A couple on a date at the Casa de Frida Kahlo en Coyoacán, México.
La Casa de Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán, México.

While I was in Mexico, I learned a little more about Mexican relationships. I suppose I have my own preconceived American notions about how their relationships are structured. Well, I was surprised to learn about many aspects about their relationships that were previously unknown to me. Yes, there are Mexicans who marry for life, but that’s not always the expectation of every couple. During one of my many dinner conversations with relatives, I mentioned that the divorce rate in America was about 50%. One of my cousins boasted, “Mexico is catching up!” She divorced a couple of years earlier. And getting a divorce in Mexico is now much easier. Only one party has to go to court to request the divorce! A few of my cousins had children out-of-wedlock. That’s not so unusual here in the U.S., but I was surprised to hear that it also occurs more and more frequently in Mexico. One cousin had recently broken up with his wife. So I asked if he was already divorced or just separated. He said that they were never married. She just left the house and he got to keep their two daughters.

One of the strangest things I heard about was commitment in a relationship–or rather a lack of commitment. If a couple stays together for more than one year and then they break up, one party can file a civil lawsuit for monetary damages for not marrying the other. So many people keep track of their anniversary date, not to celebrate it, but to break up just before they can be sued. And the longer they’re together as a couple, the more monetary damages they’re liable for. Because a couple, it’s assumed, is together because they eventually want to get married.

Look ma! No marriage!