My boyfriend and I have been together for a few months; we met this year at college. We are from different races and my parents are oldfashioned. From comments I have heard them say while growing up, I think they are going to have difficulty accepting us. I wondered if you could offer me some suggestions on how to proceed with introducing him to my parents and family?
Love and Parents,
Aloha Love and Parents,
Good for you for following your heart! We are definitely at a crossroads today when it comes to cross-cultural and interracial relationships. Pew Research Center’s latest statistics show that 15.1 percent of all marriages are interracial or interethnic and are on the rise.
That being said it’s amazing that just over 50 years ago, interracial marriage was illegal in over half of the U.S.
Therefore tolerance is most important, especially with your parents. You are truly living in a different world than they were, when they were your age.
Before bringing your parents into the picture it’s very important for you and your boyfriend (if you haven’t already) to have a very transparent discussion on your family’s beliefs and values and how are they similar or different than your own. Do you feel his family will be more accepting? My suggestion is also have a discussion with a close friend of your family or with one of your family members who can be a support to you and your boyfriend and serve as a conduit, if needed, with your parents.
How do you both feel about your racial differences? Are you both strong and compassionate in your personalities to accept people who have difficulties with accepting mixed raced relationships? Be very honest with each other. Since this is new, your true deeper feelings may not be so apparent on the surface. See this as a wonderful opportunity to get to know yourselves better and deepen the growing, loving bond with your boyfriend.
If your boyfriends’ family is more accepting, get to know them and discuss the issue. You will probably find this to be an enriching experience for you all. His parents and family might have gone through different experiences and situations that shaped their beliefs.
Before introducing your boyfriend to your parents, have a conversation with them alone. Find out what they think of interracial relationships and why? If they are against such blending, find out why? Is it because they had some negative experience in their or their parent’s life? Is it scary because it’s different than what they are used to?
Based on how open they are to this conversation, be considerate as you present your dating situation. Do not have an argument with them, regardless of how strongly they resist you. Being prepared for their possible opposition will help you be more accepting of their resistance. Share with them the values, characteristics of your boyfriend and how he treats you with respect, care and love.
If they are still resistant, you may ask them if someone from “our” race treated me the same way, would you be happy to hear this and want to meet him?
If they answer “yes,” ask them to rethink their position because you are open to take this process slowly. Tell them how much you appreciate and love them and with time, we’ll find a way together to work through this.
Regardless of where your relationship goes, you are transforming the history of your family’s emotional health. That’s no small task and a very worthy one. Be patient. Introduce your boyfriend to your parents when they feel ready.
In closing, the more accepting you are of your family or any one else’s uneasiness, the least tension will be in your relationship. I wish you success. Regardless of the color of our skin or where we come from, desire for love and happiness prevails in the hearts of all cultures. When we look at the collective human genealogy, we find we are all related. To treat each other like we’d like to be treated (especially if we’ve been treated unkindly) creates a better, joyful life for all.
Keep me posted. Enjoy watching the films “Mississippi Masala” or “Corrina, Corrina” with your boyfriend.
Cary Valentine is a Certified Relationship Coach, author of the bestseller “In Love Forever: 7 Secrets to a Joyous, Juicy Relationship” and business/sports performance expert. He assists couples and singles overcome daily challenges actualizing their dream life. Cary welcomes your questions at: Cary@InLoveForever.tv or call (808) 346-6652.