Interracial, Intercultural & Interethnic Couples
“We fell in love despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created.”
– Nicholas Sparks
There is a magnetic attractiveness, beauty, and complexity in interracial and intercultural relationships and the opportunity to learn and grow together as a couple with a partner from a different ethnicity, culture, race, and perspective with opposing individualistic and collectivistic worldviews. While these differences initially attract you toward one another, they can be the source of challenges causing communication problems, conflict, emotional and sexual intimacy issues, and misunderstandings leading to disconnection.
Will we be able to overcome the obstacles and challenges in being together?
Will we find a connection in our differences, or will it dismantle our relationships?
Interracial and intercultural couples experience significant challenges and obstacles in merging and having a family due to institutionalized and systemic racism in our culture and society. When joining a union, these couples may experience more substantial conflict, difficulties, and misunderstandings.
Intercultural, Interracial & Interethnic Challenges
· Rejection from family and friends
· Communication and language issues
· Challenges in collectivistic vs. individualistic cultures
· Discrimination and disapproval from others
· Misunderstandings of cultural traditions
· Different holiday customs and traditions
· Separate religious and spiritual beliefs and practices
· Nationalistic, ethnic, and social superiority
· Feeling of owing the partner due to citizenship matrimony
· Lack of inclusion in family gatherings and holidays
· Isolation, loneliness, and lack of community
· Others viewing your relationship as less important
These racial, spiritual, and cultural differences do not predict your relationship’s unhappiness. A conversation and dialogue to develop compassion and understanding are essential in establishing a solid foundation. What can derail this relationship is the ineffective and unproductive way of addressing the various issues that can negatively influence the relationship.
Healthy Ways to Implement Understanding of Differences
· Learn about your partner’s ethnicity, race, culture, traditions, and spirituality
· List the positive strengths and the opposing weaknesses of both ethnicities, races, religions, and cultures.
· Learn to listen actively, be curious and open, and ask questions about your partners, beliefs, culture, traditions, and spirituality.
· Learn practical communication skills
· Address any myths and stereotypes of ethnicity, race, culture, and religion
· If you are planning on having children, discuss how you would raise your children and what essential values you would like to teach them
· Discuss holiday customs and traditions and find a compromise to celebrate the holidays together and create meaningful traditions
· Be creative and establish new traditions for you as a couple and a family
An interracial and intercultural couple has its share of difficulties. I am here to support helping you establish a meaningful and satisfying relationship. There is hope that your relationship can be enriching as you both learn and grow in developing a solid foundation of love, compassion, and understanding. Please feel free to contact me today.
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Lichter DT, Qian Z. Boundary Blurring? Racial Identification among the Children of Interracial Couples. Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci. 2018;677(1):81-94. doi:10.1177/0002716218760507
Seshadri, G, Knudson-Martin, C. How couples manage interracial and intercultural differences: Implications for clinical practice. J Marital Fam Ther. 2013;39(1):43-58. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00262.x