Parents Disapprove of Interracial Relationship

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

hey, im 19 and i was recently dating a guy on and off since the 8th grade. So he’s obviously been a big part of my life. We had been going steady for 2 years but had never met each other’s parents because of interracial issues. My parents had made it clear from the start that they weren’t going to accept it and he knew his mom would have the same reaction. However, my parents had come around but my boyfriend still knew how much they hated him. He was still afraid of meeting them and well he didn’t want to try introducing me to his mom because I was white. My parents had called him and forced him to leave me and he chose to agree because he didn’t have much of a choice.

Now i’m having a really hard time accepting the break up and still have hope that this relationship could work if we tried. Do you think time apart will heal this relationship? I can’t stop crying because this whole situation was about something i couldn’t change; the colour of our skin. And it frustrates me so much because we were so happy together and i think it could’ve worked out if it wasn’t for our parents.

We have broken up in the past over this but have never been able to let go. is that a sign that we shouldn’t? I don’t know what to do. How do I get over something like this? I need some harsh reality checks or some advice on how to deal with this cause it has been an issue in my life for over 3 years now and I’m exhausted.

A: This is a story as old as time. There have always been adult children who fall in love with a person their parents think is wrong for them. It’s what Romeo and Julietteand West Side Storyare all about. As you know, those relationships ended in disaster. They don’t have to. But when parents are this stuck in their ways, going off with the beloved person has a huge cost. Many families never accept the partner. Many even reject their own child.

You’ve been together since you were only 12 or 13. I don’t question your love for each other but I do question whether you are ready to make a forever commitment with so little experience with dating. I’d be saying the same thing if you were the same race. There is a kind of co-dependency that often gets going when people meet so young and never explore other relationships. Familiarity isn’t enough of a foundation for lasting love. For that reason, I think it might be wise for you and your boyfriend to take a break, to meet other people, and to learn more about yourselves and others. I hope you are both in school or starting careers. Those experiences will also help you grow.

If you feel the same way about each other after a year or so of exploration with other people, it’s then time for the two of you, together, to have a serious talk with your folks and his. I suspect they don’t want to lose you any more than you want to lose them. If they see that the two of you are making a mature choice rather than just sliding into something that started when you were 13, they may be more receptive. If not, you’ll have a difficult, difficult choice to make. I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Parents Disapprove of Interracial Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/18/parents-disapprove-of-interracial-relationship/