In relationships, stepping outside your bubble can open up a world of possibilities

As you may already have noticed from the header next to the headline, today is not your typical Thursday. In fact, every Thursday from here on out will be focusing on the whole complicated world of relationships.

I am aware that an Editor’s Note was published in last week’s edition stating that the Daily Sundial editorial staff will stand by the sex column, and that’s not to say we have neglected it.

After countless conversations after the note was published, I, the Life & Style assignment editor, have decided to publish the Sex Talk Column strictly online from now on.
With this decision, we feel the placement of the column will allow there to be a more open discussion on issues and subjects many people are not comfortable yet with reading in print.

That being said, our newly revamped Thursday column will feature everything you could possibly think of when the word relationship enters your mind: Is it right for me? Can I get away with dating two people at once? What if I fall for their best friend? Is a casual sex situation considered a relationship? (You didn’t think we were going to get rid of everything sex related, did you?)

When pondering what subject to tackle for the first installment, I looked into my own colorful dating history to decide which story to entertain you all with today. A subject that has plagued me for all of my adult life is dating outside my race. Throughout my four years in college, I’ve learned that this stigma that was very present in my parents’ generation is unfortunately still around today.

Disclosure: I am a pure blooded Armenian woman with MAJOR issues with the way I was raised. Sorry mom and dad, I know you meant well, but you kind of screwed me over.
When I was 5 years old my parents decided to enroll me in a local Armenian private school so I could learn about my heritage, language and culture. They never intended for me to stay past fourth grade, but one thing led to another and I wound up staying through high school.

Now my school didn’t make it a requirement for all students to be of Armenian descent, but when prospective students found out they had to take the language courses, they didn’t give the school a second thought. With the exception of my half-Filipino, half-Armenian friend, the only other race I was exposed to was my white male, Irish Catholic English teacher.

In the process, I was only exposed to Armenian men. At a young age I was told by my parents it was wrong to date outside of my race, and if I ever did, it would be completely unacceptable. The teachers at my school only reinforced this idea.

If I had a dollar for every time I was told by my teachers I was supposed to date and marry an Armenian man I could create my own Stepford Armenian husband.
By the age of 13 I realized my parents weren’t going to budge, so I tried to make do with the limitations they set for me. I started crushing on the guys in my class, but it would only last a day.

For the sake of limited space in the paper, it was because they were boring, boring, unnecessarily arrogant and boring.
Half way through high school I caved and got into a relationship with an Armenian guy that wasn’t from my school, but my willingness to put up with his demands ended before we hit our one-month anniversary. I quickly learned, that even in platonic relationships, my personality didn’t mesh with those of Armenian men.

Fast forward to my first semester of college and I was finally exposed to the men I had been unjustly kept from.

As my best friend puts it, I went on a dating spree. I enjoyed the company of Italian-Jewish, Irish and Latino men. I was in love with the fact I was no longer in a strictly Armenian population and I had the freedom to date whom I wanted.

But allow me to make a slight correction. Even though I was a legal adult and capable of making my own decisions, my parents had still not opened their minds to the idea of their daughter bringing home a non-Armenian man to meet them.

The stigma of dating outside your race, which I later learned was an issue in most cultures, had not only penetrated my household, but my Armenian community. When talking to people from my generation, they would always interpret an Armenian guy or girl dating a person of any other race as “something wrong.” I always felt like an outsider, constantly refuting their statements and insisting there is absolutely nothing wrong with stepping out of our Armenian bubble.

The fact of the matter is at the end of the day we’re all human. I do understand it could be easier to date within your own race because you will then avoid any problems from parents or cultural clashes. But I must furthermore insist that by limiting yourself to one small group of individuals, you are in turn limiting yourself to the possibility of falling in love with someone you want, as opposed to someone your parents want.

As I end the first installment of today’s column, I ask everyone reading this to break away from the stigma our society and the preceding one has set for us. You should not have any limitations when it comes to matters of the heart. What service are we doing to our society as a whole if in the 21st century we are still looking down on two people of different races dating each other?