The Challenges of Ethnic Dating

If you are from any type of ethnic background then you know what I’m talking about.  Dating rules change … wait a minute, dating? Who said anything about dating?  Most of us who come from ethnic backgrounds and are children of immigrant parents don’t know this word – dating.  You’re expected to meet someone from your community (perhaps “arranged”), get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Is that even realistic anymore?  Maybe 30 years ago, sure … even 15 years ago.  Not anymore, particularly in our global environment.  It’s getting harder and harder to meet someone, let alone from your community.  Why? Well, people have changed and so has the world.

I’m from a Middle Eastern background.  My parents immigrated to Canada almost 40 years ago, got married and had children and are living out their lives in what I like to call the “expectations box”.  My brother is living happily ever after in his “expectations box” and I am extremely happy for him and love his children like they are my own.  Me, on the other hand, did not fit quite so well in the box.  I’m a bit of a wild child and I tried to do what was expected of me and got married, but ended up divorced.  Like I said the “expectations box” just isn’t my style.

So what happened when I got divorced?  Well, my expectation was that I would be shunned by the community.

Turns out that wasn’t the case at all.

People were quite supportive and friendly about the whole thing.  Where I am encountering challenges is in the dating world.  Apparently, because I am divorced I am automatically easy bait for married men and players in my culture.  Since I’m “used goods” they think they don’t have to worry about not taking me seriously.  Or there are the ones who think now I am accessible to them because of my “situation” even though they have nothing to offer me. I have a dilemma, I prefer dating men of my own ethnic background.  I just do, no offense to any other, but I just like a guy who speaks my language, likes my music, likes my TV shows and likes my food.  It’s just easier for me.  Not that I don’t date others, but I just have a preference.  It’s definitely been a challenge.

Back to ethnic dating.

It’s quite a different world, there are many “secret” encounters, even when you’re older, because if the family gets involved it’s automatically deemed serious.  I wasn’t allowed to date, ever, I just did it (remember, wild child).  It was a taboo to even talk to boys until I was in University.  It was school first and then I could think about everything else. Many others of all ethnic backgrounds can relate.  There are many more pressures we have to face, but it’s just because our families want the best for us, on their terms of course, but the best nonetheless.

More and more people, however, are choosing to have relationships outside their ethnic circle, particularly in culturally diverse countries such as Canada, the USA and England.  It’s becoming more and more about who the person is rather than what they are and where they are from.  This globalized dating world is the way of the future.  Ideally it means the melding of cultures and the increase of tolerance.  We are getting there, one generation at a time.

So what to do? Well I will keep trying.  I don’t give up.  I always try to think positive.  That’s the important thing when you’re dating.  It’s not always easy, but you learn about yourself. One important thing I learned is to be true to myself.  Not to let others dictate what I do and who I do it with. I have learned to be proud of not being in the “expectations box” but I had to learn that the hard way.  It’s OK … I still learned.

So what do you do when faced with a dating challenge, get up, dust yourself off and keep walking with your head held high!  After all, you are who you are and no one can change that … so be proud and be the best you that you can be!!!  Sound cheesy? Well, bring on the cheese baby … now where’s that bottle of wine?

Your Sister in Dating Bliss,

Single Dating Diva

Copyright Single Dating Diva

Originally Published on The Bewildered Bug