Dating someone from a different culture can bring some unique challenges. Most of the time, you might feel like your relationship with your partner is like any other. But at other times, you might encounter a prejudiced individual who questions your decision to date someone from a different culture. Worse, your own family, or your partner’s family, might not be so accepting of your relationship. And occasionally, you might just have questions about your partner’s culture or experiences that you feel awkward about asking.
But if you and your partner truly love each other, you can learn to make it through all of these obstacles. Here are a few things you do to overcome challenges in a multicultural relationship.
Become a Better Listener
First, it’s important that both of you are willing to listen to each other. Perhaps you and your partner both come from marginalized backgrounds, but you’ve had very different life experiences. Or maybe you’ve never experienced racism, but for your partner, this form of discrimination is an unfortunate fact of life. Talking openly about your different experiences, and listening without interruption when your partner shares something emotional, is crucial.
Be an Advocate
No matter your backgrounds, it’s important that your partner can always trust you to stand up for them, and vice versa. If you’re from a marginalized group, you need to know that your partner will not tolerate prejudice against you or people from your community. And if you’ve experienced privileges that your partner does not, you need to be willing to use your voice to speak up for them. This means that backing away from uncomfortable conversations is not an option.
Introduce Your Friends and Family
If you and your partner come from very different cultures, you don’t have to feel like you’re living in two separate worlds. Introducing your loved ones can help you feel like you both belong in each other’s communities. Give your families the chance to meet. Invite your friends along on group outings to give everyone the chance to get to know each other! By bringing your lives together, you can create your own path forward. You’ll both make some new friends along the way!
Learn About Each Other’s Cultures
Education can open your mind. Maybe you didn’t know much about your partner’s culture or background until you started dating them. Perhaps they feel the same way about you. That’s why asking questions and making an effort to learn is so important. For example, before you meet your partner’s family for the first time, or travel to visit their hometown, you might be curious about what to expect, what traditions they follow, or if there are any potential faux-pas that you should avoid. Having open conversations about all of these topics and more can help you both deepen your knowledge of each other’s cultures.
Talk to a Couple’s Therapist
What if you and your partner truly love each other, but despite your best efforts, you feel like your cultural differences have become a roadblock? Or perhaps you’re frustrated because you’ve been dealing with racism as a result of your multicultural relationship. Sometimes, these issues can feel too big to tackle on your own. That’s when you can turn to a couple’s therapist. Working with a couple’s therapist can equip you with the tools and strategies you need to cultivate a healthy connection with your partner and stand strong throughout tough times.
Are you and your partner struggling to navigate challenges as a multicultural couple? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.For more information, click here: Therapy for Multicultural or Biracial Individuals/Couples