3 women explain why they turn away from opposite-sex partners

Written by By Beth Bloom, for CNN Jasmine, 34, is part Native American, part African. She’s a mixed-race woman who, like her sister in law, is both Black and Blacker. When she began dating…

3 women explain why they turn away from opposite-sex partners

Written by By Beth Bloom, for CNN

Jasmine, 34, is part Native American, part African. She’s a mixed-race woman who, like her sister in law, is both Black and Blacker. When she began dating at 23, she found herself at the center of a strange dilemma. She wanted a guy who didn’t know about her heritage, but her heritage made her unattractive to other people. This effect was amplified when she tried to hide her mixed background.

“I would turn my face away from certain people. I would speak in lower tones, step away in certain situations,” she says. “I was scared to approach groups of people. I didn’t know who to talk to.”

Jasmine came to this conclusion after years of cowing to pressure from her biological family, and from a father who thought she was putting him at risk by dating a man outside his “hood.” For Jasmine’s first serious relationship, she kept the person she was dating a secret. “I loved him, but I was always so nervous about exposing myself. I wanted to tell him what I was actually like.” Her fiance turned out to be Jewish.

Jasmine didn’t want to hurt him — or herself.

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There’s been a lot of research about dating after interracial marriage, with mixed-race couples presenting markedly different challenges, and perhaps opportunities, to white and Black men.

What we have less evidence of, however, is how mixed-race women think about dating: Do they project their authentic selves on to a partner, or are they like Jasmine and almost always insincere? Are they willing to sacrifice intimacy for the sake of a relationship?

Many are willing to sacrifice intimacy for the sake of a relationship.

“They give the impression of loving their partner and being caring, but they aren’t interested in having a full relationship, at all,” says Robin Klatsky, Ph.D., who coined the term “emotional icebreaker” after speaking with countless mixed-race couples about their dating experiences. Klatsky has since had to change the term to “perception icebergs” to better capture how split up individuals feel.

Klatsky had never heard of mixed-race women as passive before. They are interested in intimacy and happy to kiss their partner, but it’s always a bit off. Some even end up shying away.

“When they break it off, it’s not the right fit,” Klatsky says. “Some of them don’t come back.”

Jasmine wasn’t ready to be smitten. She has a really close-knit family, and hasn’t sought out interracial partners herself out of need or desire.

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