Orange Coast Magazine - My Imported Bride

My Imported Bride

I’m an older O.C. divorcé with a young Filipino wife I met on the Internet, and I know what you’re thinking. Can’t say I blame you. But you’re wrong.

By David Haldane / Illustration by Michael Park

I’m pouring drinks for my guests when the police arrive. It’s 3 p.m. on a Saturday and we’re hosting a friend’s baby shower in our open garage. The two officers survey the scene carefully before striding toward me with bad news. “We got a complaint from your neighbor,” one of the officers says with a nod. 

After they sort it out and determine we’re not committing any crimes or posing a public nuisance, I approach the neighbor, a woman in her 60s who has lived in this quiet Los Alamitos townhome complex for many years. She’s not a bad person, but she’s unaccustomed to seeing garage parties here, especially attended by large numbers of dark-skinned people eating pigs roasted whole on a spit.

“Your personal life is so messed up,” she informs me.

In a way, I appreciate her honesty. And I understand her reaction. I’m a 63-year-old white male married to a beautiful woman from the Philippines more than three decades my junior. We met on an Internet dating site aimed at fostering international marriages. My neighbor is expressing openly what others convey with scornful stares. But then, that’s just one of the hazards of living in Orange County with a “mail-order bride.”

.

I haven’t always raised the eyebrows of my neighbors. Once upon a time, I too fell well within the cultural norms of America and Orange County. Married to a woman roughly my own age with a similar ethnic background, we had two children—a boy and a girl—whose presence in our household hardly warranted dramatic attention. About the most exotic island we ever visited was Santa Catalina. And, like most couples living the suburban dream, we assumed it all would last forever.

Then everything fell apart. 

To be honest, it was my fault. I’m not proud of this, but one day I awoke to the realization that I had become the embodiment of an American stereotype: the middle-aged husband who imagines something better over the next ridge. Unfortunately, it was not a passing fancy but, increasingly, the dominant preoccupation of my life, ultimately leading me into the bottomless pit of an extramarital affair. Gradually, of course, my marriage unraveled until the ignominious afternoon when my wife, overhearing a hushed telephone conversation between me and my paramour, rightly sent me packing. 

My last day in the house is etched into memory as if it had happened this morning: Me standing forlornly in the front yard as she screeched off in her car. Later I sat in a nearby park feeling a whole new kind of emptiness as I contemplated what was to come. By evening I’d been exiled to the spare bedroom of my brother’s home in La Palma.

Because my former wife is a forgiving person, the end of our 15-year union was not as acrimonious as some. But for me it was the beginning of a long, dark journey into self-doubt and recrimination that took years to overcome.

When I finally did emerge, I was a different man. I had learned late in life a painful lesson regarding family and commitment. For a while I held my own counsel, tenderly licking my wounds. Then I tentatively started testing the wind.  

What I found was that, in the time I’d been out of circulation, relations between the genders had changed. In this post-feminist age, many women had priorities other than finding the man of their dreams. As a child of the ’60s, I certainly understood and appreciated their increasing independence. But the pendulum had swung so far that almost every man I knew desired a committed relationship, and almost every woman, well, wasn’t so sure.

So I wandered without a compass in the dating desert. Casual encounters certainly weren’t hard to find. But anything more serious seemed out of reach, a reality that left me disheartened.

For a while I stuck it out, chalking up a string of failed flings. One fellow divorcée, a woman in her 50s, ultimately decided that she’d rather be single. And a younger girlfriend eventually departed to travel in Australia. Of course, it occurred to me then—as it does now—that maybe men in general didn’t leave them uninspired. Maybe it was me.

.

I don’t remember specifically when it first occurred to me to look elsewhere for a mate. Because I was deeply frustrated by my dating experiences in America, I one night impulsively did an Internet search for “Asian women” and up popped filipinaheart.com. Aimed at fostering long-term relationships between Western men and Filipino women, the site allowed any man willing to pay a modest fee to advertise, respond to women’s ads, or engage in live video chats.

Initially, I admit, it all felt strange. Then I began noticing the stunning friendliness of the women I found there. More important was their willingness—no, eagerness—to commit to someone like me.

