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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greek Mentality

This in fact a continuation from the post marrying a Greek and the Greek family. Due to many comments you can comment here. I will publish those unpublished comments that was in the above articles so you can continue posting on this interesting theme as well as about the Greek mentality.
I'd like to add this comment as well from Sonja.
Love your site! My husband and I are nearing retirement and dream of selling everything and living in Greece (we've both lived there previously as young adults). Your information is helpful, well written, and correct. Thank you!

Back to comments.

Anonymous said: This blog has been going for a long time and I have spent an enjoyable time reading all the posts. It's about love, compromise, accepting each others' differences, keeping the channels of communication way open, constant work at making the relationship work and keeping it on track. It's just so easy to walk away at the slightest sign of 'trouble in paradise'. Most normal relationships start out full of fun and banter - the exploration of each other. It would be wonderful if one could bottle the euphoric first few months of a relationship and look at the bottle in tougher times to be reminded of why you fell in love with the person you're now married to (in my case 23 years and not to a Greek man).
Yes, Greek men may be more macho than men in some other cultures, but maybe that is what attracted you to them in the first place? They are MEN, and I have to say that there's nothing more refreshing than a real man, who treats a woman like a lady. Interesting to see that there are a number of posts by Australian women. A country where women's rights have become so entrenched that most men have become so afraid of being accused of sexual harassment that they rarely show appreciation for a beautiful woman walking past. It is fast becoming a 'sexless' country. How very sad and unnatural that is!

I too love Greece and anything Greek. And be honest: don't you feel like a million bucks when Greek men look at you with appreciation as you walk down the street? Strangely, it's not in a sleazy way, nor does it feel demeaning. It makes you walk taller and think "hey, I must still have that something that men like". Greek men just show so openly what they are thinking, and it's refreshing!

I have two grown-up sons too and I adore them as they do me... it's a natural thing between mothers and their sons, just as it is between fathers and their daughters. Yes, the Greek culture is extremely family-oriented... is that a bad thing? Many of our families have become so dysfunctional, that we barely know what other family members are up to, what they are feeling or going through. Work has become our main driver at the expense of sitting down and just catching up with each others' lives for a few hours. Problems should all be solved in an hour, just like in the soaps on TV. Life just doesn't happen like that!

Love and respect each other not despite your differences but FOR your differences... or of course you could simply ignore that Greek man that has obviously made your heart miss a beat and find yourself a man who fits into the box you believe he should fit into... Ultimately, it's your choice and yours alone.

No-one who has been married for any length of time will say that it's all been moonlight and roses, but it's how you handle the hurdles that come along during the course of life that are the real test of who you are and what you're made of.

Be happy and make the most of every day - we only have one stab at life, so we may as well enjoy it!!

Anonymous said: This is a very interesting blog! I'm about to marry a Greek man! He's great. He's unlike what many of u wrote. I have encountered other Greek men like u described. He is close to his mother. He is his own man though. He would listen to her, but he ultimately makes his own decision. His family has accepted me with open arms.If they didn't, he said that we couldn't associate much with them. He loves me dearly. He's not narrowed minded and loves to help out. He allows me to be who I am. He's not too big on family gatherings. I come from a Latin American background. We also talk loud and family is important to us. His mother though has secretly told me that she would want me to convert to Greek Orthodoxy. I don't want to, but I do want to make her happy. If I tell him, he would be so mad at her and then she would be mad at me. I won't convert though. I'm happy with my Christian denomination. A lot of Greeks act like Greek Orthodoxy is its own religion while is just a Christian denomination. We will raise our future children with both backgrounds.

Anonymous said:I married a Greek man who came straight from a small village in Greece 40 years ago this month. I was born in Germany but raised in America. My parents still had the European beliefs. Right from the start this man tried to control me. No make up, No short skirts (in the 60's) Work but hand over my pay check to him. etc. He was the man and should be in control of the money. He did Not get to far with these things. I was doing these things when you met me and if you don't like it find someone else. We were married and a year later had a baby. Mean while the gambling started full Blast! Starting in October he started staying out All night playing poker with his Greek buddies. According to him this is a Greek tradition. "We always play cards before Christmas." This would go on until well after New Year's. We had 2 girls. He was hardly ever home between working and gambling, Poker, Horse races, and slot machines. I couldn't take anymore he wouldn't listen to reason. I packed the girls up and left. He soon found us and begged us to come home. I did. Second dumb thing I did. The first was marrying him in the first place. The culture difference is just too Big! First of all the language. I was always expected to be able to speak Greek. By him and his relatives and his friends. but he was not even remotely interested in learning German. He should of been concentrating on English anyway. The way they are brought up over there. The boys are better than the girls. The Women are supposed to wait on the Males. Even though the woman have a full time job now a days they are still supposed to do all house hold chores. While the men help at nothing. It is just unheard of to help with the house work. When their outside job is done they get to go out to play. Golf, poker, fishing whatever. As far as that Greek Myth goes how romantic the greek men are. They are Not at all. They want sex when they want it and only then. As far as they are concerned if you have a roof over your head and food in the house you should be Happy. I am Not only speaking about my husband but in the 40 some years I have met many, many Greek men and they are all pretty much the same. Some a little bit better and some worse but all in all. Pretty much the same. I am a Man and a women is supposed to listen to the Man.
He controlled his gambling a bit while the girls were home. As soon as they left it started again full blast! 3 4 times a week.
This is a Warning to anyone that is thinking of making a life long commitment with someone from a Different Culture. Be it Greek or other wise. Don't rush into anything! Stop, Look and Listen. The Honeymoon Never lasts forever. Reality! Sets in all to soon. And it lasts and lasts.

