Being in a biracial and/or multicultural relationship opens the doors to a new way of thinking and a rewarding adventure. Perhaps you are someone who is adventurous and love to immerse yourself in another culture. Or maybe, you were caught off guard and just smitten by someone from another culture. Love has no rules or boundaries! Multicultural relationships bring you face to face with the intricacies of a new culture such as new foods, new languages, new holidays, etc. With that said, these differences can inadvertently pressure the relationship. Knowing what to expect in a multicultural relationship and how to make it work is essential to a healthy partnership.

Here are some challenges that you may be facing if you are in a multicultural relationship:

  1. Oppressed vs. Privileged: Being in a multicultural relationship implies that there will be experiences that your partner might not fully understand because they have a different background. For instance, being screened by security in a retail store may be because of your skin tone or hair texture. Your partner, on the other hand, may be presented with more work opportunities because of the color of their skin and cultural background. This is just one example, but others might come up where a relationship will be tested because one cannot fully comprehend what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes. 
  2. Communication/Language Barriers: Language and miscommunication often go hand in hand. A native language is indispensable in that it enables a feeling of comfort and allows you to express yourself more freely. As a result of cultural differences in expression, couples in multicultural relationships often struggle with miscommunication. 
  3. Different Values, Traditions, Beliefs: This is a subject that ranges crosswise over everything: what’s cooking for dinner, what festivities to celebrate, who to spend holidays with, and even Saturday night plans. Additionally, blending cultures may result in having to pick which values and beliefs to pass on to your children. The ensuing conflict can cause delicate feelings and create tension in the relationship.

These are a few tips that you can use to overcome the challenges that multicultural relationships pose:

  1. Talk through it: The lines of communication should be open consistently. As you become more acquainted with each other, you’ll feel more comfortable talking and examining how your relationship is progressing. Conflicts and obstacles may arise as is typical in any relationship regardless culture. It may come up when attempting to make sense of how to mix cultures, when coping with societal judgement, and practically whenever making major decisions in your relationship. It’s completely normal! The most imperative thing is that you figure out how to speak with each other, so that you can figure out how to utilize your disagreements to become more harmonized.  
  2. Educate Yourself About Your Partner’s Culture: In order to be more in sync with your partner, you have to comprehend their way of life. Their way of life has formed their identity and the choices they’ll intuitively make. Get some information about how they grew up, what they esteem from their culture, what they’ve battled with in their way of life, and so on. This will assist you with understanding each other. 
  3. Learn A New Language: Learning your partner’s language will definitely allow for deeper appreciation from your loved one. It will also make him or her feel special and happy to share this with you. Regardless of whether your enunciation is terrible, or your grammar is bad, your partner will definitely appreciate the effort!
  4. Appreciate and Embrace Differences: You will both need to find out about new traditions, family conventions, customs, religion, dialect; basically, an alternate lifestyle from your own particular childhood. Appreciate and embrace it!
  5. Preserve Commonality: Making or potentially saving mutual ethics, qualities, and values can be extremely beneficial to maintaining a healthy relationship. There must be a shared trait in the relationship that empowers it to flourish. At the center of a relationship, this commonly incorporates a similar belief system, life objectives, ethics, and values.
  6. Compromise/Be Patient: Your relationship should be loaded with compromise. You will undoubtedly make a mistake or hurt your adored one’s sentiments or vice versa. The greatest thing is to remember you have to be patient and compromise with each other. Mixing cultures requires some serious energy. Regardless of whether you’ve been in one for a considerable length of time, there’s bound to be bumps in the road. The main thing you can do is make certain to discuss it, let them know how you feel, and give each other grace/time. It is important to let your loved one know that even if they make a mistake or mess up, you’ll still love and cherish them at the end of the day. 
  7. Stay Curious! Be eager and willing to constantly learn more about your partner and their traditions, dialect, values, etc. Every day is another chance to develop your insight and understanding of each other, as well as of two different cultures. Although sometimes your occupations, as well as life circumstances, may take you in different directions, make sure you face this journey together!

To learn more about my work with biracial/multicultural couples, check out the video on Psyched About Love. If you are struggling to make your multicultural relationship work, please book a relationship therapy session with me.         

Until the next Opening the Doors post.

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