Interracial Couples Reveal The Biggest Cultural Adjustments They Overcame
Cultural stereotypes, and the judgments that accompany them, still present challenges for interracial couples. But dating someone from another culture has its perks too - different food, family celebrations, holiday traditions - all help to enrich our relationships. It's not always easy, though, as people still like to judge.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
The Chinese ex was doing it right. Unopened and uneaten? Mine.
My ex-boyfriend of two years was Chinese, and I'm white (and Southern, while he'd lived most of his life in Chicago). We had some minor things like he would make fun of how much cheese I ate and I made fun of how much he learned to love sweet iced tea. But the one cultural norm we didn't even realize we didn't have in common was taking food home from special events. For white people, food left at the end of a wedding/event/banquet is for the host (whoever's paid for it) to dispose of/dispense how they like. In Chinese culture, mass to-go boxes are distributed and everyone takes home whatever they want. I remember being mortified at a wedding when my bf just snagged an entire, unopened box of cupcakes to take when we left. In my mind, he just stole cupcakes. What was so remarkable was that I thought he was being cheap and he thought I was being paranoid, and we never ever chalked it up to cultural norms. Learned this from a totally different (also Chinese) friend after we'd broken up.
Edit: I'm speaking of fancy or formal events specifically, not all get-togethers with food.
This seems like an easy adjustment.
So. Many. Hugs.
Family is family is family.
One I can answer!
My partner is from Zimbabwe. I'm from Scotland.
The biggest culture shock by far is how every older woman is called mbuya (gran) and every older man sekuru (grandpa). From what I understand their language (Shona) doesn't seem to have a word for aunties, uncles or cousins: everyone is just your sibling, parent, grandparent or a stranger. Makes it a nightmare to work out what the 'real' relations are.
Saying "I'm full" is a no-no in many cultures, and there's always so much food.
Not a current relationship but a previous one. I'm white and he's Hispanic. Meeting his family was really when the cultural differences showed. His entire family was super welcoming, immediately I was included in everything and made to feel like part of the family, that was definitely not the norm in my other relationships.
I found out that even if I'm stuffed full if his mom or aunt offered me food, I better take it. To refuse for any reason was extremely rude.
Authentic Mexican food is amazing.
We did go to a Hispanic dance club together once and I was treated like trash by everyone present because of being white, but that was the only occasion of people disapproving.
We broke up because he's a terrible person, but I still miss his family.
Celebrating for no reason? Sounds like a great adjustment.
My fiancée is black, I'm white/Asian. Everyone from her family is very loud but in a loving way, especially in public. So much laughing and clapping for no reason, I love it so much. My wasian family is very quiet and reserved and doesn't show much affection. Being in public and getting stared at is the biggest adjustment. Also the food. Anyone else love neckbone?
Well, this is different, and certainly an adjustment.
I am dating a girl whose parents are from East Boston. They call pasta "macaroni" and red sauce/pasta sauce "gravy." WTF
Doesn't seem like much adjustment is needed here, everyone is really well-rounded.
Meeting her family: lots of hugs, the family is important, you always compliment how beautiful the mom is and eat all of her cooking, when the dad drinks then you must drink, anytime they invite you to an event then you drop everything and go or witness their wrath.
Her meeting my family: shoes come off the second you enter the house, be prepared to gossip with the mom, constantly receive a small sentence of wisdom from the dad.
I am Vietnamese and she is Venezuelan. Both families agree we would have beautiful children.
Edit: RIP inbox. y'all some amazing people: ;)
Mothers-in-law take a lot of adjusting.
White male married to a black woman here. We have been together since 1988 and have a 19 yo daughter.
I am not sure there were any real cultural adjustments. I have read about people in interracial relationships getting all kinds of blowback/disapproval but we've not experienced anything significant.
My MIL finds fault with virtually anything but that does not seem cultural though.
Tearing down cultural stereotypes is a necessary adjustment.
My ex-boyfriend is Japanese. He and his family were very very proper, clean, and etiquette. The biggest thing was they were never really satisfied with his accomplishments. Every time he did something good they would always want more from him.