Anonymous said: Stereotyping the Greeks? Maybe you should look inside yourself and determine who you are as a person if you are willing to date/marry a human being that has these traits that you may find odd. As we are all humans, we all have faults and if you were to take a poll on the common traits listed above you would find that these exist amongst all people. Do if you are with someone who has a non-logical form of thinking then you my dear are probably more unstable than than your significant other

Anonymous said: Greek man is my nightmare, my husband is Greek, we met in Scotland, and now we live in Greece. Before we got married, he was my best friend, but now , he can not stand any single thing I said. He is violent, he also beat me a few time. We are still together but we fight almost everyday ( well I have to speak sometime, and he is always asking me where are the things like he doesn't live here). I want to leave Greece but he treats me I will leave without anything including my children. My life in Greece is a living hell. I believe that it might not be such a bad idea to marry a Greek man, but definitely do not live with him in Greece, this place has a very bad influence.
ps. we both has master degree and a decent job. It has nothing to do with education or money.

Anonymous said: Just thought I had to comment. I was married to my greek husband for 33years when he died suddenly from an aortic anyerisum. He was a great husband and father!!!!!! He cooked and I cleaned up or I cooked and he cleaned up. We worked as a team. When the kids were little He would walk in the door from work grab a sandwich and off we would go to soccer practice, baseball practice, basketball practice and then come home and we both took one and helped with homework! When we were sick he went to the store to get what he needed to make Greek chicken soup. He has been gone a little over 4years and I miss his wonderful accent, holding his hand, the soft pat he would tap with his hand on the top of my head, and his comment of you look beautiful. Relationships require respect for oneself and for your partner.
Thank you for letting me share about my John that I so dearly miss every day we are apart!

Anonymous said: I broke the cardinal rule of vacations. I fell for a Greek man. Well... actually... the love developed over time as we've stayed in touch over the last couple years. He's wonderful, kind, passionate, driven, and thoughtful and not like some (or most) of the Greek men I've read about on various posts.
His family has arranged a marriage/business deal. He feels obligated to do it, though has expressed to me that he doesn't want to and can't marry who he wants to marry. Some of these "rules" seem strange. Must be Greek. Must speak it. (obvious/not surprising). Must be about 10 years younger for child bearing reasons and care giving when the man is older. It's too strange and constrictive. How to the women not revolt? Is this just a lie to ease my feelings?

Anonymous said: I'm an Australian woman in my early 30's and my Greek ex-boyfriend's parents did not accept me and told him that while they liked me as a person, they would never accept me. His sister was of the same opinion telling me that he should be doing 'what is right'. With so much disdain, pressure, arguing, and feeling like he was making everyone unhappy, he ended things after almost 2yrs together following an argument with his sister about not allowing me at her wedding. He cried while telling me I was the love of his life and he was making the mistake of his life.

He decided that he could no longer put me through his families behaviour or argue with them every time he asked me over. I understood but my heart broke forever that day. Messages, flowers and phone calls followed from him for the next year, but he still could not go against his parents.

Things ended 18 months ago but I have never stopped loving him, and after crossing paths 3 months ago, the love was obvious and he could not look away as I went into the distance. The sorrow on our faces was heartbreaking. I felt like I was could not breathe.

Needless to say he has a Greek girlfriend who his parents accept and we respect each others lives as they are. Greek parents who continue like this even though they see the hurt they've caused will never understand the damage it does. These beliefs are selfish and outdated, and lead many to divorce (if they have the guts), or to unfaithful activity. That sounds like happiness for all involved.
I feel deeply for anyone in this situation, and encourage you to think carefully

Anonymous said: All the love and romance in the world won't help you after you are married. And just wait until the kids are born. Overbearing Greek MIL's can wreck a marriage. I'm living it. She always comes first and is always right. God and his mother are the only perfect people I know. After 15 years of marriage in the US and 2 kids, my Greek born husband wants to return to Greece permanently. This will likely be the deal breaker for the marriage because I won't go under any circumstances. The only reason we are still married is because of the ocean between me and his family. There's no way I would put myself in their world for the rest of my life. His mother's involvement in our lives when we are in Greece is more than I can sanely handle. She does a nice job when we aren't as well.

