Kate is my school buddy. From lemonade to history notes, from the agony of the first pimple to the excitement of the first date, we have shared a lot. Naturally, I was happy when last week she called up to tell me about the new man in her life. However, I was a bit taken aback when she asked me to not tell our common friends.
“You know, I am dating a black man and people don’t take that easily.” I immediately knew what she was hinting at. Interracial dating still attracts a lot of attention and negative comments from people around us.
Did you found someone interesting from another culture? Do you want to get into interracial dating? From advantages to obstacles, from what your parents would say to how you would handle the objections, here is everything that you need to know about interracial dating.
Why are people getting into cross-racial relationships?
Opposites attract. That’s what most people who are into relationships with someone from another country or culture have to say. It’s the thrill of knowing someone who comes from a totally different background drives many people to get into cross-cultural dating.
Way back in 2012, around 15.1% of new marriages were cross-cultural and the numbers are increasing pretty fast. What do you think has worked for interracial marriages? Changing mindset? Yes. A desire to experiment? Very much. What else? The legislative changes that were introduced in the states of USA have also boosted the increase in interracial marriages.
Since 1980, the number of cross-country marriages is steadily increasing. And it is not only in the USA. All over the world, the number of interracial marriages is climbing up. The advent of online dating has definitely played a huge role in this. It has become so easy for Americans or Europeans to date Thai girls. Similarly, Asian men are finding it easy to date Latinas only because of these dating sites. If you look at China, the number of marriages between Shanghainese and individuals from other countries is showing a steady growth.
If you study the figures of different countries you would come up with interesting trends. Not all countries are equally participating in inter-country marriages. For some ethnic groups like Japanese Americans and Native Americans, the figures are quite high whereas the marriages between black men and women and Native Americans are still not that common.
Asian Americans are more prone to get into interracial marriages. In spite of the differences in culture and social-economic factors the USA sees more of its citizens marrying Asians. People who look for certain qualities in their partners like compassion, independence, free thinking often find these in partners from other cultures. Their quest for fun, romance, and true love often lead them to date people from other countries.
Here is a word of caution for you. If you have started dating someone from another culture, be prepared to handle awkward questions from people around you. Your friends, relatives, and even parents would be raising doubts about your decision. Kate took her own time to let everyone know about her boyfriend and I think it was a good decision. Unless you are absolutely sure about your decision and confident about handling all those nasty jibes, it is better to keep things under wraps.
Let us give you an idea of what people may say when they come to know about your cross-cultural relationship.
What do people say about interracial relationships?
People look at interracial couples through their own, distorting racial lens. It doesn’t matter what form they take.
No matter how much we feel that people should love and marry whom they want to, our society still raises a lot of questions regarding these cross-country matches. It’s not uncommon to find families that raise doubts over the validity of these relationships. What exactly people say about interracial relationships? Let’s find out.
What do your parents say?
There are people who are inquisitive to know how people react to your cross-cultural relationship. It is strange but these people worry a lot about what your parents have to say about the match. Thus, you would find a lot of them asking you about your parents’ views on the relationship.
Is this love or fetish?
It can get so annoying. We know that some people have a fetish for black women or Asian females but asking directly is so gross. Yet, they would do that. They would ask you whether you always had this thing for black men. Some people even go to the extent of sharing how they once had a black boyfriend but their parents made them break up with him.
You are so brave!
This is another breed of people you would meet who considers you nothing else than Joan of Arc for roaming around with a black man. They think it’s extremely brave of you to have a black boyfriend or girlfriend and show that to the world. What do you say to such people?
Is sex different?
Yes, people can get up to that. Your close friends or relatives may show interest in knowing what is so different in a black boyfriend or a Latina girlfriend. How are they in bed- wild or submissive? What the hell, you may feel like shouting but that wouldn’t deter them.
