Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dominican men - trying to understand them


This is a blog post for ladies who have relationships with Dominican men! The majority of the searches where people end up on this blog are from people looking for information about Dominican men. I also have lots of emails from ladies who are in relationships with Dominican men and having problems, and also from those who have taken their Dominican husband to live with them overseas who are also experiencing some issues. There is a major cultural difference between Dominicans and people from more developed countries and it is that difference that we women fall for. However, understanding the differences might help to avoid some of the conflict. I know that every relationship is different, and every Dominican man is different and some are better than others and here I am pointing out the worst points. Obviously there are plenty of good points - but I wanted to look at the problem areas. I also know that I am generalizing here, but, for what it is worth, here are my top 10 golden rules for foreign women as to how to have better chance of  having a successful relationship with a Dominican man – especially when the men are living overseas with them, away from the Dominican Republic.


1. Communication

Firstly there will obviously be communication issues if both parties do not speak the same language. In most cases, although not all, the women will not speak Spanish and the Dominican man has to learn English. This will not always be easy, and puts extra pressure on him, especially if he is not used to learning. Many have to attend classes in their new countries where teaching is done in a very different way from what they are used to. They may feel uncomfortable and nervous and under pressure to achieve. Trying to have a successful relationship with someone where you do not understand each other fully puts additional pressure on you both. You should try and learn Spanish too – don’t just rely on him to learn English.

2. If he comes to your country, understand how he feels

In most cases if a Dominican marries a foreign woman and goes to live in her country, it will be the first time he has been out of the DR. All he will know about his new country is what he has seen on the television, or talking to people who have been there (who always talk about the good!) The culture shock can be massive, not just the way things are done, but maybe the cold, missing family and friends, language barriers, different food, different everything. Some Dominicans will step up to the plate and embrace their new country, for others it is much harder, but understanding how they feel and trying to make them feel at home can help. Think of how many expats live in the DR and end up going home as they dislike too many things about the place. And what Dominicans consider normal, such as lack of electricity, expats will dislike.  It works the other way around too, in that what you think is normal, they will not like. You should anticipate a period of adjustment.

3. Understand stress

Foreign women are used to coping with stress, as life is stressful in the developed world and people just get used to it. Long journeys to work, long working hours, maybe working two jobs or more, money issues – especially when saving all of the time to visit the DR. Rules and regulations which you just take for granted. One of the great things about the DR is the lack of stress. Few time pressures, lots of laughs, no appointments to go and see people as you just call in, drinking at the colmado.  Imagine how a Dominican man feels when he experiences stress for the first time. It is a feeling which he is not used to. I remember my husband once asking me, when he was working very hard, that he felt strange and was that ‘estress’. And if the stress is ongoing, which it usually is, then the discomfort and unhappiness he feels builds. Many will miss feeling happy and relaxed.

4. Stress leads to anger

Many Dominican men have temper issues – although you may rarely see them. When they feel under stress, or cornered, they become angry. This is usually verbal but unfortunately can sometimes become physical. I think it is simply because they are not used to communicating and it is the only way they have learned to express how frustrated they feel. This is by no means condoning it, just that by understanding you can help to avoid these situations. Dominican men will become like a cat, cornered by a dog and hiss and spit. Afterwards they forget about it, but many relationships fail due to the woman not appreciating the stress their man is under, as for them stress is a way of life and they know how to cope with it. All they see is the man they married disappearing, and being replaced by someone who is sullen, uncommunicative and with outbursts of temper.

5. The past

Assuming that both parties can understand each other, Dominican men hate discussing the past. Maybe all men do? What is past is past and there is no need to bring it up again. However, we as women seem never to forget! Any discussion will almost invariably involve “Remember when you did this that or the other,” on our part. That is guaranteed to annoy the Dominican man who will yell " 'ta pasao!"

6. Questions

Don’t ask them! Latino men are by their very nature, macho. They like to know where you are, who you are with and what you are doing – until you manage to train them otherwise. However you do not have the same rights. Constant questioning is another trigger for temper tantrums. And you rarely get the right answer.

