Relationships: Jealousy in the Philippines, Part 1




But she seemed so nice……..

Jealousy can be a pretty ugly thing. If you really want to bring out the worst qualities in another human being in the most expeditious and efficient manner, just give them a reason to be jealous. Can’t relate? If you’ve never felt that overwhelming sense of sickness and borderline psychosis that the condition can manifest, then you’ve never truly been jealous, my friend. So, either consider yourself lucky or seek counseling – you might be a sociopath. 😉

The Philippines brings jealousy to a whole new level, having carefully crafted and molded it over the course of generations. I can sit here and tell you about it all I want, but until you actually experience it, you’ll really have no idea. It’s kind of like when someone tells you how pretty Filipinas are or how beautiful the coral reefs are – it’s something that you actually have to see for yourself to fully appreciate. The problem that Westerners might experience with jealousy in the Philippines basically lies in the fact that we see excessive, incessant jealousy as a sign of mental instability. For some of us older folks, the movie “Fatal Attraction” may come to mind, with visions of Glenn Close hunting down Michael Douglas with a kitchen knife. In the Philippines, however, excessive jealousy isn’t seen like that – it’s actually a integral part of the culture. And, no – I am not being an apologist for what many foreigners see as a most irrational and pernicious state of mind. Instead – and as you will see in or next blog entry – there are a good number of cultural and structural factors in place that contribute to rampant displays of jealousy in Filipino relationships.

Now, when you first experience jealousy in the Philippines, you might feel flattered. For some of us, it’s been quite some time since someone has shown jealousy towards us. After some time, however, the flattery will subside, and you’ll seriously start to think that this sweet, little woman is an utter maniac, complete with paranoid and delusional behavior. And again, if you’ve never been here, it’s hard to truly appreciate.

In the first part of our two part blog, we’re going to look at some of the cultural and structural reasons why jealousy is a lot more prevalent in the Philippines.

1. The Spanish Influence: The Philippines was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years. One of the many aspects of Latino culture that got passed on was the idea of having mistresses. In Tagalog, this is known as kabit (which is gender neutral) and in bisaya it is something along the lines of iring-iring. Families in the Philippines have experienced this, with fathers, grandfathers, brothers, etc. having had kabit on the side. A prospective mate doesn’t want this to happen to their relationship and will always be on the lookout for it.

2. Abandonment: Some women have seen (or personally experienced) what happens to friends (or themselves) becoming single mothers and the father (either Filipino or foreigner) shirking their responsibilities and moving away.

3. Players: “Chickboys” come in both local and exotic (foreigner) flavors. Many woman here are looking for an exclusive, committed relationship and are not overly keen on sharing their prospective mate with anyone else. Combining this with their experiences with the cultural mistress more, can make for a volatile mix.

4. Telenovelas: Many local soap operas prominently feature dramatic infidelity-based story lines. Drama is BIG in the Philippines, and Filipinos generally love their telenovelas. Being exposed to these throughout their lifetime inculcates a deep suspicion of other’s intents.

5. Gossip – “Chizmis” can be a big factor in the realm of jealousy. You might be out shopping someday, say a nice word to a saleswoman and accept the store receipt with a smile. If a friend of your significant other sees that, however, and it is passed down the “coconut telegraph,” you might find that you actually flirted shamelessly with some strange girl and coerced her phone number. Gossip is a popular past time here and it can cause big problems in a relationship.

6. Other woman: Filipinas realize that there are a lot of other very pretty Filipinas out there. Millions, actually. And contrary to the “shy” stereotype, they are not shirking violets when it comes to showing interest. You will actually notice this more when you are in the company of your significant other than when you are alone. I am not sure if this is due to some variation on the “crab mentality” that you see here or something else. What’s odd is that other Filipinas will express interest in you while in the company of their own boyfriends. Michell reckons they are doing that to make their own boyfriends jealous. If so, that sheds some more light on this whole jealousy thing in regards to the social mores and traditions of the country.

Tomorrow we will take a gander at how jealousy can affect you and your relationship; looking at some of the (somewhat extreme) behaviors that will emerge from this most ugly of emotions.

Oh, and how many times can you tell your Filipina you love her?

That one’s easy.

Never enough. 🙂



Comments 21

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      1. Could not be more true. I am married to a Filipino and have huge trouble with her and my ex who I finished with 5 yrs ago. I got married last year. Problem I have is my ex is still my friend and plays in the same band as me as a bass player.!!!!

