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

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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?

 


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  • d.a.d

    I am a Filipino-American male and have been dating a beautiful Armenian woman for almost 4 years. We met through mutual friends in college, became best friends, and eventually started dating.

    We had been dating for about 3 months before we made it official. The night I asked her to be my girlfriend, she stated that it wouldn’t be easy. I didn’t fully understand what she meant, being that I moved to Glendale from Seattle and had never heard of the Armenian culture prior to.

    We have been completely in love since but there are certain road blocks in our relationship that we must sadly put up with. We haven’t told her parents and have had to keep our relationship a secret. We can’t kiss, hold hands, hug, etc. in public, for the reason that the Armenian community in Glendale is so closely knit that someone might see and word would get back to her parents. Her father also gives her a hard time everytime I come by to pick her up to go out. When we go out in public we get stared at and have had Armenian people mutter mean words.

    I have had dinner at her parents home and had intelligent conversations with her father about politics, history, business etc, but they think we are just good friends. Her parents said I’m a great guy and would be perfect to marry her if I was Armenian. Her brother dated an Italian woman for while and brought her home to the family. Her parents were non-supportive and hated it, in which they eventually broke up.

    I have sacrificed and put up with a lot because I truly love her. The hard part is that she sometimes is so preoccupied protecting our relationship that we don’t get to fully enjoy each other. In every relationship there are certain steps along the way. We are ready to move in with each other but can’t because of the obvious. We have gone the furthest we can go without telling her parents about us. I am even taking Armenian classes so that I can better communicate with her family and so that when the day comes to tell her parents about us , I want to tell them in Armenian all the reasons why I love their daughter so much.

    I cannot be angry with her because she warned me in the beginning. I’m not even angry at her parents or the culture because that’s just the way it is. We don’t have any of the common relationship problems such as trust, communication, money, commitiment.,etc. Our values, life goals, and aspirations all align. All our arguments root back to not being able to take our relationship to the next level . Pure frustration!

    We are both still completely in love with each other but are recently contemplating a break. She is planning on attending grad school and I plan on attending law school. We hope to get back together after and display to her parents that we are mature adults, are serious, and are ready mentally, financially and career wise.

    “If you love something, set it free; if it comes back it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”

  • Rachel

    I am half chinese and Italian, I have just started to date an Armenian man who was born in the US, he is very hard working and has come a long way to get to where he is. It is nerve racking to think that just because we are of different ethnicites we cannot date outside our race! if my mom had not, I would not be here, and neither would my brother who is fighting for our country in Iraq. We come from all walks of life, and I feel that sharing cultures is a good thing, we can learn from each other, to better understand each other! Am i scared that he will leave me just because im no Armenian? yes i am, however i am not one to disprespect his wishes either! nor is he one to disrespect mine! If people are so set on staying inside their own bubble then why come to America? America is a mixing pot of all cultures! we are bound to have interracial relationships, if you are drawn to the person, your drawn to them. Just because they are not of the same race should not matter! and if you are so set on staying in your race and concerned about preserving the culture then why not stay in your own country?
    it baffles me when people are so closed off and closed minded! if you really love someone, then does it really matter what race they are from? you may get pressured by family or friends but in the end you will always wonder what if? what life could i have had with that person? all because of not wanting to go out of your safe zone! what the point of exploring? just stay safe and never do anything, never go out and experience new things, never meet other people!
    I like the man that i am with, but if he decides to go because of race then thats his choice! I will let go. but until then we are happy!

  • Beatriz

    I am a Latina In love with an armenian boy I need help how can I be with him and show his family that I am serious about him… I am willing to learn Armenian I don’t care change my ways do what armenians do I love him so much someone help me!! I don’t want to loose the only person I love!!! :( please help me I need advice!!!

  • lina

    No wonder we have so many unhappy marriages, from unhappy marriage we create unhappy childeren which leads to suffering. We “Armenians” believe we are the best of the best, but I tell you as an American Armenian I consider ourself one of the cheapest and lowest people in Los Angeles.

  • Ando

    Honestly i dont think the author has any brains or love for herself or Armenians. So according to her its okay to mix with anyone we want. Great idea the 8 million Armenians should all marry non-Armenians and just wipe the Armenian race and exists off the face of this planet. Then all the half-Armenians can marry another group of non-Armenians and we can have a bounce of quarter Armenians. u get the pattern lol you guys are funny dont u realize by mixing u are losing ur culture, ur identity etc. But who cares right? long as ur happy who cares if any Armenians exist? Hey lets just marry any one by Armenians because diversity is fun. You guys dont realize there needs to be different cultures like Armenians, Russians etc in order for there to be diversity. But if all of us become a mix pille of shit we call multi-culture (basically not nothing what the fk u are so u say ur american) then what the hell is diversity if we all are one. Man wake up and start thinking logically and get out of this fantasy ideals. vay hayer jan we been through hell and back just so we can end our existence like this. when did we all start being so individualistic and forget about our countries needs and well being.