7. Don’t play the blame game 

Long distance relationships are never easy, but what makes them bearable is the anticipation of what it will be like when you are together. Unfortunately the anticipation is often better than the reality, and when things don’t turn out as you have dreamed or planned, it is easy to blame your Dominican man. “Do you know how much I had to suffer to bring you here?” “Do you know how hard I had to work?” “Do you know how much money I spent?” No he doesn't know and to be honest, rightly or wrongly he probably doesn't care. You are  usually the one who decided to do it, not him. This is one of the key issues which causes problems, as you then burden him with guilt, which again leads to stress. They think you love them, that you wanted them there, and now you are blaming them. They too will have been anticipating a life which was significantly better than the one they left and may also blame you for taking them away from the DR, especially if their life is not what they anticipated. And remember, Dominicans like instant gratification. They do not understand planning and saving for something. If they want a motorbike, they go and buy it on credit. They will not understand if you tell them they have to work for x years to have enough money to get them the lifestyle they want. “I want it, and I want it now!”

8. Understand the importance of family

Family is very very important to Dominicans, and they are usually all very close. Children are expected to look after their parents, there are very few old people’s care homes here, as the parents move in with the children or vice versa. Dominican children are also supposed to provide financially and there is extra pressure on those who go overseas as they are thought to be much richer. Every couple will handle this in their own way - some will send a small amount monthly, and some nothing.  Again this can turn into a key bone of contention. Just be aware it is not only your man, who wants to look after his family but almost all Dominicans.

9. It isn't exactly lying

Dominican men don’t lie, they just don’t tell you the truth if they think it will cause conflict, which they hate, or if it will hurt you. Learn the signs, and don’t ask the question if you know the answer. “Did you take my chocolate from the fridge?” will always be answered with a “No” as they know they will get into trouble.  If there are only two of you in the house then of course it was them. Next time hide the chocolate. Another option is don’t get annoyed when you find out they have crashed the car, so they work out they can tell you the truth and you don’t get annoyed. The childlike behavior of many Dominicans and the emotional immaturity is something that is attractive in the beginning. The ‘I love you,’ all the time, is just like a child – telling you what they think you want to hear. However, the childlike behavior, lies, tantrums and need for immediate gratification is the other side of the same coin.

10. Embrace the different cultures

It is difficult to understand how different two cultures can be. I had a comment on this blog from a Dominican lady who went to visit her American husband’s family in the US and he was amazed that she started cleaning their house – just like Dominicans do here in the DR as a way of saying thank you. When I married my husband in church in the UK, he shook my hand as I reached the altar. Many things will make you smile, and some make you cringe, but try looking at your culture through their eyes and live the best of both worlds.

If you want to know more about relationships with Dominican men and read real life stories then check out www.drsisterhood.com. It is a site for anyone who wants to know about the country and the people and if you join, as a member you get access to women who really understand the culture, free translations, free Spanish lessons, access to the members' chat room and discounts on  investigation services.

42 comments:

  1. Much the same could be said of foreign women who become involved with Turkish men. The cross-cultural issues can be a minefield!

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  2. "When I married my husband in church in the UK, he shook my hand as I reached the altar"

    xDDD Oh dear, this makes me laught every time I read it.So dominican thing to do.

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    1. The whole congregation howled with laughter - me too!

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  3. If you remember my story, my sister married a Dominican. I checked off all ten points by saying yup, yup, yup, yup, yup, yup, yup, yup, yup, and yup.

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    1. Sounds like a puppy! Amazing how they are all the same!

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  4. lol number 6 doesn't apply to me. I ALWAYS ask questions and my dominican man is always willing to answer and vice versa. We have open communication. Being raised in caribbean culture, I am thankful that there are many similarities between my country's culture and dominican culture so I'm not shocked by a lot of things. Then again, it all depends on the man. I think what makes things work for us is being able to communicate freely, that means respecting each other's opinions and being understanding. The things I value most is HONESTY (good or bad just tell the t.r.u.t.h.), respect and trust. For me, I can say I am very straight forward. Before starting any relationship, I lay it all out. If they can't handle it then it is their choice.

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    1. Good advice and I am sure that the similarity in culture will help a lot with your understanding

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  5. Lindsay - you always seem to post these bits of advice at the best times! I love reading along and nodding my head and saying "yep, that's him for sure." I try to keep in mind how different myself and my Dominican fiancé are, but occasionally I need a reality check. Thanks so much for writing!

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    1. Thanks Robbie, glad it made sense to you!

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  6. I am on my second attempt of making a marriage to a Dominican man work in the US, and all of the points above are true in my experience. It is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm hoping that maybe in 7-10 years, we will figure it out!

