How Do I Tell My Parents I’m In An Interracial Relationship?

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How Do I Tell My Parents I'm In An Interracial Relationship?Editor’s note: Have a dating/sex/relationships conundrum? Email us at thedatereport at or fill out this anonymous form, and one of our experts will help you solve it. 

I am white and have been dating a black guy for eight months. He is a great guy, I am very fond of him, and my friends like him too. My parents know I am dating someone but do not know his ethnicity. I fear they won’t accept him due to his skin color. They have some rather old-school Southern attitudes about interracial dating and marriage. They’ve even said half seriously that they would disown me if I ever dated inter-racially. What should I do?

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Your parents seem to apply old views to a current day situation. This is 2012, not 1950. They might fear betraying their own cultural norms or are afraid of how society might treat you. I see this a lot with my clients: fears based more on stereotypes and old-school thinking than on facts. Their attempt to influence your love life by guilt or through threats of disowning you shows their insecurities and rigidity.

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Here’s what to do:

  • Create an opportunity for your parents to get to know your boyfriend so they can learn to appreciate the same qualities in him that you’ve grown to like.
  • Have a frank talk with them about specific reasons why they are opposed to such relationships
  • Let them know you don’t share their views and won’t live according to their values either.
  • Ask them if they prefer you to live your life with someone who makes you happy or to live it according to their values, unhappily.
  • Address their fear about society accepting your relationship. Assure them that you’re a big girl, all grown up, and are prepared to face any challenges or stress that may lie ahead.


Over time they may learn to accept your relationship – especially if they see how happy you are with him. Remember to also check in with your boyfriend to see how he is doing with all this too.


Jonathan Alpert Jonathan Alpert is a Manhattan psychotherapist and author.  He appears on national TV commenting on sex and relationship issues as well as lifestyle, mental health, and hot-button issues. Get more of Jonathan’s great advice in his new book, Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. And you can follow Jonathan on Twitter at @JonathanAlpert and on Facebook at, and visit his website at