This is the 21st Century!! Interracial dating, NBD right? It's true that interracial dating is no longer shocking and it's no longer that mother-won't-approve or arranged marriage nonsense (for the most part). But, if you go into your first interracial relationship, you'll find that some things ARE different when you date something from a different culture. As a white girl dating someone who's Taiwanese, I've found these differences actually enhance the experience of the relationship, because our differences make us all the most interesting in learning about and growing closer to each other.
1. You Will Find You Like Different Foods
For me, Chinese food was drunk food or hangover food. Good and greasy and super filling, which I didn't care about if I had a raging migraine or was sloppy drunk. But for my boyfriend, Chinese food was just what mom used to make. He loves it. He can make it himself. And his and his family's version of Chinese food is similar but not so greasy and not so bloating. Similarly, something I LOVED like Nutella was something he'd never even tried.
2. You Will Think More About Race In Your Day To Day Life
Laying on my dorm room bed, I was googling grad schools - so fun - and throwing out names of cities, suggesting we should move there. He asked me where some of the cities were, what schools were nearby...and if the cities were potentially racist. As a white woman, I have felt racism hardly if ever. But for other people from different backgrounds, that isn't so. I observe the attitudes of my peers more acutely now that I know what he's experienced in different parts of the country.
3. You Will Not Always Understand Each Other's Values
Having been born of first-generation Americans, my boyfriend's parents taught him that you have to work hard to succeed and make it in America - very American Dream-esque. Having grown up with that, he doesn't watch much TV, he doesn't lay in bed for very long, and he gets annoyed when he isn't constantly accomplishing something. I love Netflix, and I cut myself a lot more slack. Sometimes these two mind-sets conflict, but we have to remember that both of us accomplish our goals, even though we go about things with different attitudes.
4. You Will Learn Things About A New Culture
My boyfriend takes his shoes off when he enters a home and when his family makes desserts, they tend to be savoury rather than sweet (many contain black bean paste). These are both trivial facts, but at the same time, I probably never would have learned either in my entire life had I not been dating him.
5. You Will Teach Things About Your Own Culture
Come Christmastime, my boyfriend didn't understand any of our traditions: the poinsettias, the stockings, the cookies for Santa Claus. Nor was he aware of some of the standard occurrences that come with getting engaged: the engagement ring, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, the year-long (ish) engagement period before the wedding. There's something stunning about seeing your own culture and behaviour through an outsider's perspective, and teaching things you don't remember ever having been taught yourself.
6. You Will Be Scared To Meet Each Other's Family
I was scared I wouldn't be dressed conservatively enough. I was afraid I would say something offensive. I was afraid I wouldn't understand their accents and have to keep repeating, "HUH???" I'd say our families still surprise each other because our parents are very different, but we got through the awkward Meet The Parents just like everyone else does.
7. People Will Say Silly Things
Sometimes after people meet my boyfriend and he has left, they turn to me and say, "He's Asian." ...Really? As if I hadn't noticed? Even in this day in age, interracial dating is something some people are still surprised about. That doesn't make people racist, it just means they have underlying assumptions and they get surprised when you upset those assumptions. But these assumptions mean nothing if you and your partner are happy. Be the exception, not the rule!
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