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My wife is Polish and it's difficult for her to open up and talk about her feelings

befranklin 1 | 41
7 May 2015 #1
Some background, my wife is born and raised in Poland. She speaks, (of course) fluent Polish, English and Russian, (I guess she's old school), we met got married and and now we live in the US. We have been married for awhile but have had an on-going problem with her being able to open up and express what she is feeling. I was just in Poland and she seems to be be able to talk it up in Poland with her friends and other Polish people. Her English is fluent enough so that I'm sure that she is not translating Polish to English in her head. I guess my question to the Polish woman is, culturally are Polish woman less open about their feelings and what is going on inside. Or is it Polish women tend to less expressive and more dismissive of themselves. I really just want her to speak what's on her mind. We've been married 5 years and it's still a big problem. Or perhaps even though she speaks good English perhaps she still at a loss of expressing herself because it's not her "First" language? Maybe it's not cultural Polish problem at all and just hers?
majkel - | 64
7 May 2015 #2
I think Polish people in general are not to fond of talking too much about their feelings (deep down ones not surface ones).
We tend to keep those things to ourselves, love to talk about other people though :)
7 May 2015 #3
Witam! Are all Americans, all Germans, all Greeks, all French, all Bulgarians, all Martians ... the same? Of course they are not and so why should Poles be all the same? People commenting don't even live in Poland; they have met one or 2 Poles and that's it, they know ALL the Poles. I do live in Poland and throughout the years I have met thousands of Poles and of course they are all different. Some talk easily about their personal things and some others don't. Here again, there is NO difference between Poles and others.

If the Polish wife has problems expressing herself, it has nothing to do with being Polish or not, it is something personal, due to her personality, the way she was brought up, etc etc..

Please stop generalizations because they are always stupid ! Poles are no "special race", they are just like anybody else but of course those generalizing just base their "theory" on 2, max 3, persons of a given national/social group! Believe me, after years of living in Poland, my conclusion is that people in Poland are the same as everywhere else (I have lived (not vacation;)) in several countries.
majkel - | 64
7 May 2015 #4
Gosc, even though you are right in saying that everyone is different, that kind of posts holds some merit. After all although everyone is different statistic can be applied to a group (Asimov).

Anyway saying that some generalizations cannot be made about a large group of people in unwise. Can't you generalize that Polish people are more religious than Czech people? Sure you can. Can't you generalize that there's more Black people in Africa than in Poland? Sure you can.

So kindly let people discuss as they please, if they don't offend someone.

I have lived in Poland all my life and hold different opinion than you, and I'm allowed to, kind sir.

Edit: "there is NO difference between Poles and others" - and this is simply untrue. Are you saying there is no cultural difference between person from Poland, Iran, Japan and USA, for example? There are. MASSIVE ones.
7 May 2015 #5
@Majkel: the problem is that those writing such posts based their "theory" on 1 or 2 persons that they happen to know. How can we judge a whole group on such a tiny sample?????? Generalizations can only be made to SOME extent when based upon a huge amount of people. How many threads in PF "I met Magda at Tesco in Manchester and Polish girls are ..." or "my boyfriend is Polish and Polish boys are..."???? I hope such messages are written by 18-year old kids otherwise we can worry...

PS: those making such stupid hasty generalizations of course have never lived in said place ;)
majkel - | 64
7 May 2015 #6
I'm trying to say that not all such emails have to be baseless - for example fot me this one is not - it's a genuine question.

And in my opinion Polish women might have some reservations about talking deep feelings with their partners - it's a cultural thing, we like to keep those things to ourselves. Of course some tend to share more than the others,(I share a lot between close friends :)) however some really private stuff even I keep to myself :) What do you think?
7 May 2015 #7
@Majkel: I know quite a few Poles (men and women) who are not shy about talking about most private things - some of them talk more than I do ;)
OP befranklin 1 | 41
7 May 2015 #8
Gosc123456 you are right I am generalizing and shouldn't be. I was looking to perhaps gain some insight from another Polish woman's prospective that is not readily available to me as we are currently living in the US. I apologize if it came off categorically offensive, that was not my intentions. You are correct that it may be just her individual trait and not a cultural Pole nature. I can only say that I love the polish culture and the country and only wish to enhance my understanding. I am currently trying to learn Polish, which is a very difficult language to grasp. Everyone thank you for your comment and intentions to respond to my query.
7 May 2015 #9
@Befranklin: thanks for your wise comments ;). Indeed, it is something stricly personal and it has nothing to do with being Polish or not. I agree that some attitudes are influenced by culture but if someone is shy, arrogant, smart, dumb, violent, honest, or whatever, ... it has nothing to do with nationality ;). Good luck!
bbcr4 - | 6
8 May 2015 #10
Just a short note to let you know that I had a similar issue in our marriage.

Here is what we did.

1. Once a month we go on a date.
2. We always drive to a different place, while drivingwe discuss our: life style, jobs, money, sex, kids, communication, small changes that need to be done, plans for the future.

3. We always start with positive things, simply talk about good things that took place... once we have done that we are more open to discuss more challenging issues.

