Many of us date people from different cultures and backgrounds. We asked our FIERCE community if they had stories related to the issues they had dating someone of a different ethnicity and the responses were enlightening, hopeful and sometimes even a bit heartbreaking.
Differences can be overwhelming but interest is super key.
“For me was so difficult. I’m Mexican, raise and born in Mexico and I was dating with a Xicano man, but he never was into the Mexican culture… long story short, we broke up. Some differences were overwhelming.”
Expressing excitement over exchanging cultures goes a long way.
“My husband of 13 years is a white American while I’m Mexican American, first born generation of immigrants. He loves my heritage and appreciates my family. He gravitates toward our culture because his family doesn’t really have anything like that except being American, which is kind of boring to him. They know they are a big mix of English, Irish, and Scottish with some Dutch and German but that’s really the extent of it… he’s also learned Spanish and went with me to live in Cuernavaca for a month to study.”
The sad truth is that fear of being judged or mistreated sometimes keeps us from such fulfilling relationships.
“We don’t. We get dirty looks everywhere we go. I’m either a traitor or a thief.”
Previous interactions with other races and proper communication are vital
“I think both of us being bi-racial (myself being Ecuadorian and Irish, my bf being Black and Polish) has shown us that there are many different ways to do the same thing and that not all things are as they appear. When we run into those cultural differences, it helps to try to see the duality of the situation. Communication and respect are [key].”
You can both learn about your cultures together.
“I play him the Mexican survival guide videos. Very accurate, also lots of communication!”
Talk about the shared struggles of your cultures.
” I’m really passionate about this topic. I’m Mexican-American & my husband is South African. Like my parents, he’s an immigrant. A white immigrant. While the differences of being a white immigrant and a Mexican one are obvious, it’s the shared struggles & similar perspectives that are worth highlighting. One perspective that has struck me is when my husband said, “I noticed Americans don’t make eye contact. In South Africa we at least acknowledge a person by doing so….” then I sarcastically thought to myself, ‘wow, what an idea. People recognizing the existence of other human beings.” Though I am guilty of this! BUT. Why am I guilty of this? Could it be that I was raised to acknowledge others even if it meant hugging every tia & tio in the room? Or my favorite, less intimidating way of respectfully recognizing that your fellow humans are present while also respecting your boundaries: greeting a room full of strangers with a smile & a “buenos días,” as you sit quietly in an open chair at the doctors office? But we don’t do this in America, at least not where I’m from. Most of us tend to do the opposite of acknowledge each other. So back to the point: we navigate our cultural differences by having these kinds of dialogues; connecting the dots. Mapping out how different humans attempt to figure out this crazy world we live where a wild fascination with the color of skin & borders exist. Who are we when we let go of our country & our skin?”
Speak up but also listen and learn.
“I’m Mexican and my bf is black/puerto rican my family has knew about him before when I talked to him in high school but they never really liked the fact that we were together so they separated me from him and made me switch high schools my senior year it was hard I talked to other people the two years we lost contact but realized he’s my happiness and now I gave us another chance without my family knowing I’m still figuring out how I’m going to let everyone know Ik that some of my family will shut me out because they are really old school/ traditional Mexicans and what me to be with someone of my race and my beliefs but we love each other so we are gonna make this work.”
“Respect, appreciation and being open to conversation. He still thinks I’m a little crazy for wanting to one day pierce our future daughter’s ears.”
When you have kids, be sure keep your families involved.
“Been in a 10 year relationship. My husband is Asian and it’s been so hard even til now. His family has a hard time dealing with the fact that he is with a Mexican woman. We have two kids and I can count with one hand how many times they have seen my kids. I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old. My son looks completely Asian and my daughter looks mixed. Just a few days ago he asked me why me and his dad look so different and I told him we are from two different ethnicities, different parts of the world. He said he wished he was only Mexican and looked like mommy it’s hard because my family is all he’s ever had. We try to visit his family but they always say they are busy. Being in a interracial relationship has been so hard for me. It’s been so draining they even encouraged him to cheat in the beginning of our marriage. I’m drained, don’t know how much longer I can do this for. I know this is not the case for all interracial relationships but it’s been hell for me.”
So often we hear the words “never settle” from our own mamas and father. Never settle. Not on our dreams and hopes, not on our hearts’ most desires. And while, oftentimes, settling isn’t an option for those without certain privileges a recent post on Reddit is highlighting what happens when you DO settle in love. When you settle for someone who isn’t The One.
Like Mary Fiore almost did for Massimo in The Wedding Planner, these women settled on love.
