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Things to Keep in Mind in Interracial Relationships

It isn’t the 1950s anymore. People are much less hung up on racial differences and are much more conscious of the fact that there’s a lot more that ties us together than holds us apart.

As much as we’d like to say we don’t see race or color, that’s actually kind of a reductionist way of thinking about things. There are definitely cultural differences that exist between different races. These things shape the norms and expectations of each partner in an interracial relationship and require a bit of extra thought and consideration to maneuver around them properly. Choosing to “not see race” is actually counterproductive, as you’re discounting an entire aspect of your partner that you could instead embrace and learn from, as opposed to shying away from it due to the perceived risk of being misunderstood.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when dating across racial lines:

Expectations can differ.

Different races have minute differences in ways that can be difficult to see at first. For instance, in some cultures, the family unit is extremely tightly knit while in others, a more lax attitude is adopted. Also, some cultures place much more importance on family time compared to others. Therefore, it’s of extreme importance to talk to each other about what kind of households you were both raised in, and what kind of things are going to be expected of each other. More often than not, these requirements aren’t too hard to follow, but if you don’t ask, you’ll simply never know.

Understand race, but don’t dwell on it.

The fact of the matter is that race is a visible, quantifiable trait about someone, so it’s kind of rude to completely dismiss it just to “be nice,” while at the same time, it shouldn’t be the focal point of the relationship. The differences should be celebrated equally and appreciated for what they are, not blown out of proportion or misrepresented in any way. Your differences should be appreciated and understood as opposed to chastised. At the end of the day, it’s just like having a certain color of eyes or a particular heritage – it’s more uniqueness to appreciate.

Communication styles aren’t always the same.

How we interpret certain actions and motivation isn’t the same across cultures. It should be known that in some cultures, “putting your foot down” for something might be seen as brutal or heartless behavior. If you’re trying to meet a single white guy, understand that there may be more aloofness than in other races. However, the level of care can be the same, if not higher than those with more “obvious” signs of affection.

Conclusion

It’s confusing enough trying to date within our respective racial pools, so it’s safe to say it gets even more complicated when you bring in new cultural norms into the mix. Still, it isn’t necessary to be in conflict over these differences. In fact, these differences might be exactly why two people fit together in a way they just can’t with anyone else.

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