Lifehacks for interracial couples

How to deal with the ups and downs of dating someone of a different race.

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You’ve heard it before: "Why can't you fall in love with someone the same color as you are?"

Your protest and logic - that color doesn't matter, times have changed, love can conquer all and this generation has a lot of "rojak" (all mixed up) couples anyway – doesn’t matter to them.

Indeed. In 2010, Professor Saw Swee-Hock, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), observed that 20 percent (or 4,928) of Singapore marriages were interracial and in 2013, mixed marriages in Singapore accounted for 25 percent of all unions, up from 1/8 of all marriages in 2001.

Is "true love" with someone outside your race really worth all that friction against your parents? Where does filial piety or doing the "right thing" factor in when you're considering a life with someone else?

We polled 35 mixed race couples to find out what life hacks helped them find peace and purpose when converging lives. Interestingly, we discovered that those who married or were in a long term union succeeded in making differences work in their favour. The ones who had difficulty bridging the gaps ultimately broke up. Older couples (35-55 years) seemed to cope better, possibly due to life experience and maturity. Younger couples were more impulsive and reacted more impetuously to comments they didn't like. Here's to navigating your new world.

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1. Make love colourblind

Make peace with yourself. Good people come in all shades and sizes. Maybe we can choose to fall in love with a certain color but our love radar doesn't always let us "fall in love" that way.

If you're hero worshiping a certain race, remember to pick people with traits that complement your personality type and belief system, not just for their skin color. If you're with someone whom your parents feel isn't racially and socio-economically good enough, then it's on you to decide if your choice of love partner and version of happiness is worth being disowned or disinherited by your family. You may feel that love is blind but you should still choose wisely.

2. Decide not to stereotype

Some people are genetically Chinese but they may not practice Chinese traditions or feel very Chinese at all. Many modern Punjabi guys don't seem to don the turban anymore, yet they are proudly Sikh.

Diversity exists within any culture. Don't stereotype. It builds resentment. Don't use differences as ammunition to jokingly jeer at them. You may like oily chai tao kueh (local carrot cake) and bean curd with yu tiao (dough fritters) for breakfast but he opts for pickled herring with stinky cheese. So be it. Don't give him a "you're so weird" look. Respect and be sensitive about the cultural practices each person brings to the table.

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