Check out their feelings on it, below.
“Finally ended it just under three years ago, after a decade of on and off. Now living a happy life with someone, who is definitely the one.”- messyaurora
“Similar situation. Spent many years in a meh relationship, on and off. Finally ended it and now I am very much in love in a healthy relationship. Ladies, don’t settle! On the long run is better to change.”- Messageinabottle17
“Decently well. We have some communication issues to work on (as well as emotional maturity on my partner’s side), but otherwise it’s functional and I’m mostly happy.”-GoddessOfPlants
“I’m kinda in your camp. I don’t know if I really fit in this question. Let’s just say… I had doubts. Serious ones. But I also thought he had strong potential to be a really great dude for me and I knew I loved him so I married him 6 months after we met.
3 years in we’re still going strong. We started a business together, got two dogs, went through infertility together, moved into a new house that were in the process of turning into our dream home. He’s really worked on fixing the parts I had doubts about, and we’ve really worked on our communication. I also work on not being so demanding and being better about my admittedly short temper. We still have struggles from time to time but every month gets easier.
He’s kinda like Captain America. He isn’t a perfect husband but he’s a good man, and that makes him work to be the perfect husband and as long as he’s putting in the effort (and I am too!) we’ll make it.”- frostysbox
“I kinda relate. I love my significant other and I know he loves me but we clash and see life in two different ways. He is more down to earth and stays to himself while I may be more likely to be caught in a spontaneous adventure. We do go well together though and coexist well. Sex is far and in between but I have adapted to that. We do show random appreciations, or obviously celebrate birthdays and milestones together but Sometimes we seem more like roommates than lovers- but it isn’t a bad thing. Being friends with your significant other over romantic isn’t the worst thing on the world is it?”-idk_about_this_J
“I will be amicably divorced and officially single on 4/19/21. It’s insane to think I’ll be single again after 13 years. I’ve been living alone for the last year and once I get my second dose in a week or two I will be back on the dating scene (that is scary!)
“Same. I thought my ex-husband was a good person. Turns out he wasn’t. I was finally able to get away 9 years ago. Soon after realizing that I deserve better I did meet someone who I knew I was meant to be with and we have been happy ever since.”-princessducky11
“Same. I never thought he was “the one,” but I would have stayed with him till death do us part had he remained a good, kind, caring person. I think my “one” was an ex from a while back, but I was unwell and he had a drinking problem. Perhaps I will meet another one in the future or perhaps I will find a man who stays good.”- DeSterrennacht
“This is what I’m trying to do. We have a cat that I absolutely adore and mostly care for and I’m terrified that I might have to leave her with him, which is honestly one of the main reasons I haven’t been able to move forward with this.”-Selthien
“It became clear after 8 months in that he never wanted a relationship, just a girlfriend as a sign of successful “adulting” and to not show up at family functions alone anymore. All the time, I was completely committed to the relationship even though I knew he wasn’t the one from the get-go.
My saving grace was that I found my dream job roughly 2 hours away from where we lived (we lived in the same town, just not together). I was eager to move away and finally pull the plug. I still would have broken up with him anyway, but I was glad to be moving far (enough) away.
Two weeks before I officially ended it, he told me that if one of his friends was dating someone like me, he would tell him to run and never look back. So I quoted this in the breakup and asked him what exactly he thought would happen? If he felt that I would want to stay after being told something like this? He said, and I kid you not, that he thought that by saying this to me that I would try to be a better girlfriend
Edit: he was otherwise a decent guy, but he wasn’t honest with himself. He does not want to make the effort to build and maintain a relationship. My interactions with his family especially made me realise that there was some pressure or expectation for him to be in a relationship and have children. But I never got the idea that this was what he wanted for himself.”- Watto_007
“My dad married my mom for the same reason – he was insecure and just wanted to show off to the world that he could “score” a smart and beautiful woman. After they got married and had three kids together, my dad became increasingly controlling and abusive until my parents got divorced 15 years later. The deadbolt on my mom’s bedroom door is still there today and reminds me of the terrifying nights when he’d pick the lock and beat and rape her in her room. You dodged a huge bullet, friend. I’m glad you saw the red flags early enough.”- TheYellowBuhnana
“Don’t get me wrong, my SO and I definitely make fun of each other, but we would never make fun of each other for being a bad partner. That’s a serious disrespect and boundary issue, I’m glad you got out and found someone hopefully who treats you the respect.”-alilminizen
