Women who chose to marry outside their culture have spoken candidly of their experiences and why they felt it was time attitudes changed.

For some women who have chosen to marry outside their culture, the battle to convince their family members can be very challenging. Others feel that once the initial shock subsides, families are more than welcoming anyone new into their culture.

Whilst a lot has changed in the past two decades it is far easier for a man to marry outsdie his culture than a woman.

Shazia said, “I married a white man and I have never regretted it. At first my family were a little against it but once they met him everyone was fine.

“I am sorry to say that Asian men have a huge number of hang ups and these only materialise when you get married to them.

“Before marriage they paint themselves as these modern forward thinking men but when they get married, everything changes. They basically want you to be like their mum after you are married to them.

“I have heard this from some of my friends and growing up I realised you had to be a certain type of girl to marry within your culture. I just could not live up to their expectations. There was far too much pressure.”

She also felt there was less expectations from her husband's family.

“I don’t get the same type of pressures from my husband or his family. It really is a breath of fresh air. All I hear from my friends is how they are being mistreated by their in-laws.

“I have never had an issue once as my in-laws are basically living their own life and know their boundaries.

“In return my husband is always at hand to assist my brothers when he is needed. I am not taking advantage of him in any way but he is just so accommodating.”

Sunita is 41 and said, “Within our culture we have real issues with how women behave and what they are meant to do.

“I like my culture and religion but our men are so backward thinking. They want us to be traditional women but at the same time ‘modern’ when it comes to work and money. You will find a lot of Asian women would, if they had a choice, marry outside of their race and culture because they face fewer issues of being judged about how they live their life.

“The reason they don’t is the very same reason – they face being judged from wider family members and our community.”

Twenty-five-year-old Yasmin (not her real name) was equally praising of her life having gone against her parents wishes and married outside of her culture.

“I just can’t see why we are still having this discussion. I was introduced to many men and it was the same old story. They wanted me to be impressed with their education, how much money they earned or how religious they were.

“Their attitudes to women were so backward though and you can easily judge this when you spend time with their mums. They spoil them so much when they are growing up that when it comes to marriage their sons have no idea how to behave.”

She says she made a conscious decision to marry outside her culture.

“My husband is white and is Muslim. We have the family get togethers like other families but we are not bound by this cultural baggage many of my friends have to put up with.

“I feel Asian men, even those who are born and brought up here, want a wife who can be some sort of super woman. She must be religious, respect ALL cultural ideals, earn if she can and at the same time just be a little ‘modern’ and allow him to live his own life. We just can’t be everything.”

Hafsa is 36 and says she married outside her culture and says her husband is far more accommodating of her needs. “This is my second marriage and I can tell you now it is completely different to what happened in my first.

“I was married to someone who had a good job and came across as an ideal partner. But once we were married things changed really quickly. I was very much treated like someone he had married from back home (The Asian sub-continent) “I already dressed conservatively but it wasn’t enough for him. He was constantly taking orders from his sisters and mum and he lived a ‘carefree life’ whereas I was meant to conform.

“My new husband has none of those hang ups and wants me to be happy first.

“The major thing I want to say is that we are raising our daughters to be free thinkers and independent but we are raising our sons to carry the same cultural traditions as their cousins in Pakistan, India or Bangladesh. It is never going to work.”