Understanding interracial dating from the insider's perspective : a qualitative analysis
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In this qualitative study, I explored reasons for changes in commitment to wed for individuals in interracial dating relationships. I analyzed narrative accounts from 112 interracial daters are analyzed by means of modified analytic induction. Findings showed that individuals both directly and indirectly attributed changes in commitment to their interracial status. Individuals directly referenced the interracial status of the couple most often with respect to experiencing sanctions from disapproving social network members. Some individuals mentioned resiliency strategies to sustain the relationship in response to sanctions and other types of opposition from outsiders. Indirect effects of interracial relationships were evident most often in reference to compatibility-testing. Furthermore, various patterns and themes emerged exemplifying how individuals explore their commitment to wed. The findings showed more commonality of experiences early in the relationships, with a focus on initial attraction and interaction, and a greater diversity of experiences as relationships progressed to evaluating the partners’ marital viability. More serious demonstrations of commitment were evident as some individuals mentioned talking about marriage with their partners whereas others emphasized living together. Additional evidence, referred to here as negative space, showed that some individuals purposely avoided mentioning their interracial status in the interview setting. Overall findings support in some ways (e.g., conflict, sanctions), and refute in other ways (e.g., resiliency strategies, failing to mention issues with race), a common assumption found in the literature that interracial dating relationships are prone to experiencing negativity because of the interracial status of the couple.