Help with Cultural Question

Jennyfurry

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Jul 20, 2007
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My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half. He is Dominican. I am from the US. We've been living together for about 4 months now. We were doing great for a while, but recently have been having what I think our some cultural differences. I need someone's help in understanding these differences and to know at times if what is bothering me is because I do not understand his culture or if it is something I really have the right to be mad about. I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this specific question, but I'm cool with having it moved to the right place if need be.

Okay, so currently I am really annoyed. The last two weekends were dedicated to his family. Two weekends ago he wanted to go home to see them. I was not in the mood for that since I worked a long week and I was tired. I just wanted to stay on my own turf and relax. However, I know how important his family is to him, so I obliged and went. It killed me the next week at work. I was so exhausted. I guess for me relaxing is about being at home....going out to local places, but returning home to your own space. For me, unless I am at a resort laying on the beach all day, packing up my things, the dog, getting in the car, driving, is more work than I want. For him, doesn't matter. He can keep on going. So two weekends ago we drove to La Romana to visit and last weekend the family came to visit us in Santo Domingo. So when we were both exhausted last week from all the family activity, I said to him, "this weekend coming, is my weekend......and we are just going to hang at the pool and just be together you and I." I invited my boss over for a swim in our pool two weeks ago and had to change it so his family could come visit. So I rescheduled my boss for today. So last week he agreed that we would be together, no family, just us, except for my boss coming on Sunday to hang at the pool.

Well, last night his Dad calls from the states to tell him that his little brother and sister are here and that he should go visit. He promised his Dad that he will go the next day--which is today. He stayed home to hang with my boss and I and relax by the pool. She left at 7. I assumed it would be too late for him to drive to the family's house in Boca Chica especially without calling. I also assumed that he would not go since it was my weekend and he agreed with that. But sure enough as soon as the boss left he was getting ready to go and expected me to go with him. It was too late for me at 7 to get showered and dressed and get in the car by 8 to arrive there at 9 the night before I have to go to work. But he says to me that it is his brother and sister and that he will not have time to see them all week because of work and NEXT WEEKEND we are supposed to go to the family again in La Romana! Not to mention in two weeks I am heading to the states to visit my family.

I guess to make a long story short..........is this how it's always going to be? The family comes before me? I understand it is his brother and sister......but it seems to me that it does not matter what is planned or what else is going on, they call and he runs. Should I be mad or is it just simply that my family and culture is different? Where I come from we plan things well in advance and not only that, we don't show up at anyone's house without calling first. I mean that just makes me nuts that he just drove there without a call. It's not like his parent's house....this is his father's 2nd ex wife's sister's house.

So I am mad because I feel like he chooses them over me. I want to understand family is important, but it's a bit too much. There needs to be some sort of a balance here.........but he is too sensitive on the topic.
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
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be Mad. I am married to a Dominican and he has 4 brothers and sisters but I come before them. We see them twice a year, never send them money. Afirend of mine is also married to a Dominican and he goes home once a week to see his family in Santo Domingo. She doesn't go with him any more and they only come her (JUan Dolio) twice a year. Law the law down, let him see his family but you do what you want. get MAD.

matilda
 

samanasuenos

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Oct 5, 2005
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Dear Jen In A Fury, I can understand. My hubby is Latin American as well. Yes, family is big. In many cases, it is an excuse for a guy to go out late. In your case, you are lucky - he is inviting you along.

Our idea of solitude is unknown to them - they have never had it and just don't get it. Probably never will.

Forget about calling first and all - people will just drop in on you, and via versa.

My advice is to vent with expat wives and be glad that he is inviting you along, i.e. not going out to cheat.

Said with great carinyo, Sammy as in Samantha
 

MommC

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Mar 2, 2002
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Gotta agree with Sammy AND Matilda!!!

Phone calls are unheard of.....it's always drop-in whenever!
Advance planning????? - what's that!
Family first --ALWAYS, unless you "Lay the law down quickly and firmly" as Matilda suggests.

Get used to it and be glad you're invited.

If you are really tired and it's really late - don't go! Just politely tell him - "next time".
 

BushBaby

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Jan 1, 2002
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Sorry ladies - may I (respectfully) disagree?

Not with the gist of what you say - you are absolutely right that the problem (if such it is) needs to be faced & discussed. It is just the manner I disagree with. Getting mad with anyone rarely wins an argument - with a MALE Dominican ...... NEVER! Being such male chauvinists, they might listen to a fellow male ranting over something innocuous but with a woman they will just smile that sweet smile of theirs, switch off the 'INTAKE' button & continue exactly where they left off, ........... doing what THEY want to do.

Family IS more important to the Dominican than to us Europeans & North Americans, so to get round the problems listed, JennyFurry needs to analyse the various areas that are causing her to be 'Mad', check that they are real & justifiable, list them in her mind AND on paper - & then sit & discuss with her boyfriend what is giving her serious thoughts for concern. Be FIRM in her resolve, certainly! Ensure that she makes it clear what SHE needs is AS important (or more so) as the family attachments he presently has & that for them to continue as a couple will require HER needs being met - sometimes at the expense of the family!

If he can live with that - the relationship will continue & blossom, if he can't then both sides win because the relationship will end rather than be based on lies, deceit & broken promises!!

Laying the LAW DOWN??? No ever loving way MommC. Not with a European, North American or any other nationality should one party of a relationship "Lay the Law Down" to the other party. Wouldn't work in OUR household - sane, logical & persuasive discussion is the order of the day here ............ & THEN I do as I am told!:cheeky:! ~ Grahame.
(PS. If you want some sane words on the subject of 'culture', 'working with Dominicans' etc. you can tune in to Ginnie's website where copies of the articles she has written for various magazines & websites have been listed or reprinted. )
 
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Alyonka

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Jun 3, 2006
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Results of class I took: if something angers you - express it rather than not to. Say things like: When you do ..... it makes me feel .... I am very happy with you but it would be great if you could ....

