Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
My boyfriend and I are the proud parents of a 4-month old baby boy. Our relationship began fast after we both came out of bad relationships. He lived in Gilroy, but began staying with me at my apartment here in the City. I think things moved too fast. It seemed we were both just so happy to have found someone that we actually didn’t take the time to really get to know each other in great depth. We thought we were were in love and were happy.
Our son was prematurely intentionally conceived just four months after we met. During my pregnancy we gradually began to realize that we actually had A LOT of differences and few things in common.
During the last months of my pregnancy and after our son’s birth our arguments have gotten more volatile. We are trying to plan toward managing our arguments and our tempers in an effort to salvage our relationship and better understand each other for the sake of our son.
We are currently seeking couples counseling for our relationship. But I need to tell you that after an exceptionally heated argument last week, harsh words were exchanged and he called me the “N” word! He also called me a fat Bword, and more.
As you can imagine, I was VERY hurt by this. “Sticks and Stones” aside, the “N word” really opened my eyes (and he knows I’m very sensitive about my weight postpartum), but especially negatively impacted by his use of the “N word.”
I’m wondering if that is a red flag and that there is an underlying racial bias.
He tried to rationalize it after the argument and belittle my anger and silent treatment toward him by telling me they were “just words” and that he was “purposely trying to hurt me so he specifically chose those words but didn’t mean them.”
I don’t buy that; that quick response and ESPECIALLY his use of the “N word” just can’t be swept under the rug. I mean from now on, I have to wonder whether I picked mistakenly picked someone who has a hidden racist side.
I’d like to know your opinion of the longevity of an interracial relationship after racial slurs have been introduced. No matter what level of anger, I don’t think that should ever be forgotten.
Confused and Hurt
Dear Confused and Hurt:
Whoa!! Girl, you are truly nice because I would STILL be kicking his ass!
I can guarantee you that the heated arguments and derogatory name calling are just the beginning. See, in my mind if he didn’t already think of you and people that look like you in those negative terms, those specific racial slurs and insults would not ever have come out of his mouth.
Believe it or not, your letter lays out one of my biggest fears about interracial dating. I swear, if someone I dated of another race ever called me the “N” word, you all would need to start a “Bail Ms. HeartBeat Out of Prison Fund” because I would be behind bars for assault, at a minimum.
My father always told me that the best way to know a man is to get him angry. He advised me to date a guy for awhile paying particular attention to the things he said irritated him the most. My Dad suggested that I then intentionally do each and every one of those things just to push the guy to the edge and see how he responded. It was amazing how many men became verbally abusive, and even threatened to become physically abusive. It was great that I found out how they were before I invested my emotions, time or energy and especially before marriage and children!!! I really need to send up a prayer and thank my father for that wisdom.
In your case though, when your boy got angry you got to see the real deal and it was nothing nice. If you can afford to do it and have someplace to go, separate for the sake of your infant son, who is also half Black and half the “N” word, as well as the child of “a fat B-word.”
I wonder how long it is going to take for him to angry at the baby and call him a “N” too. Even if he didn’t say the “N word” I would be encouraging you to split, because it’s unhealthy to constantly be arguing and bickering with someone you are supposed to love.
Once you two separate and can learn about each other at a safe distance and complete some serious counseling, then perhaps you can consider reuniting. Be sure to share with your therapist the racial slurs, his comfort with calling you the “N” word, and the verbal insults and put-downs about your appearance.
Bottom line, your boyfriend’s behavior indicates character traits and a belief system that are unhealthy, racist, and inappropriate for the father of a mixed race child. Only you can decide what to do with those facts.