It was my senior year of high school, and I had just ended a slightly odd on-and-off relationship. I was fine with my single status seeing as the high school chapter of my life was coming to a close, and college was right around the corner. However, less than a week later, my brother gave me some inside information from the wrestling locker room. One of his teammates was interested in me. Seeing as my brother has a natural gift for accurately pinpointing personalities, I knew he wouldn’t have advocated for this guy if he didn’t believe he was a genuine person. Of course, I was naturally intrigued and began asking questions about this mystery fellow. Eventually, my brother came forth with his name, and I was pretty excited. I was still a very shy person in high school, so I was absolutely riveted when I found out that one of our star athletes was actually interested in me. He was kind. He was athletic. He was popular. And he was black.
At the time, I really didn’t think much of it. I went to a Christian school in Milwaukee where you met people from all sorts of different backgrounds. An inter-racial relationship was the norm in my little bubble. My friends, teachers, and two brothers saw it as nothing unusual. It was no spectacle. However, many parents found these relationships threatening. Thankfully, my own parents understood and respected my decision. My grandparents were even cool about it. Yet, many of my friends ran into this problem with their own parents and were forbidden from dating anyone outside their own race.
Our environment wasn’t as accepting after graduation. He never had a problem fitting in with my new college friends. Anyone that took the time to get to know him loved him. He had a charismatic personality that was unreal and is hands-down the kindest person I’ve ever met. It was the people that didn’t know us and made split second judgments that were the real issue. Any type of PDA in a public setting dominated by a single race seemed to invite disapproving looks and comments. We coped by choosing areas around our old high school for date nights. The village a few blocks over was full of people just like us. Plus, there were tons of cute little restaurants and ice cream stops for us to try out.
Our relationship lasted three years and ended on good terms. Although we didn’t have it as difficult as others, I have to admit the experience showed me that intolerance is still around. In fact, I think I endured more critical remarks from potential boyfriends later down the road. Apparently there are a lot of guys out there that are not ok with dating someone that was formerly in a relationship with a black man. This more so boggles my mind than anything else.
For those of you in an inter-racial relationship, good for you! It’s not always easy. But if you really love someone, it’s worth the trouble. Here’s my advice to you:
- Ignore the haters. They aren’t worth getting upset over. Some people are just too ignorant to understand it.
- Be confident and be respectful. Explaining your relationship to your family or friends can be hard. Show them that you are confident in your relationship, but also respect that not everyone will understand your views.
- Show love and patience to everyone. Kindness is a powerful tool. Use it to your advantage.
- Be yourself whenever and wherever. This is a normal relationship. People will start to see it that way if you treat it that way.
This image has been modified by How to Survive Modern Dating.