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"One thing that many women talk about is that Greek men, especially those from a village - a rural background - Choose to marry a foreigner because she comes by herself," says Gregory."She doesn't bring the mother-in-law, the father-in-law, the brothers and sisters who are going to beat you up if you are nasty. So, that is why things that give you equal power -like employment and having your own social life outside the home - are good." The stress and tension stemming from cross-cultural differences may lead to "destructive results" in the relationship."To this day they still don't get why we decided to take on the added expense of a mortgage when we could be living in the upstairs apartment for free." Mary, another American, who lives with her husband in the family-owned apartment building on the island of Crete, says she was "surprised by what she calls the open-door policy that prevails."We live right downstairs from my mother-in-law and one floor up from my brother-in-law and his family," she says.There is a lot of racism." After 18 years of marriage, Mercy, a Kenyan businesswoman, has yet to feel "accepted" by her husband's family."It was very difficult at first because I was far from my family and my husband's family made it very clear from day one that they did not approve of him marrying a foreigner - a black person," she says."It was very, very difficult for me and his mother, especially, to get along.It was clear that she did not expect her son to marry a foreigner." Psychiatrist Susan Gregory, who has worked extensively with foreign women married to Greeks, notes that some men may choose a mixed marriage precisely because of the way in which it isolates their spouse.
even today they will invite only my husband to a family gathering. My husband has stood by me all these years despite the pressure I know he is under."The Greek [in-laws] are usually more willing to accept and to support an American than an Albanian, a Bulgarian," says psychotherapist Maria Lazaridou, a couples counsellor in Athens.