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To think that mixed class marriages are more complicated than if you have similar backgrounds?

(51 Posts)
Argos Fri 23-Sep-11 09:06:45

DH's family read the Sun, support EDL, spend all their money in the pub (getting paralytic every weekend even now), never eat any fruit or veg, watch their 50 inch TV constanly and don't own any books. They shout and swear at each other and use really horrible language. His mum fed him coke in his bottle and used to let him stay at home rather than go to school whenever he wanted.

DH is not like this, he got a degree, is a bit of a foodie and reads books.

I was brought up by Guardian reading lefties who did their best to give me all the educational opportunities they could & didn't let us eat sweets or drink coke. We never swore at each other or used racially abusive language.

Scratch the surface and our fundamental views on a lot of things relate back to our childhood

DH and I are very similar people personality wise but with completely different upbringings. I didn't think this would be an issue but there are lots of things which are complicating things and I wonder if IBU to think this is to do with class?

SansaLannister Fri 23-Sep-11 09:12:03

Yes, YABU. It's about the person and how he/she let it affect him/her, same as with religion, age, race, etc.

I'm married to a man from a completely different culture and a good bit younger than I am into the bargain.

But our values are very similar and that is what counts.

lesley33 Fri 23-Sep-11 09:12:34

I don't think it is automatically about class. i come from a very poor background and my parents sound like yours in attitude and parenting.

I think differences in fundamental values does make it harder to have a successful marriage. Particularly values around how a marriage should work, how you socialise and whether friends are important or not, how you bring up children and money.

I and my OH actually in some ways come from very different backgrounds. But our values are very very similar.

GirlWithALlamaTattoo Fri 23-Sep-11 09:15:20

I agree. It's a cross-cultural relationship just as much as if you came from different countries, but without it being visible on the surface.

I've been in your position. XDP's parents didn't work, didn't want to, his dad said society owed him a living, they didn't make XDP's brother go to school, gave the (older teenage) kids drink and drugs, and altogether showed me a world I'd never imagined. They were deeply suspicious of me, from my standard mc background, but accepted that we were genuinely in love and were the kindest, most welcoming nearly-in-laws I could ever have had. I disagreed with them on many, many things, but still liked them, and we're still in touch many years later even though both XDP and I have moved on and are with new partners.

XDP had similar aspirations to me in many ways, most of which he's now achieved, but there were certainly differences in approach that were very hard to reconcile.

What complications are you finding? Are there ways in which you could compromise, or is it too fundamental for that?

Whatmeworry Fri 23-Sep-11 09:17:04

Assuming this is not a windup smile , of course backgrounds matter as you find there are many different assumptions - same as different culture/nation marriages so YANBU.

PS so what size is your telly grin

fluffles Fri 23-Sep-11 09:23:02

yes, i think it is to do with what we call 'class' - which i don't believe has much to do with income.

i grew up with 'middle class values' - left leaning, education, family activities - but in a low income area. i was permanently embarassed as a child because everybody else's parents went to the football and the pub and left hte kids at home while we went to country parks and museums blush

but those values helped me to go to university and fit in there and be happy with my life now... i have left behind those where i grew up who said 'who does she think she is?' when i applied to uni. and i'm glad.

StrandedBear Fri 23-Sep-11 09:23:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nokissymum Fri 23-Sep-11 09:28:47

Without expantiating further on these "complications" its difficult to say wether they are due to class or not, sometimes what people perceive as "class" issues are really more to do with individual personality.

EdithWeston Fri 23-Sep-11 09:41:04

By the time your DH graduated, he'd have moved class anyhow.

Early background is only one marker - unless you believe in total social immobility.

What makes a good couple, and whether endogamy is important, strike me as questions straying into an area with so many variables that they can never be resolved.

lesley33 Fri 23-Sep-11 09:47:47

But values do matter. Many couples argue for example about money. Whether you believe in spending money now on things not needed or saving for example, is a deep rooted value. Or should education be valuedw ith children made to do homework and perhaps private tutors hired.

However although your values are influenced by your parents, they aren't necessarily the same. You may hate that your parents were generally lazy and never worked and so developed a strong work ethic.

However, the problem is that many couples don't talk about values until they run into problems. I'm not religious, but I actually think the church marriage preparation classes, where they are well run, are a good idea. It makes couples think and talk about what marriage means to each of them and about children and how they would bring them up.

Its much easier to talk about and if possible resolve differences in values before they have become a point of conflict.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 23-Sep-11 09:48:24

I don't think that it's a symbol of being working class to feed kids coke in a bottle or swear at them or any of the other things in your list. I love the implication on these threads that having a working class upbringing is villainous and middle class values (whatever they are) are better. What your DH's parents did, was clearly not great parenting, but it isn't working class parenting.

