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When love and culture clash

Cross-border marriages are increasing in the EU. But what happens when couples discover that European union does not extend to the divorce courts?

By Janine di Giovanni   January 2011

I  once had a practical Scandinavian friend. When she heard I was marrying a Frenchman, she was deeply concerned.

“I shall be married soon,” she said sagely.

“Will he be French?” I asked, because she had a history of French lovers.

She looked shocked. “Of course not. He’ll be Danish, like me.” Then she added: “It’s too complicated to marry someone outside your own culture.”

At the time, I thought my friend was overly cautious. I have spent most of my life outside my own culture, and had no problem with cross-border relationships. I am half Italian and I was…

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