It was as if I had been magically transformed from an invisible older man into a rock star whose company women craved. Of course that appealed to my ego. On a deeper level, though, it appealed to my need for stability in a world in which the love I wanted seemed impossible to find. Here was a culture in which women seemed to have traditional values, were open to matrimony, and even dreamed of blissful lives in American suburbs. I understood that part of their incentive was economic. But marriage has always had an economic component; throughout most of history—certainly in America, and especially in the Third World—part of what seals the deal is the perception, and sometimes the reality, that two can live better than one. What stood out here was that the Filipino women actually were looking for something I could providea better life in the U.S.

Still, the online flirting began as a lark. I started spending evenings on the website chatting with interesting women. Some were obviously looking for handouts; I quickly learned to ignore anyone mentioning sick relatives with unpaid hospital bills in the first conversation. Most, however, seemed like decent folk with good family values, honest about what they were seeking.

My search gradually narrowed during the next several months. One night, glancing at a chat box on my screen, I saw the image of a young woman resting her head on a desk at what looked like an Internet café. What got my attention was that she wasn’t trying to get my attention. And so our conversation began.

What impressed me immediately about Ivy, then almost 24 to my 57, were her detailed responses to the questions I posed. Rereading them now, I’m struck by the directness of our initial emails. “I’m looking for someone who will stay with me for the rest of my life,” I confessed barely two weeks into the talk.

The next day came her reply. “David, we have to realize that love is not enough to make a relationship work; we need trust, respect, time, effort, and total commitment ... I believe you can fall in love after you marry because … we should not let passion but wisdom decide.”

Part of me thought it was crazy to even consider someone so young. There were 33 years between us; had I completely lost my mind? What would my friends and family think? I raised the issue with Ivy on several occasions. “You say that I am young,” she responded, “but I am fixed in my mind and know what I want. Don’t worry about the age gap because it doesn’t matter; most important is that I meet a real person who can be trusted and loved.”

At times I wondered whether I was just being played. But as the discourse continued, her message remained consistent. And so I decided to go find out.

.

If you were to put a map of the Philippines on a wall and throw darts at it, the chances of one sticking anywhere close to Caridad would be minuscule. That is, of course, unless you happened to be an excellent dart thrower and know exactly where it is, which few people—even in the Philippines—do. Like them, I had never heard of the thatched-hut village on Siargao Island. In fact, I had never heard of Siargao, a remote tear-shaped spot of land comprising about 170 square miles off the eastern coast of Mindanao, a region known among other things for its nascent Muslim insurgency. Fortunately, Ivy’s home island is more famous for its excellent surfing, large mangrove forests, and gorgeous white-sand beaches. When the time came for us to meet, though, I had some serious travel planning to do.

Here’s how it shook out: a 16-hour plane ride to Manila, followed by a shorter flight to Cebu, then an overnight ferry ride to a small city where she met me with a chaperoning cousin in tow. Before exchanging even a dozen words, the three of us had boarded a boat laden with pigs and bananas for the three-hour trip to the island. 

I can’t honestly say it was love at first sight. The truth is that Ivy, so effusive in her emails, was too shy in person to even look me in the eye, supporting my hunch that people who meet online often are less bold when face to face. Her cousin graciously took up the slack during awkward lulls in conversation. But as we approached the pristine shore of the beautiful place where she was born, the look of the world began to change.

The first thing I noticed about Caridad, one of several rural villages on the island and home to about 1,800 souls, was its multitude of children. They were everywhere, playing amid water buffalo-drawn carts. Nobody seemed overly concerned with where each child belonged. When they got hungry, they knocked on a door and were fed; it was simple as that. Several, in fact, were doing just that at Ivy’s home when we arrived.

“So,” her mother inquired, getting right to the point in halting English after showing me a seat, “you want to marry my daughter.”

The truth is, we hadn’t made any such plans. “Well,” I responded, not wanting to be disagreeable, “what would you think of that?”

It was then that I noticed the crowd outside, perhaps 30 people of all ages grinning at me through open windows and doors. “Who are they?” I whispered to Ivy.

I wasn’t prepared for her response: “They’ve never seen a foreigner up this close.” 

The rest of the conversation passed in a whirl. What were my goals? Where did I live? Who were my relatives? What did I do? And—my favorite—what had gone wrong in my first marriage that would be fixed this time around?

