Mixed Relationships

Mixed Relationships


The term mixed relationships was defined by the group broadly, encompassing factors such as race, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, class, caste socio-economic status and educational attainment level. However the general consensus came down to the individual’s and family’s identity as to what they consider the term ‘mixed’ to be. One particular example is the intergenerational differences in what is considered normal in mixed relationships, elders would place an emphasis on caste whereas younger on race, religion and sexuality.

Day to day experiences

When discussing the day to day experiences of those who classed themselves as being in mixed relationships, attendees found when moving in together, the cultural differences became even more apparent. This sometimes led to conflict but also offered valuable opportunity for learning. Some described when out in public or around extended family, reactions towards them would change, often negatively, whether verbal or non-verbal. This would include longer stares and racial slurs against the attendees partner. Furthermore, attendees described an inherent fear of how they would be perceived by others in the community, particularly as there are some Gurdwaras that do not accept mixed marriages. Finally, another barrier in being in a mixed relationship is having to explain to others who do not understand what it means to be in one, having to explain the differences in culture and lifestyle; the bigger the difference, the more explaining is required.

Positive aspects of mixed relationships

However, it’s not all negative! There were a number of positive aspects attendees described when being in mixed relationships. Firstly, being from different backgrounds allows diversity in thinking, allowing a wide range of views to be discussed in the open. The general consensus is that relationships should not be restricted and we are moving towards a more open society, the Punjabi community should also reflect this.

LGBTQ+ mixed relationships

When discussing LGBTQ+ relationships, it was arguably easier to be in a mixed relationship. One of the primary reasons was due to the fact the likelihood the individual is likely to enter into a non-mixed relationship is much lower and there is a level of acceptance that the lifestyle would involve being mixed. Further to this, attendees discussed there isn’t a large pool of Punjabi LGBTQ+ folks to enter into a relationship with. Finally, there is an existing feeling of being excluded from Punjabi communities, therefore the attractiveness of associating with that community is there to a  smaller degree or almost non-existent.

download now