Q: Can a couple of different races be happy in an intimate relationship? Can it last if everyone around them is against it? Especially when it is family! -- Rachel, 30
Dr. Susan: The question really should be "Can ANY two people be happy in a long-lasting intimate relationship?" And the answer seems to be "It depends," or "Maybe." Something like half of marriages end in divorce, and that doesn't count all the non-married couples who eventually split up. My feeling about interracial or intercultural marriages is that since all relationships have challenges, your odds of success depend on much more than skin color or place of origin. If the two of you can work out problems together, if you truly respect one another, if your backgrounds are at least compatible, and if you're willing to do a lot of learning and compromising, then you have a fair shot at success. I think of interracial or other "miss"-matched couples as simply having one more BIG challenge to overcome.
If your family or his or both are against this relationship, you owe it to yourselves, at the very least, to look very deeply and clearly at what's going on. If their attitudes are mere prejudice, that's one thing. Ignore that. But if they, being more experienced, see incompatibilities you are both blind to, pay attention. Perhaps consult an experienced counselor to discuss how your differences might play out over time. Being different is one big challenge. Going against your families is yet another. You need to be mature, wise, and strong to take on so many challenges and remain good with one another.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.