I grew up in a working class background. My parents worked their arses off to provide for us, we were taken to museums and galleries, not sworn at, or fed junk food continuously. Working class just means that you have a job which isn't particularly well paid and therefore might live in a council house. It is nothing to do with values.

To answer your question OP, I don't think your problems are to do with class, they are just to do with one set of parents bringing up their dc in a way which wasn't as good as the way you were raised. Middle class parents can be crap too.

TrillianAstra Fri 23-Sep-11 09:49:31

Your families don't have to spend any time together.

The important question is whether you have the same values and ideas as each other.

Champagnevanity Fri 23-Sep-11 09:51:39

The Father of my baby's family are exactly like the family op posted about, but probably worse.
Now, im not being a snob but having siblings who deal drugs, and a parent who fraudulently claims benefits is not a family i would have wanted my child to be around.

However, that isn't an option, seeing as he has left the country, wants nothing to do with me etc. Blessing in disguise? wink

OTheHugeRaveningWolef Fri 23-Sep-11 09:54:41

Over the last 50 years or so 'class' has in a lot of important ways really come to mean 'culture' IMO: attitudes to money, what you do in your spare time, what you eat, what you consider to be good manners.

OP, I don't think YANBU in that sense necessarily. DP and I are from very different cultures in that sense, and sometimes it is a real gulf of misunderstanding between us. With a bit of thought it's usually navigable, but there's a raft of cultural assumptions from our respective upbringings that we probably wouldn't need to think about if we were from more similar backgrounds, as we'd just take them for granted.

TrillianAstra Fri 23-Sep-11 09:58:16

OTOH, I think it's good to experience and be aware of a range of opinions about the world. even if someone of them are clearly wrong

That's why I like MN.

If you marry the boy next door and live in the village along with all of your extended families it's likely that you'll only be aware of one way of doing things and it would never occur to you that life could be lived in a different way.

I prefer to be exposed to a multitude of outlooks and lifestyles and to make my own decisions.

Makiko Fri 23-Sep-11 10:00:10

Message withdrawn

AKMD Fri 23-Sep-11 10:05:05

YANBU. Like fluffles I was also hugely embarrassed at being dragged off to museums and for 'jolly walks' on NT properties while my friends were with their families in the beer garden of the local pub all weekend. My parents met at a Young Mathematician convention, just for added geekiness hmm DH comes from a very different background to me (typical west-Indian, working class upbringing) and sometimes it does cause problems, but they are very minor. His aspirations are to drive a BMW and have a huge flatscreen TV in every room of the house. I wouldn't mind a Beetle and am constantly nagging him to put up bookshelves or shock read a book. I am sometimes embarrassed by his manners and he quite often teases me for being a snob. None of these differences are deal-breakers but they do rub sometimes.

chill1243 Fri 23-Sep-11 10:18:43

ARGOS, you raise a good question on mixed class marriages. In percentage terms I suppose there are very few such marriages.

For the fairly obvious reason that the classes dont go out of their way to mix with each other. So most end up marrying within their own class. there are exceptions.....the royal and the rugger bloke is one famous such.

There used to be a phrase applied to men that "young Peregrine would make a good CATCH" Can you use that term in respect of partnerships? I
suspect not.

On the fun side. When I was young the Young Conservatives was allegedly a marriage bureau. I dont know if Labour had a similar club.

On balance, I think there is a better chance of success if people marry others with similar interests and even background.

diddl Fri 23-Sep-11 10:21:48

I would have thought that it´s the values that you have as an adult that count tbh.

chill1243 Fri 23-Sep-11 10:23:16

Yes, VALUES do matter.

slavetofilofax Fri 23-Sep-11 10:23:37

I agree with Karma, it's not about class in the sense of how much the family income was.

It's about values and attitudes, which have nothing to do with class.

diddl Fri 23-Sep-11 10:24:27

Oh and some interests in common!

BakeliteBelle Fri 23-Sep-11 10:24:44

I suppose it's only a problem if you have to hang out with his family - or he with yours....I have found some middle-class Guardian reading types to be the most narrow-minded, tiresome, dishonest, judgemental bigots going.

Blu Fri 23-Sep-11 10:24:57

Shared values are more important than shared circumstances.

And what value is a gurdian-reading-liberal non-name-calling background if it doesn't equip you to actually BE tolerant, and to operate easily in different social circumstances.

DP and I have wildly different backgrounds - we live together, not with either of our respective families, and we can both operate with enough tact, respect, and social grace to make it work. Or work with no more than the usual level of hissing and bitching about MILs and ILs generally that goes on on MN even within a tightly matching social group!

Hullygully Fri 23-Sep-11 10:27:06

It can add a certain dash of complication here and there ime.

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