Don't just tell him to STOP and that he is a ...... whatever.

I wish I had done such things in the past. Oh well, it is too late. In any case, it is better to express negative rather than keep silent and then explode for some reason other than what you are actually thinking about.

Good luck. Communication with men is difficult but with Dominican men it is 100 times more difficult because they tent not to listen to a woman (it hurts their male ego).
 

Jennyfurry

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Jul 20, 2007
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Thanks everyone for the advice. It feels good to have some support out there!

We had a little talk about it when he came home last night. (He is getting so much better at the communicating thing!) He was only gone for one hour. I felt bad. I thought he was going to do the Dominican thing and be there for 6 hours so that's why I didn't go. He called from the house and put his sister on the phone. She wanted me to be there and was sad I did not come. Boy did I feel like an idiot! Oh well. Next time. That was his little tactic--put the little kid on the phone to make me feel guilty!

I'm not sure if I will be able to lay down the law. I can only state my feelings and hope for the best. Laying down the law does not always work with my man. He is a tough guy, hahah. You can't tell him what to do! Oh boy! haha. But I think what you mean about laying down the law is just to state how you feel without demanding it. I mean who could be married to a Dominican man and say LAY DOWN THE LAW! hahah. And the bottom line is that sometimes I just won't go when it gets to be too much--even if the family calls and gives me a guilt trip--he has to be him and I have to be me. I enjoy that time alone. After he left and I wrote my fury, I realized that the alone time was quite nice.

One other thing I noticed and wondered if you ladies experience..... It's like....he's a big man when you try to tell him what to do, but if you open your arms and say come to mama he's suddenly putty in your arms as he snuggles in and sucks his thumb!" Cracks me up.

Never a dull moment!

Off to contend with traffic!
 

miguel

I didn't last long...
Jul 2, 2003
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Otra vez.......

I will say this again, for the Quizillion time:

People will treat you the way you allow them to treat you.

Putting your "foot down" will get you NOWHERE with MOST Dominicans.

There shouldn't be a "this is my weekend" when 2 people live together. It's a committed relationship, for God's sakes!.

Chances are that he was like that BEFORE you decided to live with him. If that's the case, good luck trying and trying to change him.

Have you spoken to him and DEMANDED he respect you and the time you spend together?.

Have you asked him to tell his family and friends to NOT show up without calling in advance?.

Have you asked him to tell his family to visit him once in a while instead of him visiting them all the time?.

If you have and he doesn't listen, have you tried to give him a "taste of his own medicine"?.

It's easy, lookie here:

When he tells you he is going to visit them, tell him you will go visit some friends.

When you can't get a hold of him, don't answer the phone and turn your cell off so he can't contact you.

When he tells you that he is going out (anywhere), tell him that you will go out too.

When he tells you his family is coming when the two of you had plans, tell him that he can entertain them because you are going out to relax by yourself.

When he goes to spend time with friends (or anybody) and he doesn't invite you, go out and don't invite him.

Basically, just do the same he is doing and see how fast he will try to change.

When he whine to you about the things you are doing, mention to him that if he can do it, so can you.

When it comes to his family, HE IS THE ONE WHO SHOULD PUT HIS FOOT DOWN, NOT YOU!!. The last thing you want to do is go against his family.

But it's your job to tell him what you expect from him.

You keep on "taking it" (even after complaining), he WILL keep on "giving it".

Btw: Just so you know, sometimes we (as in men) WILL invite a SO to go with us somewhere KNOWING that they will say no.

Then we can turn around and say "well, you know I am not doing anything wrong since I invited you".

NOT saying that he is doing something wrong, just saying that that's one of the oldest trick in the "MEN'S" book!!.
 

MommC

On Vacation!
Mar 2, 2002
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Well said BB and Miguel.......
Guess "laying down the law" means different things to different people.
In my household "laying down the law" is much like any parliamentary session.
The 'basic' law is presented, discussed, revised, voted on and enacted!
It does not involve getting 'mad' or getting 'even', rather is a democratic process that involves much discussion and communication.
(need I remind readers that Italian males are very much like Dominican males in many respects especially if they are the youngest in a family and have been over-indulged by their female caregivers! :) )
Most of our Dominican friends DO call first before visiting but only because they know we are seldom home - when they know we are there they just 'drop in'!
 

Musicqueen

Miami Nice!
Jan 31, 2002
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Sorry ladies - may I (respectfully) disagree?

Not with the gist of what you say - you are absolutely right that the problem (if such it is) needs to be faced & discussed. It is just the manner I disagree with. Getting mad with anyone rarely wins an argument - with a MALE Dominican ...... NEVER! Being such male chauvinists, they might listen to a fellow male ranting over something innocuous but with a woman they will just smile that sweet smile of theirs, switch off the 'INTAKE' button & continue exactly where they left off, ........... doing what THEY want to do.

Family IS more important to the Dominican

THIS is the BEST description of what a Dominican will do when faced with something he doesn't want to hear!!!!

Excellent, Grahame!!!

Jenny...yes, their FAMILY and FRIENDS always seem to come before you at the beginning... sit down and tell him exactly what you like and dislike...and don't ever stop making your plans...for yourself and as a couple...he will start to appreciate it at some point...trust me, and he'll love you more for it...

My husband said to me once, when I complained that he likes to take advantage of my good disposition...that NO ONE can EVER take advantage of me...I am TOO STRONG of a person for that to happen...So I guess he knows better, uh?

Been there, done that!!! :cheeky: