Cultural differences shouldn't be what make or break your relationship.
However, my life story has been a rebellious feud against so-called normality. I remain passionate about all I do, especially concerning affairs of the heart.
The men in my life have all been extremely dissimilar. Yet, their commonality is the pedestal I placed them on. My boyfriends were each substantially spoiled. In true Scorpio fashion, I do not discriminate when it comes to race.
Fortunately, my familia is open-minded. They've never expressed prejudice against one of my sweethearts. Although I appreciate Latinos, my connections have ordinarily been interracial — I date morenos and I love the hell out of them.
Traditionally, Latinas are raised to be everything. We are the nurturing caregivers, practically as efficient as your local RN. Domestic as ever, we maintain spotless homes. Plus, as wholesome as we appear at our boyfriends’ family get-togethers, we absolutely do the most when the door locks at night.
Whether he is black, Asian or Latino, I moved mountains to keep my man happy.
My Asian boyfriend was a sneaker connoisseur with mixtape books as heavy as my own. A great taste in music is everything to me. He loved how enlightened I was but struggled with my Type A personality. The price of having a self-sufficient Latina is that she is confident in her métier.
My contributions to our relationship were endless. This proved to be overwhelming for a man who was accustomed to submissive women. Unfortunately for him, I am not built to take orders. In time, I continued developing, and he fell behind.
Oh, but Latinos! Arguably the most passionate men on the planet. My Boricua papi chulo was equally adoring, making for the best of times and the worst of them, too. I loved how he effortlessly spun me around to my tia’s favorite Hector Lavoe song. I appreciated his familiarity with my culture and how he never mocked my values or told me to “speak English.” He was protective of me — it was a turn-on. There was desire and Spanglish in abundance — with me and with other women.
Well, as the women in your family may have reminded you at some point, “what you do not do in the dark, the next will.” Still, the fun fact is this — putas never cared. If you’ve ever heard “a man will be a man,” you had better believe a side dish will do her best to become an entrée. Hence my lack of patience and search for the nearest departure.
On the other hand, no one ever tugged (or ripped, rather) at my heartstrings like my West Indian on-again/off-again boyfriend. The 10-year tragic magic that is a good girl and a wild boy. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to summarize a decade. We somehow turned into the millennial version of Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big. He treasured calypso while I danced to merengue. Our families, both from islands, shared many of the same foods, beliefs, and traditions.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of growing pains.
I learned more with him than with any man that’s ever come and left because I helped build him. Yes, you read that correctly — build him. We are jointly well versed in the arts, both creatives. He and I came from different economic backgrounds yet I postured myself as his equal. Artistically, there is not much of a difference between us. And no matter who dares to interfere, to know him is to know me.
So I suppose it’s all in the luck of the draw. Cultural difference is real, but it ultimately comes down to whose demons are down to play with yours.
From my experience, the partner that challenged me was best for my overall well-being. Comfort was just that, easy, but it never helped me grow.
The unpopular truth is this: often times, love and pain are one and the same. We must simply decide who is worth it. I’m grateful for each of my connections.
This article was originally published at Latina. Reprinted with permission from the author.