Dating & Marrying Ethnic Men

Shaynah and Dennis: Eleven Years and Counting, Part 1

Shaynah was one of the ladies who responded to a request I made for couples to share their stories. I really loved this interview. I hope you enjoy hearing her story!


What are your names?

My name is Shaynah and his name is Dennis.


We have a lot of readers over 50. If you are in that category, and met your match as a more seasoned dater, please share how you met your match.

My husband’s brother and I were really good friends in high school. We graduated in 1997, but we all went to the same high school. He is older than me though. 


What are your cultural/ethnic backgrounds?

I am African American and True Native American. My blood test was proven, and I received a scholarship to college because of my percentage of Native American blood. My husband is full-blood Filipino.

Did either of you find the dating process challenging?

I did not find the dating process difficult. I think I have dated pretty much every race, from Nepal all the way to Albania. My husband had no issues because he has pretty much dated black woman exclusively. He is a true product of our environment in Maryland and “Chocolate City” Washington DC.


Given the current political climate, was dating interracially challenging? Did you find that your political leanings were a barrier at all? 

Politics are certainly a sensitive subject. I am a Democrat with Liberal thinking. My hubby is a strong conservative Republican. I think he mostly influenced by his father, who worked under Jimmy Carter through to George Bush Jr.


For the lady, did you ever find that you had a dry spell in the dating process? If so, how did you get yourself out there again?

There was no dry spell in my dating process at any point in my life. If I was single it was because I chose to be that way. 


For the lady, do you feel that your skin tone made it challenging to date as a whole? If so, how did you overcome that?

People point it out all the time, “Oh Shaynah, you have never had an issue dating any other race because you have a lighter skin tone. If you were a brown girl you find it difficult.” What they do not know is it was and is an issue. Believe it or not, in any Asian culture, the lighter you are the more beautiful you are. Asian cultures deal with colorism within their race. That is why bleach is in almost every skin care product. Some of my in-laws love me while others look down on me, especially in the summertime when I get a significant tan.

Where are you now in your relationship?

We have been together for eleven-and-a-half years married for seven (years).


When did you know it was going somewhere?

I knew it was going to be something special when he would ask about how my newly born infant son. My son is full African American. At the time, he had not met him yet, but he would ask about him just as much as me. About six months into us dating, he asked the father of my son if they could talk man-to-man. Not soon after, he properly introduced me to his young daughters. I saw them grow up over the years, from afar, because I was and still am good friends with his brother.

Do you feel that your location is really welcoming of interracial couples?

The DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia area) is very welcome. It is practically the melting/mixing pot for so many interracial relationships and family, pretty much every culture mix you could ever imagine. That is probably because people come from all around the world to visit Washington DC.


Do you live abroad (outside of the US)? If so, what drove your decision? Have you faced any issues? Is it a permanent move?

I have never lived abroad, but I worked at several different airports over a seven-year span. I think that helped a lot in opening my mind even more to different cultures. The diversity of my paternal and maternal family had already planted the initial seed that LOVE knows no COLOR. I got my Native American blood ties are from my father and it was he who taught me from a very young age that race doesn’t matter, because we are all from the same race. The only race that truly matters is HUMAN! He recently lost his battle with cancer last year. 

What is your ideal date?

My ideal date is trying something different that I normally wouldn’t do, be it new food, a new dance or a new word. I like anything that stimulates my hunger for new knowledge of the world and the people who live and make it up.


What is the best thing that you like about each other?

I love that he makes me laugh effortlessly and loves selflessly. He always says that he likes that I don’t let him BS his way out of things, the way I fix rice, and all of the inside jokes.


What is the best part about being together?

Without question, we have each other’s back. Hands down!


What is your favourite shared memory?

We have a lot of shared memories that we love. I think our favourite shared memory is when we went to a bed and breakfast for our anniversary. He cut a heart out of a piece of Watermelon and told me that if this was his real heart he would give it to me to keep forever.

That is everything for this segment. Thank you so much for reading Shaynah and Dennis’ story. Come back next time for part two! If you are interested in doing a feature interview for the website, please leave a comment below, or connect with either me or Christelyn. You can reach me directly at [email protected]

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