How Do I Tell My Parents I’m Dating Someone of a Different Race?
The other day, I was talking to a friend whose said: I’m in a relationship where the person is a different race than me.
My parents are immigrants so I know they’ll be disappointed I’m not ending up with someone from my ancestor’s country. I’m finding it tough to let them know about my relationship.
Do you have any advice on approaching telling them?
- You always have to live life for yourself
In my opinion, this is the #1 rule of life is to abide by that. Life, in the grand scheme of things, is short and you always want to minimize regret.
So, I just want to say, I think that’s awesome that you’re abiding by this rule and not letting external influences affect that.
If you live for others or based on others’ wants, you will not be happy because you are ignoring your desires.
Additionally, regret may form later in life if you live based on others’ wants. You may say to yourself, I wish I had just lived life my way. Think of it this way: If you make a mistake in choice on your own, then you might get somewhat mad at yourself if you want too but at least you chose it based on your thought process.
But if you make a mistake in choice based on other people’s influences, you will definitely have regrets on following their intuition and not yours, and you may even end up being mad at them as a result. For example, you may gain resentment (especially if the relationship fails) at your parents for pushing their desires for a certain type of partner on you versus listening to yourself.
A family friend of mine was in this exact situation — where he married someone who was a “good fit” based on the criteria his parents were looking for. Several years later, they got a divorce and it affected his relationship with his parents.
His relationship with them is a lot better as the years have gone by, but because of the pressure they put on him and the effect it had on his choices and life, he not only ended up in a divorce but also had a tense relationships with his parents.
Not saying this will be the case for all people, but like I said before, doing things out of obligation, duty, guilt is really never the best reason do something.
Do things because you want to.
2. Have Empathy For their Stance
People who didn’t grow up in America — it can be tough for them to wrap their head around interracial marriages because that’s not something they grew up with in their home country.
Also, the way that a lot of our parents were taught was you choose people based on lifestyle fit.
A lot of parents wanting someone of the same race/country origin is because they have grown believing lifestyle fit is one of the most important parts of a long-term marriage so they put race/country origin/culture into that “lifestyle” fit.
They might think you’ll lose your cultural values if you date this person.
You can explain to them, you will still maintain your cultural values while dating this person.
3. It’s going to be a tough conversation.
Understand this won’t be the most fun conversation you have. It may suck.
Who their child marries is a big deal for parents.
But having tough conversations is a part of life.
4. Understand your parents want you to be happy
True, good parents want you to be happy.
I’m not saying it won’t be tough for them to digest the news or they won’t be upset or they won’t wish it was someone of your own race in the beginning, but as time goes on, but those feelings will diminish as they see what a great partner your partner is.
Eventually, if they are good parents, they’ll get over their beliefs, and all things will be forgiven and your relationship with them will be good.
I think kids definitely can help with that. You can’t be mad at your grandson or granddaughter. But even before kids or even if you don’t have kids, I think they’ll be fine.
5. If they’re not understanding and are mad, realize you’re not doing anything wrong
Some parents may make their child feel like their doing something wrong dating someone in a different race.
Understand parents aren’t always right. If you guys decide to have a tense relationship, then so be it. You have to live with that. You have to, as I said in point #1, live life your way.
Parents are human beings. They can be wrong. They’re viewpoint life is not always right. We don’t need to put them on a pedestal.
Yes, they brought you into this world, but it doesn’t mean you have to live a miserable life because of the guilt of them bringing you into the world.
We’re human beings first, our race comes in later. You’re dating another human being, you’re not doing anything wrong.
Hope this helps, if you have any feedback, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Good luck to anyone having this conversation with their parents!