Well, I experienced it with some BFs and one SO. Because I had grown up in North America and I had gone to school in Europe, I generally did not have any problems with European BFs. Actually they were rather happy - Asian-looking babe with a European mind, speaking 3 languages fluently LOL! it did irritate me later on that they would lack a deeper interest in the country that they were living in.
One SO was South American, and whilst he was all for equality (or at least he claimed so in public) in the privacy of our home he clearly expected me to be the homemaker, because where he came from that is just the way it was. No questions asked. And where I come from, you either shared the work or you hired a housekeeper if you can. And whilst we fought over household chores, it was really the battle between my wanting a relationship where it's a partnership between two peers, and him wanting a relationship where he is the head of the family and I say yes and admire him. Unfortunately, I never got to meet his parents. We did correspond in Spanish once or twice a year, but that was it. I think I would have liked them. I think they would have told him to be nicer to me, which in fact his mother did when she saw a photo of me. She said that I was very young so he had to be very nice to me. Language-wise, we would both converse in French. He never made any effort to learn Indonesian, though I did make some effort to learn Spanish. There was a community of his compatriots where we lived, and I actually picked up on quite a bit and didn't let on that I understood for quite some time. Why? Because I could understand what some of the women were saying about it, and I quickly knew which ones would stab me behind my back when they could. They loved and respected him, and they hated me because I was an outsider.
Most of the Indonesian BFs that I have had tended to also be more conservative when it also came to relationships. I know that they aren't all like that, but I just happened to attract and be attracted by these (maybe because I really wasn't looking to get married). Anyhow, that led to interesting discussions. My brother's experiences with his MIL does not really push me into wanting to have an Indonesian MIL, though I know that a lot of people are not like her here, and that there are toxic MILs everywhere in the world. The Lebanese BF, just felt that whatever made him happy would make me happy, and that my career and interests would naturally take second-place to his. He was also pretty flashy in the way that he dressed, which kind of left my mouth hanging open at time. He once came home from visiting his family in the US, after he had gotten a big promotion, and hey presto - he was wearing more jewellery than me. Big, bulky, *gold* jewellery. It was scary ;-) Otherwise, we got along pretty well LOL.
The one that I really clicked with was the BF who had grown up abroad for all of his life. He was European, but grew up on the other side of the world. He was multi-lingual, and had grown up seeing and experiencing different cultures. It was just easy with us both to acknowledge, accept, respect and celebrate the differences between us instead of clashing over them. It was just different from people who had gone abroad later as an expat. Also his mom and I got along like a house on fire, even now.
Now I am not quite sure whether this is what you wanted to know LOL!
Not so much a clash but differences.
Are most of the women in your husband's family and their circles of friends are stay-at-home mums?
I know zilch about Turkey, but my curiosity has been piqued as I am in Indonesia, another country where there's a huge population of moderate Muslims. It would be interesting to see what the similarities and differences are.
Yes his immediate family are stay-at home mums.
“DH's mum and SIL in Turkey think it's a bit sad that I have to go out to work…”
I think this depends upon the region in which your in-laws live.
“I definitely see very great differences between families and areas and age groups.”
I wonder whether there is less of a difference here in Indonesia. Those who wear the scarf might be more conservative in what they wear, believing that this is how they are supposed to interpret modest wear, but yet also modern and moderate at the same time.
A lot of women work here, because they need to and because they want to, too, regardless of whether they wear the scarf or not. Women have worked for a very long time, it isn't a newer phenomenon.
I think the law about headscarves and university was to make sure that Turkey stay as secular as possible? There had also been debates here, especially at high school level (where they are required to wear a uniform) but generally we accept it as a choice that a woman has to make for herself. IMHO, if the school has a uniform that doesn't cater to those who wish to clothe themselves Muslim-modest then all students have to abide by the school rules or find another school. It's rare here to see people wearing a face covering. You see them around, but it's certainly not the majority. The majority don't wear the scarf and they dress normally.
Have you ever experienced a cultural clash within your relationship?
>>I wasn’t so sure what to think of it maybe they just didn’t know what to do with me.
That's probably part of it, Tulip. Cultural clashes can also happen within one nationality, too, if the couples come from different ethnic backgrounds as social-economic ones.