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What It’s Really Like Dating a Filipino

When I first began dating men in The Philippines, I was a bit nervous at first.  I’d heard many horror stories, but I also had friends that were very happy being married to Filipinos. While everyone is different, people of a certain culture do tend to have common characteristics, and these are some traits I’ve discovered while dating Filipinos.

A Note of Caution

Please think carefully before you marry him. The idea of having easy access to sex from a young guy is appealing but along with that comes the cultural differences and quirks you will both bring into the relationship.

That’s why I’m asking you to be honest about what you’re looking for. Some guys will say they want a husband because it sounds more socially palatable.

Just please understand that marriage takes a lot of work (just ask anyone who’s married) and it’s nothing like a friend with benefits. If you guys are fighting he’s not going anywhere and you still have to live with him and work with him to get your chores and other tasks accomplished.

Another thing I want to address is some guys complain that Filipinos expect them to take care of them and that they are asked to help their families every once in a while. To them, I ask, ‘what were you expecting?’. Most guys who come to The Philippines are perfectly happy with traditional marriage. That means he’s taking care of you inside the house, keeping it clean, washing your clothes, and preparing your meals. In return, you’re bringing home the bacon and making sure his financial needs are met. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

If your goal is to find an atheist who can contribute 50% of the expenses to the relationship…then…you ain’t gonna get it in the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of Filipinos who are married to foreigners and still work, but chances are, even if he’s working, he’s helping to support his family back home and still won’t be able to throw in 50%.

If this is a deal-breaker for you, might I suggest looking for a partner in Japan, Hong Kong, or Singapore?

Pro: You’ll Eat Well

Growing up in western society, I would never admit that I wanted a man who would have a hot meal ready for me when I got home from work. I actually felt ashamed for wanting that–until I started dating Filipinos.  One of the ways Filipinos show love is through cooking. Most of them don’t know how to cook western food that well initially, but they will make every effort to learn.

I totally admit that I’ve become spoiled since I began dating Filipinos. Seriously, if you’re dating a Filipino and you’re not eating well, something’s terribly wrong.

Pro: He’ll Love the Lord

This was huge for me. My faith has always been an integral part of my life, and as a Christian, it was essential that I settled down with a man that had strong faith. I was elated when I discovered that was the norm here. My partner helps my faith to stay strong, and I thank God for that.

Pro: Filipinos are Nurturing and Caring

So long as you don’t meet your husband at a bar (by the way, my survey showed those guys were the least satisfied with their marriages), then chances are he’ll have good values and be a loving husband The Filipino dedication to the family is real. Both Filipino men and women will almost always do anything for their families. It’s not unheard of to see OFWs going hungry just to send every last penny they earn back to their families in The Philippines.

Filipinos just have a natural instinct to be nurturing and caring. I remember once I was going to the store in an un-ironed shirt. My boyfriend stopped me and refused to let me go until he ironed it. Another time I went a month without a haircut. We were at McDonald’s, and he asked me, ‘why does your hair look like that?’. I said because I hadn’t gotten around to getting a haircut yet. He told me, ‘we’re not going home until you get one.’ He dragged me to a salon and gave the stylist explicit instructions on how to cut my hair. It was actually one of the best haircuts I’d ever had.

Pro: He’ll Know How to Deal with The Crap You’ll Face in The Philippines

Trust me, life in the Philippines is great, but it can also be highly frustrating. Things just don’t work the way you’re used to back home. Broken promises and substandard work are the norms here. You’ll really need someone to help you navigate the giant labyrinth that is life in The Philippines.

A good man will make sure you don’t get cheated and connect you with the right people to get the job done. He’ll know when that smiling face of a stranger is BSing you or when that grouchy guy is sincere. Anecdotally I’ve noticed that single guys don’t last long in The Philippines–1-2 years tops.

