The Effects on Family & Friends From Interracial Dating

by Jacob Burney

About Jacob Burney

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Based in Washington, D.C., Jacob Burney has been writing professionally since 2005. He has written articles for "Broncos GameDay" magazine and the 2007 "South Pacific Games." He has also written several approved grant proposals. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Bucknell University with minors in philosophy and religion.

The Effects on Family & Friends From Interracial Dating

Friends and family members may express varied reactions when you tell them you're in an interracial relationship. More traditional members of your family may be offended by you dating someone of a different race; even your peers can have prejudices, stereotypical opinions or anger toward this person. Alternatively, the relationship could be a learning experience for the people around you. Either way, you should familiarize yourself with the effects your relationship could have on the people around you.

Inadequacy

A common reaction from friends and family is a feeling of inadequacy. Your loved ones may wonder why you didn't choose to date someone who looks like you. They may feel like you think you are better than members of your race or that you think your significant other's race is better. Either way, family and friends may feel like they don't measure up to you.

Disappointment

Your interracial romance may also disappoint your friends and family. They may have negative opinions of your significant other's ethnic group or believe future marriage to that person will bring disgrace upon your family. Disappointment can be the toughest reaction you deal with from those closest to you because dating someone of a different race could lower their opinion of you.

New Cultural Experiences

The majority of ethnic groups in the U.S. maintain their own unique cultures to some degree. Dating someone of a different race can give your family and friends the opportunity to learn about these cultures from a first-person perspective. Partaking of different foods, beliefs and traditions, even in small doses, can change opinions and broaden the perspectives of your loved ones. Your family can come to appreciate and even celebrate the differences between themselves and your partner. However, make sure your family doesn't treat your partner like he is representative of the entire race.

Open Communication

Your new relationship may also foster improved communication between you and your family and close friends. Your friends may be very curious about your romantic partner and ask in-depth questions about your reasons for dating her. If your family disapproves of your relationship, dating experts suggest asking them why. Your family's disapproval may be based on a number of reasons, excluding racial concerns. It may seem like prying, but If your family is genuinely intrigued by this new relationship, use it as an opportunity to open lines of communication and strengthen the bonds between you and your family.

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Photo Credits

  • diverse couple image by Jaimie Duplass from Fotolia.com