Why Relationships Fail in the Philippines: Part Two: The Gal’s Role


In our previous installment, we examined some reasons relationships fail in the Philippines due to male malfeasance; that is –addiction problems, womanizing issues (arguably interchangeable at times), tendencies to disrespect women and failure to adequately invest in the relationship. 

And recognizing that what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, we are now going to turn to the woman’s role in contributing to a failed (or failing) relationship.

GENDER NOTE:  To keep things simple, I am using “he” for a male foreigner and “she” for his Filipina partner. If you are gay, a female foreigner or a ladyboy, please feel free to shift around the gender descriptors to your heart’s content.  J

With that properly noted, here’s some of the things a Filipina can do that allows a relationship to fail.

I. Pre-Planned Failure
This in short is a completely contrived and fake relationship. Also can be seen as a scam or long or short-term hustle. The Filipina has entered the relationship with no intention of seeing it through.  Her sole purpose there is to make as much money and accrue as many gadgets as she possibly can before tossing her foreigner partner to the curb.  The ultimate prize is – of course – a plot of land and hopefully her very own house (purchased with his money but in her name).  Oftentimes, she will have multiple  foreing partners at once, typically keeping them at arm’s length through the impersonal machinations of the internet.  In some cases they work in teams, alternating communications and only having one of them do “face time” video with the hapless mark. 

There isn’t much that can be done in the face of preplanned failure.  The best recourse a foreign victim has is to recognize it as quickly as possible and simply get out.

Run.  Don’t walk.

II. Excessive Neediness and Jealousy
Filpinos are socially close. As in, really, really close.  Family and friends are generally the be-all and end-all of their lives and they try to spend as much time with them as humanly possible.  As babies they are doted over, passed around and subjected to incessant hugs and kisses.  Growing up, they often sleep in the same room as their siblings (or parents) or even the same bed.  The concept of “personal space” and social boundaries when it comes to loved ones is a fairly alien concept to them.  As Western foreigners, we are used to having our own time and space when in a relationship.  An excellent example of this is the idea of a “man cave” – a section of a home that serves as his personal refuge; a closed-off area usually containing a couch or two, a big screen TV (with all 27 permutations of ESPN Sports), a sweet 7.1 surround audio system (to better hear football helmets impacting at unhealthy speeds) and a small fridge stocked with cold beers and partially congealed leftover pizza.  Filipinas find privacy concepts like this absurd.  After all, why would we not want to spend 24 hours a day non-stop with the women that we love?  The same goes for guys’ nights out, which they tend to interpret as us wanting to spend more time with other people instead of them. 

Foreigners – those from the West in particular – are used to a certain amount of personal space and time.  By not understanding or allowing that, the Filipina can cause harm to the relationship – the more they pull, the more we tend to push away…

As for jealousy in the Philippines, well that’s something that has actually be experienced to be fully appreciated.  Filipinas (and Filipinos) are possessed of some of the most extreme jealousy every exhibited in the human condition, and it seems to be ingrained in the culture. Some of the insane levels of jealousy are understandable given many foreigners propensity to “butterfly” (flit from flower/woman to flower/woman) and the cultural acceptance of “iring-iring” (having a mistress on the side).  Needless to say, such levels of jealousy and mistrust can cause irreparable damage to any long term relationship.

III.  Excessive Drama: 

Like point two, a tendency towards excessive drama in more of a cultural thing than any specific failing of a Philippine partner.  One of the motivators behind elevated levels of dramatica seems to lie in their infatuation with teleserye TV programming.  This contraction of telebisyon (television) and serye (series) is the contemporary evolution of the traditional telenovela and is chock full of intrigue, over-the-top romantic shenanigans, protagonists languishing in hospital beds and a steady supply of crocodile tears.  Plot twists (with accompanying dramatic “Bum-bum-buuuuuums” sound effects) abound.  Put simply, when it comes to “soap opera” programming, the West ain’t got nothing on the Philippines.  Filipinos growing up with teleseryes absorb what they see, and over-the-top drama becomes inculcated – to some extent – in the society. 

Foreigners – men in particular – are not used to the levels of drama that one experiences in the Philippines.  Too much of it becomes a problem over time and can result in growing resentments, fracturing and causing irrevocable harm to the relationship.

All of this – of course – accompanied by crocodile tears and all the rest.  The only thing missing is the dramatic ‘bum-bum-buuuuuuuum’s” in the background….

IV.  Spring and Winter Relationships

There are some glaring age differences between Filipina and foreigner couples in the Philippines.  Some of these are of the Donald Trump variety (20-25 year difference) but others exist on the far more extreme Anna Nicole Smith/Howard Marshal 60 year age differential.  Now granted, some of these relationships are simply for convenience and both parties acknowledge it – he wants some companionship and help and she wants money for herself and/or family.  Problems here arise when the elderly gent is led to believe that the girlfriend 40-60 years his junior loves him simply for his good looks, wit and endless charm.  Such disparities in age cause a number of issues.  From not having similar interests, contrasting physical abilities, disparate tastes in music and entertainment to simply possessing differing levels of physical attraction (poor Melania…), these barriers add up.  And let’s face it, a younger, more vibrant and attractive Filipina knows she is hot and deserves a complementary attractive young stud to fulfill her sexual needs.  So, no, brother – that’s might not actually be her cousin….

