Chapter 5

Her perspective of Living with a foreigner will remain a mystery for now

So it has been several weeks now of gentle reminders to Shirley that she should start her series of articles and the truth came out today, lol. She just doesn’t want to do it. Though I am disappointed, I do respect her decision but when asked about her reason, another topic for my series popped into mind.

I know that my wifes english is more than passable and she is definitely capable to string her thoughts into coherent sentences, so I was always confident that if her heart was in it, what she would share would have been a good read for myself and others, but the real reason she at least temporarily declined was her concern over what others would think. And I believe that sentiment is something that most of us foreigners with Filipina partners have experienced in varying degrees.

It has become apparent to me over the course of my stay here that my wife is not alone in how she lets what other people will think, guide both her actions and hold ransom to her true freedom. I myself was very insecure in my younger years and looking back how other people thought of me was what ruled my life. If some one gave me a compliment, it was a great day and I was on top of the world, but when some one criticised or laughed at me I felt like a loser and a failure. This caused me to be on a constant emotional roller coaster guided by the whims of the people around me. Those feeling of needing positive reinforcement of other to measure my self worth ruled my life and I have to admit led me down some dark paths trying to prove to the outside world that I was cool or worthy to be around. I relate this here only to show that I know exactly how my wife feels. I do not fault or criticize here for that need but it also makes me sad because in most ways she is just an amazing lady who should not need the approval and acceptance of others. All she needs is to see for herself how great she is. I do long for the day when she is able to look in the mirror and just know that she is a beautiful person inside and out. In my own life, it tooks some really hard work to get to the point where for the most part I really believe the only person I need to believe in me is myself, and on the days that that is firmly entrenched in my mind, I experience a freedom that is out of reach right now for my wife, or for most part probably alot of other Filipinos.
How does it affect our relationship?

Well there are small ways like public displays of affection, which I take no second thought of showing, but to my wife, she will most often just freak out. “We just cannot do that! What will people think” she tells me, and of course my feeling is that really “who cares” . Well, she does, so as is admittingly most often the case, she wins, and displays of affection are restricted to our times in private. another way that comes to mind is when it comes to paying the bills. On more than one occasion, some one has called or submitted a bill to us and it is my normal practice to make sure first that we got what we paid for and the price charged is valid. As well, I usually take that bill and like to pay for it in a methodical way with all the other bills and within our planned budget. Sometimes the reality is that we have to say, we will pay this bill “on the due date”. One continuing frustration that affects us regularly is that if somebody asks, money is paid without regards to the anal way I like to manage my finances, and the simple reason is that Shirley does not want people to think, “they can’t pay their bills”.

These are but two small examples that though frustrating, we seem to manage, but there is one other thing that seems to be a big continuing snag in our relationship. I will try to explain this in a way that is not overly critical or insulting of the woman I love. When I was younger, due to my insecurity I just could not admit that I screwed up. Without the ability to accept that as a human being and like all human beings, I err, I could never learn from my mistakes. I lived in a constant state of rationalization and blame that restricted me from seeing clearly my role in the bad situations I too often found myself in. without that ability I repeated my mistakes over and over again, caught in an endless circle of jackpots. It was only when I gained enough self esteem in myself that I was also able to accept the bad in me as well as the good, and on that day I gained a freedom to address the bad. Today the wife that I love does not enjoy the same freedom and I quite often have to stand by and watch on in despair, and yes as I am human, frustration when the same mistakes get repeated over and over again, leading us to the same issues I had thought were addressed and resolved sometimes only days earlier.

Some of you make think that I am full of myself, but though we both are incredibly stubborn, I can honestly say that most times when I am wrong and an apology is needed, I really and truly mean it. I will try, sometimes miserably, to learn from that mistake and not repeat it but on the flip side of that coin, when it is my partner’s mistake, I believe that most of the apologies given are more for an end to confrontation rather than an actual acceptance that a mistake was made . Consequently, the same thing will happen soon after.

In the end, I am sure it is clear here, our relationship is far from perfect. I do know that though I point out a character defect of my wife, which I believe is also widespread and common in its roots here in the Philippines, I myself have to take responsibility for my reactions to them. I have come to learn in my emotional growth that I cannot change some one else. My ability is solely to accept and adapt to those behaviors , good and bad, of others. I will say one thing though. For the last few decades of my life, I never found anyone that I cared about and loved enough to accept the bad days we would have. My attitude had always been to end the relationship when there were things that I did not like in my partner. Here in the Philippines, I have found some one special who is teaching me new things without even knowing . There is just so much good in her and in our relationship, that I have searched so long for,, that I have had to face my own failings when it comes to acceptance of the imperfections of others or else lose what I feel is my best chance for happiness in an intimate relationship with another human being.

Gawd,,, what a ride this relationship with a Filipina has and continues to be! lol. Hopefully it will continue for a very long time because there is no doubt in my mind the good far outweighs the bad.
Well back to the origonal point, that my Filipina wife will not be sharing her perspective. I would certainly love to hear from some other Filipina that is, or has been in a relationship with a foreigner. I am sure there are plenty of us guys out here who would love to hear your perspective.


The Complete Living with a Filipina Series