Filipino Women in Interracial Relationship: 7 Things to Consider Before Saying I-Do
Among Asian Women, Filipino Women have one of the highest interracial relationships/marriages.
Is it easier to be married to someone your own kind or does difference in the Ethnic background takes more effort to make it a satisfying one?
In this post, we delve on important topics of conversation relevant before you say, “I do.”
According to the article of IM Diversity, the percentage of Filipino Women who marry a particular ethnicity are as follows-
Credit to IM Diversity.
According to this article, Filipino women still prefer marrying their own kind. Next to this hierarchy of preference are the Whites, and Blacks showing the lowest percentage of intermarriages with Filipino women to date. Despite what this stats show on the intermarriage between Filipinos and Hispanics are low, it is said that compared to other Asians, Filipino Americans (husbands and wives) are most likely to intermarry with with the former.
Filipino Women Not Your Stereotype Asian Woman
To answer this question point blank is to be certain that variables in our personalities, character, values and beliefs stay stagnant. Culture and everything around it evolves, if anyone can answer this question with a yes, or no……think again.
I have met Filipino Women in interracial marriages that appear to be in a loving relationship. A relationship of reciprocity where they felt needed and happy to satisfy their partner’s need. Filipino Women are incredible in tending, nurturing, and are quite empowered than the usual stereotypes given to “Asian Women. “
I’ve met many Filipinos in Interracial relationship in Couples Therapy who needed support in their communication, and deconstructing their value system as an individual first and then as a couple to find their way back to each other.
Needless to say, Filipino Women are not all the same, some are just slightly assimilated and others more assimilated in the Western American culture.
Just because someone was raised in the States does not predict full assimilation. In fact, I’m not sure if this is possible at all, given that we cannot run away from ourselves, or peel off our skin to the kind we prefer to be in. Whether one consciously pay homage to their Filipino roots or not, it is part of you, sister.
In this post, I will be referring more to the less assimilated Filipino Women, maybe raised in the Philippines, maybe not. Maybe born in America but was raised in a closed system.
A closed system is when you grow up with parents who hang out with Filipinos mostly, watched TFC mainly (The Filipino Channel), send their kids to a Catholic school with mostly Filipino kids and grocery shopped in Seafood City (Filipino Market in the East Bay, CA). It’s also possible to have NOT practiced all these but find yourself to have absorbed the “more Filipino” way of communicating through role models and other environmental and social influences.. I know this too is a stereotype.
It’s also possible that you were born & raised in the Islands but have a direct way of communicating & expressing.
I want to make sure I’m clear that Filipino Women although seemingly similar to the novice eye are distinct to one another. This is also true for other Asian Women who I happen to lump together into a ball of yarn in this post. I ask pardon for this but to stress a point about Filipino women, it’s almost inevitable to do this.
Filipino Love Language
When I came to the States at the age of 23, I had with me set of values rooted in the Islands. This of course is greatly influenced by how I was raised, the environment I was raised in, my socio-economic status, and my education to name a few.
My mother, a typical Filipino woman in the way she communicates and renders her messages often commissions a third person to deliver a very important message to me. A message she would not allow to escape from her very own lips.
She was generous, really generous and caring. I remember lying my head on her soft, cushion-y tummy that lovingly housed 5 kids & feeling a deep sense of comfort….even at 15.
Being a hard-working single mom, she was adventurous, enjoyed spontaneous drives in the countryside with just a few baon (food to go) stashed in our backpacks.
Because of the many pressures of raising 5 kids with no financial help, my mother relied on demonstrating her affection through her hard work. This does not mean that we never uttered, i love yous or hugged. In fact, I always remembered greeting my mom with a kiss on her cheek immediately coming home from work.
I’ve been known as “malambing” even as a child. Among its many definitions, this one means, one who freely shows affection/who is affectionate. Perhaps, I remembered more exchanged of affection from my mother as would a sibling of mine due to my malambing temperament.
Compared to Filipinos in America/Western Hemisphere, the tension between the different way of demonstrating affection, one overt (shown), and covertly ( not expressed openly) may have less tension in the Islands.
In a way, this is easy to understand because the society at large doesn’t offer an opinion different to what is practiced in the home or if different, offers a reason to understand.
“ Ganun lang talaga yang nanay mo,” (your mom is just like that).
“Pagpasensyahan mo na, tumatanda na siguro.” ( just give room for her imperfections, it’s probably because she’s getting old-contextual translation).
This does not mean that there is no movement in child development experts back home to encourage Filipino parents to be more expressive or be more intentional in their parenting. I, too, am encouraged that there is such a movement.
I share all these because we all tell different stories, and the values we learned from them bleeds to our close relationships, whether we are aware of them or not.
