I. After Dark
You enjoy your conversations with one of the other teachers at school and have gone together to a local cafe several times after class. Today you stayed longer than usual at the cafe and by the time you leave, it is after dark and your friend says he will walk you home. When you get to your house, you invite him inside to have something to drink. You get into another conversation, during which he moves closer to you and finally tries to put his arms around you and kiss you. You are very upset and start shouting at him. He is equally upset and says everyone knows what it means to invite a man into your house when you are alone, and you should stop trying to act so innocent. In retrospect, can you see how this misunderstanding could have occurred? Now what do you do?
II. Wedding Bells
You are an outgoing, vivacious, and warm person with a ready smile. You introduce yourself to people at social events and make them feel at ease. Last week, a shy, middle-aged widower at work asked you out to dinner, and you accepted and had a pleasant evening. He asked you again this week, and while you were somewhat hesitant, you accepted again. Now, today, he has sent you a beautiful card-containing a marriage proposal. You, by the way, are 24 and not interested in marriage. Now what? In retrospect, can you see how this misunderstanding could have occurred?
III. Just the Two of Us
You teach at a girls high school in a large town on the coast. For the last several months, you have been dating a man you met at a school fund-raiser. While you entered this relationship primarily because you were attracted to this man and enjoyed his company, you also thought it would be a way to enter more fully into the life of the local culture. But in this regard, the relationship has been a disappointment. He has not introduced you to his family or other relations nor to very many of his friends, except for a few male friends you have met on occasion. For the most part, you do things alone, just the two of you, and do not go to many public places, except for restaurants. Last night, you asked him again if you could meet his family, and he took your breath away with his response: "In our culture, men don't introduce their mistresses to their family. My wife would not be amused."
You are stunned; you had no idea this man was married and would never have gotten involved with him. You are very concerned that if word gets out about you, it could hurt your reputation at the school and even hurt the school's reputation. What now? In retrospect, did you have any indications that the relationship was not in fact what you thought it was? In future relationships, what would you say or do differently?
IV. A Turning Point
You have been dating a host country woman for a few months, and recently she took you home to meet her family. After this family visit, the two of you slept together for the first time. Today when you meet, she starts talking about marriage and asks you what your plans are in this regard. When you reply that it's a bit premature to be even thinking, much less talking, along those lines, she becomes very upset. "You met my family and they approved of you," she says. "And we slept together. I thought you knew what that meant. We can't stop this now. Our family would be ruined." What can you say or do? Can you see what might have led to this misunderstanding?
You have been dating a host country national for several weeks. You enjoy his company and you both like to do the same things. Through knowing him, his family, and his friends, you have gotten much deeper insight into the local culture. Recently, he has been pressuring you to have a sexual relationship with him, but for you, this represents a deeper commitment than you are comfortable making at this point. He says that in his culture, sleeping with somebody is not taken quite so seriously and asks you if you have something against him personally. You have assured him you do not. Now he has begun to accuse you of being a racist, saying that the reason you won't sleep with him is that he's an (HCN). He has even told people at the place you both work that you are a racist (without giving any details), and you are starting to get concerned. What should you say or do? How would you handle this situation differently?
VI. Unrequited Feelings
One of the secretaries at work has had an obvious crush on you ever since you arrived at your post. While you are always friendly towards her, you do not have any romantic feelings for this person. Recently, she has accelerated her campaign and invited you to a couple of parties. You declined, knowing full well that she's interested in more than just a casual relationship. Your refusal has not gone over well, and she has retaliated for your rejection by spreading the rumor that you are sleeping with one of your 15-year-old students. What should you do? Could you have done something earlier to have prevented this situation from evolving to this point?