You’re okay with casual dating. Your friends and coworkers are okay with your casual dating. Even your manicurist, your landlord, and the creepy dude behind the deli counter are all fine — and slightly entertained — by your random hookups, your three-week relationships, and your inability to predict when the next one will arrive. So why are so many Latino parents still behind the times? And why are they so damn good at making you feel so guilty about your dating life?
Licensed marriage and family therapist Amanda Wiginton sat down with me to discuss why some families just can’t let their baby girls grow up. And together we came up with three ways a chica can quickly get them on her casual dating page.
Talk to Them With a Plan
Before I told my mom the story of the Ecuadoran busboy I once made out with at a boozed-up brunch party, I knew I had to change my script a little bit. Simply saying I was pinned up to a wall in a bathroom stall, while drunk with a stranger who had a really cute butt would totally clash with what she thinks is appropriate for a good Christian girl — especially on a Sunday afternoon.
By anticipating her reaction, however, I was able to share the story in a way that both felt good for me and avoided a chancleta across my forehead. According to Wiginton, if you want to begin to open up about your dating life with your parents, having a plan beforehand is essential. “If you go into it knowing that you are expressing a view or lifestyle that is not parallel with theirs, expect some kickback. But remember, just because they didn't "do dating" in this way, doesn't mean it is wrong.”
If you get an negative reaction to your choices, she recommends remembering the larger picture.
There was nothing my mother expressed about that story that borderlined on approval. If she could have baptized me and slapped a chastity belt on me, believe me, I think she would have. However, coming out to her with the honest depiction of the wild child I sometimes am proved to be a better adjustment for the both of us. According to Wiginton, since my sharing was for the sake of a better relationship and not her approval, it really worked to our benefit.
“Self-confidence and internal validation are key here,” says Wiginton. “As humans, we are social creatures and we seek validation for what what we are doing. On some level, we all want to make our parents proud and happy but when that desire outshines your ability to express ourselves, it is no longer healthy or productive. Developing internal validation allows you to know within yourself that you are a good and deserving person — even if you don't hear it from your parents or those around you.”
Be Confident in Yourself
If you really want to speed up getting them on your page, just be confident. All most parents care about, even if they don't understand what or why you are doing something, is that you seem to mostly have your shit together.
“Parents want you to be healthy and happy above all other things.“ says Amanda. “Believing in this, however, takes self-confidence and internal validation. You have to know within yourself that you are making good life choices for YOU. In other words, trust yourself. You are an intelligent and lovable person and you make good choices — trust that.”
Because I look like I trust myself, my mother can read stories like this — or posts about shaving my cho-cha — and give me some advice I never considered before. Which often makes me wonder if maybe she has a boozy bathroom makeout story of her own to share with me.
Hmm . . . .
Breonna Rodriguez is a Founding Creator and love and relationships blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at zenfulie.com.