Looking for advice.

Montessorian

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Hello to all!

My husband and I have decided to move to Santo Domingo. By trade he is a Race Horse Trainer, and my background is in education. He is Dominican and I am American. We also have a large family. (Married for over 12 years).

Our intent is to rent a fairly large home because of the number of family members. My concern is the as follows;

My husband?s family has always received a small remittance from us both sporadically when they call and ask, and some times fairly regularly. I usually send something; however, sometimes I delay, to show that I am not an ATM. On my last visit I saw that his mother sold the refrigerator I purchased for her. She was given 10,000 pesos and a worse refrigerator than she had in the beginning.

How will my husbands average/lower than average working class family, react when the come and see we live in a 400m2 home. How can I be firm and say no, with out causing bad blood in the family?

We are moving to SD to get closer to them, not to insult them.

Any suggestions, comments?
If this has been posted before direction would be helpful.
 

Robert

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Jan 2, 1999
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Great question!

Unfortunately, I personally don't have an answer for you as I have no family here. But I'm sure one or two of our posters can help that have experienced what you're about to experience.

Setting boundaries will not be easy, especially as life here is so family centered.

My guess is your going to be seeing a lot of family members you never new you had :)
 

AlaninDR

Mr. Chunky Skin
Dec 17, 2002
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Bad blood will always exist. It may be part of human nature to want what you can't have or afford.
From years of experience, the right answer is "i'm not a bank or a charitable organization".
Sad as it may be, the words "give an inch and they will take a mile" come to mind.
IMO, the sooner you "wean" them the better your quality of life will be.
 

Snuffy

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May 3, 2002
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First I would have this discussion with your husband. What does he think. He is the Dominican. Does he not know how to manage a Dominican cultural problem like this...I am sure he has some ideas. I would like to hear them myself.

This is a question better left to other Dominicans.
 

Danny W

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Mar 1, 2003
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I am in a somewhat similar position. It is very difficult for my girlfriend to limit what she gives to her family, who are constantly asking. Since I'm the gringo with the money, she uses me as the excuse - I'm the bad guy. Since the needs and wants are endless, you just have to be firm and fair. Do and give what you can and be prepared for a struggle. i don't know about your family, but be prepared to be conned and robbed as well.
 

Ken

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Jan 1, 2002
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Robert said:
My guess is your going to be seeing a lot of family members you never new you had :)
Yes, like the commercial I have seen lately on TV. This guy wins $2+million on a TV quiz show, then all sorts of people start showing up at his door claiming to be relatives that he obviously never knew he had.

And Montessorian, if you get a large house just for your immediate family, be sure it isn't so large that his family can move in. If that happens, your life will take a turn that you neither want nor expect. In the Dominican culture, the mother is the head person, taking precedence even over the wives and husbands of her children.
 

Castellamonte

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Montessorian said:
Hello to all!

My husband and I have decided to move to Santo Domingo. By trade he is a Race Horse Trainer, and my background is in education. He is Dominican and I am American. We also have a large family. (Married for over 12 years).

Our intent is to rent a fairly large home because of the number of family members. My concern is the as follows;

My husband?s family has always received a small remittance from us both sporadically when they call and ask, and some times fairly regularly. I usually send something; however, sometimes I delay, to show that I am not an ATM. On my last visit I saw that his mother sold the refrigerator I purchased for her. She was given 10,000 pesos and a worse refrigerator than she had in the beginning.

How will my husbands average/lower than average working class family, react when the come and see we live in a 400m2 home. How can I be firm and say no, with out causing bad blood in the family?

We are moving to SD to get closer to them, not to insult them.

Any suggestions, comments?
If this has been posted before direction would be helpful.
Sometimes the most difficult thing to say to someone you care for, or even love, is "NO." And it is often the best thing you can say as well.

You should certainly share what you are comfortable in sharing with your extended family but draw a hard, firm and unmistakable line not to cross. For you or for them. They will be mad at first, then understand, then try again, and continue this loop for a long time.

Over time they will understand that while you love and care for them, you have your own life to live and deserve the right to live it as you want to.
 

Wag

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Feb 4, 2005
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I guess this is going to be my first post.

Let me introduce myself. I have been living in the DR for 8 months now, have been visiting these forums for about 6 months, am originally from South America, Lived in US (Texas to be exactly) for 18 years , was married for 13 years my ex-wife is american.

