It’s just easier.” Bridgette (25) Congolese “I don’t mind as long as I am happy and loved, that is all that matters.” Dora (28), Zimbabwe Immerse within your own culture What I found was that those who immersed themselves exclusively in their own culture (i.e mono-cultural churches, parties, gatherings) – even if they lived in a very mixed society abroad – were the ones who were adamant that it was easier and preferable to date within their own culture.

There were no cultural preferences, except they had to speak English and couldn’t be a “freshie” (someone who’s recently moved to the UK from Africa). However, as I got older and continued to date people from other countries, I realised there was always a barrier in the way, almost like a culture clash, and language, I felt, was the ultimate clash as it is one of the key markers of culture.

It didn’t help when I went to their houses and the family would purposely speak in their language to exclude me, which reminded me that I wasn’t one of them.

It was for this reason that I began to look for like-minded guys who were also from my own culture, guys I could relate to. I know my family would be pleased if I brought home a Congolese man, but what if I do so to my own detriment? Love blinds common sense.” The idea of retiring in a country totally unfamiliar to me is quite daunting and something I know would take a lot of discussion with my future partner, if he happened to have a different country of origin.

“Dating is one thing, but marriage is another”, an aunty told me. Marriage and dating are two different things, clearly, but which factors are fundamental when deciding whom to marry? Love is love, as one of the respondents said, but is it better to stay within cultural boundaries to save ourselves from the potential future troubles that might result from mixing cultures – as some elders advice – or should one ignore boundaries and deal with issues if they arise? Having to decide which culture my children followed more or which one was dominant in my household is another consideration, as I find it important for reasons of identity.

Can we apply the same line of reasoning to our argument and suggest that perhaps if we as Africans remain open to marrying people from other African countries, could we also have a stronger and united Africa?

An older woman asked me: “How many mixed cultured couples do you know who have grown old together?Read more Series How can a couple keep the fires of sexual passion alive in the middle of the humdrum, day-to-day routine of the average marriage?Believe it or not, this is a fairly common question.Certainly not, but they certainly have embraced other cultures more and are willing to look past any real, imagined or expected obstacles.Language “The problem is language; it’s the major issue” 36-year-old Alexi from Congo told me.In fact I wasn’t into my own culture as much because I grew up along a lot of other nationalities, in what I call “London culture”.