El Amor

The Families Of These Latinas Weren’t Happy About Their Decision To Elope, But They Did It And Are Happy Anyway

Latinos take their traditions very seriously. I know that, you know that, we all know that. From baptisms and birthdays to quinces and Día de los Muertos, everything we do is deeply rooted in rituals and customs that have been passed down for generations. But what happens when someone isn’t all that traditional? Is it OK to toss tradition out the window, even if it means going against your family’s wishes?

With weddings, these questions can lead to some contentious confrontations and create uncomfortable rifts among loved ones. Suddenly, what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life has morphed into the most stressful, and you’re left feeling like no matter what you do, you’ll end up disappointing someone.

When Melinda Guerra got engaged, she and her fiancé knew that they wanted to elope. Getting her traditional family on board, however, wasn’t going to be easy.

Credit: Melinda Guerra

Things were rough,” Guerra told FIERCE“The more traditional Mexican family members took a while to warm up to the idea.”

While Guerra’s mom was “wonderful throughout the whole thing” and took care of breaking the news to her relatives, Guerra’s dad wasn’t as supportive.

“My dad and I had lots of conversations about my not having a traditional wedding that there would be no aisle to walk me down and that it would be no grand family event,” Guerra said. “He eventually understood that I was not budging on this, but there was a long while when things just remained tense any time it came up. In addition to his losing out on a wedding, he was also hurt that we were planning to just move in together and get married at some point down the road, [which] seemed obviously inappropriate to him.”

Although Guerra said that she wishes her dad had been more encouraging from the start, she has zero regrets about skipping out on the traditional wedding altogether.

“Eloping was the best decision for us,” Guerra explained. “I found a judge in a small town in Indiana and got a bouquet from the local florist. The next day, we kept my stepdaughter home from school, dressed up, picked up Ring Pops for the ceremony and went to get married. The three of us got ice cream afterward.”

That level of intimacy is a big part of the allure of eloping. Personally, I never seriously entertained the thought of elopement — at least not until I recently got engaged myself. Then everything changed, especially once I started crunching the numbers. As weddings become more expensive — according to the Knot, the national average cost of a wedding was $33,391 in 2017 — more and more brides are confronting an unpleasant reality: While a wedding might arguably be the Ultimate Tradition, it’s also the most costly. And for many of us, it’s not necessarily worth it.

Because let’s get real: $33,391 is a lot of money that could be used on, well, just about anything. That’s a new car, a down payment on a house, an epic intercontinental voyage … you get the idea. Risking the familial backlash might not be such a gamble if it means being able to spend that money (or even a fraction of it) on something you’d actually want. And if you’re lucky, maybe there won’t be much of a backlash at all.

For culture coach Regina Rodríguez-Martin, who also chose to elope, everyone seemed to be supportive.

Credit: Regina Rodríguez-Martin

“I know being a Mexican-American woman from a huge Catholic family made me unusual in my decision, but I haven’t done much in my life for the sake of tradition. I’m fourth-generation Mexican-American, born in 1966, and have had little interest in quinceañeras, weddings, posadas, Roman Catholic masses and other rituals.”

Like Guerra, Rodríguez-Martin has “no regrets” about her decision to elope.

“I’d never dreamed about a big, traditional wedding day and had always been indifferent to those spectacles,” Rodríguez-Martin said. “At the age of 41, I cared about a traditional wedding less than ever. I just wanted to be married.”

Puerto Rican yoga therapist, Rachel Divine, also just wanted to get married. 

Credit: Rachel Divine

For her elopement, a handful of friends helped make the day extra special — with a little creativity.

“I had no bouquet so my friend made one from the flowers in the parking lot,” Divine said. “We got married in East L.A. at the city courthouse. The chaplain said I was the happiest bride she’d seen in forever.”

After the informal wedding party, they ate lunch at a taco spot, drove around Hollywood and capped off the night with home-cooked lobster and champagne.

“I loved it and saved money,” Divine said. “It’s stress-free — I so recommend it.”

Read: 9 Ways Brides Can Take Their Latina Wedding Traditions And Run With Them

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ANTM’s Eva Marcille Bravely Comes Forward With Her Story Of Having Hide In ‘Multiple Places’ To Evade Her Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

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ANTM’s Eva Marcille Bravely Comes Forward With Her Story Of Having Hide In ‘Multiple Places’ To Evade Her Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

Shade is often thrown around on any given episode of the Real Housewives franchises. Gossip is what makes the reality show interesting. Sometimes, however, when lies spread, the truth that is ultimately revealed can be hurtful and speak more about reality than what was intended.

