The Beauty of Cultural Diversity in a Relationship with a Filipina

As I’ve said a few times, my relationship with a Filipina hasn’t been easy. After the initial euphoria had passed, culture-shock hit me hard and I found myself struggling with the kin-group culture of my spouse’s family and the bahala-na or carpe diem attitude toward health, finances and other important areas of life that Filipinos display.

Eventually I managed to turn my reactions around and consequently my relationship started to soar.

I would be a liar if I said that I have completely mastered this kind of relationship. No one really gets to master relationships because a relationship is a work in progress, the minute you stop growing it slides back.

Therefore, if I claimed that I have mastered it and that I know everything about how to deal with a Filipina I would be deluding myself and that attitude would cause me to become complacent.

Nevertheless I can safely say that, by tapping into the right sources of information, I have reached crazy heights of bliss and happiness.

A point that I would like to share today is what Dr. Wayne Dyer said about what a soulmate really is, because I used to think that a soulmate is the one who gives you a smooth relationship where everything flows beautifully but, of course, this is not how it works and all the more so in a mixed-relationship.

What Dr. Dyer said is that, far from being one who makes your life easier, a soulmate is one who pushes your buttons and sends you into a frenzy. And, of course, this description perfectly fits a Filipino spouse.

Why is this the case? Well, it is because only a person who pushes your buttons can make you aware of your emotional patterns, your reactions, your communication skills, your degree of empathy, of flexibility, of willingness to step out of your emotional and cultural comfort-zone and step into uncharted waters.

In other words, a relationship with a woman who sends you into a frenzy (as Filipinas do every single day almost on a hourly basis) forces you into parting with the little and petty you who wants to defend his little turf from being encroached upon and forces you to broaden your perspectives. Also it forces you into mastering the way you react to challenging situations (such as for example when both your Filipina and her extended family become emotionally charged, which tends to happen pretty often).

When you find yourself in the middle of the storm you find yourself in a position where you have to make a choice: stay with the familiar and run the risk of either losing your relationship, or having to settle for a mediocre one at best, or accept the challenge to stretch your ability to show up as the higher version of yourself and get to crazy heights of compassion, unconditional love, empathy and all that sort of stuff that can massively grow your interracial relationship.

Cultural diversity will definitely send you into a frenzy, that is guaranteed. How you react to it will make all the difference.

Is a Filipino Wife Financially Low-Maintenance?

Well, under certain aspects, Filipinas are much less sophisticated and demanding than their Western counterparts.

When they eat out, for example, they are happy with going to one of those eat all you can Asian restaurants. There are many here in Rome where you can gobble up tons of food for 8-10 euros and those places are always full of Filipinos. So you rarely bump into a Filipina who is demanding that you take her to a sophisticated restaurant to eat lobster or have oyster and champagne. Actually, even taking them to the KFC, Burger King or Mc Donald’s will do.

Many Filipinas wear cheap trinkets rather than expensive jewelry.

On the other hand they often like buying the latest smart phone or a big flat screen TV set so, when it comes to technological gadgets, Filipinas and Filipinos do like to spend.

If you wish to do without a car forget it because Filipinas, in general, rarely like to walk or ride on public transport, however, for most of them a cheap and old car will do, most Filipinas don’t expect fancy cars (while Filipino men do like fancy cars).

When they go home to the Philippines most of them just want to stay home and don’t care about going to Palawan or Boracay and even in a Western country most of them hardly like to go on a cruise or have an expensive holiday.

So, under many aspects, Filipinas are, economically speaking, low-maintenance when it comes to their own personal demands and expectations, except for a few things like technological gadgets or the fact that you may have to spend a lot in gasoline as, wherever you go, they want to go by car.

However, because when you marry a Filipina you definitely marry the whole family, what may cost you is supporting her relatives.

As I said many times, you need to be careful to evaluate who really truly needs help and who simply wants you to finance their wants.

So, to wrap it up, Filipinas seem to be much less demanding and much easier to please when it comes to such things as expensive gifts, eating out or travelling but you need to take into account the possible financial burden involved in dealing with the relatives in the Philippines.

Can your Filipino Wife Teach you Tagalog?

As I already mentioned in a previous post, learning the native language of your Filipino spouse is, in most cases, unnecessary. She is highly likely fluent in English so you can keep communicating in English, and all the more so because English has a much larger vocabulary than Tagalog and, therefore, it gives you more options, if you are trying to express your innermost feelings and emotions.

Let me give you an example: a few years ago I was trying to convey the idea that being faithful is not the same as being loyal, and it seems like the only word available in Tagalog for both concepts is tapat. So it seems to me that when you try to dig deeper and convey not just a meaning but rather a nuance, you can find yourself in a position where you are short of words, if you speak Tagalog.

Nevertheless, being able to speak Tagalog could help you to build better rapport with the kin-group and could be a massive opportunity for you to show personal interest.

But can Filipinas teach you Tagalog?

