Cross-Cultural Dating and Emotional Health in Dating

Have you ever dated someone outside of your ethnicity? What was that experience like for you?

We’ve found that dating someone who does not share your cultural background can be a beautiful experience. In the tension of our differences, we get to engage the rich diversity of humanity. However, dating a person of a different culture can also trigger conflict and present unique challenges for how to connect.

In today’s episode, Chanel is sitting down with clinical psychologist Jennifer Chen to discuss cross-cultural dating and generally, how we can build emotional health in relationships. We’ve also got a great episode bonus you can download now packed with tips on how to communicate well in any relationship! If you’ve never heard two therapists sit down and have a conversation, you’re in for a treat. This is one of the most soothing episodes you’ll hear for some time!

Chanel and Jennifer previously worked together by hosting racial reconciliation workshops around New York City. The topic of race and cultural identity is near and dear to their hearts and that’s evident as they apply that lens to the space of love.

By the way, for the purposes of this podcast episode we’re trying to be attentive to the differences between terms like race, ethnicity, and culture. Borrowing from Lisa Sharon Harper’s breakdown of these terms in The Very Good Gospel (it’s a must read!) we’re defining these terms as follows:

  • Race is a political construct created by humans to determine who can exercise power within a governing structure

  • Ethnicity is about group identity, heritage, language, place and common group experience over time.

  • Culture is a sociological and anthropological term that refers to the beliefs, norms, rituals, arts, and worldviews of particular people groups in a particular place at a particular time.

Episode highlights:

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  • Jennifer outlines some of the cultural differences that can arise when dating someone from a different background

  • The importance of communication and talking about your own cultural expectations when dating someone of a different ethnicity

  • Chanel shares what she learned from dating and marrying her husband who is Nigerian-American

  • Why the conversation around cultural differences needs to be intentional particularly when people of color are dating someone who is white

  • The value of maintaining a posture of curiosity when going into an interracial dating situation rather than fear or frustration

  • What the book of Relevation says about the way people of all cultures connect

  • Why you need to identify core cultural values and customs so you can communicate these with your partner

  • How to navigate different communication styles when you’re in a relationship with someone

  • What it means to listen incarnationally

  • How dating someone of another culture can trigger feelings of loss

  • The beautiful opportunity to create a new culture as you blend your life with another person

Step Up Your Game

During this podcast episode, we talk a lot about communication. Pretty meta, huh? In light of that, we put together a little bonus for you that outlines some of the best communications tips for you to use with someone you’re dating or with anyone you’re in a relationship with no matter the status. Grab it now so you can take your communication skills to the next level!


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