In a fascinating and scorching editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three authors argue that the myth that exercise is the key to weight loss – and to health – is erroneous and pervasive, and that it must end. The evidence that diet matters more than exercise is now overwhelming, they write, and has got to be heeded: We can exercise to the moon and back but still be fat for all the sugar and carbs we consume. And perhaps even more jarring is that we can be a normal weight and exercise, and still be unhealthy if we’re eating poorly. So, they say, we need a basic reboot of our understanding of health, which has to involve the food industry’s powerful PR “machinery,” since that was part of the problem to begin with.
The major point the team makes – which they say the public doesn’t really understand – is that exercise in and of itself doesn’t really lead to weight loss. It may lead to a number of excellent health effects, but weight loss – if you’re not also restricting calories – isn’t one of them. “Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%,” they write. “However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.”
Plus, in the last 30 years, exercise has stayed about the same, while overweight and obesity have skyrocketed. So something else must be at play – like the type of food we’re eating. That part has gotten steadily worse over the years, as highly-processed sugary foods and sodas have taken over as our go-to choices. “According to the Lancet global burden of disease reports,” they write, “poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.” This is a disturbing statistic. But it gets worse.
The related and larger issue is that even normal weight people who exercise will, if they eat poorly, have metabolic markers that put them at very high risk of chronic illness and early mortality. “Up to 40% of those with a normal body mass index will harbour metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.”
And the crux of the issue is this: We’re continually “fed” the idea that all that’s behind the rise in obesity is lack of exercise, or sedentariness. There have certainly been a lot of studies and popular articles suggesting that sitting is our downfall. Instead of effective messages about diet and health that science actually knows to be true, “members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting,” the team writes, “and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise. This false perception is rooted in the Food Industry’s Public Relations machinery, which uses tactics chillingly similar to those of big tobacco.”
What we know to be true is much simpler: “Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger,” the write. “Fat calories induce fullness or satiation.” For every additional 150 calories in sugar (i.e., a can of soda) a person consumes per day, the risk for diabetes rises 11-fold, regardless of how much or little we exercise. The single most effective thing people can do for their weight, they write, is to restrict calories – and even more, restrict carbohydrates.
So if this is all true, and research seems to suggest it is, how will it change? It might take quite a lot of work to shift our psychology around food, especially since advertising is so saturated with the message that carbohydrates are good for us. The celebrity endorsements might need to be tweaked, the authors say, and certainly the way foods are advertised and, perhaps, created, need to be shifted. The public should be repeatedly hit with the message that whole, natural foods, where possible and affordable is the best way to go. If you’re trying to lose weight, reduce your calories (especially sugars) – don’t think exercise alone will cut it. And even if you’re normal weight, you can’t subside solely on junk and stay healthy.
The authors end with this powerful finale: “It is time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s Public Relations machinery. Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet.”
Turns out those who don’t have to trudge through a morning commute and humor water-cooler talk can get more done throughout the day — or at least they feel like they do.
That’s according to new research from the University of Cardiff, which found that while 69% of in-office workers said they put in more effort than required of their jobs, 73% of remote workers said they did the same. The study also found that those who work from home have higher job satisfaction. That said, the benefits come at a price: Work-from-home employees reported putting in more overtime (39%) than their in-office counterparts (24%).
If working from home is supposed to promote better work-life balance, why are remote workers clocking in more hours? Ironically, the lack of physical boundaries between work and life could be to blame. After all, when your commute is the 10 seconds it takes to move from the bedroom to the living room, you may decide to stay online for another 30 minutes to make up for it. You might also feel the need to prove your work-from-home arrangement makes you more productive, leading you to log more hours to go above-and-beyond your normal output from the office.
So whether you’re working from home full-time or just a few days a month, consider these work-life balance tips that can help you get more done throughout the day — and log off at a reasonable hour.
Mimic a Regular Work Day — to an Extent
One of the best things about working from home is not having to wake up as early, make yourself look presentable and take the time to commute into work. So why do any of these things when you don’t have to? Simply put, studies have shown employees who dress the part in turn act the part. Similarly, mimicking some of your regular routine — throwing on a bit of makeup, taking a walk around the block during the time you’d normally drive in — can help you get in the right headspace before settling down with your laptop for the day.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
“A separate workspace makes it easier to set boundaries between your home and office [lives],” says Lisa Kanarek, a home office expert. Moving from the couch to a desk can also put you in the mindset to get work done, instead of feeling like you can fire up your Apple TV while you file reports.
