Romantic relationships come with inbuilt issues that arise when people try to combine their lives. Interracial couples, however, get an extra serving of challenges because of their different ethnicities and the many assumptions society has about them. Here are some of the common challenges faced by interracial couples.
Different value systems
Being from different racial groups often also means potential differences when it comes to religion, culture, and overall value systems. One Asian woman married to a white Australian man talks about an ongoing conflict that they have. Australians value a relaxed lifestyle and so her husband doesn’t want to start a business. In Asian culture, on the other hand, wealth creation is valued more. This remains a source of tension for interracial couples and is further exacerbated when they get children.
Merging cultures is also likely to be an ongoing challenge. One way to handle this is to keep an open mind and be flexible when making decisions. You should also look for the things that you have in common ethnically. Sharing common beliefs is a great foundation to build on and can help you be more accepting of your partner’s views.
Negative public perception
This is one of the biggest challenges faced by interracial couples. Despite the fact that multiracial pairings are becoming more common, people who marry outside their race face public judgment and scrutiny. This judgment can come in many forms from borderline benign whispers and stares to outright aggressive language and behaviour from people. People who date outside their race can be viewed as sell-outs, people with racial fetishes, or even people who have internalized racism.
This rejection can even extend to family members who don’t approve of interracial couples. Most people, with the exception of those going through some kind of rebellious phase, would prefer familial support when it comes to their relationships so rejection can weigh heavily on them. It can be very isolating and can place undue stress and pressure on the couple.
Talk honestly about acceptance or lack thereof from your families. Validate each other’s feelings, especially in the event that one family is accepting, and the other isn’t. Talk about how you’ll proceed in the face of this new challenge. Will you forge on ahead or is familial acceptance critical for one of you?
For many interracial couples, talking about hot topics like racism can be difficult because they are so close to it. It’s difficult enough to talk about racism and dating someone from another race can make it even harder to navigate. Some couples avoid talking about such issues, ignoring them altogether, which can lead to a build-up of unresolved issues.
Communication is paramount to the success of relationships and even more when it comes to interracial couples. Ignoring the harsh realities of the day that one partner may be disproportionately dealing with is not helpful. Cultivate a habit of having these difficult conversations. Start small, listen to each other, be willing to learn, and be vulnerable when sharing your experiences.
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