A Piece of Advice
What is it like being in a taboo relationship?
Because scientists have turned their attention toward what socially devalued couples go through, we can draw from their work in painting a picture. Let’s envision two adults who love and care for one another, and who also have one or more qualities that make their relationship different from the majority of couples in their community. And no matter how kind, loving, or committed they are or how happy they make each other, the society in which they live frowns on their relationship simply because of this quality (or qualities), and for no other reason. When they go out, the reaction they receive can vary depending on where they live or the place they’re visiting. Because of this, a couple may decide to limit where they go or resist the urge to hold hands, hug, or kiss in public out of concern for their safety.
If this couple is especially fortunate, they’ll be able to be open about their relationship and their loved ones will greet them with wholehearted support and validation. But if they’re like many marginalized couples, they’ll encounter a certain amount of disapproval from some of the very people they love and trust.
Although it’s possible for disapproving family members and friends to change their minds and come to accept the relationship, this doesn’t always happen. Regardless of the opposition they face, these partners are placed in the tough position of figuring out how to respond to it and, if they decide to stay together, how to grow their relationship despite all the challenges. Thankfully, relationship science also reveals that they’re certainly capable of doing this. And as more and more people enter relationships that are taboo now, hopefully one day they’ll no longer be dismissed as unacceptable, but welcomed as part of the mainstream.
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