Relationships can be complicated. From learning what you must do so that your partner's needs are met and understanding how to communicate healthily, relationships require a lot of time, patience, and effort.
Sometimes, relationships can require even more of a time commitment because of the nature of the dynamic between two people. For example, interracial relationships can come with an added layer of tribulations because race is a very sensitive topic.
It can be challenging to know the right ways to respect your partner's culture. At the same time, interracial relationships are beautiful opportunities to expand your mind, love someone on a deep level, and get to know another culture that you otherwise wouldn't have.
To help you better navigate interracial relationships, we put together five different pieces of advice for those of you in an interracial relationship. You’ll learn about the importance of openness, communication, compassion, and education in interracial relationships.
Keep reading to hear some advice about interracial dating!
Be Open To Learning and Educating Yourself
Interracial relationships require a deeper level of understanding that isn't present for same-race couples. As a result, it is vital that you are open to learning about your partner's culture and educating yourself.
In an interracial relationship, you will be exposed to traditions and cultural norms that you have likely never experienced before. Having an open mind as you enter into these new experiences is essential.
It's normal to feel uncomfortable when you're navigating something new, but view your discomfort as an opportunity to expand your way of thinking. There isn't one way to live life. People of all walks of life are accustomed to their own traditions.
What's normal for you might not be customary for your partner. Understanding your partner's culture and where they come from will help you better understand your partner, too. If you don't know very much about your partner's culture, take the time to read about it.
Research their cultural history and learn more about their traditions. But as you learn more about your partner, make sure you feel as though your partner is open to learning about your culture as well.
In an interracial relationship, both partners need to know that their significant other has a genuine interest in their family’s background. This will make both parties feel valued. If you don’t feel understood in the ways you need, start communicating this feeling with your partner.
Also Read: Interracial Relationships Pros and Cons
Always Communicate With Your Partner
They say that communication is key, and they aren't wrong. The success of a relationship is largely impacted by the partners' ability to communicate with each other. Even when conversations are challenging, they still need to happen.
Likewise, interracial relationships necessitate an open line of communication as well. The reality of interracial relationships is that both partners involved in the relationship were likely raised with different values in mind.
Some cultures prioritize specific values that other cultures don't consider to be as important and vice versa. These differences in value systems can lead to explosive problems down the road, especially if you don't address the differences head-on when you first notice them.
For example, family is a crucial example of where values can differ. Some cultures place family above everything else in life, whereas other cultures prioritize financial success and careers above family.
If you and your partner disagree about your most important values, you can expect to argue about your differences quite often, especially as time goes on. This doesn't mean that people with different values are incompatible.
However, it does mean that you'll have to work together to find a compromise that you both agree with. You can't compromise if you're not willing to communicate and be honest about how you feel. So, make sure you and your partner practice your communication skills.
It's okay not to be perfect communicators right out of the gate. Just make sure you are both committed to working on your communication skills and meeting each other halfway. Remember that you're both in this together, and you're working towards the same goals!
Stand Up for Your Partner
In addition to communicating with your partner, you need to prioritize communicating with others who might disrespect your partner. This is especially true among your friends or your family members who might not understand where your partner is coming from.
With interracial relationships, it's not just you and your partner who have to be willing to accept one another. The family members and friends of both people in the relationship need to be accepting, too.
If you run into situations where a family member of yours is disrespectful towards your partner, you need to be willing to stand up for your significant other.
Make it clear that ignorance has no place in your relationship, and you won't allow people to be bigoted towards your partner.
Similarly, make sure your partner has the same expectations of their friends and family. Neither of you should be made to feel uncomfortable in the presence of your partner's loved ones. If your family and friends don't accept your partner, it can lead to serious problems.
Show Compassion Along the Way
When you enter into an interracial relationship, you can expect to bump into many learning curves. You’re not always going to know the right words to say or the correct action to take, especially when it comes to cultural differences and traditions.
The good news is that you don’t have to know exactly what to do or say in the beginning! That’s the beauty of learning and growing. It will take time for you to adjust to the ways of a new culture, and as you learn, be sure to show yourself compassion along the way.
Don’t beat yourself up for not understanding everything on day one. Likewise, give your partner time to understand how to relate to you, your culture, and your traditions as well. Your significant other is trying their best to learn more about you, and compassion will go a long way.
Date People Who Are Open to Interracial Relationships
We mentioned earlier that differences in core values could negatively impact your relationship. If you disagree on everything, your differences can end up being the cause of your relationship's demise. That's why having common goals is a relationship game-changer.
And while it’s certainly possible to maintain a happy and healthy relationship while being very different people, there are specific underlying factors that you should have in common. With interracial relationships, it’s important to date people who are open to one in the first place.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to fetishize ethnicities and races. It’s a heartbreaking reality that many people go through, but there are ways to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
One of the greatest perks of online dating is intimately understanding someone's intentions before you agree to go on a date with them. With platforms like eHarmony, you can meet people digitally and ask them upfront questions right away.
Instead of getting to know someone and seeing them multiple times in person before learning their true intentions, online dating lets you ask those big questions immediately. It's a lot more comfortable than asking face-to-face because there are no awkward silences online.
Instead, you can be direct and ask if they have ever been in an interracial relationship before. It’s okay if they haven’t, but make sure you ask if they are open to doing the work that an interracial relationship entails.
If they don’t plan on learning more about your culture or educating themselves about your traditions, then that’s probably not someone you want to schedule a first date with! Instead, keep looking around at the online dating scene until you find someone more compatible.
Intentions are critical. Someone who makes a concerted effort to educate themselves, communicate, stand up for you, and extend kindness to you is what you'll want to look for. Avoid people who are only trying to fetishize you, your culture, and your appearance.
The Secrets to a Successful Interracial Relationship
At the end of the day, a successful relationship comes down to being committed as partners. So long as you and your partner promise to stay loyal to each other through the good times and the bad, you will come out on top.
In an interracial relationship, it's essential that you are always open to learning and educating yourself. Always communicate with your partner, and stand up for the person you love if anyone ever acts discriminatory towards them.
Show compassion to yourself and your partner along the way. There will be many learning curves, but don’t beat yourself up over not knowing the right things to say or do all the time. It helps to date people who share similar values because that creates a strong foundation.