The questions, all from Mom with Dad and several relatives looking on, were merciless. As much as they made me squirm, however, they also commanded respect; here was a family that took seriously the admonition to protect its own.

I must have passed muster because Ivy, referred to locally as “black beauty” because of her lovely dark skin, eventually was allowed to accompany me alone on a stroll. We weren’t alone for long, though; on the beach we encountered a second round of questioning, this time from a large group of smiling locals represented by a teacher who conveyed their inquisition in English. Obviously, the town was not inclined to let one of its favorite daughters—or any of its daughters—be whisked away by just anyone, or without serious scrutiny.

The next morning, safely ensconced in a small bedroom with Mom, Dad, Ivy, and her three siblings, I was awakened at 6 by a bloodcurdling scream, the cry of one of her father’s pigs giving its life for some crazy visiting foreigner—me. That afternoon the family, along with the majority of its neighbors, enjoyed a feast of lechon, the roasted pork traditionally offered only on the most special occasions.

In truth, this was the beginningnot the end—of our discussions about the future. While already an adult who had left home and finished college, Ivy was required by Filipino custom to get her parents’ blessing before proceeding further. She did, and I made several more trips to the Philippines during the next two years of courtship. 

Once I sat behind Ivy on her father’s motorcycle as she gave me a tour of the island. During that  ride, with the smell of the ocean and her long black hair streaming back across my face, I believe I fell in love. Later, on a stretch of white sand once owned by her grandfather, we built a crude wooden shelter with a heart carved into its ceiling. And finally, at the end of a long pier called Cloud 9, I asked Ivy to be my wife.

.

On Feb. 3, 2008, she arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, an event followed within minutes by a loud bang. That’s because, driving home on the 405 Freeway, I couldn’t help paying more attention to the lovely young woman beside me than to the car in front of us. It stopped and we didn’t. So my fiancée got her first glimpse of Orange County from the cab of a lumbering tow truck dragging my crumpled Mazda behind.

Despite this inauspicious beginning, we were married two months later.

I vividly remember Ivy’s first impressions. She had never seen streets so wide; for a time, she was afraid to cross. Operating a washing machine and microwave were skills she had to acquire. And, accustomed to the continuous sounds of crowing roosters, barking dogs, and squealing children, her most difficult adjustment was to the pervasive silence surrounding our house.

“It’s as if we have no neighbors,” my wife often complained.

We filled that silence with friends much like us. In the absence of the large family and community structures of the Philippines, we have created a substitute family here in the wilderness of America. That hasn’t been difficult given the West Coast’s proliferation of Filipino Americans, including nearly 700,000 in Southern California, with enclaves in Anaheim, Cerritos, Carson, and Long Beach. 

Consisting mostly of American men with younger Filipino wives and, increasingly, the children they have produced, our group—which began when some of the women connected on the Internet—has evolved into an active, though informal, association with frequent gatherings at various homes.

Today Ivy and I probably know more than 100 mixed couples scattered throughout Southern California, including many in Orange County. Like us, most met online. Many also have age gaps, though not always as great as ours. And almost all of the couples, at one time or another, have been misunderstood by their peers. 

Like any family, this one has its share of squabbles. But it also forms the core of our social life, functioning much like Ivy’s village back home. Within this circle we celebrate holidays, baptisms, birthdays, and baby showers. When one woman has a baby, the others take her food. And on the rare occasions that tragedy strikes, we grieve with them as one.

We are acutely aware, of course, that others outside our group often look at us askance. We have theories as to why, but mine boils down to this: They don’t consider us legitimate. In a society that values—no, practically invented—love as the only valid basis for marriage, anything even suggesting other motives is suspect. And though online dating has become increasingly popular, many still don’t approve of relationships that seem arranged. There’s a reason some people persist in calling them “mail-order brides,” a term most of us find deeply offensive. True, some men and women have literally found their mates in catalogs, but that process bears little resemblance to the reality we know.

For starters, U.S. immigration law prohibits bringing a foreign fiancée to America without proof that you’ve actually met. More to the point, modern transportation and the advent of the Internet have put such relationships well within reach. Today it’s not only possible, but practical, to get to know someone intimately across several continents. 