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    1. Good luck Joyce - glutton for punishment but a good Dominican man is worth his weight in gold. I hope it all works well for you.

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  7. I would like to know if Dominican Men are jealous and controlling..

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    1. Like all nationalities, some are and some aren't. I think they are jealous and expect their wives or girlfriends to be faithful, but I have not noticed that many who totally control their wives and girlfriends - more the other way around.

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    2. Yes. They imagine all the time that you cheat them...or that you look at other men. They are sick with that.

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  8. This list was the absolute gospel to me lol. I almost wish that you had written it before I started dating my husband 2 years ago so that I could've had some insight about what I was up against. I'm in the US military and I brought him to the United States to be with me. So aside from getting assimilated to the US, he's getting assimilated to being the husband of a soldier. We've dealt with (and are still dealing with) all of the issues you mentioned. The only thing that has gotten me this far has been an open mind and reminding myself that some issues are cultural.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know Elin. Am sure if you have got this far thing will improve - it certainly isn't easy at the beginning. Good luck!

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  9. I am howling. I married a Hawaiian man and OMG, this is the same! Especially the part about him "not lying, just not telling the truth because it will cause conflict!" Perhaps it's an island thing. I would ask too many questions and he did what I call "Jabba the Hut..." He would settle back into this big scowl and stare off into the distance. Well - okie dokie, I guess THIS conversation is over! LOL Oh dear oh dear. What are we thinking? I managed him just fine, but one word of warning to any ladies thinking about cross-cultural marriages... Your family might be fine with it, but in these island families, never underestimate the power MAMA has on these boys. As the saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Our marriage ended more because his mama didn't like me than because of his inability to have a working relationship with the truth!

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    1. Love 'Jabba the Hut", and Dominican men are exactly the same about their mothers! I wonder if it is an island thing? Thanks for sharing your story.

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  11. I really cared for this man I was seeing he is Dominican and I am American things seem to be good but the only time I would see him is where he works, I would go there to see him spend 15 to 20 minutes, my problem started when he started to ask me for money I had no problem I gave him some money he told me it was for his mother for medicine she needed, I am family oriented I put the envelope in his car, then he asked me for more and I did again I put the envelope through the window of his car he called so mad that he did not get the money I explained that I did like I did before well now it's almost a month he will not speak to me when I call no response when I text. I did try to talk face to face at his job he said I am a liar and he does not want to be my friend, I am very hurt because he does not even let me explain or try to talk about what may have happened with the money. He does speak much English but I told him we can work through this communication gap. I am at a loss as what to do like I said I really care for him deeply.

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    1. Well he doesn't sound like a very nice person to me! A good Dominican would not ask you for money, nor would only see you where he works. I would stop giving him money and stop caring for him.

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  12. I'm sorry but where are you getting your information from? I am Dominican (half really). But none of my uncles or male cousins behave in any form you have described. Perhaps its men of low social status in the island who behave in such manner.

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    1. Go to new york and new jersey and still make that statemeny? And the author said not all act this way...

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  13. I'm dating a Dominican guy. And he is sooooo sweet.. Never ask for money or anything. The only problem we have is if we don't talk. For awhile he becomes a cry baby, an questions me a lot. Or yell and tell me don't ever do that again.. On the other hand that's the only problem.. He's a sweet heart!

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    1. Some are like that and can be jealous, so you need to watch that. Glad he is a sweetheart though!

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  14. ebony that is not a very healthy relationship.

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  15. domenicum men have the old madonna/whore syndrome

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  16. I got to know a Dominican guy during my last vacation one month ago. He was very romantic and tender. He kept saying he loved me and required me to go back to see him before I left the resort. After I came back to Canada, I cannot help thinking about him all the time; every day we chatted, from the camera, I could see his smile and his life. Every day, he said he loved me; I felt our love was so real. I was so anxious to get back to see him. I have booked package to see him by the end of July.
    However, recently, he disappeared for 2 times. Every time lasted 2- 3 days, I was not able to reach him. Our communication became to be less and less. Since I was not there, I do know if I could trust him; I do not know if he has other women in his life. I feel quite helpless and painful when I was not able to reach him.
    Is there anyone who has the experience tell me what is going on? I really have a feeling about this guy; I have never been so happy when I was him and felt so touched. It is hard explain he disappeared a few days every 2-3 weeks. I need find out what is going during the next visit; he probably will still treat me nice.

    thanks

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    1. Lack of communication, or disappearing for a couple of days is not a good sign. The internet can be iffy but in different parts of the country. If where he works has internet then the chances are it always will. The electricity goes off yes, but not usually for 2 whole days at a time.

