An Open Letter to the Girl Whose Interracial Relationship Ended

(Photo by Shauntel Bruner via https://www.flickr.com/photos/follefille20/256052973/)
(Photo by Shauntel Bruner via https://www.flickr.com/photos/follefille20/256052973/)

I was shocked to learn your steady Asian boyfriend of several years had left you.

Even though we’ve never met in person, I feel like you’re an old friend. Maybe that’s because we’ve both been in interracial relationships with Asian men. Or because I came to know you through what you shared with me over the years. Or even because you’ve supported me when I needed it most.

So I don’t think it’s enough to just say, “I’m sorry.” Sorry is such a small word, and small comfort. Honestly, I would rather give you hugs, just holding you the way friends have for me when I’ve weathered breakups.

Although I wasn’t the one on the receiving end of this experience, I could feel your heartbreak in the messages you sent to me. I know what it’s like. I’ve had Asian boyfriends break up with me out of the blue. I’ve spent days, even weeks, mourning the loss of a relationship.

One Chinese guy left me after studying abroad in Europe; he just couldn’t manage the distance. Another said goodbye to me because his parents could never accept a foreign girl. There was also that young man studying in Nanjing who I was smitten with for months; things never got off the ground because his parents insisted he marry a Chinese girl. That felt almost as bad as a breakup.

All of these were relationships I desperately wanted to continue. They did not.

With every breakup or rejection, my heart shattered. Somehow, it felt even harder to carry this sadness with me in China. When these Chinese men said goodbye to me, sometimes I wondered if the country was doing the same. Especially when family got in the way. Why did his family have to stand in the way of love?

Let’s just say I’ve weathered a lot of negative experiences in the dating world here in China.

You told me you still have hope. Hope was one thing that always guided me through the darkest hours of these breakups, resurrecting my ability to love again.

I feel like hope is as magical as love itself.

But then again, so is friendship. So remember you always have friends, like me. If you’re ever feeling lonely or desperate for someone to talk to, I’ll be here. We’ll survive this breakup together.

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21 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Girl Whose Interracial Relationship Ended

  • November 17, 2016 at 7:23 am
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    Many argue that Asian men don’t generally fit into masculine Western culture (hunting, camping, motorbiking, rafting, clubbing, muscle building…)

    But I think disapproval from the society is the biggest obstacle for AMWF or any interracial relationship. And women are less likely to accept a partner of different race, especially when the potential partner belongs to a minority group.

    Glad to see any relationship which overcomes social taboos (recall the situation of Asian men in California in the late 19th century).

    Reply
    • November 18, 2016 at 11:41 am
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      But I think disapproval from the society is the biggest obstacle for AMWF or any interracial relationship. And women are less likely to accept a partner of different race, especially when the potential partner belongs to a minority group.

      I think there’s truth to that.

      Reply
  • November 17, 2016 at 4:56 pm
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    This is sad. Poor girl. You’ll be ok! It takes time, but it’ll be ok.

    I’ve only had the one relationship with an Asian and he’s my husband now. I genuinely thought we wouldn’t make it. We had much opposition from his family the start. It’s not as bad now but it’s still there when I disagree with a cultural norm of theirs.

    You will find the one who will fight for you and support you no matter what. If this one wasn’t willing to do that then he was not a keeper.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2016 at 5:38 pm
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    Don’t know if the girl is strictly into Chinese guys, but if she is I’d say just date all of them thinking they’re short term and before you know it, some Chinese dude who doesn’t give a crap about what his parents think will pop up. Otherwise try dating different Asian dudes for faster and diverse results.

    Reply
    • November 18, 2016 at 11:45 am
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      I’m not sure either, but there’s truth in the idea of putting yourself out there more. The more people you date, the more you’re likely to find that one who will work for you.

      Reply
  • November 17, 2016 at 8:40 pm
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    Just two questions: Did it happen recently? Did it happen in the US or China or in a third country?

    Reply
    • November 18, 2016 at 11:47 am
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      Hi Jo, since this girl shared everything privately with me, I want to respect that and not reveal too much about where it happened or the timing. She doesn’t want this to be public.

      Reply
  • November 18, 2016 at 5:09 pm
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    Guy’s most likely lying: he’s probably cheating on her. Would like to kick him in the groin.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2016 at 2:34 pm
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    Such kind words for a friend that is hurting so badly. 🙁 Heart break is hard. Hopefully having good friends walking beside her will help make the journey a little more bearable. Hugs!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2016 at 7:14 am
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    How many Asian men feel that an AMWW relationship may not work in the US especially in places in the south (as David likes to say), Idaho and even the Rust Belt in the Trump era where racism seems to be increasing in leaps and bounds? If the woman does not want to move to Asia as Texan in Tokyo has done, it could become a major issue in the relationship. May be the guy does not have the guts to tell his girlfriend why he thinks it may not work out, which is too bad. A Japanese corporation in Alabama put an executive on a flight back to Japan (like the corporation deporting) because his dating a local white woman was causing a lot of problem. This was during the HB-56 anti-immigration years, 2011-13. He did not even get to say goodbye to her because she was out of town. He tried to communicate with her from Japan but the corporation found out and told him he will have problems if he continues.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 3:33 am
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    Pardon me for the crude language. Dig into the history, USA can be the worst country for AMWW relationship in the world. Yes, in the world. USA is a country built by perhaps the most right-wing conservatives from Europe, and descendants of those people are still majority today.

