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Playing For Keeps

Playing For Keeps

Interracial And Intercultural Dating: Indian Man And Caucasian American Woman

About

Meet Sohan and Colleen! Sohan is Indian, and he was born and raised in Mumbai, India. His girlfriend, Colleen, is Caucasian American, and she was born and raised in Pennsylvania, USA.

How They Met

Colleen and Sohan met while playing volleyball in 2017. They both played pick-up volleyball while living in Delaware. Sohan had been playing with a group from meetup.com for a few months, and they used to play on a sand court right next to the University Colleen attended. By chance, one day, Colleen went to play volleyball with a group from school and found Sohan and his group already playing there. Colleen had a lot of fun and ended up playing regularly with Sohan and his group.

For the first two months after they met, neither spoke a word to each other. Frankly, they didn’t start to build a friendship until a mutual friend invited Colleen to Sohan’s birthday dinner. After that, they exchanged phone numbers, started playing in volleyball leagues together, and hung out in the same friend group. Over time, they began to become inseparable and would text each other throughout the day. Two years later, they figured out that they were pretty much already in a relationship but didn’t realize it! Ultimately, Colleen took the lead and asked Sohan to be her boyfriend in 2019.

Colleen and Sohan

How Long Have They Been Together

Sohan and Colleen have known each other for four years. They recently celebrated their second anniversary in April 2021.

Has Colleen Met Sohan’s Parents Yet

Colleen hasn’t met Sohan’s parents yet. His parents only recently learned about their relationship, so it’s a work in progress. Currently, they are planning to have their first facetime call in the next coming months. 

Has Sohan Met Colleen’s Parents Yet

Sohan initially met Colleen’s parents briefly before they even started dating. It was a casual interaction at an event for Colleen’s birthday, so there wasn’t much pressure. However, after they started dating, the first time Colleen brought Sohan to her home in Pennsylvania, Sohan was terrified and nervous about interacting with her family. Everything was so very new for him because he never had to do anything like this back in India. Hence Sohan did not say much and kept to himself. It took some time for Sohan to warm up to Colleen’s family, but he is much more comfortable now and gets along with Colleen’s family really well. He’s met almost all her relatives, including her aunt, uncle, and nana. 

Funny and true, Sohan and Colleen found out much later from Colleen’s mom that she could tell that Colleen and Sohan would end up together after their first interaction on Colleen’s birthday. She picked up on their body language cues and could tell Sohan was interested in Colleen based on how he presented himself and looked and talked about Colleen. 

What Obstacles Have They Encountered For Being In An Interracial Relationship And How Did They Overcome Them

One of the biggest obstacles has been telling and convincing Sohan’s parents about their relationship. They are very conservative and traditional with their customs. Being with someone from a different culture and religion is novel, almost unheard of in his family. Sohan knew his parents would have trouble accepting it. Sohan didn’t tell his parents about Colleen until a year and a half after they started dating. They initially didn’t take it seriously. They tried to ignore it and sent Sohan biodatas from other girls. They had the mindset that they just needed to find someone with qualifications that mirrored Colleen’s.

Surprisingly, they only came around to the idea after Sohan and Colleen started their YouTube channel. One of their biggest hesitations about their relationship was, “what will people think/how will we tell all our relatives”? One of Sohan’s relatives ended up showing their YouTube channel to his mom, and she loved it. The act of having their relationship broadcasted over the internet ended up being a quick and easy way for all of Sohan’s family to find out about them. Now Sohan’s mom watches and comments on all of their videos. 

Today, Sohan’s parents have been much more open to their relationship and have shown interest in getting to know Colleen and her family. They even invited her to come and stay with them in India.

Colleen and Sohan

Sohan and Colleen’s Advice For Other Couples

  • It’s essential to accept and respect another culture, even if it clashes with your own. It’s easy to be dismissive and act like your way of thinking is “correct” or “right,” but you need to put yourself in their shoes and understand that they may have been raised all their life with a completely different mindset. What’s weird/different for you can be expected for your significant other.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things! A relationship is much more enjoyable and rewarding when you can both fully immerse yourself in each other’s cultures and traditions. In addition, you’ll find that you learn new things about your partner and yourself! 

What They Love About Being In An Interracial And Intercultural Relationship

Colleen and Sohan have had a lot of fun celebrating “firsts” with each other. Sohan had Thanksgiving dinner at Colleen’s house, where he got to carve the turkey with her dad. He also celebrated his first Christmas with Colleen’s family and even attended a Catholic mass. Sohan dyed Easter eggs, and Colleen’s mom made him his own Easter basket. And Colleen celebrated Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi this past year. 

Something that Sohan and Colleen both bonded over is food. Colleen loves Indian food. Since they’ve moved to the southern US, Sohan has enjoyed indulging in southern foods like biscuits with sausage gravy and southern barbeque.

Colleen and Sohan and their dog

What They Are Still Learning

Currently, the main challenge they are trying to overcome is the language barrier. Sohan’s mom and some other relatives don’t speak English or Hindi. His mother tongue is a slang version of Kannada, which is a lot more complicated and trickier to pick up than Hindi. Sohan has taught Colleen some Kannada words and phrases, but it will take time for her to be able to fully communicate with his family. 

What They Wish They Knew Prior To Being In An Interracial And Intercultural Relationship

They both wish they knew how difficult it would be to blend their families. But, plainly put, Colleen and Sohan thought the most significant struggle would be telling Sohan’s parents and having them accept their relationship. Thus, they didn’t focus on what happens after that.

Sohan and Colleen found that their parents have immensely different customs for dating, relationships, weddings, marriage, etc. It’s almost as if people from two different planets are trying to interact. The language barrier adds to all that complexity. Things happen very fast in India; dating for a few years is not very common. It’s the opposite situation in the US, you typically date someone for a few years before you even talk about engagement, and then you can be engaged for 1-2 years. Presently, Sohan and Colleen have figured out how to blend their cultures, but they are still figuring out how to get their parents to see eye to eye on these situations. 

 

What did you think about Sohan and Colleen’s love story? Stay connected to them via Instagram and find their Youtube channel here!

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