Think about your children
They may get that far. People around you would ask you to rethink about the relationship as the children would be different. Hmm, would you like to ponder over that? How do interracial couples handle these issues? They celebrate their multiracial love and have learned to ignore people who question it.
Let’s talk about you. What do you think about cross-country unions? Are they easy to handle? How can you prepare yourself to make your relationship enjoyable and long-lasting?
Getting into an interracial relationship? Prepare yourself first
What are you seeking?
This is, in fact, true for every relationship. Whether you date someone from your race or not, you must be clear about the qualities you are looking for in your partner. Is it humor, honesty, integrity, passion or something else? Do you want your partner to complement your weaknesses or do you want someone with similar tastes?
We know this is true. Opposites attract us. It is common for introvert guys to fall for girls who talk much. However, if the differences are too pronounced, they may lead to conflicts. Most people who are in cross-country relationships are aware of the problems that the differences can give birth to. In interracial relationships, the dissimilarities can get overwhelming. History, tradition, culture, lifestyle, philosophy, and attitude- there is an endless list of differences that you have to reconcile.
Do you know your priorities?
Are you aware of the differences that exist between you and your partner? To make your relationship work, you have to get on the same page regarding spirituality, lifestyle, emotions and parenting. You should also find the common grounds so that the foundation of the union can be laid upon them. Once you are connected to your companion, you can work on the differences.
Be ready to share
There would be a lot of things that you can share between each other. From traditions to cultural practices, celebrations to food, there is a whole new world to explore and learn from. Bank on this to make your relationship stronger. Be ready to open your heart and share your childhood memories, your upbringing and things that you hold important in life. Unless you share your past and present, you cannot build a happy relationship.
Be aware of comparisons
Your relatives and parents may compare between the two cultures. Don’t encourage them. You should be conscious against comparing the financial situations, family ties or educational backgrounds.
Stay clear of racial stereotyping
This is bound to happen. However, if you are prepared to handle it, you can create a loving relationship with your mate and also show others that only emotions are important in a relationship. People still believe in stereotypes like Asian girls are more submissive and Latinas are romantic.
Some of these stereotypes extend to sexual behaviors also like black men are more passionate and Thai girls are great in bed. Being aware of these stereotypes would help you to stay away from them. You can also understand and respect your partner better.
Learn to chill
People would comment, object and react. People would raise eyebrows and ask you dumb questions. At the end of the day, it is about you and the feelings you have for your partner. So just learn to chill. Tell yourself that it is not a big deal to be in an interracial relationship. You can handle it like others are doing.
There is always something to learn
We all know that we learn from life. It is our best teacher. However, when you get into a relationship with someone from another culture, you are gifted with a rare opportunity to learn and grow with another person. We learn to look at things from another perspective, we learn to question our own values and traditions and learn about the world that was hitherto unknown to us. So, if you are into interracial dating, keep your mind open.
Challenges of interracial dating – have you faced these?
If you are dating interracially, chances are high that you have faced one of these obstacles. Here is a quick run down of what you can do to overcome challenges in an interracial relationship.
You and your ideas – the first hurdle
Yes, this might surprise you but the first hurdle that you have to encounter is yourself. Let’s admit it. We all have prejudices. We all have some ideas that are hard to give up. The society and the people around us have contributed in forming these ideas and many of them have to be challenged and given up when we enter into interracial relationships like the stereotypes I mentioned earlier. Can you face your own prejudices? Can you assess yourself correctly and be sure that it is love and not a fetish?
Before you enter into a relationship with someone from another culture, you must ask yourself whether you have the courage to deal with the issues that would be thrown up. You have to face criticism from your own family, you have to face uncomfortable questions from your friends and relatives, you have to show patience to know the other person and be sensitive towards his or her feelings. So, you are your first obstacle that you have to learn to face.
Your family – the first resistance may very well come from here
It would depend a lot on your equations with your family members. If you are dependent on them emotionally, it would become tough for you to fight them. People who make independent life choices and are not bothered by what their family thinks about them face fewer problems.
