Intercultural and Mixed Relationships

Intercultural and Mixed Relationships
In June 2022 the Chai in the City Open Group for Punjabi men met virtually to discuss the topic Intercultural and Mixed Relationships. Here are some reflections from the brilliant team who facilitate and contribute towards those conversations.

This month’s session was to discuss the subject of Intercultural and Mixed Relationships. As always, a warm welcome was offered to all who attend. A well attend session with a great cross section of participants from across the UK, Europe, and North America. This month a slight change facilitators who equally created the comfortable and safe environment for open discussions to take place.

After a whole group introduction, the group divide into smaller groups in breakout rooms to discuss the subject. To help guide the discussions three questions were posed. For this month’s forum they were: What has your experience of been of intercultural/mixed relationships? Are Punjabi communities more accepting now of such relationships? What barriers are there for intercultural/mixed relationships and how can we overcome them? The questions as always are there to guide the conversations and to support the open and diverse chat within the breakout rooms.

Some participants were able to share their own personal experiences of being within intercultural/mixed relationships. The discussions covered the range of positive experiences and challenges encountered. The experience of acceptance by others and sometimes the barriers encountered from within the community.

There was a great deal of discussion and sharing of the positives that intercultural/mixed relationships can and have brought to the people within them. This included sharing of cultural differences, increased opportunity to reflect on individual cultural and religion beliefs.

There was also an exploration and experience sharing regarding the impact of the relationships beyond those involved, including children and families.

It was also acknowledged that this is not everyone’s experience, as well as choice or preference sometimes to remain within the community for relationships are equally valuable.

The discussion was inclusive for everyone and the theme for positive relationships is clearly one of personal choice whether within the community or intercultural/mixed. Which did raise the question of ‘what influences choice?’.

This was the last forum before the summer break and left all those who participated and facilitated with sense of positivity not just around the sessions topic but also having the space to openly and safely discuss topics/thoughts that are a challenge to many. The forum supportive nature allows all who participate leave with a feeling of not being alone which can only be a good thing for mental wellbeing.

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