Edit: One thing I forgot to mention was that I'm Hispanic, and his family had some misconceived views on Hispanic/Latino people. The sister and dad thought I was going to be some sort of drug dealer or a gang member and were scared of me at first. His mom and brother thought I was going to be loud, good at dancing, and always say something in Spanish after every sentence. They were very interesting...
Learning your partner's native language shows immense dedication, and is a really noble adjustment.
Learning Spanish. I married a Peruvian who speaks perfect English and so I have trouble remembering what I learn.
I like the sound of the wild Christmas.
My husband is Mexican and I am white. The biggest thing we genuinely notice and laugh about is how Christmas is handled.
His family - mass chaos, everyone opens presents all at the same time. There is literally trash and Christmas paper EVERYWHERE.
My family - slow, meticulous, everyone patiently waits their turn to open their gift. We legitimately have someone assigned to trash bag duty.
This happens far too often - skin color shouldn't define love.
It's weird getting racist side-eyes from people of the same race as me.
Whether it's interracial or sexuality, let's not judge others on how and whom they love.
My interracial relationship isn't an issue with most people. They normally just are disgusted because we're gay.
Hot take: visits are one thing, but having the whole family in a hospital room is really uncomfortable. It was for me.
I'm Hispanic, my husband is Caucasian. When someone in my family is sick, the whole family shows up. We all sit in the waiting room for a surgery, come by the house with food during a recovery. When his own father had a cardiac cath my husband didn't go with him even though he had the day off work. I went with his father and his mother and he thought it was so extra for me to go. His mentality is that I can't do anything if something goes wrong. He said if something did go wrong his mother would call him. In my family, it's a show of love, respect, and support to be at someone's sick bed, even for a routine medical procedure. His mother didn't find it strange, his sister didn't go either. It's just weird to me. When his grandma had a hip replaced he went to visit her in rehab only one time and she was there for two weeks. If it was my family, we would take shifts so she would have at least one visitor per day and one home-cooked meal.
Oh, white people...
Black man with a white ex here. I have plenty of these types of scenarios. My favorite is the white people who assumed we weren't together when we walked into a restaurant. My ex was absolutely incensed! I laughed because I've dealt with that ignorance on more than one occasion.
Parties for everything? Why not?!
White trash married into a Hispanic household.
Everything is different.
They throw parties for everything. High school graduation was a huge deal, I had to convince my parents to come because I needed a ride home afterward. His family was shocked.
We don't cook when people come over. Just buy some pizza. His mom might kill me if I throw a party without cooking a bunch of homemade food.
Sleepovers, family coming over? Then it's assumed they will stay the night. Totally threw me off. Our family barely visits and when they do it's for a few hours then they're gone.
Is someone pregnant? Awesome huge parties and lots of gifts. My family? That sucks better figure out what you're gonna do.
Kids party? Lots of games n food n cake and gifts. My family, oh cool here's a t-shirt I have work so I'm gonna leave now.
A family member needs help? They're family best go help. My side? The most you'll get is a 'that sucks' there's no helping each other.
Been about 6 years now and I'm still learning.
The concept of "on time" varies greatly from culture to culture.
Different understanding of time.
Edit: to be clear she is latina and I am white. Doesn't make me mad, it's just a difference in culture. It's an adjustment I have to make.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up to white supremacy. Sounds like the stepdad needs the adjustment.
I'm black and I'm currently dating a white guy. His stepdad is a white supremacist, so going to his house always feels a little awkward.
Expanding your taste in food is one of the best ways to experience other cultures.
When I'm in a relationship I tend to eat less Asian foods to accommodate their tastes. I'm Asian-American and grew up eating a variety of foods. It was hard to adjust in the beginning because the people I tend to date (primarily small-town White-Americans) have a limited food palette.
Right now my current S/O has a very wide range of palette which I'm super duper grateful for. We've eaten a large array of ethnic foods compared to my previous relationships, but just not Asian dishes yet lol. Mostly due to us not traveling out of the city, where it primarily dominated by Thai, to the suburbs where there different facets of Chinese cuisines.
It's fascinating that dancing never caught on as part of American culture. But it's never too late to try!
I'm a boring white American and my fiance is Puerto Rican. Everyone dances, and dances well, except for me of course.