Author: Ashley Chisholm

What NEED does this meet?

We want to build a website which connects MIXED COUPLES (mixed race, religion, caste etc.).

Mixed couples can suffer a lot of pressure to split up, especially where there are traditional expectations from family and community on one or both sides. This causes a lot of unhappiness, and destroys trust between communities at a time when young people WANT to believe in the equality they are told exists.

Our ad-hoc research has shown that most mixed couples who have suffered from these kind of prejudices had nobody to talk to and bounce ideas off. There is rarely another person in either community who has faced the same problems at all, let alone successfully. However, success stories do exist. There is also an ever growing body of distributed knowledge around the country, as more mixed couples get together.

The problem is, there is no one place where all that experience and knowledge is shared and recorded in a searchable form. There is no place where mixed couples can just meet up and chat to each other. There is certainly no interface where young people from one community can communicate with elders from another in order to increase trust and understanding.

These things are what we want to provide.

What is the APPROACH?

There is a small committee of 5 people who have been advancing this project for the last year or so.

We own the domain name, and have a good idea of what the site should offer.

We also have the /mixtogether domain on mySpace.com which will develop in tandem with the site to provide a channel for potential users .

We have recently got some graphic design courtesy of one of the hottest fusion designers in the country, but what we are really short of is the full functionality to turn a good idea into an award winning project.

We know what the back end should be able to do, but are not able to build it ourselves.

What’s distinctive about us is that we have got up and started doing something about it- we have put down a deposit of social capital, and now we’re looking for a mortgage!

*Site Content*

We envision 3 different main types of shared activity on the site: stories, culture wikis and a forum.


These will come from people who are or have been in mixed relationships

Members would submit the stories using a form. Drop boxes would allow them to specify the nature of the mix involved in that story. For instance, you could specify the guy is a British white Christian and the girl is a British Asian Sikh, or whatever the case may be. The story has to be a maximum of 1,000 words and in that space you are encouraged to talk about the key problems you faced and how you overcame them. If it ended sadly, what would you do better or advise others in the same situation?

Other users can then search by category and pull up stories relevant to them.

We also hope to attract stories from our parents’ generation, telling us how they have made marriages (mixed or otherwise) work across the years.

The principle of reciprocity really applies to this section. Anyone who has been through the sadness of a split due to parental pressure appreciates how someone else can benefit from their experience. They may also wish to help build up public pressure against the sort of discrimination they suffered.

Those just starting out in relationships, who appreciate the difficulties ahead, will want to join in for their own and others’ benefit.

Lastly those who have overcome the problems they faced to build a successful relationship will know how much value their experiences have.

Culture Wikis

Again these would be searchable by very specific criteria. For instance you could search for eg Gujarati Hindu, Pakistani Muslim or British Church of England. Each page would contain an evolving body of information contributed by those with experience of each type of culture.

The idea is that a stranger could log on and find out what they need to know in order to survive say, a day at the partner’s parents house or a visit to a church or temple. People from the culture in question would be encouraged to check the info, correct it and add more to it, building a tangible survivor’s guide of real value.


This would be the real hub of the MixTogether community. Members could meet each other, request help and tips, post info on events which the community might enjoy and debate the issues.

What are the BENEFITS to people?

Mixtogether.org benefits mixed couples by putting them in touch with information which could literally save their relationship. We are not talking about relationship counselling, or dealing with problems that a couple may experience internally. We are talking about navigating EXTERNAL obstacles (eg from family and community) which threaten an otherwise happy relationship.

To step out of group mode for a second and speak personally, I wish that there had been something like this 8 years ago when my relationship ended due to parental pressure. I wish I had been able to call up tangible, practical advice on how to get over the brick wall I faced, conducting a secret relationship because my girlfriend’s parents would not accept us. Even just being able to talk to some other people who really knew what I was going through would have helped. Instead I had to grind through on my own, not really knowing the extent of what I was facing until it was too late.

There are bits and pieces of knowledge held by mixed couples past and present throughout the UK, but none of them are connected in a meaningful way.

Another benefit will be to those parents who are aware of their childrens’ desire to pursue a mixed relationship, and who are anxious about the proposition. For the first time they will be able to read about how others from their community have found positive solutions, or how best to approach bringing two different cultures into one occasion. They will also be able to talk directly to young people from many different communities- voicing their concerns and passing on their undoubted wisdom. A far cry from ‘You can’t be involved with [insert community] because they are all [insert stereotype]’ don’t you think?

What is the COMPETITION?

A quick search on Google (for eg ‘mixed marriage’) reveals a smattering of fairly incoherent information, varying in quality and located all over the place.

For instance there is the Northern Ireland Mixed Marriage Association (www.nimma.org.uk, top search result) which obviously deals with specifically catholic/protestant mixes and is not as broad as Mixogether in its scope. They link to the Interfaith Marriage Network (www.interfaithmarriage.org.uk) which is much closer to what might be called ‘competition’ for MixTogether.org. However, these and the other mixed relationship sites all deal with marriage issues. MixTogether.org is for young people who may not be ready for marriage but need practical advice on how to continue their relationship right now.