4. After about 1 hour of driving and talking about our feelings we start our proper date in a restaurant, movies...

It seems pretty straightforward but seems to work and does wonders to our marriage.
OP befranklin 1 | 41
8 May 2015 #11
Wow, bbcr4 that is really helpful insight, I only wish a closer communicative relationship with her. My wife is currently in Poland and when I call via Skype or on Whatsapp I talk and have news about what I'm doing and what's going on, but when I ask her I basically get everything's fine and static on the line. I don't get alot of the know, just chit chat. I look forward to talking about the simple things and getting her ideas about stuff isn't if it's not important to her. Your wife sounds alot like my wife. If I may ask, what region of Poland as your wife raised? Not that it matters. My wife born and raised in a city called Sandomierz, Poland, its about 200 KM Northeast of Krakow. I really appreciate the insight and suggestions and will look forward to trying them out on her if/and when she returns. She's kind of threatened that she might stay in Poland, but we will see what happens.
Atch 17 | 4,005
9 May 2015 #12
Hi befranklin. Just thought you might like to hear a woman's perspective. I'm not Polish, I'm Irish but married to a Pole and I lived in Poland for a couple of years. I would say that there are definite cultural differences in the way Polish couples conduct their relationships compared to Westerners.

I think the idea of a man and woman being friends and talking things through is less prevalent. Polish men tend to be accepting of the fact that their women are 'difficult' and Polish women, rather than talking about things, use a range of 'behaviours' to get their emotional needs met. They will talk to their female friends or relatives about their issues with the guy and then form some kind of convoluted plan to try to resolve it, rather than just honestly sitting down with their partner and saying 'Look, I feel this way, how do you feel, what can we do about this?' etc. I think they find it hard to talk calmly and it can end up in a full scale row if you try to engage them in a discussion, which may be why Polish men tend to just let stuff go and not bring up issues that may cause a melt-down. You say your wife has hinted she may not return to the USA. I observed this kind of thing when I was living in Poland. I think Polish women tend to use sulking or threats/emotional blackmail on their men quite a bit. Now, I'm not saying women of other nationalities never do that, but I saw a lot of it in Poland.

Anyway you've been married to her for five years so you must know her pretty well by now. I would say she certainly seems to be not happy on some level. Maybe she's always been reserved, but I'm interested to know has she become more uncommunicative lately?

Bottom line though, is that regardless of cultural differences a problem in your relationship in the end is really to do with you as people not your nationalities. All the best, befranklin.
OP befranklin 1 | 41
9 May 2015 #13
Atch, I really appreciate the woman's point of view about all of this, you described thing right how things are handled in our house, I tend to want a partner who is going to help figure things out. My problem is that I was a Marine, came from 8 kids, and very independent and you know I don't need anyone necessarily to help out. But I want her to speak up and speak her mind about things so that we have communicative intimacy as well as physical intimacy. When we have conflict she tends to be the next oh well lets move on and let whatever the conflict was pass, but I'm still back at examining the problem and let's talk it out and come to a solution or agree to disagree but come to a conclusion somehow. I'm a big advocate of using "I" messages describing how Im feeling and coming from a Marine that's a big step. I've asked a thousand times to begin a conversation like that but we don't get anywhere.

No she hasn't become more uncommunicative but since being back in Poland I guess old ways have a tendency to rise to the surface while she is there. How much Polish do you speak Atch? I'm learning but it's difficult and don't have much time to study having to work full time...I need some time for fun too! I have spoken to her about eventually moving back to Poland from the US when I'm ready to retire. Her mom is 80 or so now and she is getting to the point that it's hard for her to get around. I'm willing to give up stuff here and move there, but when I ask her thoughts she doesn't express much about what she thinks should happen. She has a small job here which doesn't pay very much that she really doesn't like very much so there isn't much keeping her here.

I hesitate a little leaving because we currently live in California and the only thing I like is that the weather is nice most of the time but I HATE all the traffic and hustle and business of southern California. I'd give anything to have that kind of weather in beautiful Poland in a small village with a slow life. Problem is that we are a mixed couple with me being half-black/white and well you may know about how the Polish feel about marrying outside of their race, it's not received all that well. They think you marry just to immigrate to Poland but in actuality she's immigrated to the US. If she wasn't able to be a dual citizen I know she would have never become a US citizen.

You are right about your last statement, it is what we do as people together that is important, and that's why it's so important that I get her buy in and communication within our relationship because that's what's going to get us through the hard times.

Thanks for your response, sorry this is so long.
Atch 17 | 4,005
9 May 2015 #14
Hi befranklin. My Polish is very basic, but my husband's English is fluent, native proficiency level.

I would say part of your problem is that many Polish couples have a very different expectation of what marriage means in terms of happiness. On the whole there are many Polish men who are 'happy' if their wife is sexually available to them when they want her, a good cook, good housekeeper and good mother if there are children. Many Polish women are content if husband is a good provider, does the heavy work around the house and brings them flowers and chocs from time to time or nice little gifts that they can show their friends. That's a happy, successful marriage in their eyes. Your wife may actually be quite happy and doesn't feel any need to talk about what you perceive as problems, because to her, nothing is wrong. Polish couples also seem to accept quite readily that there may be times when they will live apart for work reasons or family committments.

Your wife may feel that she ought to stay around for her mother but she may not want to say that outright to you. She may simply expect you to get the message......there's no denying that women can be very difficult, regardless of nationality! I hesitate to advise, not knowing you both personally, but if she's always been reserved and not emotionally open, it would seem she's just continuing an established pattern and her silence doesn't necessarily indicate that there's any crisis in the relationship.

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