Most parents today directly do not oppose interracial relationships. They may want you to think before taking it to another level. Most parents cannot connect to their children’s partners who belong to another culture. They may be apprehensive about the future of such a union.
It is your responsibility to make your parents understand your emotions and respect them. Be clear about your intentions and ask them to be patient and polite. The same holds for your partner too. If you find your mate is fighting with his or her family, you must extend your support and be ready to shoulder the responsibility. On the other hand, if your partner is not willing to go against his family, you must take it as a warning signal.
Unless your partner is serious about the relationship, there is no point in fighting for it.
The public – disapproval would come in different forms
The public is notorious in this regard. You may get undue attention when you go out with your significant other. You simply cannot control how people stare at you or make harsh comments. It is better to ignore such gestures however if they say anything directly to you, it is your responsibility to stand up for yourself and your partner. Do not shirk away but confidently handle them so that next time you do not have to put up with any more nonsense.
Is your heart sinking? Do you think we are harping too much about the negative aspects of interracial relationships? Okay. We would talk about something else now.
The benefits of interracial relationships
There are lots of benefits of cross-cultural marriages. People who stick around with their foreign partner for long reap these benefits.
Interracial relationships make people more patient, open minded and sensitive. You would find that people who are in such relationships are more empathetic too.
You would be more eager to learn about different aspects of living and your lifestyle would become more varied. Intercultural unions give you opportunities to learn new languages and cultures. You would be exposed to different cultures and be open to experimenting with food, clothing, and ideas.
People, who marry outside their own race, become more independent and stronger. They develop their own values and are never afraid to speak about them.
Interracial marriages affect our children too. Apart from being brought up in diverse cultures, children born to interracial couples are more prone to adapt to different situations. Scientific reports show that greater genetic diversity makes these children taller, sharper and smarter. They are a new breed of young people who are global in the true sense.
You get to enjoy more of life. Consider the festivals you would be celebrating and the holidays you would be getting when you marry outside your country. Its double whammy as you can enjoy the best of both the worlds. Are you feeling better now? Now, how would you make sure that you enjoy your interracial relationship and make it an awesome one?
How to maintain your interracial relationship?
Thankfully, there are many things that you can do to make your cross-race relationship work. Let us share a few tips here that you can adopt and enjoy a romantic relationship with your foreign partner.
Try to understand
Yes, try to learn as much as you can about your partner and understand him or her. Do not make assumptions but ask. Seek knowledge from different sources like books, blogs, newspapers and people around you.
Every relationship faces glitches and yours one is no exception. Differences of opinions can be worked upon by discussing and finding a middle path. Be positive about the relationship and you would always find a road to reconcile.
This is important. You must be trustworthy. Without trust and respect, no relationship can foster. Establish trust in your union so that both of you can share your secrets and fears and depend on each other.
That’s the fun of interracial relationships. You get to experiment a lot with foods, clothing, ideas, and philosophies. By keeping your mind open and experimenting with new lifestyles you can enrich and bring about positive changes in your life. At the end, both of you would emerge stronger, better and happier people.
Do something new
It can be visiting new places or tasting new dishes. Do something new with your mate so that your relationship becomes enjoyable. Make it so interesting that you look forward to meeting more each other more often. Share jokes, get into lighthearted banters and fill up each moment with love, laughter and fun.
What is life but just a string of memories that bind us together. So, create memories that you can relive. Visit your childhood house, ride merry-go-rounds, eat chocolates, and do things that you are scared of. With your partner, create loving memories, memories that would never fade and always remind you of the time you spent together.
Kate is getting engaged next week. All our friends have been invited and I am looking forward to meeting her boyfriend. I hope she finds love and happiness in life. If you have found love, learn to keep it. Value your partner and give respect so that you also get it in return. Be romantic and make each moment special for both of you.
Are you into interracial dating? Do you face any particular problem? How do we tackle it? do share your views with us in the comments below.
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