Mixtogether.org must win out because it is a project with really tangible results, which does not rely on the government to make things happen. In order for Westminster to even go near this subject, there would have to be endless consultation and inevitable watering down of content in order to satisfy certain well-represented minority groups.

Instead of wasting all that time and money, Mixtogether.org offers immediate, un-mediated access to first hand accounts of real experiences. It provides a very well-defined section of the population with the opportunity to help each other in a way which is self-evidently useful to them.

Rather than government legislating the way different communities should interact, Mixtogether.org connects those communities directly. It uses the power of the internet to create an active and evolving engagement between communities who will increasingly be intermarried- an achievement the government and Commission for Racial Equality can only dream about.

On top of all this, the site has a colourful, fresh design. It connects with young people in the playground and uni halls- where the real mixing takes place. It speaks the language of mixed couples perfectly because it is written by them, for them.

What BUDGETS & LOGISTICS are required?

We have already paid for the domain name and hosting for the best part of the next year. We have also managed to source a free online forum package which is tailored with the site name and has just about all the user and admin/moderator functions anyone could want- there is no need to build a bespoke forum.

This leaves the architecture of a relational database which allows members to login with a username and password and use all the areas of the site described above ie submitting and searching stories and contributing to wikis. There should be email verification of new signups so that the administrators can build up a reliable email list for communicating with members. There should also be admin-only report outputs which show the level of activity among members and the usage levels of different pages so that feedback can improve the site.

The designer would need to incorporate our existing artwork as part of the front end, but this should be relatively easy.

We estimate that for someone with the right tools and experience, the design and build of this site should take around a week’s full-time work. This translates to between £500 and £1,000. However, allowing for error in our estimate and for overruns which seem to be inevitable in project design, say the total cost is £2,000 to £3,000 (but that would need to be a top end design!)

Once constructed, the site would have low-cost scalability based on the storage cost for the amount of stories and wikis in the database.

The logistics of promoting and mononitoring the site against abuse would be handled by the committee and other volunteers. The committee want to drive usage of the site through media exposure, eg persuading celebrity mixed couples to endorse the project, and becoming the first choice of contact for the media on mixed relationship issues.

Being the winning proposal in this competition would also be a huge help in gaining the exposure and credibility we are aiming for.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Sounds very sensible and rewarding idea!

    Perhaps we should all acknowledge more how important the families and communities of both sides of a partnership are to helping marriages and friendships to succeed. Everyone talks about communities these days, yet how much do we do to support or build communities?

  2. What a lovely idea, I have been in a mixed race realtionship and unfortunately it has come to an end…. Not for us not wanting to be together, but due to the fact she is so duty bound to her families traditions that she is about to have an arranged marriage. We both knew what we were getting into before hand… Although it has hurt very much, I remember saying during the relationship, If I knew she had only a short time to live would I still want us to be together knowing that heartbreak would ensue… The answer, obviously was yes.
    Shame this site had not come up before. Good luck with it!!!

  3. Thanks Carl,

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. This is exactly the sort of thing we would like to provide more debate about. I would also hope that someone in a similar position to the one you (and even I) were in could find practical help and advice on the site.

    There are a huge number of couples in this situation, and that number will go on growing as time passes. Having MixTogether fully up and running would mark a turning point for the validity of these relationships. It will always be remembered as the point where the tide turned in favour of mixed couples.

  4. what a great idea…it’s really hard dealing with parents and their traditions, it is nice to see a supportive group. I just recently told my parents about my white boyfriend…things are quite tense. This pressure to maintain the old ways is intense, and very scary.

  5. Thanks Preeti,
    it’s really nice to get some feedback from (a) a girl and (b) a girl from the Asian community!

    It IS hard for people from our comunities when they become partners, and as you say the pressure to follow traditional paths can be intense.

    The issue is vastly under-discussed, with the result that almost every couple who faces this situation does so alone. There is no place where they can meet others in the same or similar situation, and find useful resources for successfully navigating the path ahead. The internet can change all that, and put all these couples within one click of each other, so that they can start to forge a new community.

    For instance, there may be one, 10 or 100 couples out there who have faced the same situation as you and your boyfriend. At the moment, all those experiences are like pebbles dropping on different sides of a lake: they might ripple out to the close friends and some of the family of those couples, but they never reach much further. By using the internet to network these experiences together, we can create a wave of change which travels a great deal further.

    You, your boyfriend, Carl (above), myself and all the mixed couples who are facing family and community pressures are basically at the cutting edge of the REAL future of British community relations. It is a ‘pioneering’ exercise in the truest form of the word because very, very few people have navigated this path before. At the moment many couples are having to re-invent the wheel (often unsuccessfully) because there is not a body of common knowledge about how to succeed in these relationships.

    If Mixtogether wins this competition on MySociety, it will be a groundbreaking victory. This is not about fixing streetlights or borrowing spanners (although those things are necessary in society too!) This is about using the internet to wire up a cultural change which is currently just starting around the country, but will grow to be the defining movement of our generation.

