After failed relationships, was this one for real?

Dear Alvaro,

I met you two weeks after my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in the summer of 2021. I have no intention of dating or meeting people during this time. The LA dating scene has never been my favorite, especially with some unremarkable matches being few and far between. While at Monterey Park Hospital, learning more about my dad’s prognosis and doing my best to hide my tears, I found solace in dating apps. I instantly glance at people I never intended to meet, exchange messages with a number of people until we’ve exhausted our conversations, and even start a few first dates – whatever. to provide the distraction I desire. The right one for you is different. From the very first meeting, I felt like I could talk to you about anything and everything, from mundane things (like talking about our favorite fiction novels and our connection to each other). me with “Crying in H Mart”) to the more complex and pressing things in my life. .

Talking to you scares me. I felt a strong, immediate connection, but my thoughts and emotions were conflicting and colliding. I feel guilty for spending time with you, but talking to someone I can be the real me and bring back the tiniest bit of normalcy in my life. While sitting at the Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena, drinking a cocktail and trying to sing along to Billie Eilish on a third date, I looked up at you and knew that I liked you.

You should know that I felt like our date was perfect, but guilt and fear overshadowed them in a way I can’t explain. Still, I enjoyed all of our outings: the hours we spent exploring the Long Beach aquarium, trying to name all the little fish, and sharing their first kiss. I look out over the bay at the top of the parking lot; shop at bookstores and thrift stores, ordering out all the books we’ve read and loved. Still, I’m afraid my sadness will push you away. Deep down, I worry that you will realize that you deserve someone better. But you stayed, and that makes sense to me.

As someone who has had a string of failed and disappointing relationships, introducing my partner to my parents was unprecedented. I don’t doubt that I love you but feel scared to take that step. With my father’s health declining, I certainly had to.

When I told my dad about you, I held my breath involuntarily waiting for his answer. “Ya sabia,” he said, a pause that matches my heartbeat, “No mas quiero que Seas feliz.” That was the first time I told my dad about a life partner. The weight fell from my chest like a breath of fresh air. Getting his approval makes me feel like I want to see you, see you, and find these little moments of solace so good. All that matters to my dad is that I find someone who makes me happy.

When you and my parents met, I felt ecstatic and relieved for the first time in a very long time. I saw my two worlds come together, creating a beautiful moment that I will cherish forever. A moment came to my mind when Dad’s presence was strongest in my heart.

Every second we explore Los Angeles together, I love you more and more. You showed me that life is full of small, perfect moments and that I deserve to be loved and happy. While it feels and feels like our relationship is progressing rapidly, it feels right.

My father passed away after three months of dating. I am very sad and inconsolable. I know it will come, but part of me believes I have more time. More time to be with my dad and more time to show him what a wonderful partner I have made. After my niece, you are the first person I call. I thought that seeing me break down and my loved ones would convince you to leave me. Instead, you come, let me cry until I fall asleep and take care of mom and me. I see that your care and love is sincere. At that moment, I knew you were someone I wanted to be with.

It’s been eight months since my father passed away. You know these months have not been easy. You comfort me when my days are filled with endless cries and worries. Even if I feel like I am hurting you simply as your partner, you will erase those doubts and worries. Instead, we set out to create a future together. On a whim, we adopted a fat and tattooed German Shepherd while exploring Joshua Tree. We dreamed of owning a villa in Big Sur with ocean views while driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey. As we drove from one indie bookstore to another, we pondered the novel we would one day write together. In these happy moments, you remind me that my dad wants me to have a bright and loving future.

In those moments, I often find myself staring at your features as we drive through LA traffic. “What?” you said with cheerful exasperation, a grin on your face as your fleeting glance met my eyes.

“Nothing,” was all I could say, drowning in a dream where nothing but the present mattered.

I know my life moving forward will never be the same, and my future seems a bit hazy and unclear. But there are a few things I’m sure of. I’m so happy that one of the most important people in my life met my dad. I am so happy that I gave you a chance during the darkest time of my life. And even though I know my happiness and accomplishments will always be bittersweet, I look forward to every moment that we share.

Love and cherish,

The author is a native of East LA who works in education but aspires to be a writer and cafe owner. She shares her grief and recovery journey on Instagram: @liz.outloud.

LA Affairs chronicles the search for romantic love in all its splendor in the LA area, and we’d love to hear your true story. We pay $300 for a published essay. Send an email to You can find submission instructions here. You can find past columns here. After failed relationships, was this one for real?

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