Peeling the layers take time & sometimes our triggers don’t come up until we are faced with stress, uncertainty and an unsatisfying relationships.
Marriage or any serious relationship takes your energy, your time and is an emotional investment. Your evaluation prior entering a commitment written in stone is worth your while. If you’re already in one, re-evaluating to meet both of yours & and your partner’s goal will save you a lot of heartbreak moving forward.
7 Things to Consider for Filipino Women in Interracial Relationships Before Saying I-Do
This is not a comprehensible list but a list worth taking a look at if you are involved in a serious relationship, but especially written for the Filipino Women in interracial relationships.
What You Need to Know
Style of Communication
Many issues can be discussed safely when couples understand what irritates the other & what type of language & approach communicates care & not the need to be right. The trick is to first figure out what works for you so that you can supply that information to your partner & vice-versa.
It may be helpful to answer these questions-
How does it feel when I’m starting to feel upset enough that I need space? ( do you feel warm inside, you feel like blood is climbing up your head, clenching your fist..etc)?
Once you figure out what these signs may look like for you. Try not to judge them & simply be aware. Describe this to your partner & you may decide to use a statement to let your partner know you’re pissed off so you either need to take a break or alert him to back off on a particular topic.
Timing is crucial. There is this belief that you must resolve everything before you lay your head down to sleep at night. If it works for you, good. It doesn’t always work for every couple. Some people need more time to let their steam out. This is okay.
2. Kid-Free, Having Kids and Fertility
More couples are opting to delay child bearing these days and even decide to live happily, a childless life. Both can work well …if a couple is on the same page.
Trouble arise if one desires a child, and the other prefers a no-diaper zone home.
When couples wait longer, issues in fertility can be a factor (not always) and can be a source of stress. If invasive reproductive assistance is recommended (IUI, IVF…etc), the stress to beat the clock with what’s left with your child-bearing years can be a drag to your relationship. Alas, many relationships survive this storm. But, if you can be equipped to weather the storm by having this important premarital conversation, why not?
Just because your partner adores kids or is the best ate/kuya (older sister/brother) on the block, doesn’t mean that they automatically fit the mama persona or want to be.
Would you like kids in the future? How many? Do you want to start our family as soon as we get married? Are you aware of any medical conditions you have that might make child-bearing for us a challenge? Remember the disclaimer at the beginning of this list? This stuff is for couples in serious relationships, nope you don’t ask these questions on the first date.
Family/Relatives Spatial and Emotional Boundary
The Filipino culture is a collective culture which means seeking approval or at least suggestions from others is how one may digest information or come to a conclusion. Of course, everything about this post depends on how assimilated you or your partner is to the Western culture.
It is most helpful to observe how this type of interaction can affect your prospective immediate family in the future, specifically, your partner’s ability to set healthy boundaries, like saying no gracefully to relatives.
No matter, how self-made you think you are, we all value the approval of others, this is not uncommon but rather human nature. But, the intensity of anxiety you experience when you receive a disapproving comment from family & friends is one to consider reflecting on.
If this is too much of a task for you, consider seeing a Psychotherapist for a pre-marital counseling.
Child-rearing Styles and Expectations
If you do decide to change diapers in the future, talking about how you will parent your own children seem a distant thought away. Understandable. Honestly, its seem easier to babysit others’ kids compared to yours.
And, the triggers you will have as a parent won’t haunt you until you become one. So, is talking about parenting styles & expectations a waste of time?
Studies show that individuals who despise the way they were parented become that same parent they despised, absent or lacking of self-awareness. Makes sense, right? How many times have you rolled your eyes when your mother told you,
“Ay Naku, wag kang iiyak ( my goodness, don’t you dare cry)”, only to hear yourself on the brink of uttering the same insensitive remark to your own precious anak (child) or will-be child (in your case).
Self-awareness on how you were parented & how this influenced your behavior today is one of the best predictors of being an in-tuned parent. It is good practice to converse about this with your Filipina (or non-Filipino) fiancee.
As a parent managing a busy household, I know that problem-solving at the time of chaos and tantrums usually is an ineffective strategy over creating a flexible master plan before the storm hits.
Education Level, and Priority Placed on
It used to be that the only educational system available to most families is the traditional public/private school set-up. Today, families have more options in choosing to educate their little ones. Homeschooling & on-line learning are projected to increase 2 to 8% per annum.
No, you don’t have to decide exactly which school to take your not-yet-born child. But, if you’re considering purchasing a home, your location pretty much dictates your option. I don’t know about you but purchasing a home is a huge investment and thinking years ahead can save you a lot of headache.
When we purchased a home as a couple, part of our decision was the school system available to us, even before kids.
