9 Secrets About Unconditional Love To Learn From Multicultural Couples

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multiculture relationship

When you love someone, you love them. Period. Full stop.

Yet that doesn't stop some from worrying about the strains a multicultural or interracial relationship can have on your love and life. 

However, I'm here to tell you that the benefits of interracial or multicultural relationships far outweigh their challenges — and there's a lot we can learn about unconditional love from them, too.

After my WASP-y romantic partner and I split in my early 20s, I felt disempowered, unattractive, and unbalanced. I prayed for someone who could appreciate me and put up with the imperfections my ex hated. The men who showed up were from all cultural backgrounds and walks of life, and they were anything but WASP-y.

Yet they loved me unconditionally — not only just as I was, but because of what I was. They never once criticized me for our cultural or racial differences.

Even though we eventually parted ways, and I ended up marrying within my culture, I adopted a daughter from another. Yet my former loves taught me loads about being a good partner even though we didn’t end up staying together. 

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Here are 9 secrets for achieving unconditional love that I learned from being in a multicultural relationship:

1. Less prejudice

We all must learn to like or accept one another's differences if we want to function in society. We all come from a cultural background that our families instilled in us in our first four or five years that may leave us stuck in beliefs that no longer serve us (or anyone else). We come to know another family's "culture" more gradually than our birth families, and they can shine the light on these misaligned beliefs and perceptions.

If our partners and their families are from another race or culture, they will teach us a lot about how to get along better, judge less, and grow into a relationship with more ease, by osmosis. (And vice versa... we all have prejudices.) We start to walk in their shoes and they are in ours. We begin to see every single person as unique and individual.

2. Releasing criticism and judgment

We may not experience as much overt racism or judgment today as our parents did when they dated someone who was browner than they were, which is great. But even though interracial relationships are more common than ever, those of us in multicultural families experience subtle judgment almost daily.

As a result, we get stronger. We bond more. We don't sweat the small stuff. Multicultural families are forced to examine their own judgment. This is a healthy step for any individual seeking unconditional love.

3. Less stress

When you become more accepting, you learn to lighten up. You appreciate his unique idiosyncrasies and mannerisms instead of becoming frustrated or annoyed by them.

Your lunch menu extends beyond daily sandwiches. You laugh at his jokes because you understand them. You come to look forward to the now-endearing way he speaks or the way he tilts his head.

As you do, you become more tolerant, and being more tolerant is key to achieving unconditional love — and it makes you experience less stress in your life, too.

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4. More celebration

You celebrate more often because you have more holidays. You celebrate his family's holidays, and he celebrates your family's. What's more, you create your own holiday traditions together, which is yet another reason to celebrate.

5. You'll learn what matters most (Psst... it's love)

Though I was definitely attracted to former loves from the get-go, I forgot about their personal appearance because I fell in love with their hearts and minds.

It took a little bit longer to navigate the choppy waters of getting to know them and the way culture had shaped them. Yet because I loved them, I began to love their cultures, too.

6. Wider horizons

You may get to travel more and explore other (or even several other) cultures. Travel is fun. It teaches you a lot more than the average college class, builds your self-confidence, and teaches you the world is a friendly, safe place to be.

You'll stop believing all the 24-hour news channels and want more adventure. You'll build your own impressions about the world.

I'm fortunate enough to have been to almost every continent, and my early relationships helped feed that travel bug dream.

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7. You meet challenges — together

Every couple has challenges. Yet being with someone who is not "just like" you can bring more challenges from the onset until you get to know one another and each others' families.

You learn how to communicate, negotiate, and forgive more easily. You also meet any prejudice or societal scrutiny as a united front. 

8. You become more empowered

If you’ve dated someone very different than you, it strengthens your trust in yourself.

We all crave safety, belonging, and mattering. Having our significance mirrored by someone we respect and love who might also be our polar opposite fills those cravings with a little extra oomph. You have someone you trust and adore to share your life with — the stresses and the victories, the pain, and the joy. 

Every relationship I've had, even those that didn't last, helped me trust myself more. It empowered my future decisions about dating — and life.

9. You're opening up the world

Though dating and marrying a person of another race or culture has become more common, it's still not universal. But few women were executives in the 1960s, and look where the forerunners have taken the world in the twenty-first century! By being in a multicultural relationship — or even just being open to the idea of it — you're a forerunner, too.

Be proud. Be adaptable. Communicate with your partner, unite in action, and pretty soon, the world will change to meet you. 

So if you’re not happy in your relationship, broaden your horizons. It’s the twenty-first century, and you may find an amazing Mr. Right — even if he doesn't look like what you expected. And if you don’t, your life will be richer for the experience.

As for me, I want to thank those gentlemen of long ago for catalyzing my big, wide adventurous life! 

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Kathryn Ramsperger is an award-winning author and writer focusing on relationships and cross-cultural communication. Her writing has appeared in National Geographic and Kiplinger.