Intercultural relationships in Hungary


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,


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.

Well explained most of the things and seems you are a genuine person.

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.

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