Expressing amor isn’t for the faint of heart. Blame it on my Dominican upbringing (my people can be a little verbally repressed) but saying “Te amo” gives me the chills. The words have often been on the tip of my tongue. As soon as I open my mouth to blurt out those three little words, I panic. My heart races and palms sweat as if I’ve seen a cuco.
I do express love in other ways. I use hugs and kisses to express how I feel. Latinos, specifically those from the Caribbean, are very affectionate. My primas and tias rarely tell me they love me; they show me. They embrace me and kiss me on the cheek (just the one) every chance they get. Mami is just the same. What is it that they say? The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. In our case it’s a plantain tree.
If you are also intimidated by the ‘L’ word, there is a solution. Just try doing some of these things.
1. Become Lorena Garcia. You know, the master chef. The Venezuelan-born restaurateur has introduced yummy Latin dishes into the homes of many Americans. You don’t have to go that far. Just cook your hombre his favourite meal. It not only shows that you want to cater to him, but it’s also an inexpensive way to treat him. It’s way cheaper than buying him his favourite gadget.
2. Caress him. Before you give him some azucar in the bedroom, caress his back. Kiss him gently on the lips. Show him that you love him with your touch, and not just before sex. Men love to be held as much as women do. Some men even feel undesirable when they don’t receive this kind of attention. So, be the Latina that you were raised to be! Tell him you love him by reaching out and touching him, literally.
3. Say something sweet en español. Whether your man is Latino or non-Spanish speaking, he will love it when you whisper sweet nothings in a foreign language. Try: “Te adoro,”Te necesito,” or “Te quiero.” “Te quiero” means “I like you a lot.” It is less scary than “I love you” though some say that it has a similar impact.
4. Be present. In this digital age this isn’t always easy. We are often texting or Tweeting before bed. I know I am. My work requires me to be online, and not just from 9-5. So be there. Be present in mind, body and heart. Sometimes that’s all a person needs to feel loved. Ask him how his day was. Wish him good morning. Send him a digital beso (you are texting anyway) while he sits beside you and then plant one on him. Be present and your relationship and love will deepen.
5. Write a love letter. There’s nothing greater than sending your amor a letter in the mail. So put pen to paper. If you struggle with saying “I love you,” tell him how much you appreciate him. Tell him why you are grateful. Still stuck on words? Write down the lyrics to his favourite romantic bachata or salsa song. No matter how you go about expressing your love he will remember this letter and keep it forever.