Intercultural and Interracial Relationships

Jill Dzadey
July 8, 2024

Through my practice, I've identified three levels where Intercultural and Interracial Relationships problems can present for them. I think it's important to understand these to begin to work through it all — which I have advice for you about too.

The first is within the couple itself

Disagreements around values and traditions are a big one here.

And when a mother tongue isn't shared, language can become a barrier that leads to a disconnect, too.

These issues can surface at any point in the relationship journey and become more of a problem when they aren't addressed.

For some, they begin only after meeting their partner's family. For others, they begin when they have children.

Then there's the outside world

Family influence can play a large role in creating tension within a couple.

Is your relationship accepted by your extended families, as well as your broader communities?

Because if it isn't, seeking this acceptance after it wasn't immediately offered can be extremely challenging.

There are often feelings of isolation and rejection involved, and in some instances people are also grappling with discrimination.

The partner whose family or community hasn't been accepting can experience a strong sense of loss over this too: they have chosen a partner they felt was right for them, and their family's rejection can leave them feeling stuck in the middle of two worlds important to them.

On top of all that, these couples may also need to deal with wider society's lack of acceptance of their relationship.

Situational issues can cause big stress too

Maybe one person in the couple has been waiting a long time for their visa to be processed.

Or maybe one of them is struggling with being far from wherever they call home while transitioning to a new culture and establishing themselves in a new place, at the same time as having this relationship.

While there can be so much joy and excitement with these things, homesickness can have an impact on emotional wellbeing and mental health.

This has especially been the case with the intercultural couples who've come to me since the pandemic started.

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