I’m not saying there aren’t transgressions. Everyone has heard of cases in which women “imported” from abroad have been seriously abused. Or, conversely, the women pretended love just to sidestep immigration laws or get a green card. I believe those are the exception rather than the rule. Most transnational couples we know enjoy real relationships marked by genuine affection. And, while establishing economic security is certainly a motive for many women from underdeveloped countries, there’s evidence that the resulting unions often succeed. (See Page 92.) 

For Ivy and me, of course, it’s all very personal. Like any couple, we’ve had ups and downs. Many of our disagreements turn out to be misunderstandings caused by the language barrier. And contrasting cultural backgrounds occasionally become a source of conflict.

For the most part, though, I find the differences appealing, and each day still seems new. That has been especially true since the birth of our son in November 2010. As children will, Isaac has brought whole new dimensions to our lives. We are doting parents, to be sure. But our baby also seems to have conferred new levels of acceptance and respect among doubters in ways we never foresaw.

One of the many who has come around is my daughter, now 27. She never harbored moral or ethical objections to the marriage. But, having inhaled generous whiffs of local “wisdom” that it could never survive, she did have concerns for her father’s future, serious enough to create some reticence about meeting his new bride. “I’m just not ready,” she told me several times for about a year.

Though she eventually did visit us, I could tell she still had her doubts. Then along came Isaac and the needle gently shifted. Here, apparently, was evidence that we intended to see this thing through. My skeptical daughter fell in love with her little brother. And even her mom—my former spouse—is now Isaac’s gushing godmother.

All of which brings us to the present. At last, after some dark decades, I am once again part of a happy American family. Ivy and I have lots of dreams; later this year we hope to take Isaac on his first visit to the Philippines, and one day we’d like to build a little beach house on that gorgeous stretch of white sand.

We’d also like to stop being a nuisance to our Orange County neighbors. To that end we have a plan. This month Ivy and I will be celebrating our fourth anniversary. There will be another party with lots of foreign-born friends, an open garage and, yes, a big roasted pig on the table. 

This time, however, we will do things differently. First I will call the police to assure them of our complete intention to follow the law. Then we’ll print up a batch of invitations for some of our neighbors. We sincerely hope they’ll come. 

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Orange Coast magazine.

 

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 27
  • 11
  1. annef posted on 03/27/2012 03:36 PM
    offer her money to remove the desperation and see if she is still willing to live and be saddled with an 80 year old partner to raise a child with or if she would rather be independent, free, with aide and support from you, just because you care about her, yea, right.. just what i thought, she needs the money, you need the young hot trophy wife cause your committed partner you left for an "i can't believe i got a 20 something, this is sort of like wrong, but i'm going for it!" type of thing. glad you wrote this article, because it is one sided. interview the bride! does she really feel the same way marrying a man her father's age for the price of a better life? hmmm... this is equal the fantasy shared by many about a "sugar daddy". easy. fantasy. all relationships have their price, but come on. you are sort of creepy and just don't want to admit it.
    1. Michael posted on 08/03/2013 06:04 PM
      @annef Hypergamy is cross-cultural -- women want to "marry up" everywhere, and, on average, they do. Is that "creepy?" No more so than the the cross cultural phenomenon of male attraction to pre-menopausal women.
  2. Tim Ota posted on 04/14/2012 10:52 PM
    Gross. Sickly Paternal. Did I mention gross. Probably racist. Did I mention gross.
  3. Michelle posted on 04/14/2012 10:57 PM
    Oh look, another honey trap.

    A not-so-obvious way to test if she really likes you for who you are (which is very, VERY rare, as marrying out of the country for a better life is really the top priority in many Asian countries, despite China/Hong Kong/Vietnam/Thailand do not see Filipinos as Asians) by mentioning about the will, since you ARE getting to that age.

    Mention that you will leave her a relatively small chunk, and a big chunk to charities or NGOs. Mentioning it doesn't mean you have to do it. See her reaction. Make it as real as possible.

    Her reaction will tell you whether she loves you or loves using you.

    Because really, as an Asian girl myself, I fully know the ugly underlying culture in Asian ethnicities. Don't believe the whole "innocent rural girl" thing. Pastoral, rustic innocence of rural folks is usually what drives middle-aged, relatively well-to-do (I mean, Orange County's good, right?) into these types of honey traps. Moreover, it's usually white men who fall into this trap because they think rural, Asian girls are innocent.

