If you’re used to being in an interracial dating relationship, then you already know that at some point, being able to get along will matter far more than each other’s race. That doesn’t mean dating outside your race for the very first time isn’t something to get used to.
Whether it’s due to cultural and political differences or something more superficial, like physical features, at some point, all couples will wonder, “Is this the person for me, regardless of us being different skin colors or aesthetics”?
If relationships were as simple as finding someone of the same race, then no one would be single. Online dating sites would make no money at all, and the divorce rate would be slim to none. Personalities are the tipping point that will make your relationship that much better or so much worse.
So what do you do when you’re thinking about entering “the swirl” for the very first time? Check out these tips below for what to do and what not to do when you’re first starting out on an interracial date or in an interracial relationship.
Interracial Dating – Everything you Need to Know!
For a segment of the population, interracial dating is absolutely not an option. They are very much set on continuing families with someone of a similar race, culture, and even skin complexion.
There’s nothing wrong with that. They have as much right to date within their own demographics as those who choose not to.
While it’s a questionable idea to date, someone, just because (s)he is of a different race without considering all the other parts of the person, there are those who do that, too. In their minds, they haven’t had much luck with [insert group here], so they’re going to try [insert group here].
Testing the waters is fine, too. But try not to fetishize the idea. If you want to consider interracial dating, do it because you want to open your dating pool, not just to gain weird bragging rights.
Topics to Discuss and Avoid on the First Date
There are golden rules for what you should and should not do on a first date with anyone. But ask a single person about his or her “worst date,” and chances are pretty high that there will be a horribly funny story about someone breaking obvious rules and manners.
These cringe-worthy moments can definitely happen on a first interracial date, too. However, interracial dating is more than just black and white people dating, and these seven rules could easily fit other racial makeup, too.
Generally speaking, unless there is a significant reason to bring up any -ism, just stay away from any comment that could be categorized as racism (The same goes for sexism, ageism, xenophobia, homophobia, and the like).
While it’s unrealistic to think race won’t come up when it comes to interracial couples, there’s a world of difference between discussing race and being racist. If you don’t know the difference, chances are you’re going to blow it with getting a second date anyway.
Common Issues Likely to Pop Up
There’s a reason online dating sites like OkCupid, Match, and Elite Singles ask loads of personality questions. Their goal is to make sure that both parties mesh well when it comes to social habits (ex. drinking and smoking), family goals (ex. house of kids versus not dating someone with kids), and even social justice and political views.
In today’s social justice climate, the latter two topics are the kind of deal-breakers that can make or break a relationship before it starts. It wasn’t until 2020 that a topic like Black Lives Matter would come up enough on dating sites like OkCupid to the point where profiles can have black heart images on their profile.
OkCupid’s small black heart can help potential dating partners figure out who they want to talk to and who they don’t. Of course, some users would rather avoid controversial topics altogether, as is their right. It’s up to each person to decide whether dodging the topic is a perk or a flaw.
Understanding Each Other’s Culture And/Or Religion
Depending on how passionate each partner is when it comes to religion, culture, politics, race, and the like, this is not negotiable. Someone who doesn’t understand xenophobia is going to have a tough time dating someone who is Asian.
Someone who is indifferent about immigration policies and laws will clearly not work out too well with a partner whose family is a first-generation American surrounded by an immigrant household. Depending on the intensity of the issue, these are topics that couldn’t hurt mentioning even on the profile page.
There are many topics that people can agree to disagree on, but when it comes to one’s identity and survival, these are interracial dating topics that both parties need to be on the same side.
This is also an opportunity to teach your partner something new. If you’re a Native and your partner knows nothing about indigenous cultures, this is your time to teach him/her the ropes. If your partner is Jewish, there are countless celebrations and traditions that may be fun to share with him. And so on and so forth.
Here’s where things get iffy. What if you’re dating someone of a certain race (or location) who does not follow any of the common traditions within that demographic? Do you feel like you’re missing out because this person isn’t a “real” [insert race here]? If so, you probably want to reevaluate who you’re dating.
Because if you’re interested in the person, then it should be for more than what you’ve read in a history book or calendar box. Shaming them because you know more about their race than they do will never work out; no matter what you know in a textbook, keep in mind that that person is living through this identity every day of his or her life.
Additionally, it’s never too late to learn something new. For example, if you’re dating someone who is Hispanic but doesn’t speak Spanish, that’s not stopping you from learning the language.
Your interest in other cultures may light a fire with the other party to want to do it, too. Just don’t try to pressure your partner into it. It is up to each party to decide what he wants to learn.
Tips for Meeting the Family
As mentioned in the “Dating black women” Medium post, in order for an interracial dating relationship to work, you cannot fear the racial group as a whole. If you like your partner but are terrified of anyone who looks like her brothers, uncles, cousins, father, grandfather, and family friends, she’ll be able to recognize and detest that almost immediately—so will they.
Meeting someone’s parents is intimidating enough. But let it be about just meeting “parents,” not “[insert differing race here] parents.” If you’ve never dated nor are familiar with a certain demographic, you’ll be better off listening and learning instead of comparing and judging.
Both parties should take the time to learn more about each other, and enjoy the process, as opposed to insisting that the others do things their way.
How to Handle Disapproval
Point to a couple who agrees on everything, and you’re looking at a couple who is lying to you. No two people agree on every topic. And sometimes you may find that someone who looks completely different than you in height, weight, skin complexion, eye color, hair color, and beyond has more in common with you than someone who looks like a spitting image of you.
Don’t assume that someone of a different race cannot understand your side any more than someone of a different race can understand your side.
Should you two not immediately be on the same side of an issue, try a civil discussion to share your side with each other. You may be able to reach a middle ground on countless issues by just educating the other about a situation (s)he has never been in.
Yelling, shaming, and making fun of each other’s views will always crash and burn though. If you see that you two cannot have a civil discussion about certain topics, you can either choose to not discuss them anymore or choose to part ways if it’s not something you two can bend on.
So is an interracial relationship right for you? The only person who can make that call is you. If you follow all of the advice above, you may find that this is an intriguing and educational experience.
People of similar demographics are often attracted to each other, but opposites attract, too. And sometimes that “opposite” can be in the form of physical appearance.
That “opposite” may also be just what you need to learn new views and have memorable experiences. There are no downsides to learning about more cultures and being exposed to more races; in fact, it’s one of the highest pros for those who travel.
Now whether it results in the kind of romance that you’re interested in will come down to how you two mesh both physically and mentally—emphasis on mentally. Anyone can find another person attractive from a variety of backgrounds. But in order for this type of relationship to work, you have to have respect for a little bit of both.