Most people can only work for about 90 minutes at a time before their productive energy levels begin dropping, says productivity strategist Cathy Sexton. Put time on your calendar or set an alarm for 10- to 15-minute breaks throughout the day. While this is a good idea even when you’re in the office, an extra reminder at home may be necessary when you don’t have the usual workday distractions like chatting with a coworker, checking out the kitchen snacks or stepping out for lunch.
Stick to a Hard Stop
What’s another 30 minutes finishing up a presentation when you don’t have to beat rush hour? That 30 minutes can quickly become hours if you don’t give yourself a hard stop the way you would at an office. Set an “end time” as a calendar reminder, let your colleagues know (a little peer pressure goes a long way), log off email and — maybe best of all — change back into your “home” clothes to recreate the feeling that you’re finally done for the day.
**Article by jennifer Liu was featured in Forbes.com
A proclamation of sexual attraction. A hand resting on the knee. A flirty text message.
From the right person at the right time, they can make you feel great.
But from the wrong person or at the wrong time, an innuendo-laden text becomes creepy and an unwanted touch can make you feel uncomfortable and ashamed.
As the number of women making claims against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein grows by the day, women around the world have spoken on social media about their experiences of sexual harassment under the #metoo Twitter hashtag.
Weinstein wielded great power, able to make or break his alleged victims’ careers, but harassment can be just as damaging away from work.
In a global debate, the question of how we define sexual harassment is not altogether clear.
And that line between flirtation and harassment is a very fine – and often blurred – one.
So how do you ensure you stay on the right side of it?
If you want to meet someone, you have to flirt, says relationship expert James Preece.
But it’s about doing it in the right environment, not when people are least expecting it, he says.
The problem is men can’t always read the signals and assume all women are interested in them, while women can be huggy and tactile, and they’ll say they’re just being friendly, he says.
He advises his clients – men and women aged from 23 to 72 – to play it safe by flirting in a playful – not a sexual – way.
“Treat them like your mother at the first meeting,” he says. “Be friendly and build up a rapport and trust.”
At the end of the first date, he suggests a friendly hug or peck on the cheek.
If you get a second date, try touching them on a non-sexual body part – such as below the elbow or towards the small of the back, he says.
If they don’t flinch, you can go in for the kiss.
When does flirting become sexual harassment?
When it’s unwanted and persistent, says Sarah King, of Stuart Miller Solicitors.
Dating expert James believes it’s when a man pushes things too far – whether through what he says or what he does – when a woman clearly doesn’t want it.
Sea Ming Pak, who goes into London schools to teach young people about sex and relationships, reels off a long list of what she thinks constitutes sexual harassment: non-consensual touching; feeling entitled to someone else; talking in a certain way; chasing girls down the street in order to chat them up; wolf-whistling and using a position of power or trust to talk in a creepy way.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines sexual harassment as “unwanted sexual advances, obscene remarks, etc”.
And the Equality Act 2010 says it’s an “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature” which violates a person’s dignity or “creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment”.
Is sexual harassment illegal?
Not specifically. It is not a criminal offence in its own right, says Sarah King.
However, the types of behaviour that amount to sexual harassment can be criminalised under different pieces of legislation. For example:
Unwanted phone calls and messages, visits to home or work, taking personal photographs, unwanted advances and persistent and distressing comments – Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Unwanted touching by someone who is getting sexual gratification, for example on public transport – Sexual Offences Act
That said, anyone being sexually harassed in the workplace is protected by the Equality Act 2010. A case is considered a civil – not a criminal – matter and would be dealt with in an employment tribunal.
More than half of women say they have been sexually harassed at work, according to research carried out last year by the TUC.
Why is sexual harassment happening?
Sea Ming Pak, who works for sexual health charity Brook, blames Western society’s sex-sells culture which, she says, breeds entitlement and a blame culture.
Young people have been conditioned through films, music videos, TV programmes, access to porn and the normalisation of sending sexual images on phones, she says.
In school assemblies and classrooms, she tells them when it comes to sex you have to have freedom and the capacity to make the choice.
But she admits she worries about how poorly informed our schoolchildren are – with many blaming the victim when a rape scenario is presented.
In some cases, it is a learned behaviour, picked up from those closest to them.