    Truth is, they're not. Nobody really knows the ugly underside of Asian culture for women living in Asian countries. The top priority is to marry out of the country so they can bring their family over. Having citizenship in an English-speaking, well-to-do, developed country means that they are much better.

    I'm not saying she's a golddigger, but it's very likely she is. And if she is, then I'm honestly not surprised at all.

    Quite common, really.
    1. Jen posted on 01/29/2013 05:31 AM
      @Michelle "which is very, VERY rare, as marrying out of the country for a better life is really the top priority in many Asian countries, despite China/Hong Kong/Vietnam/Thailand do not see Filipinos as Asians" --> Then what are they? Americans? LOL! You should educate them then about geography...or maybe you are also one of them..shall I say,racist??

      Really strong words you got there,if not rude. Your comments paints you as a too-full-of-herself Asian woman who is trying hard to assimilate herself as being a westernized woman.Did you dye your hair blond yet?? Are you wearing blue-colored contact lenses too??

      You are not in the relationship so who are you to judge? If it works for them,then let them be.live and let live,and focus more on your own life and happiness.
    2. Maria posted on 10/10/2013 08:18 AM
      @Michelle People marry other people who can assure them financial stability.
      Won't you? You marry solely for love? Like marry a homeless, jobless, person?

      Let me tell you, a number of women I know who go to Yale primarily go to Yale to marry rich men. Are they golddiggers?

      Hmmm
  4. lillien posted on 04/15/2012 12:00 AM
    many young ladies also get married to a sugar daddy, only it usually ends in an undignified way as infidelity usually wrecks the relationship or that the sugar daddy doesn't actually live up to the expectations of the woman...ya know, making more money for her to spend. IF ivy did marry for a better life, she certainly chose well as david seems like a very considerate man -- due to learning from his past mistakes. as an asian from a third-world country i've heard more than my fair share of women getting or married off to men who have more money, it is usually a very sad one. it's interesting that this is something of a taboo, while in asia it is if a young man marries a woman twice his age. regardless of societal customs, if there's peace in the relationship then love will settle. it's just sad that so many people are unforgiving to others leading sweet lives. charming story, hopefully it breaks some stereotypes that need to dissolve!
    1. MichelleH posted on 02/02/2013 02:41 PM
      @lillien Its considered taboo for a guy to marry a woman twice his age here in the west too.. because both scenarios are creepy and are usually the result of one person with a huge economic power advantage over the other.

      Also, young people laying next to wrinkly old bodies brings unpleasant things to mind.
  5. Will Nguyen posted on 04/15/2012 06:08 AM
    Your relationship may end up working. You may end up loving each other. You may end up being wonderful parents.

    This however does not change the nature of how your relationship started. Namely one that is largely based on economics with a healthy dose of racial exploitation.

    If you are indeed so "open minded" about your "new kind of love", ask yourself if you're actually okay with your 27 year old daughter marrying a 60 year old foreign businessman.
  6. Jj posted on 04/15/2012 10:15 AM
    This dude is a hypocrite. He cheated on his wife, then goes out in search of a committed relationship? 

    And why do these men go to such great lengths to find women with "traditional values," when what they really want is women who are committed to them only because their options are limited. If these women had modern values, they would be aware of the fact that their ability to survive and thrive isn't dependent upon a man, and that if they choose to commit to a relationship, it is because of real love and shared interests. If only these women could shed their traditional values, they would see that they have many more options than they think.

    If there's one thing that we've learned from the exploration of microfinance, it's that the developing world can achieve abundance only by empowering their women to create lives of their own choosing, without having to depend on men.

    By the way, I'm married to an independent, strong Filipina from Iloilo with non-traditional values. She even talked me into quitting my job so that I could take care of our kids full time. I know she is committed to our relationship not because of my money, but because of love, and shared passions.

