What I Learned From My Interracial Relationships: Raise Your Standards
I dated mostly white men in my younger years. I attended predominately white schools during those years and I had a lot of white friends, so relationships with white men developed as a result. I grew up in a single-parent household where husband and wife roles were non-existent. Thankfully it didn’t matter because white men showed me what I needed to know about love, commitment, and romance.
When I was finally old enough to date I went out with the first of many white boys. He held all the doors open, treated me like a lady, and paid for dinner. We discussed a variety of topics and he seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say (a rare find in the dating pool of the late ’90s). We didn’t date long, considering we were young and in school, but he set the precedent for all of my interracial relationships.
After dating more of these men I noticed a trend: All of my relationships with white men involved partners who took me out on actual dates, openly confessed their commitments to me, and tossed around the idea of marriage. My positive experiences with white men were stark contrasts to some of my female counterparts’ troubles with black men. They constantly complained of the black men they encountered, but even still, I wanted to find out for myself if there was any validity in their concerns.
I always found black men very attractive yet I hadn’t really dated any (and not because I didn’t want to). I considered myself an open-minded individual so I knew that my dating options needed to widen. Despite the negative comments I heard from a few friends, I started dating both black and white men in the quest to find the right partner for me. Unfortunately, that journey left me with a combination of confusion and criticisms of my own.
Immediately, I noticed differences in my dealings with black men compared to the white men I previously dated. For instance, the black men I met immediately requested visits to my place. Whenever I suggested going on an actual date some either wanted to go dutch or they politely declined. Sadly, their idea of a good time was watching television at my house while eating all of my food. If I hadn’t started out dating white men then I may have assumed those home visits and free-for-alls were the norm.
I also noticed that the black men I kept running into had communication issues. I am well aware that there are intellectuals of every race; however, the black men I met wanted to discuss nothing more than sports and intimacy. Safe to say, I was meeting and messing with the wrong types of men and must have been looking in the wrong places. Perhaps the black men I would have preferred dating were not interested, already taken, or in their own interracial relationships, but the ones I was dealing with were making the dating game more tough than it should have been.
On the rare occasion that I met a black man that treated me the way I was accustomed to and exhibited some of the characteristics I was looking for, I noticed his hesitation in discussing marriage although it was a topic that came up in every interracial relationship I had. All of their parents were still married and they were expected to marry someone…someday. Some of the black men I dated came from broken homes (just like me) so they didn’t understand my desire to get married and they didn’t find it necessary. Even though I grew up without the imagery of “love and marriage” in my home, I knew that I was not interested in being anyone’s long-term girlfriend. While I might have enjoyed their company, I knew better than to stick around with a stagnant man for too long, and I continued my search knowing that lowering my standards just because a guy looked good or because he was fun was not going to be an option for me. What else do you have to offer?
In the end, I’ve been blessed to find a man who is all the things I wanted and would have hoped for, and we share the same goals for the future. And if you were wondering, yes, he’s a black man. But I can say that my relationships with white men taught me to never settle for less than I deserved and enabled me to find my Mr. Right by not being comfortable with mediocre “dates,” and just being a girlfriend forever. They gave me the ability to differentiate between boys and men. They showed me the ropes of dating and the significance of marriage. And that’s not to say you have to date outside of your race to figure these things out, but in my experience, it helped me find the perfect man for me, one actually within my own race.