The Boom of Intercultural Relationships

By Diana Pastor

Oh February… the month of love! Soon, thousands of couples will be more in love with each other than ever: in the streets, the cafes and parks. And now, increasingly more widely, in the tourist sites too. We are in the midst of experiencing a boom in intercultural relationships. It’s not a joke. The number of European and U.S. folk in relationships with Latin people has launched into truly impressive figures as of late, and Guatemala has not been the exception. To cite an example, I can quickly count how many of my own friends and acquaintances are soon to be married or are in a serious relationship with an extranjero/a (foreigner). Nine. This might seem like a small number, but these are just amongst my circle of friends (which is a really small circle). It would be interesting if the Guatemalan government, amongst the “wonderful” ideas that is has, would fund a “love census” to determine the approximate number of such couples in the country.

It is also interesting to talk about the number of couples who have decided to set up a business together in the country (such as a foreign-cuisine restaurant, say), in the process creating an explosive mix of cultures and achieving a great deal of success. Or the number of Guatemalans who have migrated to other countries in search of adventures with those who they believe to be the loves of their lives.

What is it that has attracted both Guatemalan and foreigners to dare to give this distinct experience a try? For many, perhaps it is simply to escape the monotonous stereotypes of love between boys and girls from the same country; or perhaps it is simply due to the growing number of foreigners who come to visit Guatemala. For others it could be due to experiencing a devastating relationship in the past with a fellow Guatemalan, which has caused them to seek out a relationship with a completely different type of person.

But it is in the middle of both worlds that the question arises: in reality, do these relationships work? Many of them eventually marry and live a relatively quiet life without complications. They have children, they engage with the better half of the country and are happy. Other adventures of these sort only experiment to find out that relationships between people of different countries are very difficult, and sometimes impossible. And in other cases, partners end up disappointed when they realise that their new boyfriend or girlfriend ends up fulfilling the same prototype of the type of person they were trying to escape from in the first place.

Anyways. If you happen to be one of these couples, your timing couldn’t be better! And if not, remember that you will always have your reasons for not wanting to date someone so different from you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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