    Also, has anyone explored the reasons why you almost never find American women looking for Filipino husbands?
    1. Susie posted on 04/17/2012 12:36 PM
      @Jj Westernized men tend to be more assertive in work, a sign that they can care for families. It would be overwhelming for a man from humble third-world country beginnings to enter a work field filled with aggressiveness, it would take quite awhile to fully assimilate. Hawaiians do say that mainlanders have a certain mentality that's ruthless.
    2. Evelyn posted on 08/24/2013 07:34 PM
      @Jj I agree. What men like this do not want is a woman who has equal experience and autonomy to them. They are also captivated by feeling like they are imparting all the "wisdom" of the new country. This role is creepy, because what is really going on is adoption, with a sexual relationship thrown in.
  7. Sushi posted on 04/17/2012 12:47 PM
    Thought-provoking story, still difficult for me to understand the age and the culture shock that comes along with moving to a new country. As anyone seen the trailer for "Seeking Asian Female"? It's a documentary about a Caucasian man marrying a Chinese woman, quite interesting to see the language barrier that comes along with arguments. Marriage isn't easy, but marrying a young foreigner seems to be more so of a challenge!
  8. Lee posted on 04/30/2012 06:16 AM
    The article attempts to make it sound positive that transnational marriages fail only at the same rate as other marriages. However, the costs when those marriages fail can be much higher emotionally, particularly when children are involved. Also, this particular marriage has other negatives going in ... a huge age gap, the bride's seeming absence of other family in this country, short courtship, second marriage for groom, groom's past infidelity. Even if the author of this article is a decent person (although frankly coming across as creepy in my opinion) some of the men who find "mail-0rder brides" are not, and the outcome is far less rosy. (By the way, a transnational couple where the bride and groom are equals in education and economic prospects is a far different matter. As the author of this article acknowledges, he chose a woman who was not his equal in those ways because such a woman would have far better prospects than him. I hope that Ivy is smart enough or gets good enough advice to make sure that she and her son have been provided for in the event that the author again commits infidelity, leaves the marriage, dies, etc.) Also ... the attitude toward the neighbors seems odd. If your neighbors prefer that you don't have parties in your garage, why not go to your townhome clubhouse, if there is one, or rent some other public space.
  9. stevenk posted on 05/01/2012 10:18 AM
    I think this is a wonderful story.Is it available for re posting to my FB? Dose the writer or author know if there is a married couples group for straight activities, like church gatherings, mixed married couples, retreats, that philippina's can meet others brides of the same culture and mingle with their husbands?
    1. David posted on 05/03/2012 01:59 AM
      @stevenk Thanks, Stevenk. Of course can repost this story on your FB, by the link on the magazine's home page to it's FB page and share from there. If you have any problems, write me at davidshaldane@gmail.com, and I can hook you up with my own fb page or send you a pdf of the story as it originally appeared in the magazine with lots more art, etc... We have a large informal group of mixed married couples that do all the things you mention; email me and I can put you in touch with them. Good luck! You married to a Filipina? If so, congratulations!
  10. HenryV posted on 06/30/2012 12:49 AM
    Interesting article. I read it on the paper print of this magazine and then found this online. If you don't mind, I will translate it to Vietnamese and post it on my blog. I am very sure many Vietnamese fellows in my home country will be amused with your story.

    Henry Vuong
    Orange County, CA
  11. Michelle posted on 02/02/2013 02:26 PM
    Oh man..what a mess.. okay I'm just going to say right off the bat, I'm a 28 year old woman who was in a relationship with a man 26 years my senior from 22 to 27. He didn't look it and it was true love, absolutely. It helped that I wasn't at a great economic disadvantage to him.
    But eventually you realize that when you're 35, you'll be helping him into the bathtub and at 44 you could be helping him eat his apple sauce.
    I'd go into a relationship with a disabled man but not a soon to be disabled man feeling smug enough to delude himself that his money wasn't what his vibrant young wife was after.
    1. Paul Hayes posted on 03/14/2013 10:13 PM
      @Michelle Michelle, I think you are being pessimistic about aging. At 80, my father's prefered means of transportation. At 95 my grandmother had a waiting list for piano students. I'm marrying a younger Filipina and the first thing that changed other than my emotions was I started running again.
    2. Jim Smith posted on 03/18/2014 08:46 AM
      @Michelle Oh, you're RIGHT, Michelle, just like all the other feminist mind-readers who posted here! It *is* a mess, and it's "creepy," too! (Whatever that means.) But when YOU did it, " it was true love, absolutely." That's why it came to an end: " it was true love, absolutely."

