When multicultural matches don’t work out

A friend of a friend was dating a young man from Africa not so long ago. I never got to meet him because he was living in the U.K., where she had met him on a study abroad trip from the U.S.

When she heard that my husband was also from Africa (albeit a different country), she leaped at the chance to meet us for a private chat.

Over sponge cake and tea, she asked what it had been like for us to meet and get married.

Only a few weeks later, I asked her how her boyfriend was. “Well,” she said, smiling just a little, “we actually broke up.”

“Oh!” I felt terrible, but she took it graciously. “Actually, it doesn’t feel so much like a breaking up as a stepping back,” she explained.

“Oh!” I said, inarticulately.

“We’re still friends and I don’t know where this will go in the future,” she added.

At this point the conversation turned to other things, and I’m glad because I may have run out of intelligent one-syllable rejoinders.

I just wanted to bring this up in case you may have experienced a similar breakup. At several points in our courtship we, too, decided to step back and re-evaluate what a multicultural marriage would entail. And I’m glad we did.

Even if you consider someone from a different race but eventually marry someone else, I still think the experience can benefit you for some (or more) of the following:

  1. Broader worldview. Sometimes articles such as this one from the Washington Post expound on the condition of U.S. race relations. If you’ve seriously considered spending your life with someone from another race, I think you don’t have to worry about racial schisms and misunderstandings quite so much. You may be more sensitive to and fight against racial stereotypes, for example.
  2. Cross-cultural friendships. Hopefully your parting will be amicable, and you’ll have gained an interracial friendship. Chances are you’ll have been introduced to your multicultural friend’s family or acquaintances, too, and sometimes those lead to lifelong friendships of their own.
  3. Greater clarity of the ideal spouse. Maybe you’ll learn that you can’t stand messiness, or someone who doesn’t get your sense of humor. Regardless, you’ll have a better picture of the person who could end up being your soul mate for a lifetime. šŸ˜‰

About multiculturalmarriage

I'm glad to be part of a multicultural marriage! I grew up in the U.S. but am married to an African husband. This makes life challenging, creative and cool - all at the same time!
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