“Fairly well, ups and downs for six years now. He works long hours and I love spending time on my own! It’s harder when we have his kids as I have no desire to be a mother, but I’m better at organizing than him, so take on a child minder role anyway. Hoping for the world to open up soon, as one of the things we enjoy is a romantic get-away. I love him, but I’m not in love with him. But that’s enough for me, as he is one of three men I have ever been interested in. I don’t(and have never) get crushes. I think I’m a bit asexual. Oh and even greater now as we found a rental house instead of a flat and I have gotten cats!!!”-SunshinePipper
“Married for 28 years! We have had our ups and downs, but to be honest he was the one, I just didn’t know it at the time. Sometimes “the one” is an ideal based on youthful priorities, but with maturity, you realize some of those qualities aren’t as important anymore. My husband is my best friend, but whether you marry “the one” or someone else, a good relationship requires hard work and give and take. We have been through many events together, and we grew closer as a result. We are a team!”- LoopyLadyCA
“Something my therapist said to me a while ago completely changed my perspective on my current partnership: “usually what makes a relationship exciting and dramatic is not what makes a good long term partner, those are the tradeoffs.” A lightbulb went off in my head, and that put to rest so many of the lingering demons I had about whether my partner and I were good matches for each other.. or if he was my “one.” Now that I’ve let those obsessions go, our relationship is so much better. I’m so, so happy.”-wabisabister
“I don’t like the idea of “the one”. When I met my ex, our eyes literally met across a crowded room, it felt like he had a spotlight on him, and the world stopped still and moved at the same time. I knew I had met “the one” I was going to marry.
Turns out my gut feeling is a pretty bad judge. We lasted a couple years, mostly because I was so hung up on not losing the one. He isn’t even a bad dude, just not somebody with my life goals, my sense of humor or anything that would be compatible with me.
When I met my fiancé in grad school I didn’t even notice him until we had to do a project together. Now I couldn’t wish for a better partner, I’m so much in love with him and so excited to go through life together.”- AlternativeCover3379
“It went bad. Staying in a relationship like that for me felt like giving up a piece of me. It’s mature to compromise yes, but do it for the rights reasons with the right person for you. If your truth is to feel safe, if that’s the most important always, then go for it. I personally felt a void, something missing..I felt ultimately lonely and we broke up.”- tinaple
“Hmm to offer a different perspective — my partner (of a little over a year) recently told me that he doesn’t feel intensely in love with me/sexually infatuated with me, and hasn’t since after about a month into the relationship (which is when we began cohabitation, thanks covid). But he does love me, very much, and of that I have absolutely no doubt.
We are definitely best friends, have no shortage of emotional and intellectual intimacy, go on countless adventures together. We both really think our partnership is awesome and want to build lives together. Which means we are having a lot of tricky conversations about what this (intense romantic/sexual attraction imbalance) means for us.
Practically, we are monogamous (each has gone on a date or two since meeting) but are more philosophically aligned with ethical nonmonogamy.
This has spurred on a lot of conversations about “the one”. For people struggling with this, I really recommend the book “Designer Relationships”. Even if you’re monogamous, it’s a hugely helpful book (& short! Like 120 pages) for reflecting on your various relationships.
A takeaway is that the invention of the romantic ideal as our life partner is a fairly new one, like as recent as the last century. Prior to this, marriage and life partnership was often based around a “shared goal or project” and romantic fulfillment was sought beyond the relationship (helloooo affairs).
There’s another really good book on the conflict between the domestic and the erotic, called “Mating in Captivity” and it proposes that often times familiarity can cause difficulties in erotic spaces in the relationship and that maintaining a strong sense of independence allows you to maintain erotic energy.
Anyhow, we are both in therapy but have a lot of working theories about the imbalance. Part of it is due to me being attracted to what I can’t have (I could always tell he was a little less sexually thrilled by me, we’ve had some difficulty where he wants sex every couple weeks and I could go every other day, it’s not due to a low libido on his part hahah), part of it is the guilt he put on himself for not being “as in love with me”, part of it is that we spent every freaking minute together since this pandemic started and while familiarity and platonic love breeds sexual desire in me, he likes distance in his erotic relationships.
But honestly, I’ve never grown so much from a relationship. We continue to amaze each other with our ability to navigate this. I’ve cried a good bit, because yeah, it hurts, but our conversations always end with each of us feeling more emotionally intimate and empathized with.