Now to the subject. I have some expererience on the subject of inter-cultural marriages. In your case it all depends if your husband views the inquiries made by your in-laws as a burden or as a legitimate family relationship.
Having only you be the "bad guy" is not a good idea, your husband should be the one that steps out to the plate and explains the rules to the rest of his family.

The best advise I can give you is to comunicate with your husband in how you feel in this subject so you both put a united front on this. After all, he got to pick his partner in life not his blood family.


Wag

PS.

AZB I didn't know I knew you until I saw the Pics, :D
 

Naufrago

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Relax, Don't worry about it, things will take care of themselves. My Wife and I are in your situation and it's not a problem, except that I'm the American. When we lived in NY we regulary wired money to her parents and sister, and when we visited we bought or Brought, a refrigerator, A/C, inversor, TV, Computers, VCR, DVD player, etc. Now we live here in a nice apartment, and are earning pesos and have had to tighten our belts. Last month we were short and mama was giving us 500 pesos to cover a bill. Dominicans know how to take, but they also know how to give, especially if you're family. If you're ever in need you will be suprised how people, with so little, will give you half. It may have been one-sided while you were in the US, because money is in surplus there for a lot of us. But if you can't give once you get here, it will be understood, cook some meals, bring some food over, give a few bucks if you can, but NOT if you can't. They will understand. It's not a good idea to flaunt wealth or luxury in general here, for safety as well as to prevent envy. A large house dosn't have to reek of money. And my guess is that your in-laws have adjusted to their own lifestyle and living arrangements anyway.
I keep offering to take in my wife's family, in our little apartment, it hasn't happened yet. If they ever do move in, well that's the way it is here, if you move here, remember family is mostly everything and all are expected to help each other out, if they can.
 

miguel

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Jul 2, 2003
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Listen VERY CAREFULLY!!

Montessorian said:
My husband’s family has always received a small remittance from us both sporadically when they call and ask, and some times fairly regularly. I usually send something; however, sometimes I delay, to show that I am not an ATM. On my last visit I saw that his mother sold the refrigerator I purchased for her. She was given 10,000 pesos and a worse refrigerator than she had in the beginning.




Whatever you do is never going to be enough. If you give something, most WILL expect you to give all the time. Make it a habit and his 10th cousin will be visiting you with his/her hand on the air asking for money.

Most WILL compare gifts and if they see that one is getting a greater gift, that will be motive enough for them to "bad-mouth" you.

Trust me, you need to set the rules right off the bat because your husband is dominican an to many dominicans, the man is the head of the household and they WILL not take you into consideration when coming to the house to eat and visit any time they want.

If you are friendly, some will take that as "we can take advantage of her" so you need to be nice but also stern. Do not let them bully you or put you in a position where they can abuse your hospitality.

If they show up uninvited, just tell them, DIPLOMATICALLY, that you prefer for them to call ahead of time. You will get alot of "funny" looks but some will eventually get the message!.

If they ask you for money, tell them that it was MUCHO CARO to move here and that all the money was spent on the move. If they asked you in a kidding way, you can also play the game and tell them "I don't have any, can you lend me some". Trust me, in time, they will stop asking.

In 1981 when I visited the DR, ALL my friends and family expected me to bring them something and when I saw that what I had brought them was "NEVER ENOUGH", I just stopped bringing ALL OF THEM THINGS. When they asked "why you are not bringing anything" I would respond "because I want all of you to be happy to see me and not happy because of what I can bring you". I stuck to my guns and 24 years later, I STILL BRING NOTHING TO ANYBODY. I got them used to not expecting anything from me. I give them money while I am there but only if I want.

I am sorry to tell you that you will have many headaches, many. The biggest one is his family thinking that it's also their homes. I can already see his brother/sister go into the house without even knocking, asking for hi/her brother, not paying attention to you, going straight to the fridge, grab "whatever" and then look in all the rooms intil he/she finds her/his brother himself/herself. If you think that it will not happen exactly that way, you are up for a rude awakening!.

I really do not want to be in your shoes, even if you pay me.

I can not give any advice where you will be able to be happy because they are MANY. MANY things that will be working against you. Just try and put yout foot down but just remember that by putting your foot down may cause a "rift" in the family. I can not see a "win-win" situation here.

