What does ‘dating exclusive’ in the Philippines mean?
In my opinion, Filipino relationships move forward very fast. Where in the Western culture you date someone to get to know them, in the Philippines dating is done with the end goal in mind: to walk down the aisle in a short while.
Men in the Philippines will only date you if they are serious about you
Especially the older generation that is still strung up in old days courtship, where there is that serious urge to find a life partner, are serious daters. There is little to no room for casual dating. Filipino men make great pursuers and are very romantic in the first stages of dating. But once you are committed things will change and everybody goes back to normal life again. Especially in the countryside where daily life can be very harsh and is for some people a matter of surviving.
To be exclusive in the Filipino dating scene comes almost natural, without that ‘special talk’. The expectations of men here are that women devote themselves to them. That is why so many Western men love Filipinas because they are devoted to the one courting them. They will shower their pursuer in return with messenger and text messages filled with lovely emojis and stickers and send photos of themselves looking pretty. Reminding their pursuer of how much they mean to them.
For us, Western women used too much more (sexual) freedom the dating scene can be a bit suffocating. There is that constant attention span that makes it very exhausting.
For example, men assume you are in a relationship rather than asking you to be in a relationship with you. And you are in a serious (meaning life long) relationship even before you know it. Men here get jealous easily and do not allow you much freedom and dating multiple men is considered not done.
My friend and I had the exclusive talk the other day. On my initiative. For him, it was already set and go, but I wanted “the talk”. I believe exclusiveness is something that happens when 2 people agree on it.
And not just by assuming, leaving all opportunities for miscommunication in the near future.
Not all Filipino men are monogamous and that is an understatement, they have a reputation of easily taking on a second wife or mistress. Filipinos (in general) have a high libido. So the talk about exclusiveness, although no guarantee for the future, is an important one for me.
What does exclusive mean in relationships?
It means two people dating, promise each other to refrain from other romantic or sexual involvement. They promise to explore the current relationship and develop stronger feelings for each other.
It is important that both people have the same definition of exclusiveness, like when we talked about it, we both agreed on not dating other people nor to have sex with other people.
It gives our new developing relationship a clear understanding of where we stand and what we are aiming for.
It also gives me somewhat safety when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases. The knowledge about that here in the Philippines is very low and once one is sick there is not the drama we have in the first world about infidelity and protection and breach of trust. Here one just accepts the fact that one is ill, and goes to see a doctor if affordable. Only girls that work in the industry and much more aware of the fact that having an STD can affect their income are more careful and give a lot of drama when they find out they are sick.
Exclusiveness is a natural step in building a strong and serious relationship. When you are exclusive you give each other the chance to grow intimately and have better connectivity.
When you are interested in building a future together you may want to have the ‘let’s be exclusive’-talk with your date.
Being exclusive means you take the relationship to the next level
Can you be exclusive and yet not be boyfriend & girlfriend?
Yes, although it is not common, two people may decide to date exclusive without labeling the relationship yet. But, there must be progress in the relationship. Growing closer to each other is a must in this stage, otherwise, the exclusiveness is just stringing each other along in a more agreeable situation without any form of commitment or seriousness.
The trap of being exclusive and not labeling the relationship can be that it creates a comfort zone for one and confusion for the other person about where the relationship is heading. This is usually the woman because women are more relationship-driven than men.
Again, both partners must agree on the exclusiveness and not labeling the relationship and understanding the consequences and the purpose of doing this.
In the Philippines it is not so common to have this, usually one does not go without the other and once exclusive you are already halfway engaged, especially when you date a Filipina, who is very marriage orientated.
For Filipino men, it takes some adjustment to step out of the cultural habits if dating when he dates a Western more liberal woman. But he might want to take advantage of the situation by being exclusive with you….and others. Because in his mind it is not labeled as a relationship since you are not a boyfriend/girlfriend. Make sure when you date a Filipino you mention that exclusiveness in this stage means not having other relationships on the side if you are looking for a monogamous relationship.
Does exclusive dating mean you cannot have sex with each other or can you?
Whether or not you are having sex depends on you as a couple. Filipinos have a huge libido. They love sex. This country struggles with large families and teen pregnancy to name a few outcomes of that strong sex-drive. So you and your partner having sex or not depends on your partner. To me, not wanting to label the relationship yet coming from him, I do not have sex with him. Call me weird, but I test the waters as much as he does and I can’t get a clear reason from him for not wanting to label the relationship and yet wanting to be exclusive.
Maybe he is heading for friends with benefits? But we must agree on such things together, so for now, for me, this works fine. And it gives me a reason to tease him when he wants to make out: friends don’t make out, they hang out, let’s hang out and not make out today *grin*
In every relationship, it is important that you communicate and that you feel safe and loved
What it comes down to is that no matter what rules you play by in a relationship, exclusive or not, you are the one in charge of your own decisions and status. If you do not like what is happening you either talk to the other person or break up. And that goes for both men and women, Filipino or Western. When there is mutual consent about the relationship status, that is great, but when there is only a shred of doubt in your mind or your gut feeling is telling you something is off, you have to address that. Pure out of self-love.
Dating in cross-cultural is confusing enough as it is, and you should not have to deal with mixed feelings inside yourself as well. So make sure you know that what you get is what you want and it works to your full satisfaction and happiness. If not: talk to your partner and make decisions that ease your mind.
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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.