Runners Up

Lack of Communication:  He can’t speak Tagalog.  She can barely speak English.  Not much of real value can be shared when a couple has to communicate in Tarzan English.

She’s In Over Her Head:  Young Filipinas (and Filipinos) have basically had their lives mapped out for them:  Do your chores, take care of your younger siblings, go to school and take care of your family.  Being thrust into a relationship replete with marriage, children and a lifetime of commitment and mutual sacrifice can be a bit overwhelming once the reality starts to settle in.

Immaturity:  Filipinas with balat sibuyas probably won’t like hearing this, but there seems to a certain undercurrent of immaturity in the Philippines when it comes to certain things.  And being egalitarian, I will also include Filipinos in this overly generalized blanket statement:  Tampo, onion skin, and crab mentality has a very strong role in Filipino culture. 

ARTICLE FINAL NOTE:  Before blowing a head gasket, do yourself a favor and realize that I am speaking in generalities here.  Not every foreigner is going to become a drunk, verbally abuse his wife or become a compulsive philanderer.  Likewise, not every Filipina is immature, overly dramatic or clingy or planning on scamming some sucker foreigner out of every penny she can.  These things do happen and often – to a greater or lesser degree – they contribute to why relationships between foreigners and Filipinas sometimes fail. 

When it comes to love, many come to the Philippines expecting things to be easier here.  Only after arrival do they slowly (or suddenly) begin to realize that their significant other isn’t going to always be that sweet little subservient partner that they imagined she would be.

Which only makes it:  More fun in the Philippines!!! 


  1. Oh boy have you published this 2 or 3 weeks too late for me. After 2 years of developing our relationship and me visiting her we have started the visa process for her to come here in Australia. As soon as she had to start doing some paperwork the drama and immaturity reared its ugly head for the first time.

  2. Point I & III Will someone warn you about a Filipina doing a Point I on you or will they sit back and enjoy the show inserting their own Bum, Bum, Bummm in their minds as they think it is required?
    Most mates would do it for each other in Oz but do Filipinos regard it as more than their life is worth to interfere in another Filipina or her families business or scam?

    1. Pre-Planned Failure is all about economics. It would be nice for someone else to warn you, but you shouldn’t need a warning from someone else. Just ask yourself a simple question: Do I feel like an ATM? Is everything about the money?

      The example given in the article (“a plot of land and hopefully her very own house (purchased with his money but in her name)”) is a classic. There are certainly a lot of guys who fall for this trap. When in the Philippines, you just need to ask yourself the same kind of questions you would ask yourself in Oz. After all, would you buy a house in OZ and put only your girlfriend’s name on the deed?

      Some scamming is fairly overt. If you have a conversation with a pinay, and every response she has is a flavor of “I wish I had the money for that”, she is there to get that money. You will undoubtedly end up spending some money on every pinay when you are in a relationship. It is simply a matter of asking yourself “How reasonable is this?”

    2. Don’t expect any pinoys to look out for a foreigner, you’re on your own. Filipinos look out for filipinos, not the foreigner. Advice: Go slowly, don’t settle on the first pinay you meet, learn the culture (which will take a few years) and always be a man, not a western feminized version of a man.

  3. You forgot the denial of possible mental illness; such things as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and the like. You also forgot to mention how most Filipinos consider all westerners to be on some type of medication and to have any type of mental illness is looked down upon in the Philippines, so therefore they could not possibly have it. Other than those two factors a decent article especially to the lay person who has never been to the Philippines, but for those of us who have, not too much that isn’t already evident. Not, criticizing mind you, just leaving a reply. Maybe you could do an article on how mental health is viewed in the Philippines, could be a big eye opener to lot of folks here and beyond.

  4. Tampo…where is Tampo? This is a very important relationship power tactic. More important in my opinion than the jealousy power tactic.

    Just remember guys, if you respond in anger or in any manner, you have given up your power in the relationship. If she is jealous, there’s the door…if she wants to be tampo…there’s the door. You can never control her but at least you can control yourself.

    My $.02

  5. Hi mate,
    After being a regular visitor to the PI since the late 80’s and living here for the past several years I agree with what you are saying.with the a horrendous experience to go with it.
    My partner of 7 years was murdered by a crazed Filipino boyfriend,who I didn’t know existed.Today is the 4th anniversary of her death.
    Warning to everyone.Dont think that you know for certain what is going on as chances are you don’t..Hope things ok with you Ned.
    Regards and take care.

  6. In generalities, as you put it, you are right on. I have been married 25 years and have adapted to many of these behaviors. As its not a one-way street in a relationship my wife has as well. In the beginning the desire to spend a massive amount of time with me was a little overburdensome. In time I began to see it as flattery. Why would someone want to be with me all the time? I’m not that wonderful, but to her I am. What a compliment that really is.

    When you mix cultures both sides require reforming to get the puzzle pieces to fit. In time a beautiful picture emerges. One with far greater beauty than what you may have imagined.

    There are many cultural differences that can easily tear a relationship apart, but they can also be used to build something stronger than you may think. The greatest part in a relationship is making your mate happy. Oftentimes that requires the other person to give something up. In the end it is a win for both sides.

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