On last night’s episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” one of the women, Marlo, tried to come for a castmate to poke fun at her financial woes. The shade turned out to expose longtime abuse.

Eva Marcille revealed on RHOA that the reason she has been moving from house to house isn’t that she’s lacking money but rather scared for her safety.

Twitter/@atlantainformer

“I still feel a sense of threat,” Marcille told her castmates on last night’s episode. “I have had to move five times, and I still feel a sense of uneasiness. He’s just so petty sometimes. I’ve walked outside of my balcony before, and he’s been standing in the dark. And it is the scariest feeling ever.”

Marcille is an American actress and former winner of the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model who is of Puerto Rican descent.

Marcille alleged that she has a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, Kevin McCall due to stalking and domestic abuse.

The couple, who share a daughter together (though she refers to him as a “donor”), separated in 2015. She has since gone on to marry Atlanta lawyer Micheal T. Sterling; they too share a child.

Marcille dispelled gossip that she and Sterling have frequently moved around because of financial troubles.

Instagram/@omfgrealitytv

“Every time I move, he finds me,” Marcille said on the episode. “Because of that, I live in multiple places. Safety is a priority for me.”

Sterling took to social media to support his wife by saying “Everything we got, we earned the hard way. And every day that I wake up, I work for legacy, not labels. Motivational use only.”

Marcille told the women that a former friend, who she had a falling out with, began spreading lies about her. “The lies are real gross, and the hate is beyond,” she said on Instagram.

Her alleged abuser, who’s had a history of erratic behavior at least on social media, said Marcille is just using the claims against him as a fake storyline.

“It’s sad when she gotta keep using my name for her storyline if I was the husband I would be like “Real hoe of Atlanta is you out your mind, or is you still obsessed with your child’s Father? Why is he in our storyline so much ain’t I enuff headline for our relationship?” McCall said on Twitter.

Marlo also said on last night’s episode that Marcille was using old claims to back up her current financial situation.

Last year on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Marcille said that McCall has never been a part of her daughter’s life.

“He thinks that biology is more important than being present,” Marcille said of McCall. “He’s extremely dysfunctional, and he’s not at a place where it’s safe for himself or for others.”

Fans of Marcille were quick to offer her support on Twitter.

The less reasonable are demanding more details.

Others were quick to highlight their favorite and most empowering quotes from Eva on the episode.


READ: News Of This Woman Killing Her 11-Year-Old Daughter Because She Suspected Her of ‘Having Sex’ Is Proof Of The Perils Of Purity Culture

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Are You A Victim Of Abuse? Use This Checklist To Help You Determine The Truth

Calladitas No More

Are You A Victim Of Abuse? Use This Checklist To Help You Determine The Truth

There are three ways that abuse can be identified. By the way your partner treats you physically, by the way they treat you emotionally, and by how you feel about the relationship. This checklist of twenty signs of abuse is one tool that you can use to see if you, or someone you know, is a victim of abuse. And remember, more resources for dealing with abuse can be found by calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233.

1. They have grabbed you and refused to let go.

gabkaphoto / Instagram

This falls into the category of physical abuse. No-one should grab you to make you feel threatened and unsafe. No-one.

2. They have pulled your hair.

Instagram: @theerinblythedavis

This is another form of physical abuse. Sure, a bit of hair pulling in the act of passion is fine. But when it happens as part of an argument, or when your partner is deliberately trying to hurt you or make you feel threatened, that is abuse.

3. They have thrown things at you and/or destroyed your belongings.

Instagram: @beatfreak1996

One way your significant other may try to control you is through your belongings. Throwing things at you and destroying your belongings is designed to hurt you physically and emotionally. Threatening to do so also falls under this category of behavior, too.

4. They have left you with bruises, black eyes, bleeding, and/or broken bones.

Instagram: @veeegooose

While abuse doesn’t necessarily have to leave marks on your body, a sure sign of physical abuse in your relationship is when your partner does leave marks. Research shows that once it happens the first time, a “threshold” of sorts has been crossed, and an abuser is more likely to hurt their partner again.

5. They have threatened to hurt or kill you.

Instagram: @raquelitt

It may not seem like abuse, since there are no physical marks left from a threat to hurt or kill you. However, these threats are still part of the arsenal of tools that abusers use. How? Because these threats are designed to control your behavior, and make you feel powerless. Abuse in a relationship is about the abuser gaining and maintaining power, and death threats are a way of emotionally controlling you.

