Alright, so you went to Cuba and fell in love. It’s OK. After dating a few Latinos in my life, I am dead serious when I say THERE AINT NOTHING COMPARED TO THE SUAVAMENTE OF A CUBAN PAPI. So if you fell for it, you were only doing what was natural and right in the world. Yea, yea, your friends are asking you how that works, exactly? You know with the Trump thing and the embargo thing and the no-internet thing and the only speak Spanish thing. But really, you don’t even know how it’s going to work and wish they would stop asking that question.
This blog post is for all y’all who got lost in the Cuban sauce and the things I’ve learned that has made my life easier having a long-distance relationship in one of the most difficult countries in the world.
For the purposes of simplifying this blog post, the author will refer to the Cuban significant other as “he” but recognizes that this is applicable to females as well as non-binary genders. In addition, the author understands this blog post is general as fuck. Every individual is different. These are just common questions and situations that have been submitted to the blog and are being addressed all at one time.
1.If He Hasn’t Proposed To You, He Doesn’t Love You.
Y’all met yesterday and today you’re meeting his family and tomorrow he’s introducing you as the mother of his future children. Intense, right? You’re like uhmmmm should I be freaked out? Or scared? Or happy? I mean, it’s so soon to be talking about marriage.
Well, getting a marriage proposal is completely normal in Cuba. In fact, if he hasn’t proposed to you, HE’S NOT THAT INTO YOU. But you don’t need to actually marry him. Cubans are just dramatic and that’s just his way of expressing himself.
But from now on, you’ll never date anyone who doesn’t propose to you within the first couple of days. No proposal means he’s just not willing to be extra about you. And we love being extra, right?
2. Sex In Casa Particulares Is Touchy.
I’m just gonna skip over how sex actually works in Cuba, because I’m sure you’ve gotten plenty of practice. But regardless, staying in the house of Cuban without paying is ILLEGAL. In addition, the owners of casa particulares probably won’t appreciate you bringing over a Cuban man or woman unannounced. (I mean, WOULD YOU want a potential prostitute in your house?)
Make sure you let your casa owner AHEAD of time, who and how many people will be accompanying you. Your bf will need to show their identification card at check-in. Please respect this. If not, don’t be mad when they cancel your reservation. If it’s just a night of passion, your man will know all the outdoor spots. You think you’re his first tourist? You’re not, no matter how many times he tries to convince you otherwise.
Condoms are practically free, by the way. If you’re really worried about STDs, antibiotics are also free (I know not all STDs are cured by antibiotics). People with HIV were actually quarantined in Cuba so their AIDS transmission rate is the lowest in the world.
3. Cubans Are Horny Cheaters.
Is a common stereotype you’ll hear often about Cubans. I won’t say it’s wrong. But those Tinder dates are the same exact thing, without the suavamente. I’ve been cheated on by men who live in the same dorm, so I’m not sure distance has anything to do with the ability to be faithful.
I’m going to say this once: the only thing that will keep a man faithful is himself. Life is too short to worry about some shit you’re never gonna know about anyway. But just to save yourself the disappointment, you should expect for him/her to have other physical relationships while you’re away. You’ll honestly never know, so just enjoy this experience. And if you do find out, you should act accordingly to how you would treat cheating in your home country.
With the absence of a strong presence of Catholicism, Cubans are, for the most part, sexually free and not conservative about sex at all. If you’re worried about infidelity, I suggest you not get into a relationship with one. If you’re OK with rolling with the punches and seeing how it goes, and he/she makes significant effort to maintain contact with you while abroad, you should just go with your gut and do what feels good.
4. Communicating In Cuba Is Complicated, Expensive, And Requires Multiple Apps.
Communicating in Cuba is the most difficult thing. My Cuban papi has to buy an internet card every couple of days (at times spending his entire month’s paycheck just to buy internet to talk to me three times a day), ride his bike to the center of town, connect to internet in the blazing hot sun (IF it’s working), and then try to video chat with me. Most of the time the video chat is frozen and I see his face in this ugly (cute) frozen motion and have to hang up and call again. But you know, considering I’m in air-conditioning, and didn’t have to do all that, it’s all good.
We use the app IMO for video calls, Whatsapp for texting, and Cubacel for email. Email is a special thing in Cuba because they don’t need to connect to internet to send an email. It is part of their phone plan and 100 times easier for them to use, especially if they don’t live near an wifi park. They can only see the last 10 emails sent before it automatically deletes, so don’t be blowing up his email.
Also, you’ll find yourself dropping everything to talk to him once he is connected to internet, because you never know when he’s going to be able to connect again. Let me tell you, that shit gets irritating. I got so tired of carrying around my phone and being available, especially when you’re traveling or at work trying to live your life. It’s best to either have a set time planned to connect and give him your undivided attention. OR email him the time of day you’re able to talk, and then he can meet you online at that time.
