Culture

How I Learned to Forgive My Cuñada and Why You Should Too

I suppose it’s not that uncommon, but my cuñada didn’t like me much for many years.

“Nice to meet you,” she said, in clipped and heavily accented English the first time we met. She shook my hand taking it away quickly and barely made eye-contact, but I knew she didn’t approve of my short hair, my tattoos, or the fact that I was third-generation Mexican-American. If I had been someone else entirely, she probably would have found other things to hate about her too. My cuñada had left Mexico by herself. From what I know now, there were some dark reasons that she had to leave. It took her two tries to cross in Tijuana, but she made it all on her own, knowing that her brother would pick her up in Los Angeles, show her the way in the Bay Area, and support her financially for as long as was necessary.

She must have felt that my relationship with her brother was a threat.

When we first met, I was visiting the apartment that they shared then. We hadn’t been dating long, but things had gotten serious fast on account of our ages and his immigration status. I was 28 and he was 33.

“She’s just one of those women who doesn’t like other women very much,” my marido explained.

I hated those kinds of women. He squeezed my hand on our way down the stairs of his apartment on our way to eat. We always went out to eat those days. I could see the spring light shining through the large glass-front apartment door. Everything was shiny, new, and bright then, except for this one thing; this relationship with my cuñada.

I was pretty much the opposite of my cuñada. I was American-born, raised by women, had been in a band with women, and was about to start attending Mills College, a private women’s college in Oakland. I defaulted to hating or distrusting men and liking women, feeling a kinship through our shared inequality in a male-dominated world. But for months and months, maybe years, when I’d see her, my cuñada would attempt a smile and say, “Hola, Morena,” her lip sneering as it rolled over the ‘r’ in my family nickname, Morena. 

Still, I had vowed to not default to hate her just because she was a woman who didn’t get along with women, or because she was my sister-in-law.

I wasn’t going to compete with her or play into the catty-woman stereotype, and I was going to be kind and compassionate to her no matter what.

She made this very difficult.

When we first met, my cuñada had been living in the US for three years already, but she spoke very little English. I was surprised by how little English she spoke. She was surprised that I spoke very little Spanish.

“Hay muchos Mexicanos que no pueden hablar español.”

She said it a few months after my marido and I were married. She said it not to me, but to a friend who was bilingual, perhaps thinking that I wouldn’t understand her.  Then she said it again to another friend. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I promised not to participate in the catty-woman stuff or be passive-aggressive or hate a family member. I made myself another promise – to be kind and compassionate no matter what, but not to take her shit either.

I knew, though, that this one slight was so personal that it was going to be hard to forgive.

My marido got into bed first that night. I put on my nightgown, and sat down on my side.

“Hey, you need to have a talk with her sister ‘cause if you don’t do it. I’m going to have to do it.”

He looked up. “About what?”

“About what she said.”

“What did she say?”

I put my hand on my hip and did my best imitation, “Hay muchos Mexicanos que no pueden hablar español.”

“Oh, that.” He made a face.

“You better talk to her because if I have to do it, by the time I’m finished with her, she will be so embarrassed that she has been in the US for three years and doesn’t speak English that she will never want to speak it. That’s what’s going to happen.”

It wasn’t my finest moment.

“Okay,” he said, “I’ll talk to her.”

He never told me how the talk went, and I never asked because I didn’t need the argüende and because she never said it again. Within a year, she made us the padrinos of her first born, but I knew that I was only the madrina because I was la esposa de su hermano.

Photo provided by Michelle Cruz Gonzales

I still get a flash of anger when I think about her “hay muchos Mexicanos” comment, or the time she wouldn’t get out of the car to come and see our new house, or all the times I saw her roll her eyes and sneer at me, but I’m older than she is, and committed to supporting women, so I just waited her out. I took my ajihada on weekends to give my cuñados a break, made sure to remember my cuñadas birthday, participated in their extended family’s parties, even when I didn’t want to, and tried to forgive and not hold it against her when they had to miss our son’s birthday parties, prioritizing her marido’s large family’s numerous gatherings over ours.

Slowly but surely over the years, the ice began to thaw between us. My warmth, no matter how awkward and forced, combined with time and maturity, on all our parts, has allowed something new to develop, something real. And it’s good that I worked hard not to hold grudges and forgave what I perceived as slights because learning to forgive is good for our health. It can lower blood pressure, risk of heart attacks, cholesterol, and forgiveness can help improve sleep.

“Hi, Morena,” she smiles when she sees me now (which seems like all the time), and hugs me tight, and dumps a pile of food she brought, leftovers from the Philipino restaurant where she works, or un bote de frijoles that she made at her place and brought with her, a whole packet of corn tortillas, the family-size packet, and cans of soda in any flavor anyone in the house might drink. The other night she brought me a bottle of my favorite wine, and I shared it with her because that’s what cuñadas do. That’s what we’re supposed to do.

Latinas Say Don’t Get Married Until You’ve Confirmed These Things

Entertainment

Latinas Say Don’t Get Married Until You’ve Confirmed These Things

Hulton Archive / Getty

When it comes to getting married, just about everyone has opinions and advice. Of course, while input on dos and don’ts of considering marriage can be overwhelming, they’re also so important to listen. Recently, we came across a Tweet by Twitter user @cxkenobxkery⁠ who posted a thread called “Don’t get married before…” We reposted the question and asked our FIERCE readers what advice they had for other Latinas who were considering marriage and the answers were pretty eye-opening.

