What it’s like to love someone in a second language

However, an unexpected bonus of being a bilingual couple: Misunderstandings can easily be worked out in two languages, leading to a greater understanding of one another in the long run.

My boyfriend now knows what I’m talking about in Spanglish, and I can understand his English mistranslations.

Still, the fear of fatal misunderstandings remains a major downside for anyone experiencing love in another language.

It’s a nagging doubt that doesn’t just fade into the background once the fight is long finished, either. For me, there is always an underlying fear — in both romantic and platonic relationships primarily conducted in a language that’s not my first — that the relationship is built on a lie. A lie built on negated nuance and confused conjugation that will eventually lead to an unravelling sense of self and the discovery that my witty personality and unique thought process didn’t translate the way I’d hoped.

And as ashamed as I am to admit it, I’m a total language hog when it comes to communicating with my boyfriend — to the point that he’ll be speaking to me in English and I’ll respond, out of habit, with ¿qué? rather than, you know, continuing the conversation in my native tongue. (He gets his revenge by correcting my Spanish in front of people — like that time I misconjugated morder and said mordasinstead of muerdas — because he knows it annoys me no end.)

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