    Starting from Puritans from Britain to Peasants from Ireland and Germanic, these White folks whose ancestors came to the US before early 20th centuries, are predominantly conservative, hyper-religious, very less tolerant/thin-skinned attitude to dissent (evangelicals/Great Awakenings). I believe KKK is already a marginalized group, but people sharing similar mindset, conservative right-wing christian Teabaggers, can account for half of the white population in the US. Not to mention the deeply rooted racial hierarchy (contrast between white and non-white) due to slavery history.

    Anglo-Germanic ones maybe mostly raised in conservative Christian household, and WW with Nordic/Jewish/Latin/Greek background may be relatively open-minded.

    With such attitude, anti-miscegenation law is not necessary. The wall is already built from the heart. Ultimately, the relationship will go nowhere unless the AM has the same “white conservative”mindset. I guess only the “liberal” part of the US (coastal California + NYC) can truly embrace men like me. Rural America, esp. in red states, is absolutely deplorable for racial minorities. Donald Trump’s victory further validates the intolerance deeply rooted in the US, Make ‘Murica Hate Again.

    Best place for AM to date WW is in Asia, of course. WW who are willing to travel and work in Asia are relatively open-minded ones, and ones of a kind. Speaking on my personal experience, Europeans are friendlier than white Americans.

    BTW, “White fragility” (by Dr. DiAngelo) is really an issue when I deal with white Americans, I don’t feel myself capable of building intimacy with white folks in real life, no matter how hard I try to understand the western civilization.

    Reply
    • November 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm
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      In referring to the intolerance of AMWF relationships by white Americans, do you draw a distinction between the attitudes of white men and white women? Generally speaking, it would seem that it’s the men who react most strongly to such relationships because human societies have been fundamentally patriarchal with the men tending to regard the women as possessions. In this context, a white man will see a white woman with a non-white man as somehow a violation of his person, a derivation of what is rightly his.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm
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    Yes, in the US, I felt intolerant attitude toward interracial relationship are mostly shown by white men. This might be a big part that explains why men of color are generally “not acceptable” by WW. I acknowledge that although feminism thrives in the West, the society is still fundamentally patriarchal. Donald Trump’s victory validates deeply rooted misogyny in this country.

    But still, every single day I feel my culture (East Asian) is inferior to western civilization, most of the westerners are not interested in, if there is any misunderstanding due to cultural difference, it would be my fault. And they try to hide such dismay by sudden silence/ignorance and avoid further interaction. I often have to ask other POC (people of color) how to deal with white people. It’s interesting/challenging to live in a society where my ideology is at odds with majority of people (white Christian America) around. Learning from people (sometimes in a harsh way) everyday.

    Reply
    • November 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm
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      For what it’s worth, white people will cease to be the majority in the US in the not so distant future. Trump’s election has been seen by some as the last stand of white supremacy in the US.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 2:31 pm
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    “In this context, a white man will see a white woman with a non-white man as somehow a violation of his person, a deprivation of what is rightly his.”

    It blows my mind that it is always OK for white men to take any women of color, but the reverse can be a really big issue. WW do so can be faced with alienation/excommunication from the original social group (family, friends, church…etc). Among women of color, mostly taken by white men are ASIAN ones. In contrast, ASIAN men are least accepted by white women. What will happen to AM if such gender imbalance keeps going on? I don’t feel angry, but such reality is too bitter to accept naturally.

    Most WW can’t accept AM maybe partly due to social pressure (WM’s anxiety), but remaining partly due to misjudgment of Asian manhood (nerdy, physically weak, inconsiderate misogynists) derived from stereotype/stigma.

    I like the idea of interracial relationship, which helps eliminate racial prejudice, although I don’t actively seek one (I am FOB thus not really westernized in mind, many potential social/cultural obstacles, without much benefit…). I don’t beg for sympathy from the white society. What I (or men look like me) need is simply equality or reciprocity.

    Peace.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2016 at 1:47 am
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    @Jaimie Lau and D-May be…I am glad most of you are agreeing with me. As far as the white men marrying Asian women are concerned, the Alt Right led by a Nazi named Glenn Spencer does not yet know that half the family immigration to the US is due to white American men marrying Asian women.. a major contributor to the browning of America. When they find out it will be open season on AWWM couples as well and could well be open season on any Asian woman period. Last time white men started marrying Asian women back in the late 1800 they passed the Page Act which stopped Asian women from coming to the US.

    Reply

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