This article is a continuation of another article I wrote called, “how are filipino women”. If you look carefully you will find some of the chapters of my life summarized in the articles I post here. I write unfiltered accounts of real events that have happened to me, family and/or friends as well as honest opinions on controversial subjects. Please remember that even though your life situation, opinion and culture may be different from mine, its ok to respect each others right to have different ideas and lifestyles.
Before it happened to me, it was hard to relate to filipina wives who married other races. When they talked about what they felt about being abroad and feeling homesick, I could not relate.
But now its different. I am now living outside of my home, Cebu City, Philippines, and married in Colorado, USA. I’ve always known that getting married would not be easy but it is definitely way harder when your partner is a different race, and from a different culture and you are living in a completely different environment than you are used to. There is a challenge to marrying a foreign national.
You have many adjustments to make. So many arrangements to even live together. You have to stretch to understand each other just to make your relationship work. So you may ask yourself:
“Is this relationship worth so much effort?”
“Am I ready for such a commitment?”
“Have I made a huge mistake?”
Everything is completely opposite and twisted from what your upbringing taught you. Perhaps the biggest difference is family. Family is very close in the Philippines, but in America it’s very different. Family members are not obligated to help each other out (especially with money). In the USA, parents that have to rely on their kids to live are either handicap, to old to care for themselves, incoherent or have fallen on some seriously bad times. And it’s just a shame if a sibling has to depend on the rest of the family to survive. For any family member relying on the rest of the family, it is usually temporary. In the US no one feels sorry for deadbeats. They feel sorry for the people who has decided to care for the dead beat.
Among the lower class, in the Philippines, parents are cared for by their kids PERIOD. And the sibling that is successful and/or has access to money is expected to carry the load of the rest of the family. This huge difference of our culture is a subject of contention between filipinas and their western husbands from US, Canada, Europe, Australia etc.
I am here to tell you today, that even with these and other cultural differences you can still make it work.
Here are some tips based on my experiences as a filipino immigrant being in a real relationship, and long-term commitment with a foreign guy and making it work:
- Signs That Things Are Not Fine. When a woman says she is fine but not talking, it means she is really not fine. Something has made her upset or she has a deeper problem in your relationship or her family. Keep trying to talk to her. Don’t force her to talk but its important to let her know that you are there for her. Be supportive in every way you can. Earn her trust by giving her yours. Be open and receptive.
- Problems at Home, in the Philippines. She is withdrawn.. staring far away and distant. It may mean she has problems at home and does not feel she can share the problems right away. In the US, she does not have to want for anything, but back home, the problems have not stopped. It can be hard for us to speak out and tell what we feel. Especially when its about our family. It is embarrassing as it is almost always to do with money (see “Signs That Things Are Not Fine”).
- How Do I Look? Am I Fat? Generally women from all over the world are conscious of how we look. Filipinas on top are most conscious with hair grooming, skin color (most filipinas aim to have a whiter skin) and get alarmed when we get a little belly fat. When these questions are asked, do yourself a favor and don’t be an idiot. The trick is to always respect what originally attracted you to her. That part of her that made you marry her, is the same part that will remain beautiful even if her choice of pants/suit is lime green with red bellbottoms. The answer is this, “thats, ok. But you look better in THIS?” Then follow up with, “wow! that is amazing” when she wears what you actually do like. Be respectful, tactful, and habit forming OR If you don’t ever want sex again, just be brutally honest. This goes for all relationships in general, its not just a “Filipina/Foreign guy” thing.
- Independent Woman. (husband’s opinion) Face it. You married an independent women. She has decided for herself to move thousands of miles away from home to be in a different country just to live with you. The fact that she is has made that choice for herself and was in no way coerced should tell you her feelings are real. So if she wants to help her family, who are still in the Philippines in poverty it should be understandable. One suggestion, is to give her a separate bank account and let her manage what assets and expenses are there. Let her completely control where that money goes. Once she sees how much she has spent on family and how much there is to show for it after 5 years can be telling.
- What the Hell does “UP TO YOU” MEAN? If you ask, “do you want to go out?” and her reply is NOT “Yes” but “up to you” what does that mean? Honestly, it can mean anything. Either the filipina does not feel like going out, or feels ok with going out or undecided to go out. It is confusing right? Many filipinas are very submissive when it comes to their significant other so mostly they just rely on their partner when its time to go out.
- Submissiveness Goes Against You. Being overly submissive and obedient can backfire on us filipinas because it is used against us by our husbands or parents. Parents and families may guilt trip us to send more money because they have “emergencies”. Guilt tripping is bad! For husbands, I heard of stories where the guy did not his wife eat filipino food! That is definitely a problem. Since food is a basic need of a human being. Many filipinas are so used to eating rice and that they cannot survive without it. It can cause depression if a spouse in controlling even what is EATEN. It is not right. You should always meet your wife halfway. Rice is our life!
- Relationship Stability. Instability is probably the quickest and most common wayst to end a relationship. In an everyday life, as my husband says “It is not always happy”. Meaning, in a long term relationship, sometimes things are not all good. There are arguments, disagreements, disappointments and bad days.. it rains in “Happily Ever After”. If there is no thrill today, there might be tomorrow. You should excited about the prospect of making things great! Both you and your wife or your lover are capable of making things exciting. You can change a routine by going out to a movie, eating in a restaurant or realizing that in sex there are fifty shades of grey! lol. A relationship full of drama will just make it shaky and may end badly. Money has been mentioned in almost every paragraph so far.. because it is important. Having unstable finances can cause serious issues, try to work them out together.
- Emotional Security. The reason that many filipinas cheat is because they do not get a total security from their partner or had sensed that you are not 100% invested in the relationship. Sometimes they cheat because they feel like it or they are completely unsatisfied with the guy but keep him anyway for her needs. In these cases, you married the wrong girl and its best to move on. Then there are those relationships that are in the Philippines. I know that when guys arrive in the Philippines, their thought is, “Ohhh.. Disneyland!” But hey! You can’t have all the caramelized vaginas in the country! As a lover or a husband, you should always stay faithful, open and expressed that you are real and not fooling around. It takes more than love, it takes loyalty. Also, your words should match your actions. That means no flirting with other women you see in the down the street, or in a restaurant or while drinking your coffee in BO’s or Starbucks, social media like FB, G+, twitter and worst is getting caught in a dating site! Generally, women have an instinct. We are not fools. We can see and can feel if you are playing around! On the other hand, if it is hard to stick with one girl. Don’t pretend to be committed. Get your mind right. Decide what you want. If commitment is not for you then don’t commit. There is nothing wrong with tasting the variety .
It take more than Love to make it work!
I used to think that love can solve any problem. Honestly, its just not that simple. A relationship (LONG-TERM) takes more than just love. You don’t hear people say that. You see fairy tales where beautiful princesses find handsome princess and live “happily ever after”. The truth is that sometimes it rains in “happily ever after”. Sometimes there are grey skies. As much as you love your princess or prince charming sometimes they need you to guide them through the bad weather. Sometimes they need your shoulder to cry on. But they ALWAYS need to you listen. Not just to their words. But to their actions and that takes more than love. It requires your attention. The strange thing is that not all partners can do that one small thing.