Growing up in the Dominican community or any other Spanish speaking one can guarantee you a few things. You will undoubtedly be part of a very close-knit family. You will love your culture. And last, but not least, you will be expected in more cases than not to get an education, a good job “y que te case y me de un par de hijos.”
But one thing that is very clear [and Dominican men go through it in a much lesser capacity] is that the pressure we place on Dominican women is UNREAL, and sometimes leads these women to make bad decisions emotionally and financially to appease their loved ones.
“Cuando tu te vas casar?”
“Ah pero ya es tiempo de hijos. Tu no tiene novio?”
In my previous relationship, I remember my ex-girlfriend hearing this all the time not just when she was with me but before she even dated me. I know my sister hears it all the time. I know many Dominican women who I’ve dated hear it as well. I know a girl I’m talking to who is told she’s wasting her time not trying to find a husband. And any stop in a local salon on a weekend will at least have you hear those two famous sentences once.
But the problem is that everyone says this for selfish reasons. Now, don’t get me wrong, when my grandmother says “I want you to have kids,” I’m sure she says it because she doesn’t want me to end up alone or without a family. And she also wants to see grandkids before she passes. It would make her feel special. But the key word in all of this even if it’s without malicious intent is “her.”
Whenever someone is pushing for you to have kids or settle down/get married it’s more about him/her than it is about you. If your friends have kids they want you to experience the same things they do. Though they aren’t going to clean, feed, finance or do any of that. So, whenever you hear that statement it’s something they want for you not necessarily what you may want or need at this moment in your life. In some cases, it’s almost as if the person you have it with doesn’t matter as long as you have it.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen too many brilliant Dominican women fall victim to this by dating men that everyone knows they don’t belong with. Not just because they aren’t professionally all there but also financially.
I can be honest. In the past, I’ve been a good boyfriend. I’ve also been a bad boyfriend. There were some women [that no matter what I told them or myself] I surely wasn’t ready to be financially responsible with. If you as a man aren’t ready to be financially ready for a woman there’s no reason that woman should look at you as a long-term reality [same goes for women in reverse]. Now, that’s not to say the women I dated in the past were perfect, but I know I wasn’t ready to take the next step with either of them. I’m just keeping it real.
But sometimes, the worst decisions come in loneliness. Like anyone else, many women feel lonely. Many see age creep up on them. They hear the whispers from family and so forth. And many end up dating men who aren’t exactly in their league. Who may have it all together except for the important areas of emotional and financial maturity. Because let’s be real, there’s no woman in New York City [to be specific] that should get into a relationship and have children [in an expensive city like this one] with a man who isn’t up to the task in both departments.
So to all the Dominican mothers, grandmothers, tia’s and prima’s who practice this type of nonsense: CUT IT OUT! It’s not helping. Acknowledge your daughters, cousins, nieces, and grandchildren for all their success and the great things they have accomplished instead of glossing over it. It isn’t 1950 anymore. It may be in DR still but it’s not 1950 in the US. A woman’s purpose isn’t to tend to a man, cook, clean, have kids and get married to live an accomplished life…
*EXCERPTS from “Dominican Americans” by Claudio E. Cabrera
Claudio Eduardo Cabrera is a 34-year-old award-winning writer and audience development expert who was born and raised in the Inwood section of Manhattan to parents from the Dominican Republic. Over the last ten years, Cabrera has worked for some of the digital space’s most notable brands such as CBS and the New York Times. Outside of his professional career, the discussions around race and colorism in Latino communities is something he’s written about extensively, specifically around the Dominican community. He plans to release a book in 2018 focused on his life’s experiences and those of other Latinos of African ancestry.
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