    Fingers crossed!



  6. This is an excellent idea with an increasing demand as mixed relationships become more and more common in this country. Speaking from experience, cross-cultural relationships, be they across boundries of race, religion or culture are still considered an absolute no go area for some people, with families refusing to so much as entertain the idea. While integration and mixing in general are moving forward, the idea of mixed relationships is still a stumbling block for true integration. Hopefully, this website will prove to be a valuable resource for those accepting the challenge until such a time as it no longer is seen as a taboo. Again, speaking from experience, the kind of information, advice and support proposed by mixtogether.org would have been invaluable to me in the situation I found myself rather than having to learn things the hard way that only life can do. Good luck to mixtogether.org and I would encourage others to support this idea too.

  7. Thanks Darren, a lot! You are onto something when you say thet the demand for a site like this is increasing. As time goes on, and the new generation of children from all backgrounds go to school and university together, there will be more and more who fall for each other across racial and religious boundaries. It is happening right now.

    The site needs to develop in order to move the debate forward, and to publicise the plight of the many couples who are being forced apart due to prejudice.

  8. Hi all!

    I’ve been desperately seeking some sort of communication with someone in my situation. I’m an agnostic (former Muslim) who’s parents are highly religious. My younger brother already moved away to be with his white girlfriend, and I am involved with the woman I want to marry. We’re both very much in love, and our values, interests, dreams and ideals all align very nicely. However, my parents stereotype her as a “typical white slut,” and refuse to even meet her. We’re planning on moving in together in a few months and getting engaged shortly thereafter.

    I know this is to be the mother of my children, and I only hope that my family can overcome its prejudices so they can share in the joy.

    This is particularly hard for me, and even harder on my 16 year old sister who is still very young and has to deal with the pressure at home because she has no way to get out of the house.

    I salute you in your efforts and your site is grand!

  9. Benjamin Chesterton


    Firstly since I have been recently researching this subject I think that this is a terrific idea and I truely hope someone stumps up the cash.

    Secondly I am making a documentary on conversion at the moment for the BBC Asian Network. I’m particualry keen to include in the programme some stories of couples who have struggles with their families because they are in an inter-faith relationships. I know how difficult this can be for the parents and the pressures they can then put on young people to conform. I’m lookinmg to talk to people informally first and then if they feel comfortable to record an interview, which can be anonymous.

    Please do get in contact at benjamin.chesterton@bbc.co.uk or on 07921648431. THANKS .. and can those who want to set up the website please contact me too. THANKS

  10. Hi there,

    My name is Jennifer and I am a Researcher for Rival Media. We are currently developing a new Channel 4 documentary format series centred around dispute resolution between a range of parties– be that feuds between families and friends, conflicts within the working environment or even long running neighbour disputes.

    We hope to bring peace where none have before and as such, we are looking for a wide range of contributors to take part in this ambitious new series. Contributors who are chosen will have the opportunity to work with a range of leading professionals who are expert at problem solving and crisis management with the aim of resolving their conflict for a fresh beginning.

    We’d like to cover as diverse a range of conflicts as possible and we are keen to explore the difficulties that can arise between the families of couples involved in mixed race or interfaith partnerships. We aim to promote understanding, respect and peace within any and all relationships and as such I hoped it was something Mix Together would be keen to help us with.

    In light of this I hoped it might be possible to pass this email amongst the members of Mix Together to encourage anyone who might want to take part to get in touch. It would also be great if we could perhaps post a small piece of editorial on your forum/website/newsletter. So if you think this might be possible please do drop me an email and I’ll forward the information to you.

    Should you know of anyone who may want to be a part of our series then please pass on my direct line; 0208 987 5450 which they can call anytime for an initial chat or for more information about the show. Likewise if you have any questions regarding our programme or Rival Media do not hesitate to give me a ring.

    Many thanks for your help in advance and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Kind regards,


  11. Hi,
    I was looking for information to help a close friend of mine, in a mixed race marriage, and fell on your website. This is a great idea and very instructive. However, issues such as eventual problems within a mixed marriage between husband and wife haven’t been broached. This is also a sad reality of mixed marriage and should be addressed.

    I have a dear muslim friend, Rubina who married an English catholic man, Chris in 2006. Rubina is a very intelligent and adorable person who has married after a short courtship, unopposed. But unbeknown to her, Chris is a closet racist. The physical, emotional and verbal abuse that woman receives is disturbing. She even apologises for being dark skin after Chris commented that he prefered Eastern European prostitutes to someone like her. It saddens me that Rubina’s husband found the whole idea of her chastity so endearing that he had to marry her but only to pillory her after the marriage. According to Chris she is too boring, too dark and too old fashioned. After more than a year in that relationship, my friend is a nervous wreck and has become a recluse. Whilst it’s great rhapsodising about equality and mixing together, the risks of both partners finding out that their cultures are too different shouldn’t be overlooked. We need to educate people and before anyone gets into a mixed marriage, they need to understand and appreciate that their differences will last them the course of their union.