Simply opening up this topic with your partner can lead to research and an informed decision where to live or even an attitude of we-don’t-have-worry-about-this-now. This too is okay.
The key is opening this conversation with your fiancee can give you more insight on the level of priority your partner places on education (at least at that moment).
Religion. Traditional, Free-Flowing
Religion can be a very sensitive topic to many people especially to couples whose lives can be affected by the difference in religious beliefs especially when children are involved.
Asking your fiancee these questions can help you be better prepared for what to expect in the realm of religious obligations and observance.
Do we have to worship together? How often do we have to worship? Where?
What religious holidays do you observe and are all these a must to observe for me?
If we have children, what type of God do you want them to believe in?
If you know you are easily emotionally charged with the topic of religion, try writing your questions to your partner and allow them to respond in the same format. This allows information to be expressed without the emotional exchange.
If you find responses that hits your core value and seem unacceptable to a future partner, you can then make an informed decision moving on or seek premarital counseling to get extra support in this process.
Ideal Motherhood Scenario
If you see yourself a mama in the future, it’s a good idea to share with your partner how you envision yourself as the mama you want to be. But, first, you want to be clear with yourself first-
Do you see yourself as a : full-time working mom, part-time worker, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom or a work from home mom ( just a few of these mama variations)?
What is a loving mother to you?
How much time do you want to spend in the home and at work?
Is there anything you can do today to make your ideal motherhood vision an easier transition?
Motherhood is both a delight and a flood of various emotions that will become your best teachers in this life. To be most fulfilled is to be clear on your ideal vision and working towards aligning to make this a reality. This relates to both motherhood and the way you decide to show up as a woman in this world. Just remember that visions can be flexible.
Problems with finances is one of the most straining part of any relationship. Many of us were taught that money talk is a bad thing and that pictures of being rich equates to being “wicked & selfish.”
Of course, some rich people can be this, and so does, other lower-income people. Your perception of money is simply that, a perception, an opinion, acted on as reality.
Talking about who will handle the finances, if this is a particular person is an important consideration to ease up on any financial stress in the future.
Who is more skilled or prefers to handle the budgeting/money in the home?
In the next 2-3 years, are there any big purchases you intend to make?
Do we have a budget or are we paying for particular expenses in the home?
You don’t have to answer all of the questions above. The important part of this conversation is simply getting you and your partner to talk about money. Period. Money talk is an on-going conversation so don’t get stuck on a particular way of doing things if it isn’t working.
My hubby and I sits down quarterly to talk about money, assess our budget, and recommit to our financial goals.
Your Calm Outlet
I wrote about self-care for women and I’m finding that using the word, outlet, resonates with me better.
The pressure to the type of self-care that women should take is not one that anyone should succumbed to. Sometimes, depending on the phase of your life, particularly with young kids or tending to a sick parent, self care simply means having an outlet.
An outlet doesn’t have to cause money (nor does self-care) and is a breather, a space to connect with you. If you like a no-pressure self-care framework, check out the blog: When self-care means others-care.
Having an individual outlet away from your partner is ideal. Talk to your partner about this.
What do you need after a heated argument?
What can your partner do to help you calm down (if applicable)?
What type of self-care/outlet do you need to feel good about yourself and how often do you need to take it?
Is it important to resolve our problems at the end of the day or is it ok to wait after we both calm down?
There you go! Of course, you don’t have to talk about these things in one sitting or talk about all of them at all. Pick ones that are important to you.
I promise you that opening up to these types of conversations will allow you to learn more about your partner and potentially give light to what’s in store for you and your family in the future.
Many couples in couples or premarital counseling come across issues because they failed to talk about it in the beginning and/or on an on-going basis as their relationship and their individual needs evolve.
Miscommunication with your partner is not uncommon but if you’re constantly arguing and bickering, assess your relationship with an open heart. This means being willing to look at your own contribution to this miscommunication.
If you’re stuck, consider seeing a Couples therapist or prior to marriage, a therapist who provides premarital counseling. near you or connect with me here.
I promise you it will save you a lot of heartbreak.
Roanne has been a Psychotherapist for more than 12 years. She has frequented at least 400 Filipino homes and counting. She is the author of the Ebook: 5 Pinoy Love Languages and the creator of the presentation entitled: Filipino Core Values & Considerations in Culturally Responsive Care.
Roanne has been a Psychotherapist for more than 15 years. She has frequented at least 500 Filipino homes and counting. She is the author of the Ebook: 5 Pinoy Love Languages and the creator of the presentation entitled: Filipino Core Values & Considerations in Culturally Responsive Care. To access self-paced courses and other resources, enter the Kalamansi Juice Academy.
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