She describes spotting a girl from one of her classes at a bus stop with a boy draping his arm around her and being “handsy”.
“She did not look like she wanted the attention so the next week I told her: ‘You have the right to say no, it was not OK for him to touch you.’
“I explained consent, and she replied: ‘But they always grab me.'”
Sea, who typically speaks to boys and girls aged between 14 and 17, thinks that until children are told they can say “no” at an earlier age, the problem will not go away.
We should speak to them in primary schools, says Sea.
That’s when it starts, she says, recalling her own schooldays when boys thought it was funny to rip open girls’ shirts, put their hands up their skirts, grab their bums and ping their bras.
“It was about shame and humiliation,” she says.
At that age, you talk about boundaries, she explains, and at secondary school they need to know about consent, how to read body language, negotiate situations and to think before sending sexual images of themselves.
Is the law likely to change?
Grassroots pressure is mounting.
A petition calling for the Crown Prosecution Service to make misogynistic incidents a hate crime has been signed by more than 65,000 people.
In Nottinghamshire, police began recording misogynistic incidents as hate crimes; until then there was no category for such cases.
The force defines those as: “Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman.”
It allows police to investigate the incidents as crimes and support the victims, as well as get a better picture of the scale of the problem.
Sarah King says there is a gap in the legislation.
She points to the Crime and Disorder Act which includes an offence of harassment motivated by the complainant’s religion or race, but not when it’s sexual.
A specific criminal offence for sexual harassment would define the behaviour and create clear boundaries once and for all, she says.
You’ve been seeing each other for months. The dates are fun, the sex is fine. You tell each other everything and spend every other night together. But slowly, it sneaks up on you.
First you notice that while they’ve met your mum, brother, and been on a night out with your best mates from uni, you’ve yet to meet a single person in their life. You’ve never been introduced to their parents. You’ve never been to any kind of gathering with anyone from their social circle.
Come to think of it, while they’ve showed up on your Instagram feed and you tag them on Twitter, they’re yet to share any indication that you’re hanging out together. They’ll ‘gram a picture of the delicious meal you brought them to try, but you’ll be mysteriously absent from the table.
You overhear them on the phone to someone, describing their day, and notice your name hasn’t been mentioned once. You, my friend, are being stashed.
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
Stashing is a super fun dating trend in which someone is dating someone else, but has decided to hide them away from everyone in their life. Yes, we’re the ones who’ve just come up with a name for it, but it’s a thing that’s happening to people from all corners of the world of dating.
A victim of stashing is hidden from every other part of the stasher’s life – from their tagged photos to their casual chats with their parents. Why? Because that way, they’re able to pretend that they’re not really dating the person they’re stashing, meaning they can justify getting with other people, doing whatever they fancy, and being generally inconsiderate and awful.
You’re in a relationship or dating in all other senses, but by refusing to acknowledge your existence publicly, or to other people in their life, the stasher is able to tell themselves that you’re not actually together, so they’re perfectly entitled to treat you poorly. When questioned, a stasher will make you feel like you’re being nuts.
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
They’ll say you’re exaggerating the issue, noting that they’ve hardly spoken to their parents and you simply haven’t come up. They’ll question why you’re so bothered about not being featured on their social media – because what should really matter is what’s going on between the two of you, not documenting your relationship online. They’ll tell you that it’s their friends they’re ashamed of, who aren’t worth meeting. But as the stashing goes on, you start to feel pretty rubbish.
You know when someone hurriedly tidies their room and shoves a jumble of stuff in a cupboard so it’s not on show, so they don’t have to think about it until later? When you’re being stashed, you’re that jumble of stuff. And that doesn’t exactly make you feel valued or respected.
Over time, you’ll wonder if the stasher is embarrassed about being seen with you. You’ll consider that they may be living a second life with a wife and kids. You’ll feel like they’re hiding something – and then realise that something is you. Being stashed leaves your self-worth in tatters. You don’t leave, though, because aside from all of that stuff, everything’s lovely.
When it’s just you two it’s great, so how can you kick up a fuss? There are only two ways to get out of the horror show that is stashing. First off, you can bring up the issues with the stasher, explain how you’re feeling, and ask if they’d be up for making a tiny bit more of a show that you’re together.
If they offer a valid explanation of what’s going on (maybe their parents are really against sex before marriage) or say yes – and actually do it – great.