Pro: He’ll be Flexible

One thing I love about Filipinos is how flexible they are when it comes to relationships. In general, when dealing with people, Filipinos are flexible and don’t like confrontation. This is why they are a popular choice for customer service agents and foreign workers overseas.  In my experience, western men had the attitude of ‘my way or the highway. Do what I say, or I’ll call you toxic and leave you’.  Seriously, only once in my life have I heard a western guy admit that he was the problem in the relationship…but I’m digressing.

I do want to make it clear this is not an invitation to emotionally abuse them. Scorned Filipinos do have ways of getting back at abusers. They’re just less direct but more painful, which leads to my first con.

Con: Cultural Differences

According to my survey of straight western/filipino couples, cultural differences were cited as the #1 difficulty in Filipino/Western relationships. Sometimes, as Westerners, we think that it’ll just be like dating an old-school white guy because they speak English. That is simply not the case.

There are many things that westerners just don’t understand. Number one is their unfettered allegiance to their families. A Filipino will continue to send money to his family, knowing full well they’ll use to buy Red Horse (beer) and otherwise squander it.   The rest of these cons are mainly cultural issues.

Con: Tampo

A big contrast to western men is the concept of ‘tampo.’ Tampo, otherwise known as the silent treatment, is a passive-aggressive form of punishment that a Filipino will often employ if he feels slighted. How long it lasts depends on the Pinoy. It could go anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days or even a couple of months if you did something horrible, like cheating on him.

During tampo, expect him not to talk to you, withhold sex, not cook as well, or anything else to upset you all while insisting there’s no problem when you ask him.   It can be very frustrating (it’s supposed to be), but you’ll just have to wait him out until he either lets it go or discusses that problem with you.

Con: His Family May Start Asking for Money

They say when you marry a Filipino, you marry his family. One unpleasant surprise I’ve seen many guys have is while their boyfriend or husband never asks for money, his family is milking him dry. Let me just tell you right now, if his family is asking for too much; you need to put the brakes on that now! Trust me, if you don’t, they’ll never stop, nor will they see anything wrong with it.

Whether or not his family will hit you up for money mostly depends on the family’s wealth. Obviously, the wealthier the family, the less likely they are to ask for money.  That being said, I think it’s a bit stingy not to help his family out if you can afford it.

If after you’ve been dating a guy for at least 6 months, when you go into their house, you see there’s more water inside their house than outside because the roof is crap, why wouldn’t you offer to fix it?  I wouldn’t go into debt to help out my partner’s family, but if it’s something I can comfortably afford to do, why not?

It would be best if you made every effort to get along with his family. I’m telling you right now that if your boyfriend’s family doesn’t like you, you’re in deep trouble. Many Filipino families are very traditional which means the opinion of his family matters. Please do your best to get along with his family!   Whether his family likes you or not could mean the difference between a long, happy marriage and him divorcing you as soon as he gets his green card.

Con: He May Be Extremely Jealous/Possessive

I remember one day my boyfriend at the time was sick, so I went to church alone. Afterwards a bunch of us went to Jolibee for lunch. One person in the group was a guy that has a crush on me. I kept my distance and said nothing to him beyond polite conversation.  When I came home, I told my boyfriend I went to lunch with some people from church.

He asked me if John was part of the group. I said yes, but I didn’t really say anything to him, nor did I sit next to him. It didn’t matter. Even though he didn’t say anything to me, he had FIRE in his eyes. Unlike most Western men, Filipinos aren’t so secure in their relationships and are extremely jealous and possessive.

Conclusion

As a religious man looking for a traditional-esque marriage Filipinos fit the bill perfectly for me. Yes, there are scammers out there you’ll have to watch out for, but so long as you don’t try to buy a guy you’ll be fine. Think positive and go in with both eyes open. Divorce isn’t an option in the Philippines, so it’s doubtful a Filipino will be quick to ask for one when things are rough.

The vast majority of my friends who are married to Filipinos are very happy. Those who complain about getting scammed or taken to the cleaners are a vocal minority. Guys that usually get screwed are the guys that try to buy a man or guys that think they can abuse their partners, and he’s supposed to just take it.

“By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

-Aristotle

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