What No One Tells You About Being in A Multiracial Relationship
Monsieur Right and I are one of the most "multi" couples you can get. Multicultural, multiracial, multilingual, multinational, etc. We love it! But we do get a lot of questions, and I'd like to address some of them here. According to the many articles that I read before getting married, our love should have fizzled out pretty quickly after the first few months when we realized that we were just too different. However, we're still going strong and a lot happier than some of the same-everything couples that we know.
Firstly, I'd like to address the multiracial aspect of our relationship. Go ahead and type "interracial relationships" or "mixed marriages" into Google. You will find tons of depressing articles about the complications and problems that can arise from these types of relationships. Some even argue that interracial couples have increased reason to divorce (note: not increased "risk of", increased "reason to" - How messed up is that?). It's actually quite daunting. Hopefully, if you're in one these relationships, you're in love enough to ignore these idiots. Not one of the articles that I could find had any research or hard numbers to back up their "theories". This is because very little research has been done on the subject of interracial divorce, and practically none of it is scientifically sound. Furthermore, very few of these "articles" are actually written by people who've been in a multiracial relationship.
As for the conception that being in a multiracial relationship is somehow more difficult, I have no idea what people who say that are talking about. I can't imagine how having different skin colors would change the quality of your relationship. Unless you're racist. That would definitely make your relationship more difficult...
So far the only difference that this has truly made in our relationship is that I now have good reason to hope that my children will be tan, and not resemble a boiled lobster after a day at the beach like their mother does.
Furthermore, we haven't faced any sort of hurtful, racial discrimination since we started dating. However, we have faced a surprising number of people that think we should have. That's not to say that they think we deserve it. Rather, they think that it's something that would obviously be a problem, that a negative reaction to our relationship would be normal. We get a lot of, "How do your parents feel about it?" "Don't people look at you differently as a couple?" "Are you sometimes treated as a less of a couple because of your differences?" People even questioned one of my older brothers about it. They presume that we must be getting a lot of slack for our decision.
To be honest, the idea that people might treat us differently never occurred to me until people started asking these questions. The first time this happened a girl asked me if my parents would be upset that he was an Arab. Umm.... No. He's not even from the middle east. He's a Pacific Islander, and they could really care less.
On the bright side, we've also had a lot of positive reactions. "Wow! You're going to have beautiful tan babies," is a common one. In French, girls have asked me if I'm excited to have mixed (métis) children. Calling someone "mixed" is often a compliment here. When I tell people that my husband is mixed they ooh and ahh, because they assume that means he's very good looking.
One friend's reaction just made me laugh. I skyped her a picture of my new beau when we first started dating and she goes, "Wow, you sure do like your men exotic-looking!" Yes, yes, I do. ;)
Time for a little Q & A
Are you worried about your children looking more like your spouse/ you than you/ your spouse?
Not at all! I married my husband thinking that he was ridiculously good looking. I think our children would be super lucky to look like him. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for babies with big brown eyes. Sometimes we argue about this though. He wants babies with my light eyes. Luckily, genetics are in my favor, and we're more likely to end up with a sweet tan brown-eyed bébé. :)
Funnily enough, the grandmothers want different colored babies. My mom has always wanted brown grandchildren and his mom, who is 100% islander, thinks it would be nice if they were white. But both of them would love the baby even if he came out purple, so we're not too worried about it. :)
Do you find yourself feeling any prejudices from passers by?
Not even once. We've never been treated any differently than any other couple. Sometimes people have been politely curious. But I'm really proud of our different origins, so I don't mind at all. It really helps add to the cultural richness of our relationship. We've been really blessed to only have had really positive experiences so far.
Do you have any issues with his family and vice versa?
His family loved me long before we even started dating, so there were no problems there. My parents had no problem with him being of a different ethnic background. However, my mother was really upset right up until just before the wedding that the relationship was intercontinental. She wanted us both to move to the US.
Overall, I think we're very lucky to have been born during this generation. People are a lot more accepting than they used to be. In the U.S., interracial marriage wasn't fully legal until 1967! Currently, only 5% of married couples in the states considered themselves interracial, but that number is steadily rising. I know that some couples still face discrimination, primarily from the people closest to them (parents, friends, etc.) who aren't ready to accept this type of relationship, but we've felt nothing but support. My hope is that when my children grow up, people won't even ask them if that's a challenge they face, because the idea of a couple having problems because of their skin color will seem so ridiculous.
Has anyone noticed anything different in their own relationships? Would it upset you if your own children where in a multiracial relationship?
Stay tuned for a follow up post about loving across languages and multicultural relationships.