So here goes, if you’re thinking about getting married consider pumping the breaks unless you’ve…

Worked out your parenting styles

Too strict? Too soft? Balance and teamwork is crucial. It comes down to what kid of little humans do you BOTH want to raise.” – ramfamfour

Discussed mental health stuff

“ANY mental health issues. My ex husband was not verbally or physically abusive, but his mental health issues were at the core of our marriages demise. I would also add to pay attention to how compatible you are when the ‘feeling’ of being in love isn’t tinting your glasses. He hated new foods and I loved to cook. He didn’t understand hyperbole, sarcasm, analogy, humor, etc. And those are all native to me. Otherwise, this is a great list.” – dinneronmylap

Learned how you plan to grow together

“I think asking how a person plans to continuously seek knowledge during their lifetime is important.” – lachullavida

Have underlined your boundaries

“Speak about the boundaries you plan on having with your families as you create one of your own. TRUST ME, you don’t want a spouse who doesn’t know or understand how important this is. Nobody wants their in laws overstepping. If their parents or yours are doing this now, it will only get worse once you are married and it will create so much drama. People have divorced over this.” – taialvarez

Talked about credit scores

“And CREDIT SCORE, family health history, twins?”- liani9

Seen them when they’re angry

“Other tips: See how this person reacts when angry, see how this person treats strangers, see how this person faces a difficult dilemma. This will tell you a lot about a person.” –mariar09_

Have self-appreciation on both sides

“Don’t get married before you truly know, love and have appreciation for yourself.”- moni.gram

Know their family

“You absolutely need to know about family, how they were raised and around who… she’s wrong on that one.”- your_phoenix_

Have the age experience

“Don’t even THINK about it until you’re in your 30s.” – arlee_la

Sorted out cleaning habits

“The cleanings habits.” – nancyesquivel

Know how their parents fight

“Parenting / disciplining! Questions about in laws expectations. Alone time vs quality time – are you someone who needs a lot of time away or close to your partner? How fairly do you fight? How did your parents fight growing up? How do you negotiate with one another?” – melmor

Lived on your own

“The best thing I did for myself: Live away from family. I had a whole year to live with roommates and I learned so mhch about myself. If at all possible, consider doing this!!!” – dj_enamoured

Asked how their prior relationship ended

“Always ask how the prior relationship ended, been almost marry for 5 years and I never asked and I found out that he got 7 women pregnant and all of them got an abortion, also ask about mental health issues with the family I never did and found out his mother was bipolar without treatment now I know why he is the way he is cause he is bipolar… I thought things would changed but nothing has changed and don’t marry a men that has a lot of guy friends cause his priority are his friends… Yes I know don’t need to tell me to get divorce I m already working on it.” – suequte_yoginyc

Figured out how to spend time alone and apart

“Date/Outing expectations – is one a home-body vs outdoorsy? This made for some very uncomfortable situations for both if us in a prior relationship. Would lead to full on arguments. But if both aren’t comfortable with group dates or don’t consider a quiet dinner at home as romantic then someone is going to become resentful.” – rosanam1978

Been genetically tested

“On having children, it best to get a gene-carrier (gene disease testing) before marriage. It makes me so angry when hearing that married couple… MARRRIED, do it after marriage. What if both of them are carriers? Then having a kid with their gene disease is on its way, if they have 1 biological.” – officialdarlin

Demi Lovato Got Engaged And It’s Something Everyone Is Loving

Entertainment

Demi Lovato Got Engaged And It’s Something Everyone Is Loving

maxehrich / Instagram

Demi Lovato has had a very wild ride in recent years. The singer hit rock bottom and overdosed on drugs after years of sobriety. After all of the wild ups and downs in her life, Lovato is sharing some news that we are all celebrating, her engagement.

Demi Lovato is engaged and it is so sweet.

After four months of dating, Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich are officially engaged. The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer shared the news on social media and fans are pumped. During these crazy times, any good news is so welcome by anyone.

Friends, family, and fans are pouring congratulations on the newly engaged couple.

Credit: ddlovato / Instagram

Love is a beautiful thing. Seeing two people share that love without pretense is something to be celebrated. Lovato gushed over her new fiancé and celebrated this new chapter in her life.

@maxehrich – I knew I loved you the moment I met you. It was something I can’t describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand but luckily you did too,” Lovato wrote in her IG caption. “I’ve never felt so unconditionally loved by someone in my life (other than my parents) flaws and all. You never pressure me to be anything other than myself. And you make me want to be the best version of myself. I’m honored to accept your hand in marriage. I love you more than a caption could express but I’m ecstatic to start a family and life with you. I love you forever my baby. My partner. Here’s to our future!!!! 😩😭❤️😍”

Ehrich shared his own tribute to their new engagement.

View this post on Instagram

it’s a forever kind of thing 💘💍♾

A post shared by MaxEhrich (@maxehrich) on

“Ahhhh 💍😭💓 You are every love song, every film, every lyric, every poem, everything I could ever dream of and then some in a partner in life,” Ehrich wrote in a separate IG post. “Words cannot express how infinitely in love with you I am forever and always and then some. I cannot spend another second of my time here on Earth without the miracle of having you as my wife. here’s to forever baby 💍 ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh jeuejfjqjweuvu I’m so excited 😭😭😭 you are the most beautiful inside and out in the entire world & I couldn’t be more grateful God brought us together ❤️ 🙃💍💍💍😭I LOVE YOU SO MUCH @ddlovato AND WILL FOREVER CHERISH YOUR PURE, BEAUTIFUL, INFINITE SOUL.”

Congratulations to the new couple.

Now we wait for their wedding. Maybe she’ll pull inspiration from her “Tell Me You Love Me” music video.

READ: Demi Lovato Laughing At Herself While Rewatching ‘Camp Rock’: how awkward am I?