  • Anahit

    Very insightful article, hits true to home in a lot of ways… but you could make a better argument if you pitted your generalizations against (a) the reasons the stigma exist and (b) that population of Armenian men (and women) who escape your pigeonhole.

    You speak volumes for this generation of Armenians in the diaspora because there is a significant rejection of these certain confining traditions. It’s not such a big deal, though. Parents just don’t understand. So we evolve. I just wish, for our grandchildren’s sake, that we could do that without the resentment that threatens to water down our heritage, our language, our children’s names.

    That being said, my husband is not Armenian. I married him to help him get there.

  • Coexist

    Eileen, I agree on the points you make about the limitations of dating within your race and the issue of parental pressure.

    I am half Lebanese and half Armenian. I feel the pressure of dating someone of my culture yet to narrow that pressure down, they should ideally be half Armenian and half Arabic. Some mixture of the two, or at the LEAST of middle eastern origin (since my parents can’t vehemently argue against what they themselves have committed).

    Now one might say this makes it easier on me, for I have more options. Yes, the overlap of cultures that my parents marriage affords me does at times make me feel luckier than say my 100% Armenian friends. But it is actually harder to meet somebody that at the least, somewhat culturally sides with me. I have it harder than just meshing my one culture with another persons culture(s)- I now have the task of meshing my TWO culture with the respective number of cultures the person I am interested in has to offer.

    Imagine trying to find a person that is either just armenian enough but not too armenian that can understand your position on things – and just Arabic enough but not too arabic that he/she can also see things how I see them. it’s a feat. It’s not to say that its necessary to even share these qualities or opinions to have a successful relationship – but that is the angle I am discussing this from, one of trying to satiate our desire to culturally “match” ourselves for the purpose of an easier future.

    Also, I’ve had my fair share of relationships with 100% armenian guys who’s parents dont accept the relationship because of my mixed background – mostly politics controls their tainted biased opinions – but whatever the reason, its just added to my list of pros for dating outside my culture.

  • Rose

    I am so sick of some people trying to define Armenian ladies, just because you ran into one bad apple, it doesn’t mean that the rest of us are the same. Stop generalizing!

  • Sam

    Eileen, great article!

    “UNNECESSARILY ARROGANT and boring.”

    Truer words were never spoken. Even at CSUN orientation I met an Armenian who was extremely stuck up. They consider themselves better than the rest of the world, and I can not respect that.

  • Rose

    Unfortunately, I may have given up on a great guy that was non-Armenian because of the ”bubble” that I live in. I suppose I don’t have the gusts to step outside my box and date outside my race. I would be afraid of the stares and gossips that would fly around. Even though, I was born and raised here in the U.S. I was raised with Armenian values. I am very much proud to be an Armenian, but, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to date outside of my race.

  • Armen

    you should be free to whoever you want to sleep with. Im an Armenian male and had a really bad experience with the first ARMENIAN Girl i dated. She basically ruined my friendship with all my close friends in high school and was a very materialistic. I dated 2 girls who were not Armenian and they were fun to date. My sister married An American (non Armenian Male) I respect him alot because he is hard working gent and comes from a good family plus he comes from a christian family. In the end of it all I would like to marry an Armenian women because we come from the same tribe and can teach them live love and enjoy life. By the way I had a half American half Armenian friend. His mother was Armenian and father English. he turned out fine. He speaks armenian, he is even dating a girl who is full Armenian.In the end not to say Armenians are better but Im loyal and honest to the women i love. Our culture is nearly extinct due to genocide. They killed us because we are better than the turks. Male and female we are a very beatiful country. And most people don’t know but Armenian is the ultimate language of Love. Words have such deeper rooted double meanings it truly is a unique passionate language. you will one day connect back to your roots and see the true beauty in Armenian men and Women. But by then you will be too old and a young hot Armenian guy will walk past you and you will understand the reason you and i both exist and are so sexy is cause of our yes OUR (Armenian Ancestry)

  • Cristina

    I agree Elaine, the love should not be ruled by the rules of culture and society..dating outside our race gives us women the opportunity to lear more about ourselves and what we expect from relationships.

  • Stephanie

    Great Article! I really enjoyed reading it! I’d comment more but i’ve got to run–school awaits!

  • candace

    its a little disappointing that now living in 2009 we are still restricted in having sex articles limited to the online newspaper. it is a college campus, everyone here is adults. we should be able to openly discuss issues and areas that individuals go through whether it be through prints or blogging. as long as we are still getting the real issues in the world out there, what is so wrong with having personal matters being discussed as well?