6. They have threatened to take your children away or harm them.

Instagram: @stephaniemaurasanchez

Even if you have children together, children shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip in your relationship. Even more importantly, your children’s safety is non-negotiable: no partner of yours should threaten it. By the way, this doesn’t just apply to children. Pets can also be used to manipulate and control you in a relationship.

7. They have forced you to have sex.

Instagram: @jennylikesjewellery

Sex is not a “duty” to be fulfilled in a loving, equal relationship. Nor should your partner guilt trip or manipulate you into participating in sex acts after you have refused sex. Consent needs to be freely given! It doesn’t matter how long the two of you have been together. Otherwise, it’s classed as sexual assault.

8. They try to control you and treat you like a child.

Instagram: @silvia_almanza

Abusive relationships are about control and power. Part of treating you like a child is making you feel like you don’t have any control in the relationship, or even your life, so that you continue to stay and endure the abuse.

9. They make you feel like you need permission to make decisions or go somewhere.

Instagram: @kreeturefeature

This applies when you feel like you have to text at every moment to update your partner about where you are. And when you can’t spend time with friends or family without getting permission from your partner. This is because abusers commonly try to isolate their partner from other, platonic relationships with other people.

10. They try to take complete control of the finances and how you spend money.

Instagram: @loudmouthbruja

Controlling how money is earned and spent is known as financial abuse. People suffering from this type of abuse are commonly denied access to money by partners for doing simple tasks like grocery shopping. Or, sometimes the abuser decides whether and when their partner is allowed to work.

11. They cannot admit to being wrong.

Instagram: @abs_ter

Part of being in a respectful and loving relationship is being able to say sorry and to admit fault. An abusive partner refuses to apologise, because doing so would threaten their position of power in their relationship.

12. They accuse you of things that you know are not true.

Instagram: @estephaniaabarca

This is about control, and manipulating you. After all, if you’re spending your time trying to prove your innocence, then you’re not going to spend your time planning to leave the relationship, are you?

13. They do not take responsibility for their behavior.

Instagram: @lu.pazmi

The reality is, it’s not too much to ask someone to take responsibility for their behavior – even more so when it’s someone you’re in a relationship with. However, your partner doesn’t take responsibility for their behavior because doing so would threaten their position of power in the relationship.

14. They use “The Silent Treatment” to get their way.

Instagram: @yappaririri

Chances are you may have experienced “The Silent Treatment” before, in elementary school. And that’s where that behavior should stay. An equal, loving relationship is not built on one person using silence to manipulate the other person into conceding a point.

15. They make subtle threats or negative remarks about you.

Instagram: @noshophotography

Of course, there’s always room for some friendly sledging in a loving, respectful relationship. But, it turns into abuse when your partner does this on a regular basis to frighten, or control you. It’s possible they may even pass it off as a “joke”, or say that you’re “overreacting”. But again, if you’re in a loving relationship, then your partner should respect the fact that you’re hurt by a “joke”. They should not continue to make these types of comments.

16. You feel scared about how your significant other will act.

Instagram: @erikakardol

Repeat after us: you should have no reason to fear your partner in a loving, respectful relationship. You should have no reason to fear your partner in a loving, respectful relationship.

17. You feel that you can help your partner to change their behavior.

Instagram: @amnesia.r

But, only if you have changed something about yourself first.

18. You watch your behavior carefully so that you do not start a conflict in your relationship.

Instagram: @cmirandads

An abuser does not abuse all of the time. They maintain a cycle of abuse in the relationship. Things go from being tense, where you feel like you have to watch your own actions, to an incident which involves verbal, emotional, financial and physical abuse. Then, your partner attempts reconciliation or denies the abuse occurred, and the relationship goes into a calm stage. However, tensions will begin to build before long, starting the cycle once again.

19. You stay with your partner because you are afraid of what they would do if you broke up.

Instagram: @msstefniv

In other words, you feel trapped in your relationship because of your partner’s current, or potential, behavior. This can range from hurting you, your kids, your pets, your friends, and your family. Or, destroying your belongings, compromising access to your finances, or hurting themselves.

20. They don’t pass “The No Test”

Instagram: @kaitlyn_laurido

“The No Test” is pretty simple. Observe what happens the next time you tell your partner “no”. This could be in response to being asked out on a date, or maybe doing them a simple favor. Disappointment is a normal response to being told “no.”  However, pure outrage, violence, and/or emotional manipulation is not a reasonable response, and may indicate an abusive relationship.

If you feel that you are experiencing an abusive relationship, please seek help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233 for assistance. Please take care if you feel that your internet or mobile phone device use is being monitored.

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