When Do Dating Preferences Become Prejudice?
When it comes to dating, we all have preferences. Be it with height, hair color, or education level—we each have a mental depiction of our ideal matches. While some people have more preferences than others, there are specific characteristics we all look for when considering compatibility. Having been a professional matchmaker for over 20 years, I’ve heard every request under the sun—and believe me there are many—but one of the most popular is to be matched with someone of the same ethnic background. While it may seem like specifying which ethnicity is simply another aspect of defining your likes and dislikes, as a matchmaker it is my job to sift through your list of wants and find the best possible partners. I have helped unite thousands of couples, and regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, or region, each had the same goal: to find a life-long, loving partner. With this in mind, is having a type when it comes to race beneficial or harmful to one’s chances in finding a perfect match?
Putting yourself out there after many failed relationships is a hard task, but it is made easier with self-reflection, honesty, and relationship coaching. When it comes to dating, these three areas are vital. Certain characteristics (tall, adventurous, handy) are preferences and others (honest, family oriented, monogamous) are essential. My relationship coaching helps you decide which attributes fall into what category. With a little self-reflection and honesty, you'd be surprised how many "must-haves" on your list aren't nearly as important as you once believed they were, racial background being one of them. Ask yourself, if you met your ideal match and the phone chemistry between you two was as phenomenal as it gets, would race even matter? At that point, the emotional connection would (hopefully) supersede any doubts and outside comments.
Oftentimes, it isn’t until we are faced with the option that we even consider dating outside our ethnic backgrounds. We tend to replicate what we see in our communities; same-race dating is no different. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with wanting to develop a relationship with someone from your own ethnicity—this choice doesn’t make you a bad person. Racial identity is a preference for some and essential for others. Like I said I’ve seen it all; while there have been a number of successful matches who preferred partners of a specific background, there are also several multi-racial couples flourishing in long-term, loving relationships. The same-race and interracial couples that I have matched are in loving relationships because they decided to go for it. Success as a couple is not determined by racial backgrounds, it’s dependent on your will to Love Big!
To be fair, there are valid reasons as to why some prefer matches of their same ethnicity. Among those most common are and family approval/expectations. That’s not to say couples of the same background won’t have cultural and family clashes but regardless of any disagreement, the collective choice to let their hearts lead them creates the potential for love. Likewise, while you may not have an issue pursing someone of a different race, your family and friends can unknowingly (and knowingly) influence your choice one way or the other. Individuals who have strong, traditional family values often seek their family's approval. This could be problematic if they don't support your decision to interracial date. Preconceived notions of who we should settle down with are influenced by our upbringing, morals, and education-levels, but choosing not to know more about a potential love simply because of his or her skin color is close-minded and unproductive. Worst case scenario, you don’t click. This is no different from any other bad date you’ve experienced, but without trying you will never know what could have been. Preferences don’t make you prejudice or racist, but they do limit your number of possible matches.
Since you want to find a love like never before, making adjustments is to be expected. While paying for matchmaking services may lead you to believe that you dictate your own matches, I am the professional and I need you to trust that I know what I’m doing. Despite how nerve-racking it can be, getting out of your comfort zone and eliminating racial preferences can present the opportunity to find true love. And if you do find your life-long love doesn't that make the journey worth it? Dating outside your race can challenge your perceptions of various cultures and increase awareness on issues you may not have otherwise known. However, learning about a match’s cultural background (favorite meal, hometown, hobbies, values) is not limited to interracial couples. It happens in every relationship. Having deep conversations, asking serious questions and sincerely wanting to understand his/her perspective on societal and personal issues are aspects interracial and same-race couples encounter when dating. This type of communication, this emotional trust establishes a solid foundation for long lasting love. You and your partner don’t have to (and probably won’t) agree on everything, but communicating, active listening, and explaining your own viewpoints are vital to any relationship—ethnicity has nothing to do with it.
I am a product of a biracial relationship; and I am thankful that my parents were able to see past society’s expectations of what a couple should look like. I am grateful that their open hearts and desire to get to know one another superseded any hesitation they may have had. Their optimism and hope of having long-lasting love created a wonderful union that led to me! Society, family, and tradition may not make interracial dating any easier, but if my parents chose not to purse each other, I would not be here helping couples find their forever loves. Cultural differences are everywhere, as are opposing political, financial, and religious beliefs, but opening your heart (regardless of preferences) will always create possibilities for love.