Seeing all of these comments, I’m really wary of people believing they need to find “the one”. No relationship is perfect and takes absolutely no work, and oftentimes, you can cultivate a relationship that is fulfilling and adds a richness to life for both parties. The expectations we put on finding a life partner are honestly ridiculous and downright damaging.”-toomanyblankspaces
“I was convinced the one was going to give me butterflies and be overwhelmed by my presence, when I met my current partner none of those things were true. I kept questioning it being like somethings wrong I don’t know if he’s the one. We’ve been together for a while and I’m glad I didn’t listen to those shreds out doubt. Butterflies are overrated, my partner shows up for me everyday and we have built a really strong and solid foundation. He isn’t overwhelmed by my presence, and turns out it’s a good thing. He pushes me to be a better person everyday and is willing to push himself to be better too. He’s completely changed my understanding of what love is and is supposed to be. I never grew up with a good role model and took my understanding of love from mass media. Turns out that mass media love isn’t real for a reason. I’m incredibly happy with my partner now even though there were times in the beginning where I really thought he wasn’t the one. I’m not saying stick with people you aren’t right for, but that definitions of love change as you get older. And passionate flame sparking loves with no foundation don’t last for a reason.”- killerwheelie
“You are so right with the statement it’s “easy after every issue to think I knew I never should have stayed with him”. There’s something in our brains I think as humans that really makes us goto to that negative area ABOUT US. Like, your husband does something to hurt the relationship intentionally, or unintentionally, and your first thought is to be mad at yourself because you didn’t leave X amount of time ago? Why do our brains do that?!
This is something that my husband pointed out to me was a really unhealthy way that I think. Its not only hurting the relationship because it if we voice that, it seems like we’re always one foot out the door…. but it’s beating me up AND letting him off the hook for any responsibility in the matter, when it should be us against the issue.
It’s been a struggle to recondition my brain to stop thinking like that, and I’ll admit I still struggle especially during big issues (we struggle from libido mismatch as well! I’m so sorry and feel your pain!!) but I’ve got to tell you, working on that has been one of the single biggest improvements on my side for my self worth, our relationship, and well being.”-frostysbox
Representation for Latinos in Hollywood has a long way to go. Only 4.5% of the main characters in TV and movies are Latino, even though Latinos make up 18% of the U.S. population. And movies featuring a mixed Latino family? That almost never happens.
And when projects do focus on Latinos, the stories often focus on negative stereotypes, like drug trafficking and illegal immigration. But Netflix’s new movie, “Yes Day” takes a different approach to portraying modern-day Latino life.
“Yes Day” features a mixed Latino family in which one parent is Venezuelan and the other is white. The father is played by Édgar Ramírez and the mother is played by Jennifer Garner.
“Yes Day” is a lighthearted family film that tells the story of Allison and Carlos Torres as they commit to saying “yes” to their children (within reason) for a full 24 hours. Also, Jenna Ortega plays the eldest daughter, Katie. Since it’s premiere on March 12th, the film has been No.1 on Netflix’s top ten list.
Viewers are drawn to “Yes Day” because it is a positive, heartwarming piece of entertainment. While so many of us stuck at home, stressed and anxious about the state of the world, there’s something comforting about escaping it all for a while by watching a movie with the family.
Viewers are also praising “Yes Day” for their approach to portraying multicultural families. In short, the movie shows that the Torres family is just like any other family in America.
“Yes Day” doesn’t hit the audience over the head with the fact that the family is a multicultural, mixed Latino family. There are no grand speeches or traumatizing events. Instead, the family just is. They slip in and out of Spanish, eat arepas and pabellón, and go about their daily lives. “Yes Day” is a reflection of what the modern American family really looks like.
The movie’s director, Puerto Rican filmmaker Miguel Arteta, talked to NBC News about his vision for the film. “Like here’s a family, he’s Venezuelan, the kids grew up in Los Angeles, and they’re just a multicultural family, and we don’t have to really say much about it.”
He continued: “I think we live in a time where, why don’t we just show the world what the world looks like.”
Director Miguel Arteta said that the choice to make a positive family film with a mixed Latino family was a deliberate one.
“You do need those movies that talk about our struggles, and how difficult it is for Latinos in the United States,” Arteta said. “But also, you need movies that simply represent how this country looks, you don’t have to necessarily even speak about it.”
And according to Arteta, Jennifer Garner was stoked to be a part of his vision. “When we were discussing writing the script, I said to Jennifer, ‘would you be open to the idea of the husband being Latino?’ and it was the fastest yes that I have ever heard,” he said.
Arteta expressed that having the chance to have creative freedom over the casting process was a dream come true. “I’ve never had a chance to cast a mixed family like that before,” he revealed. “And I’ve been making movies for 20 years.”