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Opinion >  Column

Dear Kiantha: Meeting family of partner is difficult, no matter their race

Dear Kiantha,

I am a white woman and I have fallen in love with a Black man I met online. We have been dating for just over a year. I’m afraid to meet his family because I am the first white woman he has ever dated. What do I talk to them about?

Dear Friend,

First let me congratulate you on finding love. You are one of the lucky ones. Many people struggle to find companionship. If dating wasn’t hard enough add on top a dollop of pandemic isolation.

While millions of people like you have had success with online dating there are still millions more who are afraid to jump into the new technology driven dating scene and trust me, the action these days is all online.

Meeting someone’s family for the first time can be difficult. Your goal should be to make a good first impression, not say anything offensive and look for points of connection. Those should be the goals no matter the person’s ethnicity. With that in mind, I do understand the added nuance of meeting a family of a different culture.

Think less about your perceived differences, and instead look for ways to connect. The first point of connection is that you both love the family member you are dating. Talk about that.

Be open to sharing your intentions with his family. Assure them that you care for each other and that you both are aware of your obvious differences. Share with his family the amount of happiness you have found in each other.

Whatever you do, don’t say that you don’t see color. That statement is offensive to people of color because we do in fact want you to see us in our totality which includes our ethnicity. We want you to be curious and open to understanding our diverse cultural experiences. I’m certain his family will be interested in learning about your culture and heritage. What a beautiful opportunity to see the world through each other’s eyes. Our differences can and should connect us.

Don’t be afraid to have open conversations about interracial dating. Answer any questions they may have. Most importantly, share with them that you welcome the opportunity to build a relationship with the people he loves.

His family, like yours, will want to know that you both are safe, cared for and respected within the confines of the relationship.

No need to show up overly confident or overly cautious. Neither of those extremes allow people you are meeting for the first time the opportunity to interact with the real you.

Be yourself, be authentic and be open. When it is time for him to meet your family, he should be prepared to do the same.

Soul to Soul, Kiantha

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