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  1. great video….been married to a Filipina for 10 months… are SOOOO correct. My girl is wonderful but she is a bit crazy about the ex thing. One thing I have learned is that in the Philippines….the man is somewhat expected to consider his first wife as “dead” (figuratively speaking). He may even had a few kids with that first wife…but they don’t really pay child support and they don’t seem to have much to do with the kids of his from his first marriage. VERY sad.

    I had to really pound into my girl that this is NOT the cultural way here in the usa (nor is it very Christian)…and she knew she would have to adapt to many things here…and THIS is one of them. Personally, I would be fine if I never talked to or saw my ex again….but my youngest is 16 and there are occasional things that we have to text each other about. We have gotten to stress points where I finally said….if you cannot accept it, I can buy you a one way plane ticket back home….if that’s what will make you happiest..! (did I want her to? of course not…..BUT I will not live under those kind of circumstances….
    As a husband to a Filipina, we must be as understanding as possible…..but the bottom line is that SHE needs to adapt…that’s final (unless you want to be miserable)
    Looking forward to part 2 and seeing the rest of your blog.

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      I have heard the “dead” reference before. Family (espcially kids) make things VERY complicated for all involved. Bottom line is she has to understand where you are at and stress the importance of the relationship with your kids. Being Filipina, she should totally understand the “family” aspect of the situation.

  2. I have been married to a Filipina for a little over a year. My wife goes from being the most precious care taker to something similar to Borderline Personality Disorder. She is so jealous of my ex wife and ex girlfriends that we literally have to get rid of or sell anything that they ever touched, and finding out that we did something in the past like visit a site turns into a situation where she is rude (and deeply insecure) so that it can ruin an entire part of our trip. She is deeply jealous of my relationship with my natural children that there are so many things that I can’t do any more and I have to walk on egg shells of how much time I spend with them or it starts a depression episode in her. Being around typical American children who are open (and don’t respect adults properly) causes her to go up and stay away from people in our room. My kids aren’t perfect but they are good to her, and I feel like she is so sensitive that our family will never function like a normal family. I love her, but I am walking on eggshells in everything I do. Is this normal for Filipina women?

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      I am no expert on this thing, but I have heard examples of extreme jealousy like this before. I’d recommend counseling, so an objective third party can get her to (possibly) see reason. If I was in a relationship with someone like this, I would simply set down the guidelines and expectations of how things are and how she should act – if she can’t see it and calm down, it might be time for a break. Good luck, man!

  3. She is suffering from borderline personality disorder.

    Run forest run. It will not get better, it will only get worse.
    I have just saved u a large fortune on therapy….sorry pal.

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  4. I am a Filipina American woman born in Manila brought up in New Jersey I don’t trust Filipinos because they are irrationally jealous I am not on Facebook for this reason too much chismis

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  5. I met a beautiful Philippine lady much younger than me,im presently living with her in the Philippines for about a year. Jealousy has Raised it’s head a lot,a and sometimes is hard to deal with.She is a educated woman 30years old,very pretty and I’m just interested in her ,l am asked a lot what I’m doing with my day(she works).To tell you the truth I could get into a lot of trouble here,but I feel so fortunate in having her care for me.Actually when I’m alone I see other beautiful women here,but I always say she is my miss universe.i hope to bring her to Canada next year ,it’s costing a lot of money,and I had to give up my job and slowly get into debt.Ifind the ladies here old or young very nice ,friendly and they always ask if I have a Asawa(wife) My heart is hers but she is very jealous if I smile or am nice to any body.l hope some Jealousy issues will get less and less,in Canada it’s a whole new ball game ,that’s when i will be jealous of the men there

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  6. To the Editor, My Philippine Dreams,


    I am writing to ask permission to reprint, digitize and incorporate into an English reading selection as informational text the following material:

    Title: Relationships: Jealousy in the Philippines, Part 1
    URL Link:

    The material will be distributed/published as follows:

    Purpose: educational textbook in English for Grade 10
    Unit Run: 3000 copies
    Time Frame: 1 year
    Book Title: Integrated English for Effective Communication series

    If you do not have the copyright of these materials, I would appreciate any information you can provide me as to whom I should write, or if there is an available address. Thanks very much!


    Mr. Danilo XXXXXX (edited out last name)

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  7. Back in the 70’s I lived in the Philippines and ended up marrying a bar girl, biggest mistake of my life. She was physically violent and once tried to kill me with a pair of shears. I went back to America and she’s still there.

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  8. I love this article. It was pretty funny. I am a Filipina and I do notice these fun things. And, yes, more often than not people say Filipina girls are crazy.

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