If mixed match dating is a relationship that you’re involved in or thinking about becoming involved in, then you’re not alone. A growing number of individuals are involved in interracial dating.
This in part is due to people moving about planet Earth more easily and encountering more people of different races and cultures. Further, people from different cultures interact with each other on social media. With interaction, comes interest.
In casual dating, we’re naturally curious to learn about someone who is different from us. It means inevitable attraction and could mean exciting times. It could also mean many challenges.
In relationships where couples are of the same race, there are challenges. Mixed match dating poses challenges that are multiplied. These include language and cultural barriers. They also include the disapproval from family, friends, and strangers who may be quick to tell interracial couples just how they feel.
It’s common for families to disinherit or even disown a member who’s involved in an interracial relationship. Other family members are surprisingly accepting.
Chad, a white attorney, married Sandra, an African-American woman who worked in HR. His parents and siblings were in attendance at the wedding and were happy that their son and brother had found love. Her family was equally supportive of the marriage.
Chad stated, though, that many of his friends did not approve of his choice to marry outside of his race. “What I do with them,” Chad said, “is to cross them off my list. My wife and I just don’t speak to them anymore.”
Many people harbor stereotypes and prejudices about other races and cultures and will express them openly and unbidden. To mitigate this, couples should expect such a response and react in much the way Chad and Sandra did—ignore them.
When others genuinely want to know the attraction one has for the other, the interracial couple can answer them with understanding and patience, especially when dealing with a parent’s consternation. Often, over time, people become more accepting to a family member’s mixed match dating.
Cultural barriers may include religion. As a relationship progresses, the couple may face the deep issues. She may be a strict Christian while he is not. He may want to take the relationship to a level of intimacy, and because of religion, she may not be comfortable with sex before marriage.
Will differences such as these drive a wedge between them? If the couple has their sights on marriage and children, what religion will the children be?
These questions need to be well thought out instead of people having the thought of just letting things work out in their own time. Issues will seldom work out favorably without open communication, respect for the other’s perspective, and being open-minded.
Years ago, a YouTube documentary aired the story of Gemma, a White Oxford graduate, and Lesikar, a Masai warrior. When Gemma arrived at a cultural festival in Tanzania, she met Lesikar who represented the Masai at the event. He invited her to his village.
After subsequent visits there, she and Lesikar began dating, fell in love, and
Both fathers were shocked.
Gemma’s father said that he couldn’t imagine the sort of things Genna thought about doing with her life could fit in with a native from the mountains. Lesikar’s father stated (through translation) that he didn’t think it was possible for a Black person to marry a White person.
While in both cases the fathers seemed supportive, there was a major culture shock for Gemma and Lesikar. There was the language barrier that the couple worked hard to surmount. Gemma had to get accustomed to life in Tanzania—living in a hut and washing clothes by hand.
Lesikar’s father, Ngila, said that his son in time, would have more wives as was the Masai custom. When the couple actually had a daughter, Ngila said that when the daughter became of age, she would need to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).
Although Gemma and Lesikar’s relationship represents an extreme case of mixed match dating and marriage, it does happen. Often such extreme cases do not survive the rigorous demands of people from differing cultures.
Update: according to Gemma’s blog, she and Lesikar had another daughter. She and her daughters are now living in the UK, apart from Lesikar, who remains in Tanzania. She reveals that neither of her daughters have undergone FGM, nor will they ever.
When you feel you’ve found your match in black dating or dating one of another race, remember that there will be challenges, especially in a mixed match dating situation. Assess your needs.
Study the other’s culture and expectations. If you still feel he’s right for you, talk with him about your mutual goals and how you will handle challenges.
Watch for red flags—does he have an anger problem? A drinking or drug problem? Is he gainfully employed? Does he have serious health issues? Is he mentally stable?
It could be if you share similar values, if your creativity and opinion are encouraged, if the two of you are strong enough to weather storms together, and if you can appreciate each other’s differences as it relates to race and culture.
One of the goals of dating is to find that someone with whom you harmonize. Can you find harmony in mixed match dating? Can you bond with a person of a different race and culture? If you're committed to doing so, tread with caution into the unknown.
“Love is blind despite the world’s attempt to give it eyes.”
~ Matshona Dhliwayo
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