5 Things That Can Tear Interracial Relationships Apart

There’s often a common misconception about international relationships by the mass majority of society. A general consensus expressed is that these partnerships present additional challenges, as opposed to different ones. We could spend hours debunking the talking points of dissenters who would have you believe that choosing a partner of a different race is an automatic taboo – but let’s save that for further discussion. The reality is that every marriage, interracial or otherwise, presents a unique set of challenges to each couple. However, there’s no denying the commonality in the problems that interracial couples face – particularly for those who are married.

Here are 5 obstacles that interracial couples face, and must overcome.

1. Family

It’s common – dare we say normal – to have problems that need to be resolved with family members. But the issues seem to be heightened with interracial couples – especially by those who disapprove.

How to resolve the issue:

Set clear boundaries with your family. You’re not required to please them. Okay, let’s rephrase. You’re not required to live up to their expectations. The rules of your relationship need to be determined by you and your partner – not by family members. Unless you have a family member who is an unbiased trained licensed professional, then you get to set the boundaries of your relationship. No one else! There are no exceptions to this rule.

2. Avoiding Racial Discussions

It’s never easy to speak about our differences. But because of societal expectations, and common social norms, those differences will likely manifest in a multitude of ways. The one thing that interracial couples cannot do is avoid racial topics altogether.

How to resolve the issue:

Ask your partner questions about their experience dealing with discrimination. Don’t be afraid to disagree with a companion, and change your perspective. Discuss how you’ll handle racist comments if and should it occur. Avoiding these discussions will cause a deeper strain on your relationship than preempting the conversation in the first place.

3. Different Ways of Communicating

So we’ve heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. And yet still, if you’re from a different cultural background than your companion, ways of communicating can, and most likely, be different. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s something every couple has to address, but interracial couples must often address these differences in ways that are unimaginable and often unanticipated.

How to resolve the issue:

Learn how your partner communicates. Learn about your partner’s culture, and ask your partner questions. The way we express anger, love, and compassion can be vastly different than our companion, and thus can be misinterpreted by couples. Our social and economic upbringing influences our communication as much as our educational background. Learning the language of your partner will benefit you in ways that will help your social interaction with others as well.

4. Children

Obviously, no one should blame children for the demise of any relationship. Although having children will test your relationship, particularly when extended family members get involved, not being on the same page will expose the flaws in your communication.

How to resolve the issue:

Put the relationship between you and your partner first. At first, this might seem like a jarring statement. Shouldn’t the needs of the children come before your own? The short answer is NO. At times, the priority of taking care of children should come first – but not always at the expense of neglecting your partner. Conflict about children can oftentimes be about neglecting your partner’s needs.

Discuss your cultural differences and give them the best of both worlds. This will give your children an advantage in society, not a disadvantage as some would suggest.

5. Lack of Support

It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone needs support. Not having a support system in place can cause a sub-conscience strain on your relationship. It can also make a couple feel isolated. If you’re in an interracial relationship, feeling like a pariah is not uncommon. No, you’re not alone in feeling this way.

How to resolve the issue:

Speak to others who are in a similar situation. Don’t underestimate the strength in numbers. There are others like you, and it’s okay to feel frustrated with the lack of support you may feel from those whom you presumed would e in your corner.

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