Culture

In My Own, I’ve Learned That Interracial Relationships Won’t Work If You Run From The Hard Stuff

In a sea of olive skin and dark eyes, there’s a tuft of blonde hair with baby blues. That guy with blue eyes is my person. At every christening, wedding, or birthday party, where there’s me, there’s my boyfriend. We go together without thinking, and I feel fortunate that I’m at a point in my life where bringing my boyfriend to family events is a given.

Throughout my dating life I’ve been asked “What you don’t like Latinos?” and “Will you ever date someone who isn’t white?” by friends and family alike.

Wandy Felicita Ortiz

For those asking: I do, and I have, but not with the frequency that the people asking those questions would like.

My grandparents came to the mainland in the 1950s and my great-grandfather, though born in Puerto Rico, was still considered a citizen of Spain. In comparison, his family lineage in the U.S. goes so far back that you can trace it to the Mayflower.

Often, I get called an “Oreo,” too white-minded to be Latina, and too dark-skinned to be white. I’m conscious of our differences, but I don’t date my boyfriend to be a living educational exhibit. I refuse to be fetishized or exoticized. I am who I am.

Even so, I have a lot to learn in terms of how I project some old cultural customs, be they sexist or racist, onto people I love.

Wandy Felicita Ortiz

My boyfriend and I aren’t afraid to talk about it as a couple or as friends.

The upbringing I have had, as traditional as it is, has led me to be judgmental, private, and less open. Meanwhile, he is open to my family and my culture. Where he jumps head-first, I’m hesitant to do the same because I’m afraid to lose sight of who I am.

Comments on my being one half of an interracial couple have always made me feel like my romantic relationships aren’t my own, and that to be in one, it had to please the people around me.

Yes, I do believe that your friends and family ultimately want the best for you. And yes, Latino families are sometimes so on our cases we don’t know where we end and they begin. It’s the positive danger of coming from a culture that’s close-knit, regardless of whether or not you want it to be. But, you learn to work with and around it.

I’m sure that when my loved ones ask me these questions, they do so less out of malice, and more of concern. Maybe to them, by being with someone who doesn’t share my cultural upbringing, I’m missing out on the best parts of my heritage.

In this relationship, I do see color.

Wandy Felicita Ortiz

We are two completely different people. Racially, and in turn socioeconomically. These two things play a key role in our relationship. Our interactions consist in “we don’t do that” or “you can’t say that,” and “when you say that, you sound like,” fill in the blank.

I call him out when he says something culturally insensitive or racially charged. I tell him when his privilege is showing. He lets me know when my upbringing doesn’t allow me to express thoughts and ideas I have due to fear or being shut out by others in my Latino community.

My boyfriend was never a dance partner at a quinceanera, he has never seen a quenepa up-close, and bendiciones to the elders was a foreign concept that he’s continually being introduced to. But although he’s new to all of those things, he embraces them.

When I say that, I don’t mean that he works to be or act Latino.

I do mean that he works to see the value in these things that are foreign to him, but non-negotiable as part of my life, and in turn, our partnership.

He seeks out this understanding. He asks questions about what he can’t relate to through personal experience and admits that there’s more to the Latino community than he realizes.

Together, we are on a journey to unlearn the bad and embrace the good in both of us. It’s hard, it’s messy, and there are fights. But this is the future, one of color-conscious love that, as a result, allows the best of us to shine through.

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

FIERCE LGBTQ Couples Are Sharing How They Met And It’s The Sweetest Thing

Fierce

FIERCE LGBTQ Couples Are Sharing How They Met And It’s The Sweetest Thing

Charles McQuillan / Getty

As we highlight Pride month, we wanted to share beautiful stories of LGBTQ+ love. To do so, we recently asked our FIERCE readers on Instagram to tell us how they met their partners and the results were not only hilarious but deeply inspiring.

Love is love and we love this kind of love.

Check it out!

The old slide in trick.

“I slid into the DMs.” – joanacanna

On their start to being ~educated latinas~

“My girlfriend and I met at the end of our first year of law school. She would say that I curved her for a few months before we became close. Almost three years later, we are both attorneys and looking forward to where life takes us.” – legalricanmujer

These two lovers who met while pushing for a joint interest

“We met in boot camp! 10 years ago (we’ve been together 2 /1/2 years, married 1 yr.” –hey_itsaj18

Chicas who started out on the same path and stuck together.

“We met in Nursing school we graduated together. That was 4 years ago, she’s a psychiatric nurse and I’m a geriatric nurse.” – m_a_r_i_a__j_o_h_a_n_n_a

They found love in a pandemic place.

Love in the time of Corona, thanks to Hinge!” – bienvenidarealidad__

Turns out the internet is the ultimate matchmaker.

“On the HER app. The same day she liked my profile she ended up coming into my job. I saw her but she didn’t see me. I ended up messaging her that night when I got off of work & we have been inseparable ever since. 3 years later and everyday I fall in love with her over & over again.” – _yourfavoritepoet_

And this is the most hilarious one of all.

“My wife @chulaworldand I were both seeing the same guy (total 🐶) …… so when we found out about each other we met up! And we have LITERALLY been inseparable ever since. Married on 4/20/19.” –bunuelitas