I Set Boundaries With My Racist In-Laws — Will My Partner Resent Me?

Thanks for reading Can We Talk?, a sex and relationships column that aims to tackle the burning questions about sex, dating, relationships, and breakups that you’re too afraid to ask your partner — or maybe even your besties. Last time, relationship therapist Moraya Seeger DeGeare, LMFT, helped a reader who was having trouble enjoying sex again after pressing pause on trying to get pregnant. This week, she tackles a question from a woman in an interracial marriage whose racist in-laws are causing anguish in the family. 

Are you someone in a mixed-race couple who’s faced challenges with family or in-laws? If so, what was the biggest obstacle you faced, and how did you navigate it? Tell us your experience here to be featured in an upcoming Refinery29 story.


Dear Moraya, 

Can we talk about race, relationships, and my in-laws? 

I’m a Latina married to a white man, and while he recognizes his white privilege and is doing the work, his conservative family is not. 

We had a falling out with his parents in 2020 after asking them to read some books and watch some documentaries about systemic racism, such as White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, PhD, and 13th on Netflix. My only intention with these suggestions was to bring us closer together. But my in-laws took offense and things have been tense ever since. 

Most recently, they flew off the handle and told me I was “dividing the family” when we said we would not be celebrating the 4th of July any longer because of this country’s legacy of colonization. After that, there were many words exchanged in a FaceTime call, including references to racist things they have said in the past about Black people and immigrants from Mexico, all of which hurt me — and, by proxy, my children, who are mixed race. After a heated exchange, they said I needed to go to counseling instead of taking it out on them. It took a year before we were on talking terms again, and we never discussed what was said. 

There is such a long history of microaggressions, and I worry their ideals have already impacted my kids. My young daughter has already told me she thought her brown skin was “ugly,” and that she wanted blonde hair. For these reasons and more, I want to be in a place where I can speak up and shut down hurtful or offensive sentiments. But I also don’t want to feel I’m causing drama in the family. 

All this has taken a toll on my marriage, too. My husband has been so supportive of us and our children, but I know it hurts him that he’s not close to his family anymore. He says I’m not at fault, but I feel he will eventually come to resent me. My question is: How do I keep my husband from subconsciously blaming me for the divide in the family when his …read more

Source:: Refinery29


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