I have now been with my boyfriend over a year. We live together in Japan and are both from Europe. We have managed to get over the interracial issues that we faced when we initially realised that we were attracted to each other and wanted to be together but now its a whole other issue. We are living in a place where neither of us can be comfortable; him because he has a white face and people make messed up colonial assumptions about him which he is not ok with and me because I am sick of being centre of attention simply by getting on the bus and oh if one more person tries to put their hand in my hair please contact me via the Japan prison system site. So we have decided to live apart.

I thought I was ok with the idea but have noticed that I seem to be feeling anger towards him because of this. I just don’t see how he can really want to be with me if he is happy to see this happened yet I know that we need to be apart if this is ever to work in the future.

How do I say goodbye and not pressure this to the point that we can never get back what we had when it started?

NML says: I think your anger stems from the fact that you perceive his behaviour as a rejection of you and your relationship. There is a sense of abandonment in a strange place and you will expect on some levels to be protected.

For a start, you are both in an interracial relationship. It would be lovely to say that these things don’t matter and it doesn’t create problems, but unfortunately they still do. But can you really say that you have both gotten over the fact that you’re in an interracial relationship if you’ve decided to live apart to make it easier for other people to deal with. Or is it about making it easier for him, or you, or you both to deal with?

The fundamental issue here is not about you living apart. You are both still having issues with dealing with your races.

I remember several years ago having my white ex-boyfriend of the time lament “You never told me how to cope with being in an interracial relationship!” I wanted to slap him. You’d swear that he’d been in it on his own and I knew at that moment that some of his past actions were about him struggling with having a black woman on his arm. It takes two to make an interracial relationship and you both have to learn how to make the relationship work.

Interracial relationships that you have to ‘overcome’ are difficult enough without you not presenting a united front. You both need to decide why you are not going to live together and be united about that reason if you choose to go ahead with it. Explain how this decision is making you feel without being accusatory. Get to the root of your anger because if you don’t find peace with it, your relationship has no chance of survival, whatever your racial backgrounds. Simmering anger tends to spill over…

You say goodbye when you are at peace with why you are both apart and secure about your relationship. I sense that this living apart thing was his suggestion and that you agreed without thinking it through, probably in reaction to all of the external pressure. You both need to decide what is best for your relationship. If you both truly want this to work, you both need to agree on a course of action. If the Japanese are that curious about your races, I sense that alone or as a pair, you’ll still get much of the same interest. It sounds like you both need each others support.

If you choose to live apart, be at peace with it and forgive. Don’t move back in together unless you are both willing to stick it out together and not move apart when the heat gets too much. Relationships, with or without the interracial part, have ups and downs, and it’s best that you ride it out together.

Suggested reading: NML’s Roughguide to a New Long Distance Relationship

Vixen’s Guide to: Interracial Relationships

Interracial Relationships

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