I tried to get my wife to teach me Tagalog but, after a while, I ended up learning it myself. Why?

Well, my wife has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting like most highly educated Filipinas who, by and large, only graduate in “technical” subjects and, therefore, hardly get very well acquainted with the Tagalog grammar.

Usually a native speaker who knows nothing about the grammar, let’s say an English native speaker, can, at least, teach a foreigner new vocabulary.

This doesn’t seem to be the case with Tagalog, because words are generally created by combining a root word with an affix and, depending on the affix you use, you can form a noun, an adjective or a verb.

For example, the root word ganda, that conveys the idea of beauty, can be a verb if you use the –um- affix (gumanda), an adjective if you use the ma- affix (maganda) or a noun, if you use the affixes ka- and –an (kagandahan).

You need somebody who can teach you the relationship between root words and suffixes and prefixes, as well as a bunch of other things, like verbal aspect and focus that are absolutely necessary to convey the right meaning.

Seems like most native Filipinos have a hard time teaching the grammar. Living with my wife doesn’t help me so I study Tagalog myself.

Nowdays there is a lot of information available on the web about the Tagalog grammar and if you have any questions about where to find the material to learn it, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section, and I will be willing to help you out.

So, to wrap it up, unless your wife has a degree in languages, chances are she won’t be of much help if you decide to learn Tagalog.

Should an Old Western Man Marry a much Younger Filipina?

Some 15 years ago I was in a Northern European country, to visit some Filipino friends of mine.

While there, I met a Filipina in her mid 30’s who was married to an old Western man. She talked very enthusiastically about the advantages that had accrued to her in terms of the financial stability she had gained and of how, by becoming the wife of a Western citizen, she had finally managed to get the residence permit in the country, after spending years in a state of clandestinity.

What she never mentioned is whether she had feeling for the man or not. Although I don’t know the whole story, the fact that she only mentioned the legal and financial advantages of being in that kind of relationship, seems to tell me that there is a risk that if you are old and single, as well as relatively well-adjusted financially, and look for a much younger Asian lady, you might bump into someone who is not exactly looking for somebody to share her unselfish and unconditional love with.

Each situation is different of course, and there might be young Filipinas who marry an old and wealthy Western man with the right motive and not for selfish gain.

However I’d suggest that, if you are contemplating the idea of visiting the Philippines to find a young exotic girl, you weigh your decision very carefully.

Before I started courting my wife I made sure that there was no hidden motive behind her interest in me. I found out that she comes from a family of college teachers and she was a teacher herself. They have a large home in the Philippines and a sideline family business that would allow her to be financially independent should she move back to the Philippines.

Actually, when we got to know each other she was making plans to go home to the Philippines for good.

So, it became quite clear to me that she was not seeking financial security and she is not even much younger than I am.

So, the point I am trying to make here is: before you embark on a trip to look for the ultimate exotic woman, make sure that there is no possibility that your marriage will turn out to be a TRANSACTION IN WHICH YOU TRADE AN ENTRY VISA IN YOUR COUNTRY FOR SCRAPS OF LOVE AND SEX.

The only real key to getting love is by putting it out. We get back from another person what we project outward and if you enter a relationship with a Filipina because you are starving for affection and she is starving for financial security your marriage will be a place where TWO STARVING INDIVIDUALS TRY TO STEAL EACH OTHER’S FOOD.

To me a thriving intimate relationship is a place where two emotionally mature people mirror to each other the positive emotions that they personally cultivate. Anything short of that is a relationship that is not worth having.

The Mindset of a Healthy Relationship with a Filipina: Choose to be In Love Rather than Right

In all intimate relationships choosing to be at peace rather than right is something that can drastically reduce conflict.

A relationship with a Filipina is full of situations in which a Western partner may feel justified to consider himself quote-unquote “right”.

This may happen, for example, when your wife wants to give financial support to a little bit too many relatives, including some who have no real need. Perhaps she’s got relatives in the Philippines who barely work but they have the latest electronic gadgets while you, perhaps, keep using your old smart phone and yet they request money. If you preach the “our family first” or the “first things first” sermon you may get stuck in an endless series of arguments.

Many Filipino women spend more than they earn and often get into debt. Preaching the “we need to budget” sermon might drive you crazy.

Most Filipinos eat junk food and rarely exercise or go to the doctor and that may apply to your wife too. This is particularly challenging for me because I am fixated with healthy eating and consistent workout.

Situations like these and many others will drive you insane if you try to straighten them all out.

My experience has taught me that if I want to fix all the infinite series of situations in which I am entitled to feel right I’d better choose another partner. With a Filipino woman you need to view most of the situations that need to be “fixed” with a grain of salt and choose a more easygoing approach.

Being too rigid and too righteous hardly works with Filipinos.

And, paradoxically, I’ve noticed that the less I put pressure on my wife to do the “right” thing, the more I am likely to get her to cooperate.