(Picture : Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
If not, you’re on to option two: dump ’em. Get out now, just as you’re sinking into a pattern of being hidden and accepting it. Leave and be on your own for a bit, or find someone who shows they’re proud to be with you. You don’t deserve to be stashed away. You’re brilliant. You should be shown off by someone who’s excited to let everyone know they get to be with you. Know that, and don’t let yourself be shoved in a cupboard.* *Metaphorically or literally.
*The article by Ellen Scott first appeared in The Metro
As a strong fearless African woman born in the UK but raised in a remote part of Nigeria by a bold, fearless and totally devoted, loving, caring, humane and extraordinarily conscientious farmer grandmother “my indefatigable Amazon and philosopher” I returned to England in the late 80s very confident, brazen, defensive and sometimes totally loud and pugnacious.
I grew up through the civil war in Nigeria and served as a farm hand for gran, helping to harvest melon seeds, cassava, yam and others plus helping to fry and sell garri in the market to earn our living.
Gran had no room for lazy people. If I said that I had headache or belly ache, she simply gave me salt in water for belly ache, warm therapy Apc, touched my head or belly and said “agu Nwanyi, you will be OK, now get on with your work”
Upon returning to the UK after higher education and a failed marriage blessed with three children, at an age when many girls are still not sure what to do with their lives, it did not take time for me to learn that although my attitude was good enough to repel faint hearted friends and enemies, it was the deal breaker or barrier in my way to any successful career.
I took on anyone who I thought was prejudiced against me for whatever reason my mind told me. Many employers loved but loathed me. I just could not be bothered because I had been led to believe that everyone who is not the same colour as me is racist. I bought into that delusion and was always combat ready not realising that I had become very insecure to a pint of delusion judging anyone who tried to correct me as agent of my imaginary oppressors.
What I did not realise was that I was deeply loved and adored by a few people but they were afraid to get too close. I stupidly thought that I had street credibility and the fear I caused or (commanded in my delusion) was respect.
Well, it took an incident for me to learn that although I was good at my work, senior management feared that a promotion for me will be catastrophic. They were at the same time afraid of losing my talent and dedication. I had brilliant reports but was never shortlisted for promotion. As you can imagine, I would have none of it and waged war. I threatened to bring down the roof and everyone including Union reps were targets because in my mind they had all taken sides with my imaginary oppressor.
This then forced senior management friends to have series of meetings with me. I was told how much I was loved and respected for who I am and how my attitude was my biggest enemy.
That was a turning point. I began to watch how other people reacted or responded to issues and followed the advice a Caucasian boss I considered a father constantly rolled out with so much love. He took me to launch and walks in the park on several occasions. At those times we discussed my strengths and weaknesses and how to use or change them in order to fit in.
One thing he commended me on was my readiness to learn and on that note approved many personal development causes. They worked. Trust me they do!
Today, I am a better person who will always argue my case without losing it, pulling off my gloves, rolling up my sleeves and and asking others to bring it on.
Why am I writing this now? I called my GP surgery for an appointment after hours because I fell asleep early this morning. I was told that they could not make any appointment for me.
I was cool, calm and respectful knowing that the receptionist was only following their policy. In the past, I would have started jumping up and down, asking for the Practice manager. But I did not.
Guess what? It paid off. I got more than an appointment because I was not rude and aggressive.
So manners are key to advancement and success in life.
Many of us in our fifties and the younger ones must take critical looks at ourselves and see where we may be going wrong and why we are not likely reach the pinnacle of careers careers despite being admirably talented and holding tons of degrees. It’s not weakness to do so. It’s strength!
Ask your friends to assess you or take online attitude tests and seek help if you find yourself wanting.
Being rude, aggressive and non compromising even when you are at fault may give you street credibility among mannerless people like you, but will never move you up the ladder.
What is the point in bagging tons of degrees and doing nothing with them? That is a waste of talent , time and money.
You could do better if you accept that there may be need for improvements here and there.
I did and it worked for me. Don’t be a failure because of your attitude.
Jenny is a UK based Solicitor and Advocate. She is the Founder of Nigerian Women In Diaspora Leadership Forum and a member of several other professional and community organisations.
She is a socio-political activist and commentator; a passionate community leader, mentor, trainer and coach.
Follow Jenny @Jennyokafor on Twitter & @JennyChikaOkafor on Facebook
The fact that one in four marriages ends in a divorce is a statistic that people like to throw around way too much. Once we hear that, we start to look at our recently married friends and wonder who will be phoning a divorce lawyer in the near future.
