Love is a beautiful thing, but it does come with its down sides. None the less, these can be overcome, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case for some people. The things I am specifically referring to on this occasion are cultural clashes in interracial relationships.
This is a problem that I have had, and still find occurring in my own relationship. To give a bit of context, I am a black man, I have lived in England since the age of six, and I am now 22. My partner is a Muslim Iranian, she also moved to England at a young age, and we are now going onto our third year together.
Over the years we’ve both come to realize that our parents can have an influence on our relationship in a pretty noticeable way. Whether it is that I want to meet her parents, but she won’t let that happen because her parents will only want to meet her partner when she is on the verge of marriage. Or that my parents want me to have a partner of the same background, so she is not willing to formally meet them. These are both examples, in my opinion, that can negatively impact a relationship moving forward.
For me, cultural clashes only happen because of the parents/family expectations. I grew up being told I’m expected to marry a black Zimbabwean woman, in order to keep the families happy, so that we all understand each other at family functions etc. I mean, I understand where they are coming from, but realistically it’s a stupid expectation. I’m not getting into any relationship for anyone but myself and my partner, so my family and their happiness in that situation doesn’t matter to me. They should be happy for me.
Yes, of course there are things which both sides expect culturally for the partner of their child to do, but if these expectations aren’t met, does that then mean your child must put your happiness over theirs?... Hell no. From simple things like how to greet the parents, to the bigger things, like paying a dowry—which I don’t believe in. If these things aren’t met, does that warrant you to have any input on a relationship that is not yours?
I find it very disappointing that both our parents have a problem with us looking for partners outside of our own people. There is evidently some of the the old racial hierarchical beliefs instilled in them, but it is 2019. Times have changed.
A lot of times we are made to feel guilty, because of the concept of pleasing our parents, and from what I have read and experienced, it seems that religion can be a big factor in that. It is always important to treat your parents with kindness and respect, but it is also important that you recognize that they should return the same to you, especially with your decision of who your partner is.
For anyone who is maybe in the same situation, my only advice is that this is your love, this is your partner. If there are any red lights that occur from outside of the relationship, let them be there, but run that stop sign together, and it will be just fine. Just make sure the person you’re willing to fight for, is worth the fight.
Love is hard, but it’s worth it.