Host: What are some experiences I can expect from an interracial or intercultural relationship?
Gloria MacDonald: You really have to understand when you are going into a relationship and this is any relationship, but it's just it's exaggerated when you are in an interracial or intercultural relationship. You are going to have to expect that there will be more challenges and that your partner may never truly be accepted by your family and in fact, although you might not be aware of it, your partner may never truly be accepted by you. I have a friend that I was talking to when I was preparing for this and she lives this because she and her husband are from different cultural backgrounds and she shared this with me and I thought I should quote her because she not only lives this but she is a professional Psychologist.
So she said, "Understand that your partner may never be accepted as one of us by your family and possibly by you yourself. Family cohesiveness is based on sameness. You share not just DNA with your biological family, but may also look alike, have similar memories, rituals and gestures. A partner who shares none of these things maybe tagged as an intruder by your unconscious mind. You love them, sleep with them, share a home and maybe even share children, but they are not one of us because this is an unconscious reaction which you would deny vehemently if someone were to confront you. You can't work on it and deal with it in a rational way, but the partner feels it. They know that they are outside the family group, that they lack status and power in the family hierarchy. The only effective strategy for them, for the partner is to align themselves with a member of the family who is in, usually, the children thus, dividing the family and creating an adversarial relationship instead of a cohesive one.
"So be aware of this. Understand that you maybe forcing your partner into a situation which does create an adversarial relationship between the two of you and between your partner and your family members and again, this isn't something we can control. This is why interracial or intercultural relationships can be so challenging because the subconscious mind does this to us whether we want it to or not. It is going to label your partner as, "Hmm, not like us. Not one of us, different, an intruder," and your partner will feel that or if the tables are turned, you may feel that. You maybe the intruder and you may create a situation where you are pitting yourself against your partner and your family members or his family members and you may have the children involved. You might bond with the children more than with your partner and his family.