So when we’re dating and finding our own potential suitor, is there anyway we can make sure we’re settling down with the right person so that our own relationship doesn’t end with trying to divide asides 50-50 and arguments over who gets the house?
Some studies show that you can, if you get married at a certain age.
So what is that magic number? What age is too early to tie the knot and what age, is too late?
According to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, Nick Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, found that prior to age 31, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent. But after 32? Well, he found that divorce increases by five percent per year.
According to certified family law specialist, James D. Scott, who has performed over 2,000 divorces in his 36-year career and works with young, enlisted military couples to unwed mothers who are teenagers, to ultra-high income celebrities and professional athletes, the age for people getting married nowadays is getting later and later.
“Men don’t want to share their income,” said James. “They don’t want to pool their lifestyle with a spouse.”
Couple’s Counselor, Julienne Derichs, LCPC, divorce is a challenging social pattern to measure. She says that the key to decreasing divorce include a few key things.
“Keep in mind that education, ability to communicate in a non-violent manner, and level of commitment are all predictors of relationship satisfaction, research indicates that to decrease your risk of divorce, in the first five years of marriage, marry between the ages of 28 to 32 and then again from 45 to 49. Divorce rates steadily decrease from years 18 to 32 then goes up again until the late 30’s early 40’s,” she says.
So perhaps the trick is to marry after 28 and before 32.
Or maybe, it’s to not rush down the aisle with the very wrong person.
See also: 20 Questions Every Couple Needs to Ask Before Marriage
I came across this fantastic article by Vidya Rao, at 35 year old from Minnesota-raised Indian-American from Minnesota recently married to a white American from South Louisiana., talking about being in an interracial relationship and the myriad of problems that can arise from being in such a union.
Vidya says “I wish we could be all kumbaya-we’re-all-human-beings-love-is-love, but in this current cultural and political climate, race is not something you can pretend you don’t see”.
She goes on to say “When you marry someone, you marry everything that made them who they are, including their culture and race. While marrying someone of a different race can have added challenges, if you go in with your eyes and heart wide open, you can face those challenges together and come out stronger. At least that’s what the experts tell me; I’ve only been married seven months, so what do I know?
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. The foundation of your relationship has to be rock solid.
Your relationship needs to be tight enough not to let naysayers, societal pressure and family opinions wedge you apart, explained Stuart Fensterheim, a couples counselor based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and host of The Couples Expert podcast.
“Couples need to talk about things as a team, and feel that we’re in this together — if our love is strong and we can be authentic and vulnerable in the relationship, then we can handle whatever comes from the outside world,” he explained.
Luckily, my husband and I haven’t had to face many issues from the outside world. We’re so “old” according to our cultures, that our families were just thankful someone of the human race agreed to marry either of us, and we currently live in a diverse section of New York City where no one bats an eye at interracial couples.
But having a strong relationship without trust issues helps us give each other the benefit of the doubt when one of us says something culturally insensitive. We can talk about it, learn from it and move on without building up resentment or wondering about motivations.
2. You’ve got to get comfortable talking about race… a lot.
“Silence is really the enemy,” said Erica Chito Childs, a Hunter College sociology professor who has researched and written extensively about interracial relationships. “Just like you’d ask a partner about their views on marriage, children and where to live, you should also understand their approach to racial issues. One way to begin, in the process of getting to know a new partner, is to maybe include some questions like, was the school you went to diverse, do you have diverse friends? Have you dated interracially before and if so, how did your family react?”
My husband and I were friends before we started dating, and we just organically ended up having these conversations. At times, I was shocked at how little he ever thought about race before me, and that was something that worried me when I first started falling for him. But his ability to be open and honest about the things he didn’t know and his willingness to learn, rather than be defensive, eventually won me over.
3. Don’t make any assumptions about your partner based on their race.
While this may seem obvious, it’s worth noting because we all hold stereotypes, no matter how enlightened we think we are. “Racial groups are not homogenous,” reiterated Childs. “African-American people have different perspectives; some may support Black Lives Matter, and others don’t. Some Latina people support DACA, others don’t. Don’t make assumptions… You and your partner don’t have to agree, but you should know where each other stand and try to understand each other’s perspectives.”
For my part, I had to face the stereotypes I had about white Southerners. To be honest, I just assumed that deep down, he and his family were probably racist. While it was a defense mechanism for me, it wasn’t fair that I didn’t allow him a clean slate.