In the DR, it's a different ballgame. Good luck.
 

Montessorian

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My husband Rafael and I have had a talk and some of his comments were as follows,

I have lived the Dominican life; they can?t give me stories, because for 33 years I lived the life. He says that because he was part of the racetrack, the cemetery of the living people, that he has heard it all. No one can dupe him, so says he. I retain my doubts on this one.

He says he will just say no and no means no.

Yet to me, I can?t see doing this. I can see saying to in cash and things, because if you give away your things it may be construed that I am running the local bodega, and no to cash because once you give they will never come back.

I had an idea, to tell them that we would not give, but we would loan, at an interest rate lower than what they could expect elsewhere. However the agreement is this, if they do not pay back their loan, they would be banned from the ?gringa savings and loan? for life. The other rule is they can not have two loans out at once. (Ideas?)

The other option I had thought of that might work, is as follows. When I start my company those who want to work for the company and are qualified, may do so. After let?s say after three years or so, they get eligible for a share in a common family holding of the company. Let?s say as a group I gave them a 20% share, and there were 4 working, it would be a 25% interest in the 20%. This method would encourage them to do right by the company. The more the company earns the more they earn.

I know in that last idea might cause more problems than it's worth.

I want to share with my family, but in a way that won't hurt them. And by giving handouts is not the way.

NOTE: Since posting this message, I have all ready gotten a phone call today asking to send a cell phone. That he will pay the shipping.

OH BOY! What have I set myself up for!

We said no, we would bring them when we come. ( What a double talker I am, saying I won't give handouts and then said bring it when I come. Yes, I am shark bait it seems. )

Thaks for all of the kind advice, really, I have been particapating with DR1 since they mailed the paper newspaper, and off and on the board for a few years. I really am thankfull for your cander, advice and opinions.

I have always wanted to live in the DR, and now my dream is comming true. I so hope this works out for us. It' really could be a win win situation for everyone in the family.
 

Robert

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Loans, family working in your business, shares etc etc. You have no idea what your getting into. Trust me, they will take you, chew you up and spit you out if you get into what your thinking.

Just say NO!
 

Castellamonte

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Montessorian said:
My husband Rafael and I have had a talk and some of his comments were as follows,

I have lived the Dominican life; they can?t give me stories, because for 33 years I lived the life....
Okay, look, if you really have "lived the Dominican life" then you know better than to believe what you just typed. This is "rationalizing" in the extreme.

No, means no. "No" never means "well, kinda sorta" or "sure, but let's call it something different."
 

Berzin

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Nov 17, 2004
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I don'y live in the DR...

but from my experience you can't really give anyone anything. It just becomes a situation where if you give one person everyone expects the same. The one day that you can't give somebody something you may wind up being disregarded.

I was in a situation where I was trying to help someone and even though I really liked this young lady and felt bad for her because she was really poor, it was'nt worth it in the end. What sealed the deal was her ingratitude. I was going to start paying for her university(which was about $50 US monthly, or so I was told) but I figured enough was enough and I put an end to it.

If you are from the US you will be seen as Mr./Mrs. moneybags and there is nothing you can do to bring them down to earth. They more than likely will be extremely ungrateful because some them don't realize that some of us in the US work hard for our money and don't have unlimited amounts of it to burn.

If I were you your best bet would be to sit down with your husband and explain that you will not give anybody anything. Yes, family is important to dominicans but it works both ways. They need to respect the boundaries that YOU set just like you need to understand the new culture that you are living in. If they shun you because you do not give them anything then you will see that you were dealing with a bunch of phonies. Better to learn this lesson before they drive you to the poor house.
 

Snuffy

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May 3, 2002
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Listen to Robert....he is so right on. What you are thinking of doing has been tried by yours truly...believe me it does not work. They will chew you up and spit you out...just as Robert says.

Now....
My wife has told her family to be straight with me, to not ask me directly for anything. If they need something they go through her. That protects me from any bullshit. She decides what they truly need. It works. I rarely hear of them needing or wanting something...I feel good about them...I am attentive to what I see when I go visit and I help out accordingly. But no one hits me up for money or anything else.

Avoid this problem up front and save yourself a lot of headaches.
 

miguel

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Jul 2, 2003
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Ay Dios mio!!

