Today: dating, courtships, WHA?????

i am part of a huge extended hispanic family. My side is from Puerto Rico and the hubby’s side is from Ecuador. IN order to fully understand this post, you should also know that both G and I were raised by our grandmothers in our parents absence.THAT is a long story for another day though.
today i opened up my computer and saw the big debate over courtships vs dating because of the announcement of Jessa Duggar’s engagement. as many of you know, the Duggars are Christian fundamentalists. Their family adheres to a strict set of moral values and rules and i say, HEY! more power to you.This world is scary enough without having to worry where your kids are and what type of germs they are being exposed to.
as my girls are getting older,i have become more open to the fact that they WILL have interest in finding partners. MY 17.5 daughter is much more interested in her studies and in her hobbies to think of boys, but eventually she will, as will my 16 year old ASD daughter and my crazy little whirly dervish of a thirteen year old. the hubs and i were raised old school….and this is how it went ( as far as i was concerned).
in High School, girls would not date. they would enter “steady teen relationships”. i am pretty sure i just made up that term, but that is the easiest way to describe it. a boy would like you, approach you to see if you felt the same way and usually you would start to get to know each other in a school environment. once you were comfortable enough with that person and felt that there was “something” there, it was time to get permission from your parents for the boy to visit you at your home. you would have a certain time each week, usually on the weekends to spend time with your “boyfriend” under a kinda sorta supervised way.
now, this did not always work and i knew of many girls who got pregnant in high school, most of them in the time right after their quince or high school graduation. many got married, and as far as i know, have married their teen boyfriends and are having grandchildren at this point.
CRAZY right? BUT, that is the way it was done and you either had a boyfriend or you didn’t. most of my girlfriends from HS had promise rings in their junior year.
so this bring us to ME! i had one steady boyfriend in HS, but he never went to my house. i was terrified my grandmother would kill me so we kept it on the down low. it didn’t last long and seriously, i never cared that much. we never went beyond first base and that was fine by me. not many people knew and by the time i graduated HS it was long over. i was fine with not a boyfriend. i had better things to do and it was the 80’s!
i also had a steady boyfriend in college who i thought was THE ONE. that breakup was major and was enough to make me leave PR to start a new life in NYC. it was 1988 and the city was MINE!!! we went back and forth getting back together but by the end of 1989 it was done for sure.
it was sad, painful and disturbing. we were so similar in temperament, hobbies, music and so many other things that i felt i would never ever find someone again.
the winter of 1989 and the start of 1990 was one endless party.i went out to clubs, met people from places i didn’t even know, went put every single weekend and had a GRAND old NYC time. i dated different guys every week and was determined to not get tied down again. it was fun, light and a bit crazy. and then….everything changed.
in the summer of 1990 i was 21 years old, working in the city and living with my aunt and uncle. it was the closet thing i had ever had to a family and i was HAPPY! i was helping with my cousins and i truly felt that it was good. the love of my life was waiting around the corner…who knew?
he did everything the right way. My girls father is, and has always been, a gentleman true to his word, hardworking and dependable. we had a true hispanic courtship. he went to my house and a week after we met asked permission to visit me at the house. he came every weekend without fault. we watched movies, talked, held hands and stole kisses while no-one was looking. i can truly say that i was a virgin when i met my husband. now, i am going to lie and say that i was one before i got married. i knew i was getting married to this man…and 8 months to the day, we were married in a church ceremony. we have been married 23 years….could you believe?
so what does this all have to do with dating, courtships and engagements? here is my point: not everything works the same for everyone. as parents all we can do is relay information, open the dialogue and hope that everything that you have instilled in them sticks. all the values, talks and examples are complicated…it is not easy talking to kids about sex, but it is all around them. i want my girls to experiment but with responsability….and hopefully, when the time is right, they will bring a nice boy home who will not mind having a whole family gawking at home. i wish for my girls nothing less that what they have witnessed at home:)

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