4. It’s helpful to know others who are also in interracial relationships.
There was a moment two years into my relationship with my now-husband, when I realized he might be my lifelong partner, and joy gave way to dread: Would he ever really understand my experience as a child of immigrants? Could he really support me when I (or our children) faced racism? Would he ever really be able to “get” me?
I could have thrown our entire relationship away based on my fear, but luckily, I turned to a friend who had been in an interracial relationship for 10 years. He’s a Haitian American from New England and his partner is a white American from Oklahoma. They have a relationship of mutual love and respect. He had faced some of the same challenges I did. Knowing how much they had to work for it, and how happy they ended up as a result, helped me see that we could do the same.
Whether you can find someone in your friend group, through social networking or even just watching relevant YouTube videos, hearing from people who have been where you are can serve as emotional support.
5. Changing your name can take on heightened significance.
I waffled on changing my name — it felt really difficult for me, like I was letting go of my Indian heritage. Ultimately I decided against it, and my husband was supportive of my decision. Would it have been different if my husband were Indian? I’m not sure, but I do think about it.
6. You may feel a heightened connection to your own culture — and that’s OK.
“In the past few years, I’ve been needing more connection with my culture, I listen to more Latin music now, I watch movies in Spanish — I need those touchstones now, in a way I didn’t before,” said Alejandra Ramos, a TODAY Tastemaker who is Puerto Rican and has been married to a Ukranian-born Jewish man for seven years.
As with any successful relationship, your partner can’t be your everything. When you’re in an interracial relationship, friends who you can just express yourself to without having to explain yourself can be a welcome break. “One time I was on a show and a producer described me as ‘fiery, because you’re Latina.’ I came home and told my husband about it and he laughed and I was like no, that’s actually really offensive.”
“There’s a certain lightness I feel when I talk to my Latina friends — you’re all coming from a similar frame of reference. There’s a learning curve for your partner, they just don’t know how to exist in your skin.”
7. You’re going to learn things about your partner’s family … and maybe even more about your own.
“When my husband introduced me, his family was shocked — which in turn shocked him,” said Pamela Baker, an African American who has been married to a white American for 36 years. “He had been raised to believe that all were equal. But, fear set in when they found that he deeply believed what he had been taught. I didn’t freak and was not surprised. They came around quickly. [But] his grandmother did not attend our wedding.”
Unfortunately, this kind of revelation isn’t uncommon. Many people Childs has spoken to in the course of her research came from families who seemed very accepting, but feel differently about who their children date.
Her advice? “Be realistic and don’t just go off comments they made when you were growing up,” she said. Have an open and honest conversation before you bring your significant other into the mix. Prepare yourself for reactions that are unexpected or even upsetting, and accept that it may take some time for your family to come around.
And if grandma just can’t get on board? You can’t force it. Acknowledge her feelings, but also acknowledge it’s hurtful to you and your partner. Eventually, she may come around. That was the case for Baker, who said that after her kids were born, her husband’s grandmother cried and apologized for her initial disapproval.
8. You will forever be teaching.
You’ll be sharing foods that may be new to your partner, translating your language for them during family gatherings and perhaps even teaching them some Racial Politics 101. Sometimes, you’ll want to bang your head against the wall. But stick with it; your patience will be rewarded.
“When your partner asks questions that may seem ignorant, they are accepting that they don’t understand everything,” said Fensterheim. If your partner asks you something that feels offensive, acknowledge they are likely coming from a good place, and then explain why you have an issue with the interaction. You should honestly express yourself, but don’t make them feel scared or stupid for coming to you with questions. With enough conversations over time, they might just surprise you.
9. … and learning.
If you’ve found the right person and are ready to take the next step, you’re signing up for an adventure. Whether it’s good stuff (trying new foods, activities and traditions) or the bad stuff (other people’s racism), you’re going to learn a lot. I learned how to mud ride. I shot a gun. I attended crawfish boils. I’m constantly exposed to new cultural experiences that I never would have sought out if my husband weren’t in my life.
He’s experienced the same because of me. He now eats dosa with his hands like a pro, practices yoga and meditation and understands racial issues in a much more nuanced way. While we both come from very different backgrounds and sometimes have passionately opposing opinions, we do share one trait in common: Neither of us knows the people we will be tomorrow, and we’re not only OK with that, but excited by it.