Not so long ago, dating outside of your race was considered outrageous. People who dared to enter a mixed relationship or marriage faced some hard times with their family, friends, and society in general. Luckily, those dark times are (almost) behind us, but choosing a partner of a different race still raises issues for some. And even though you have never considered it, ‘the race problem’ may occur inside your family. To avoid any potential problems, the best approach is to talk about your interracial relationship to your family members in a calm and noninvasive manner so that they have time to process the information and not overreact. Here are a few tips on how to tell your family you are dating outside your race.
Approach Your Family Without Reservations
The biggest mistake you can make is to assume your family will have problems with you dating outside of your race without talking to anyone first. You might be surprised how open-minded your family members are. On the other hand, things might take a wrong turn just as easily. Instead of assuming anything in advance, focus on when, how, and what you are going to tell your family members.
Since the subject is sensitive, it may take them a while to respond. Once they do, listen to what they have to say and then take it from there. Anticipating the worst can cause fear and panic, which will reflect on your entire approach to the matter. But again, presuming that everything will go smoothly may leave your family members feeling like their opinion is not important. Take your time, decide when you are ready, and start the conversation without any expectations.
Decide Who To Talk To First
You probably have some idea on what to expect from each family member. Maybe you have never touched the subject before, but you may have heard your mom, dad, brother or sister talk about interracial relationships or race in general. This allows you to ally with those family members you know will react positively. If your mother and sister have previously talked in favor of interracial relationships, they are the ones you should talk to first. It is better to have someone in your corner if things start taking a bad turn.
Make Them Feel Included
Instead of making them feel like they do not have any say about your life, try going about it differently so they feel more included. Ask for their advice. Tell them you have met your love interest through a friend or on an interracial dating site and provide them with some information about him or her. You can propose that they meet your lover as well. Once you let your family know about your relationship, ask them what they think and show them that their opinion matters. That way, they will feel included and are more likely to focus on the positive.
Keep Your Cool No Matter What
If things do not go as planned, keep in mind that anger does not solve anything. The reality is you will probably face different reactions from people around you and you have to show your family that you are an adult and that, ultimately, the decision whom to date is entirely up to you. If a member of your family reacts badly, do not continue the conversation. Remain calm and remember that people tend to overreact when they are faced with something they are not used to. Suggest to talk again later or when they feel ready; sometimes people just need time to start thinking rationally.
Talk Openly About The Subject Of Race
Some of your older family members might not be so open-minded when it comes to the subject of interracial dating, but talking about it may change their feelings. The race issue should be addressed openly so that you and your family members know where each of you stands. If you realize that someone is not comfortable with you dating outside your race, try educating that person on the importance of being tolerant and prejudice-free.
Explain that people should not be judged by the color of their skin. Let them know that interracial relationships are common and accepted by showing them some of the many popular interracial dating sites. Send them articles, blog posts, books, real couple testimonies or anything else that can help them better understand mixed-race relationships and accept that times have changed and they have to change too.
In the end, being honest is always the best approach when talking about your love life. Bare your heart and soul and tell your family how you feel. Of course, it does not hurt to be smart about it. Assess the situation first so you can come up with the best strategy. If everything fails, you can always count on the fact that your family loves you and wants you to be happy. However, you should also prepare yourself for the possibility that some of them may never be able to accept your interracial relationship. If that is the case, there is nothing left to do but hope they will realize their mistakes. In time meantime, it is ok to lead separate lives and respect each other’s right to choose.