EXCLUSIVE: Junot Diaz Talks 'This is How You Lose Her,' Latino Men & His Love for Latinas

This is How You Lose Her touches on a lot of things Latino men often do that winds up tearing their relationships apart (cheating, lying, machismo). What made you, as a man, want to delve into these topics? What advice can you offer to women who are in relationships with men like this? 

This is a shadow that haunts many relationships. It has a certain weight in heterosexual relationships, but it is a shadow that haunts any relationship. It crosses all lines between age and gender. Infidelity can shatter trust -- many people come face to face with this in their lives. It is a calamity of the heart, because it is such a part of our lives. I see it as one of the great dangers in intimacy. It was irresistible as a subject for me because there is a great subject around it.

When you’re a kid, you grow up with kid versions of love stories and what it means to fall in love. Then they grow up with these preconceived love stories and when you get older you realize how hard it is. Then there are these broken trusts, and as an artist, I was drawn to these. Nothing betrays us like love does. This reveals who we are. This was familiar for me, but terrible and difficult to convey.

What is the message you want both men and women to get from reading This is How You Lose Her?

I don’t think anyone should take relationship from me -- God what do I know! Most people when they are in a relationship that doesn’t feel safe they can feel that in their heart, and I would say why they feel that is normal if they feel that it so deeply in their heart. There is no advice that would protect you from negative outcomes of love, that’s the price to pay for love.

Why do you think men have such a hard time telling the truth and remaining faithful? What do you think it will take for men to ultimately change?

I’m not sure. I write about a small group of men – most artists paint miniatures of what they know. I belong to a Dominican society that doesn’t discourage infidelity. I also think that I don’t speak for all men, but for some of us, it’s the way we are socialized and are encouraged. We are told about the sensitivity around intimacy and a lot of boys grow up – a lot I know – grew up with a point of view that in order to be a real kind of man that people respect that they have to have a lot of girlfriends.  Males have a lot of masculine privilege. They expect women to swallow things that men would never.

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