inspector.

My older sister was a Thomas for awhile and later a Criddle... Welsh for sure. Let's see she had two Welsh husbands a Polish/American one and one who is anyone's guess, red headed American who I think changed his name to sound more "cool". He was a black belt in karate and his last name seemed , "Contrived ".

My husband swears our last name comes from the tribe of Tas.
There was a split in history and the Tassy's became two different families.
Somewhere in our pile of papers we wrote down the actual motto of the family from the middle ages, also found one of the crests in a book inside the National Archives over here.
Really doesn't matter much though, don't even know where we tossed the paper inside the desk. These things don't matter in modern times.
Went back about 500 years in the archives but without knowing their filing system and being just lay people, not researches it was hard to get any help doing the family tree beyond 500 years.
Found allot of small tid bit's about personal life with some of the relations, how many horses were killed under one in battle, how many body guards went down  how much their fields produced.
One member was even a HU Viceroy and many were very active in church life. One was actually called up to serve for a king here because no other nobleman was taking things seriously and they pulled this person out of retirement to get things in order.
How  high his family has fallen...Just a factory worker , from Lords to servants... Oh well, happens to the best of people.
Just saying yes, sometimes there is something to a name.

My mom also had no talking hours in the house growing up, we had to sit and read a book for hours, this was mostly her rainy day rules.
Mom was anything but a laid back person.

fluffy2560 :

For sure.  Sometimes I think I would qualify that NOYB with another letter NOYFB.  But maybe a bit early for that level of language this sunny Spring day and unlikely to cheer up a passport inspector.

Why not? It is indeed Spring. So it matches: NOYFB: None Of Your Flowery Business. :)

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

For sure.  Sometimes I think I would qualify that NOYB with another letter NOYFB.  But maybe a bit early for that level of language this sunny Spring day and unlikely to cheer up a passport inspector.

Why not? It is indeed Spring. So it matches: NOYFB: None Of Your Flowery Business. :)

Ok, I'll buy that.

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