Dimelo: How to Start New Adventures & Leave Even When You're Afraid

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New starts aren't easy. Latina's advice columnist tackles two reader problems: one is ready for a new start and to say adios to her mami, while the other is scared to make a move. Do you agree with her advice? Leave a comment and let us know!

Dear Pauline,

I’m a high school senior who’s looking forward to moving away, attending a university, living on campus and finding my independencia. The problem is my mother, who insists I stay within arm’s reach and flips her lid every time I mention college applications and dorm rooms. What do I do? Give up on my college dreams or go and deal with the Latin mami guilt?

—guIlt-trIpped 

Dear Guilt-tripped,

If I had a dime for every question that comes in asking me how to handle a Latin mami guilt trip, I’d have my own college loans paid off by next week. You need to stand strong. While it’s natural for mothers to get weepy when our kids are ready to leave the nest, it’s not okay to hold you back. Getting Mami (and Papi) to understand that, however, is a different story. Have a heart-to-heart and discuss your mother’s fears and concerns. Is she worried you’ll never call home or visit? Reassure her by setting a weekly phone date (and then stick to it). Is she upset because cultural standards dictate daughters stay home until marriage and she doesn’t know how to handle your independent streak? If so, tell her you aren’t walking away from your culture, but rather, you’re on a journey to find yourself. And promise me that you’ll remember the day the Dímelo advice columnist helped you stand up for yourself and swear you will never throw a guilt trip like this at

your future children. Then give Mami a kiss, tell her how grateful you are that she raised you to be such a strong young woman and get to work on making those dreams of yours come true. I’m betting Mami is proud, even if she’s trying not to show it. —Congrats on graduating!

- P

Dear Pauline,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for six years. We live together and have a child. I love him but I don’t care to be with him anymore. But I’m afraid to break up my family. I feel selfish, but I believe there’s something better out there for me. Then again, I’m scared to be a single parent. I work full-time and go to school! I’m also afraid that he’ll make my life harder when it comes to our son, because I know he wouldn’t help me financially. Ayúdame!

—lookIng for more

Dear Looking,

You love him, but that’s not always enough; there’s a difference between loving and being in love. It sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into where you want to be. It’s also obvious that your fear of the unknown is holding you back. Moving on may not be easy, but it isn’t selfish. You might break up your family, but you’ll be finding yourself and providing your child with an example I think you’ll be proud of. You asked me if leaving your boyfriend would be a mistake. The only mistake would be staying because you’re afraid to leave. —Be strong

P

Pauline Campos is Latina magazine's #DIMELO advice columnist. Email her your questions at dimelo@latina.com. Connect with her on her blog, www.aspiringmama.com, facebook ,instagram, and follow her on twitter: @pauline_campos.

Nueva Latina

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