5. If He Hasn’t Talked To You, It’s Because He Ran Out Of Money.
The thing about Cuban papis is that, if they don’t talk to you, it’s never because they forgot about you. It’s because the internet was out in the wifi park or because he ran out of money and can’t buy another internet card. If this happens, you can always top up his cell phone.
In order to “top up” a Cuban cellphone, use the website www.ding.com. Click CUBA, type in his/her number, click the CUBACEL option, and check the amount of money you want to send.
I only top up when there is an “oferta” or sale where you can send $25 and he will receive $50. Sometimes they have specials for international calling. Just sign up for the email.
It took me 8 months of dating before I topped him up for the first time. I needed him to hustle for these phone calls until I felt secure enough to send money. Then when I get to Cuba, he pays me back. But not everyone is paranoid as me, so if you can’t wait to talk to him, go ahead and do so! No judgement.
After this experience, though, let a man not text me back. He will be dead to me. IF HE DIDN’T HAVE TO RIDE HIS BIKE, SPEND HIS ENTIRE PAYCHECK, AND SIT IN THE HOT SUN TO TALK TO ME THEN I DON’T WANT IT.
6. You Can Take Your Cuban Papi Out Of Cuba.
I haven’t done that, but it is possible. You have to send him an invitation. Many young men have a visa to travel and it is not as difficult as it seems. Just a very long process.
First he needs to get a passport, which takes about a month. He’ll need to take a photo and provide some documents. The cost is 100CUC. Second he needs a visa, which is 140CUC (a little extra to speed up the process if you pay off the guy) and can get denied at anytime without a refund. It’s better if he/she has a car or house that they can put a lean on to ensure he returns. This process takes 2 to 3 months (probably lookin’ more like 3) and the visa is valid for 5 years. I have no idea what documentation you need to provide, but you can check it on the US Cuban Embassy website. Third, he’ll need to buy a ticket.
Unless he is a private business owner or a taxi driver, you will probably have to fund this entire process, which brings me to my next point.
7. Cubans Don’t Pay For Shit.
This has been, admittedly, the hardest thing for me to overcome. Before dating my Cuban papi, I dated men who would send me money just because, and would definitely pay for my plane ticket, let alone dinner. With the average Cuban salary being $25/month, that ain’t happening. However, it’s actually something I’ve come to embrace because not being defined by money has allowed the Cuban papi to be defined by other things and contribute in other ways. For example, my Cuban papi will cook me dinner, wash my clothes by hand, grocery shop, pack my lunch, lay out my clothes for the day, and overly care about my mind, body, and soul. For me, it’s actually taught me to value different characteristics and realize all of the things money can’t buy.
With that said, I definitely use all of his money before using mine. And he’s honestly so happy to do so. Generations of Cubans usually all live together in the same house, so they’re used to treating money as communal. So he will save up all of his money for three months and give it all to me, and I happily use them all. But I ain’t shit, so don’t be me.
8. Cubans Are Macho About Other Men And Jealousy Is An Issue.
For some reason, Cuban women don’t have male friends. That concept just doesn’t exist. So our largest fights have been about me hanging out with guy friends, or even being alone with another man in a room. So I’ve just avoided answering a video call when in the room with another dude.
9. You Date A Cuban, You Date His Entire Family.
Because Cubans are so community oriented, you’ll surely meet his mom, his dad, his brothers, his sisters, his grandparents, his aunt, his uncle, his children, his ex-wife, his cousins, etc. etc. They will probably be equally as nice. But you will find yourself having to bring back vitamins and coffee makers and perfume for the entire pueblo on every trip back.
Don’t feel obligated, but also don’t be an asshole. More importantly, you are not responsible for supporting anyone. Do what you can, but ultimately, keep your needs a priority because they may not understand how hard you had to work to be able to bring those things. They may think money grows on trees in whatever country you’re from.
You should treat dating in Cuba like dating in your home country. There is always the possibility of someone being a shitty person. But for me, Cuba is unique in that they haven’t been tainted by the world of social media and Cuba always has a way of making you appreciate all of the things you have.
My Cuban papi is a constant reminder of what is truly important in life. The enormous effort he puts in to make this relationship work is inspiring and unlike what any other man has ever done or has had to do for me. Also, his naivete, though frustrating at times, is for the most part adorable. He has yet to be exposed to how shitty the world is and is so aware about taking care of the people around him and his community, something I feel is seriously lacking in the Western world. I also love that I get to watch him experience many “firsts” in life.
However, this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. So before going all in, weigh your financial situation, your insecurities, and your willingness to go with the flow and be with someone who won’t be able to conceptualize concepts that don’t exist in Cuba. It may not be worth it for you. Everyone is different and there are a million other options in the world to settle on something that doesn’t work for your personality.
If you have any suggestions for additional apps or services that you can use to communicate with your Cuban amor or have a Cuban amor love story, leave them in the comments below!