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  17. He dissapears because he has other ladies in the same time. Probably even a wife or an official one and others too. He sees you only when he is free...

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  18. What should I do then? Could I ask his friends around about his status? He says the internet signal is not good, he could get online; but it was not like before.

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  19. I'm an American man married to a Dominican woman. We have been married for three years, but she only immigrated to the US in December 2015. I believe that the very good observations you make of Dominican men are true of Dominican women. I also think that the comments and replies are accurate and well intentioned. My wife has an excellent and kind nature and is empathetic, compassionate, supportive, loving, concerned, invested, and is devoted. I appreciate her very much. She is a beautiful soul. She lost her mother at two years of age; her father was not around to raise her, and has few memories of him. He died when she was fourteen. My wife was then raised mostly be her older sister who is about my age. She had a child at twenty-one. I am now in the early stage of immigration with him. He is a wonderful boy and is being cared for by the same sister who raised my wife.

    My wife has problems with anger, and they are often severe and caustic. Much of what has been written here makes sense to me, and I feel she may be under great stress, exacerbated by the separation from her son and her family. She has acculturated very well and loves the United States, recognizing the incredible opportunities for her and her son alike. I am thankful for this. She is a strong woman. I have trouble with her anger. She is prone to fly into a rage over the slightest, seemingly innocuous things, and we then will not speak to each other for a full day. She is the one who usually apologizes in the end. Much of this concerns money. I support her and her son. I am comfortable but by no means wealthy. I have tried to explain this to her. At her worst, she is petulant, petty, angry, and at times manipulative. Her temper causes me concern for her health--and mine. I'm concerned about her blood pressure. And mostly I'm concerned about living with her under these conditions. Her outbursts happen on a regular basis, and really over very small matters--certainly nothing worth losing her temper over. I'm hoping for some sage advice here. She may have a bipolar disorder or psychological issues related to her childhood.

    My wife is a loving, wonderful soul, and I want to be with her until the last breath I draw, but I fear that her instability will prevent us from enjoying our marriage. And that is something that I am increasingly concerned about.

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  20. Anger is very common in both men and women, a lot due to the inability to communicate effectively due to a lack of education. I suggest it may be worth taking her to a counselor or a psychiatrist to check out to see if it is bipolar or simply that she is behaving like many Dominican do, in which case communication is the key.

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  21. I have met many dominican while on vacation and even some on the internet. I understand their culture some but a couple of the guys always talk about having a child. Why is that? It is always I want to have a baby with you and you keep telling them no but they don't give up.

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    1. Lmaooo!!! It's so crazy because ive dealt with something so similar. They always ask to go out but not to have a child. I just don't get it though, we won't ever see each other again, and we were in a resort where he works at so I didn't see where he was planning to go with this, so i turned him down even though i really liked him. I just dont get why they do and say things like that

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    2. Dominicans will tell you what they think you want to hear. Simple as that and they think all women want a child!

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  22. There was a dominican guy I met, only 5 years older than me. We're both in our 20s. We've only talked 3 times. At first we said our hellos on the 2nd night. On the next day, we spoke more and he told me more about himself. But what I want to know is why, on the third day, which was the day before i leave to go back to Canada, he asked me out. He said "do you wanna go out?" And even though I was very much interested (which is probably why he had the courage to ask in the first place), I had to say "sorry but I'm not interested". He smiled and respected that but after that I never saw him on the day of my departure.

    Why did he ask me out? I couldn't see it working out in any way possible but until now i couldn't get this out of my head

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    1. I should think because he wanted to go out with you and you said no so he would not pursue you.

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  23. One guy I met in DR, we talked through almost for a year. I went back to see him once. I booked flight to see him but not feeling well, so cancelled the flight. It is nice to have someone waiting there, but I do not know if it is what I want. I only feel comfortable staying in resort. He would like to get married. I do not know how it will go. However, I am also afraid if I lose this chance, I will be alone forever. People there are poor and have nothing, although they are happy and warm. Any advice to me?

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