Destined for Relationship Doom: My Interracial, Military, Long-Distance Relationship
You heard right, folks.
I am a second generation Korean-American in an interracial, long-distance relationship. I’ve known my boyfriend, who is half-white/half-Venezuelan since we were in middle school, but we didn’t start dating until he was two years into the military, and I was on my way to college — both hundreds of miles away from our hometown and thousands of miles away from each other. (He’s out of the military now; but I’m still in college, and we are still living on opposite sides of the country.)
All my life, my parents have drilled into my head that I need to marry a: tall, rich, handsome, intelligent, Christian, Korean man who has a squeaky clean background. Even when I visit home on holiday breaks, my mom reminds me of this list of the “perfect” husband who’s supposed to sweep me off my feet some time soon.
Yet, all my life — I’ve never found Korean guys attractive. Growing up and making friends from different races and cultures has taught me to appreciate the richness of diversity.
“Is there something wrong with me?” I often think to myself. “Am I supposed to find Korean guys attractive? Am I some broken Korean doll with a missing part? Is there a button that I need to press?”
Yes, there is beauty in couples within the same race, but so is there within interracial couples. Instinctively, I sometimes feel like speaking to my boyfriend in Korean during our casual conversations. But simultaneously, I love learning about his childhood and family history that don’t resemble those of mine at all. I love hearing stories about his parents, who are also an interracial couple. I love telling him about Korean culture; teaching him random Korean phrases and introducing him to foods that are foreign to him while native to me. I love our differences. I warmly embrace them.
These traditional values of “love” ought to be thrown out of the window. We love who we love — regardless of size, shape, or color. We no longer have to find love within a 10-mile radius, but we can find it abroad, or through a computer screen, or within an app, or fifteen states away. Nobody should be told that they cannot love the person whom they love.
Yes, I’ve been destined for relationship doom for the past two years. I didn’t actively seek the toughest, most complicated relationship, but it came tumbling onto my lap in the form of my best friend. my partner. my life companion — who shatters every concept of what “should be” an ideal relationship. But I wouldn’t change this experience, our experience, for anything more perfect. So, here’s a toast to all my fellow interracial, (ex-)military, long-distance couples. I feel your joy; I feel your pain.
Love isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.