How do our Latino parents shape our romantic relationships? Here’s one artist’s exploration

A cartoon Julio Salgado
(Julio Salgado / For De Los )

When it comes to building healthy relationships with romantic partners, there is only so much we can blame our family traumas for when things don’t work out.

Theres been a stereotype in Hollywood about the portrayals of our Latinx communities when it comes to love.
I turned to my parents to try and understand what it meant to be in a relationship.
When I got my first and last girlfriend in high school, I assigned myself the role of a protector.
When I started dating men in college, I somehow equated that to having to be softer and understanding.
It was confusing because during arguments, I would wonder if I should cry like my mom or use a higher tone like my dad.
Then I started therapy. I was lucky to find a therapist that was both gay and Mexican like myself.
When I offered that perhaps my parents had ruined my ability to attempt a healthy relationship, he called me out.
You're a grown-ass adult and there's only so much you can blame your parents for until you start working on yourself.
As I continue to navigate love with a baggage full of trauma, I've learned to let my guard down a little bit.

Julio Salgado (@juliosalgado83) is a digital illustrator based in Long Beach.