While I'm also highly educated, my Greek husband doesn't think I should be working. He resents that I didn't give it up for the kids and for him. If I were to move to Greece, I wouldn't be able to work in my field and he would love that... His idea of the perfect family life. Me at home looking after the children, making his meals, washing/ironing, etc.

My biggest mistake was marrying him. I clearly underestimated the drive he would have at middle-age to return to Greece. Silly me. I thought we could be happy together in the US an visit Greece in the summers. He manages for his work the take him to Greece several times a year in addition to long summer vacations. I spend at least 1/4 of the year without him here in the US, working, and taking care of our kids. But, his mother is smiling, he's in Greece, and that's all that really matters.

Anonymous said: Hmmm Greek men they certainly get everyone talking about them. I met my Greek husband on the internet 12 years ago and have been married for 6. I believe that all Greek men are very self opinionated and, yes have a most difficult temper when things don't go their own way. It could be part of that upbringing with their mothers attending to every whim.

I believe the way to deal with a Greek man is to let him believe he is in control. I am an English girl and yes we are tough cookies! Whenever his temper blows all you have to do is let it wash over you. There is probably nothing more annoying to him. There is no point in arguing all night long. When their temper blows it lasts only 20 min 30 max if you don't respond to the tantrum. Deal with Greek men as you would a toddler or a dog. Reward good behaviour and ignore the bad. They may not be the best romantics but once in a serious relationship will be committed. It is up to the women to stand their ground and remember the phrase 'a man may be the head of the house, but the women is the neck' i.e. the Greek man is seen to be the breadwinner and head of the house but behind every good man there is a good woman that can turn that man any way she wishes!

I believe they are into head strong opinionated women that are sophisticated, business orientated well behaved in public but a vixen in the sheets!

Anonymous said: Hello! Well I just started a relationship with a Greek man and it's really funny to read all of your comments and how true they sometimes are.
I am absolutely not Greek and I have never met someone before who is Greek but as far as I can say it's been the best relationship I ever had. Because of this emotional and dramatic characteristics. He will always tell when something's wrong and vice versa.
But there's one thing I am not completely sure about. He wants me to introduce to his family. Is this something serious in a greek family?
Thank you

Anonymous said: I was in a long-distance relationship with a Greek man for about 3 years. i am Polish and till the time i met him i had been convinced that Poland is the most conservative, religious (with that characteristic double morality), patriarchal, homophobic and xenophobic country in Europe. i was very surprised when i found out it was nothing to compare with Greece. regarding to male-female relationship most Greek men, at least my ex and his male friends expect women to be as perfect housewife's as their mothers are. in fact, I've got an impression that the perfect wife for a Greek man should be a copy of his mother (but still she will never be as good as her!). equality and partnership in a relationship do not exist in Greece. i have also noticed that Greek men don't really respect women. there are only two types of women for them: the ones who are "saint" and worshipped (mainly the female members of their family and female friends) and those who are sexual objects only - all others. what was driving me mad was his opinion about polish women and all other east-European women (that they are all "easy") which was a very simple and unjust stereotype he brought from his country and which never reflected reality (i was 23 when i met him and he was my 2nd sexual partner). i know that his friends, although being kind to me, were judging me just because of my nationality. in fact for most of his friends and his family that relationship was a fad (because I wasn't Greek) and they never ever thought it might have been something very serious for him. i have to admit that my ex-man at the beginning of our relationship used to be the most romantic and caring man in the world and he easily made me fall in love (first time in my life). despite all the opinions about Greek men (that they are womanizers) and despite the fact we had a long-distance relationship (which is extremely hard) i trusted him in 100% and i know he never cheated on me. but no matter how crazy he was about me (that's what he was saying) he just simply made me understand that i would never be his priority, i would never be more important that his family, friends, job and so on. i loved him insanely and I was ready to leave my country and my family for him (despite the fact that i am from typical, conservative, traditional and religious Polish family and Iam very attached to my parents too), to learn Greek language, and generally to do everything to be as Greek as possible (i even changed my hair colour - it was too blond for my man (sic!) I know now it was an absurd - I am Polish and if someone really loves me, he would accept me just as i am). every single time when i was in Greece and we were meeting people he knew (his friends, mates, neighbours, whatever) i knew he felt uncomfortable and few times he didn't even introduce me or he introduced me as a "friend", not a girlfriend! at the end i was told we can't be together, we can't live together, we can't get married and so on just because of one reason: Because I am not Greek and no, it was neither his mother nor his father who told me that, it was HIM. as much as I got familiar with Greek mentality, I am sure it is not so different from polish mentality. I really think cultural differences between those two countries are not so huge and really possible to overcome. i am jealous reading all of those posts about Greek guys fighting against their families for the sake of their relationships with non-Greek girls. i know my ex would never do that. as he said (and he tried to convince me it is a common opinion in Greece): love is something what comes and goes away and in marriage there are more important things. to all those girls who want to marry Greek men - please make sure they don't share that opinion!
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