Dating a Filipino, his ‘I love you’ is not your ‘I love you’
So here you are, the guy is pursuing you and you are giving in, you went on a few dates. You like him. You like him a lot. But it is also very confusing.
I know how intense the pursuing of a Filipino guy can be, and how much there is to like about them.
Carrying your bag, opening doors, calling or texting you every morning and evening, making jokes when you are around, gosh Filipino guys can be so romantic.
They go way out of their way to make you feel as pleasant and comfortable as can be.
So you give in. You have a few dates and then it goes rather quickly.
A bit different from ‘back home’, as in what you are used to comparing it to dating in Western culture.
He tells you he loves you, asks you to be his exclusive girlfriend and from one day to another day they pursuing stops. I mean he’s got the girl, why bother?
When he sees you he is happy and he has spoken the magic L word, right?
Born and raised in a culture where you are used to expressing yourself in words, utter your feelings in a lot of sweet talks and work your way to each other’s heart with little hearts, flirty text messages and simmering phone calls, you are stunned.
Well, I was.
I actually seriously doubted my boyfriend for loving me and considered breaking up with him.
But then when I got my act together and I asked him if we were still BF/GF, he answered always with: yes of course.
And the solution of this miscommunication in love-language is in the words: of course
Even a western guy gets a bit comfortable when the girl is his. They pick up their daily routine, confident of their feelings for you and yours for them, Totally ignoring our female need for fuzzy hearts, sweet talk and other romantic bullshit that distracts them from work, the ball game or hanging out with friends.
And being raised in a culture where parents seldom tell their kids they love them, like your Filipino guy, it is even harder to stick to the romance.
Filipinos are very focussed on family life, work and providing for the family, and although you will be in their top three of the most important things in life: work, family, girlfriend….it will be in that order. And the first two may shift places but you will never leave the third base.
Filipinos show their love through deeds, actions, or getting you small gifts.
They show how much they love you
by carrying your colorful flower print bag around town so you can take selfies
by fixing you a drink when you tell them you are thirsty
by talking about the future with you and placing you in it
by stealing a quick peck on the cheek or lips when there are not many people around
Things like that.
And not so much by touching you, texting you or constantly sharing with you how much he misses you and he loves you. Or introduce you to family and friends.
So we Western girls have to let go of the ways we know: for the way we show love is often the way we expect it to be returned: a kiss for a kiss instead of a kiss for a box of chocolates.
You may find your Filipino very closed and introvert about the whole love thing
So how to reach that heart of your Filipino? Meet him halfway and he will be waiting for you, I promise.
I do touch my boyfriend in public, after all, he dates a Dutch woman, and he has to adapt to my culture also. So I touch him, not too much, but in those quiet moments when there are not many people around, or when I ride with him on the motorbike. And I see he likes it, sometimes he catches my hand in the middle of my gesture and holds it, sometimes he kisses me on the lips, most of the time he yells to a waiter for my drinks and tells them to hurry. For me being comfortable and taken care of, makes him happy and that is his way to show in public, how much he loves me.
He tells me not to get my driver’s license for he will be worried sick when I will drive my motorbike into the hills in the Filipino traffic. He climbs all the way down into the mangrove to fetch my flip flop (don’t even ask how it got there), that’s a traditional Filipino man, showing love.
And additionally, I’ve done some research and talking to Filipinas about this dating thing and how to approach it. Here is what I came up with:
Treat him gentle, kiss him on the cheek if you long for a kiss, and he will kiss you back, maybe not right away, but eventually, he will.
Or be blunt like I am, and when there is nobody around kiss him on the lips, he kisses back, he loves you.
Whisper something in his ear, a message only for him and he will love you even more. His feelings for you will swell up in his chest.
Rub your hand through his hair and do not speak, observe his face, you will see love light up in his eyes.
Bring him his favorite sweets or food and he will get you the moon.
Tell him about your needs without being needy. After all, before his denomination, he is mostly a man, and men hate needy women. So tell him your needs in a positive way, without making him feel negative about it.
This country balances on the thin line between modern dating and old profound values
Now when you date in the big cities or party islands like Boracay, and the more urban areas or you date a Filipino that has lived there, you might find your lover between the old fashioned way and the newer ways of dating, which is even more confusing. For taking the best of both worlds, but him having to respect his family’s feelings and the endless gossip that goes around in his barangay, he will be acting jumpy sometimes.
As a Western girl, you have to forget the Western dating manners. I see these Western guys with their Filipino girls parading the streets holding hands and I did kind of assume that would be for me also. But Filipino girls adjust, in their love for their new boyfriend they are so willing to go the extra mile and adjust to the western dating style.
Do not try to change him into a Western man
Being a woman and dating in the Philippines, you date a Filipino and your Filipino leads the way. He conducts the whole process of dating. And yes, he will meet you somewhere along the way, and if you are patient and lucky maybe even halfway, but do not try to change him into a Western man.
After all, you fell in love with a person from Asia, let him be that wonderful, steadfast, romantic, sexy Asian man you fell in love with and leave all the ‘Disney love romance bullshit’ and all the Western dating manners out.
You will have a great relationship.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.