Girl, you are setting yourself up for a whole bunch of "pains and sufferings". You DO NOT LEND money to some (note: some) dominicans. Not only that they will not pay you back, they will make it their business to MAKE you feel sorry for them again so they can "hit you" for more money.Take it from a born dominican that have seen and heard it ALLLLLLL.

I will have to disagree with the poster that say that you should leave everything for your husband to deal with. If they see that you have no "vote" in any decision makings, THEY WILL WALK ALL OVER YOU and some will even tell you to your face that "your word means nothing". Again, whether you put your foot doen or not, many will try to take advantage of you and your husband.

And btw, the moment they "smell" that your company, in time, will also be theirs, that's when all the fun will begin!.

Nothing is ever enough. I have tried, so many times, to help people over there and I found out that the more you help, the more they want. It's like their problems never stop. Is one thing after the other. Some even mistake one being helpful as being a sucker.

In my case, I made all my family and friends aware that whomever asks me for something WILL NOT get it. I tell them that I WILL give only when it comes out of me. I help only the people that I know that needs the help and only when I want to.

My best friend in the DR tells me that when I move to the DR, that I will lose 50% of my so-called friends. I can only hope that it would happen!.
 

ada

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I think the worse thing you could do is actually get into business with them. From experience, my husband, dominican, shares a family business. Although it is lucrative it does at time bring lots of family feuding. You need to set your boundaries now with your husband before going down there. Make a clear agreement of what is to be done and what is not accepted. Make sure you not only agree on money situation but also about daily living. Just like another member pointed out be ready for the unannounced visits, etc. Unless you have clear limits you will have a difficult time. Unfortunately I also went through this and my marriage almost suffered. Once we both got to an agreement things were a lot better. Also, don't be afraid to voice your opinion and be firm with his family if you have to. If you end up being the "bad guy" oh well. The important thing is that you are comfortable with your decisions that will affect you and your kids.
 

Naufrago

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miguel said:
My best friend in the DR tells me that when I move to the DR, that I will lose 50% of my so-called friends. I can only hope that it would happen!.
Unfortunately, the choice may be 50% of your friends or 100% of your money. We lost the money but mostly just getting settled and moved and paying customs and other fees that were grossly under estimated. The good part is when you're as poor as they are, the asking stops. But, I must add, My wife and I have loaned money, not huge amounts mind you, to friends and family and have always gotten it back, with thanks. And have been offered money by friends and family when things were tight. I don't like to see all the Dominican bashing that goes on here sometimes. You guys need to get a better class of friends. Like Robert says "No means No." If you don't want to give don't. It's not just a Dominican problem poor people all over the world are asking their rich relatives and friends for money. That's what happens when you've got a little extra.
 

miguel

I didn't last long...
Jul 2, 2003
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Indeed!

Naufrago said:
Unfortunately, the choice may be 50% of your friends or 100% of your money. We lost the money but mostly just getting settled and moved and paying customs and other fees that were grossly under estimated. The good part is when you're as poor as they are, the asking stops. But, I must add, My wife and I have loaned money, not huge amounts mind you, to friends and family and have always gotten it back, with thanks. And have been offered money by friends and family when things were tight. I don't like to see all the Dominican bashing that goes on here sometimes. You guys need to get a better class of friends. Like Robert says "No means No." If you don't want to give don't. It's not just a Dominican problem poor people all over the world are asking their rich relatives and friends for money. That's what happens when you've got a little extra.
I truly do understand what you are saying. It happens all over the universe but since we are talking about the DR, that's were my comment is going to. On ALL my posts, I try to use "some" or "my opinion" and not "ALL" or "I know that's they way that it is" because I know for a fact that there are many poor dominican that would not even dream to ask anybody for a handout.

Some dominicans DO think that just because you come from a foreign country, that you have a "money tree" somewhere and some do not realize that they can be/are better off than the foreigners.

Some people, rich or poor, deserve to be helped and some don't.

I learned that a true friend is the one that do not count you as a friend just because of what you have but rather for the person that you are.

I have loaned money to some rich friends in the DR and I am yet to see a penny of it. Meanwhile I have loaned to some of my poor friends and they have paid me back. But, I must say, I just don't lend money fo anybody. These people are people that I have known since my childhood and only when I know for a fact that the money is truly needed.

Btw, some rich people ask for money just as much as any poor person.