A few weeks ago Gil and I went to talk to my parents about moving in together before marriage. We did everything correctly and expected them to say “no”. What we did not expect was the insults that came out of their mouths. At one point I was indirectly called a slut and a whore. I understand old school Puerto Rican traditions and how this change was not going to go well with them, but there was no reason Gil and I should have gotten the emotional abuse that we did. A marriage was being forced upon us and at first we had said no. I got more emotional abuse after the big argument. My mom kept enforcing the marriage and it got to a point where I gave in. It’s not that I did not want to marry Gilberto. We were in a place where marriage was not on the table yet. To get them off my back we filled out an application for a marriage license. On March 31st, 2016 we became husband and wife at the Queens Courthouse. Yes, you read correctly. We went through with what was a forced marriage.
For my family members and friends who are reading this let me start out with an apology. Gil and I decided not to invite any family members because to us this was not our real “wedding”. To us it was a document being signed to get my parents off our backs. I was not going to give my parents the satisfaction of seeing us get married this way. To be honest I still have a lot of anger within me for what they made us do. I did say “I do” to accepting Gil as my husband with all my heart and soul. I will forever be thankful to the city clerk who married us, Mrs.Helen Sears, for making the ceremony as cheerful as possible and a big thank you to our two witnesses Gallia and Shimmy. We made the most out of that day.
Now to cross off some major points as to why I will have a difficult time forgiving my parents for what they forced us to do. Now I know what many of you are thinking;
“No one forced you two to do anything. Why did you go through with it? You are an adult for goodness sakes.”
All valid questions and comments, but here is the situation. I am at a point where my relationship with my parents is damaged and most of the blame does fall on me. The other part is on them not always seeing eye to eye on the majority of issues. My opinion is never counted when it comes to them. This does not mean in anyway that I do not love them and appreciate all they have done for me. To hear (indirectly) my parents call me a whore hurt. Clearly I am not one to ever gain their approval and I gave up on that years ago. I never wanted to admit it before but there was some emotional abuse going on for years. It was not noticed until I put everything together, including my severe anxiety of talking to my parents about anything important. So with a heavy heart filled with anger and sadness I went through with it.
I am making this public not to gain any revenge on them, but to make sure parents do not ever force a marriage on their children. As an adult this hurt my pride a lot, and as a daughter it forever damaged my relationship with my parents. They will pretend this never happened to keep the peace at home. They will never admit that the real reason they forced this marriage was because they feared the family gossip of their daughter not following traditions and supposedly bringing them “shame.” I post this to my readers, family, and friends in case you ever encounter mom and dad and they in some way try to dismiss my side of the story. As I stated before I do love my parents, but this is not going to be forgiven easily.
Gilberto Burgos is now my husband. We will eventually have the ceremony we wanted, but for now we are living out the first year as a married couple. I love him. I do not regret marrying him. I just regret the circumstances that lead to it. I pray that I can find peace in my heart about what my parents have done to us someday. Gil has given his own story below.
I remember going into that conversation just hoping for an agree to disagree, that although it isn’t the way that they know things to be done but that as adults we could make that decision and work things out afterwards. I have no hatred or malice in my heart for this, but I do have a few words to say. As things escalated and the things that my wife said occurred (yes I am attesting that it is true) I felt sadness. We understood that this would be uncomfortable for them, what I still do not understand is how it managed to escalate that far? How did it become another chapter in the emotional abuse my wife has to recover from? The days after that we continued talking things out, seeing what course of action we wanted to take. Eventually we agreed to get married, the date we ultimately did was March 31st. This was not the ceremony me and my wife had in mind, or the time that we felt was right to do so. I love my wife, as she said I do not regret marrying her at all, I just wish it was under our own terms the way it was supposed to be.
I won’t forget that I could not have a wedding night the way most married couples do, or be in an ideal situation of spending time alone with my wife the way that is conducive to a healthy marriage. I am going to ask that if any parents are reading this or know anybody in a similar situation please do not resort to this without talking to each other. In the situation of me and my wife we fully intend to have an amazing marriage despite this, but to be forced into a step we weren’t ready for despite trying to talk out what was behind this is not the way either.
-Gilberto E. Burgos.