      You could not only read your man's mind, you also know that feel smug and delude themselves. Thank God we have mind-readers as talented as you. "... it was true love, absolutely."
  12. Bill Curran posted on 04/26/2013 12:09 PM
    David, I loved the article. Thanks for sharing some of your personal life with the world. I understand you completely. Too many comments to put all here. For anyone else reading this, first of all - to each their own. Everyone has different likes and dislikes. Everyone has different wants and desires in life. Sure, they're similar but different in the details. I like a light blue oxford cloth shirt with a button down collar and a pocket. You like a green polo shirt. We both like to wear clothes so we are similar, but the details are different. (self editing note: i just deleted two or three paragraphs about my life and wife, that I shall save for another day.) Everyone wants companionship. The details and circumstances are different. I personally find American women to work obsessed and too easy to jump out of a relationship. Of course there are many that are different, but the ones I run into in my circles aren't what I'm looking for. A lot of this might be geography as I live in L.A. Things might be different in smaller towns. I have a theory about geography and the density of the masses and the effect it has on interpersonal relationships. I digress. David - you had a stereotypical mid-life crisis. You went through the ups and downs. You figured out what you wanted. You sought happiness. You took a gamble. You won. You got what you wanted. It worked out. You're happy. GOOD FOR YOU! I have a similar story. I can relate. I'm proud of you. I think most critics of your choices in life are unhappy people and particularly women. Happy people are happy and content and pretty much don't care about others unless they do something to make them unhappy. Unhappy people seek out reasons to complain about the world and like to make others unhappy. If you and your wife are happy (and we've met, I'm confident you are), why would any sane person want to disrupt this happiness? You and your wife both have a better life with each other. One plus one equals two. The sum is greater than the individual parts. You are both happier and better taken care of then you were before you married. I believe you are living your dreams. I believe your wife is living her dreams. Why would any sane person have any problem with that?
    I hope to share my story sometime with you. And keep me in mind for the lechon - my favorite. Please have plenty of liver sauce or tell me to bring it!
  13. starling posted on 08/02/2013 12:42 AM This comment was edited by a moderator at 10:07 AM on 08/06/2013
    There are way too many factors in this relationship that raise red flags:
    1) husbands previous infidelities
    2) age difference (he is old enough to be her grandfather)
    3) differences in language dialect
    4) differences in culture
    5) David doesn't give a damn about her and she doesn't give a damn about him; the relationship is based on selfish desires, not on "love" (to will the good of another)
    David is being terribly selfish fathering children at his age. The chances of those children having autism is much greater because of his advanced age! The likelihood of him dying, leaving her with a disabled child she is not able to support because she has no education are very high. She will become another burden on our tax system, along with her family that has immigrated to our country to live with them.
    There has to be some law against this sick practice....really.
    As far as the comments, "Oh they are so happy".... That is not happiness, that is "use" and the opposite of love is not hate, it is "use".
    You think it is fine for the old man to cheat on his wife!! So that he can find a "faithful" wife from a foreign country. He needs his head examined.
    [Note: Comment has been edited by Orange Coast magazine]
  14. Carlos posted on 10/10/2013 03:08 PM
    Mr. Haldane made a laudatory effort to write an honest open account, and it is remarkable that it has received so many angry reactions. America has become such an angry place as the political landscape seems to demonstrate every day. And as we know, there is a lot of disappointment, deep frustration and anger in the more personal realm of relationships as well. Modern life puts a lot of stress on marriages and life more generally. I know very, very few people who are in their 50s and not been through a divorce. David and Ivy have been married almost six years. They have a kid and seem pretty happy. So good for them! A lot of marriages don't even last five years. And they face various risks--his age, age difference, etc. But more normative couples often face risks --issues of health, addiction, depression, etc.
    So thank you for the article, David, and best of luck. The comments must be distressing but hey--that was why you wrote the article to begin with. These people just need to wait until their brother or cousin (or father!) ends up married to a woman from the Philippines. It happens all the time (I should know).
    1. ron posted on 12/16/2013 01:47 PM
      @Carlos Well said! Americans are not happy with the materialism they have bought into. So of course they are jealous of anyone who has found happiness through other cultures. Middle aged American women in particular seem to hate this...but they would certainly do the same thing if they were able. Men who still have a sex drive (which most women seem to lose as they approach menopause) are going to look for satisfaction elsewhere. Almost all marriages in America have financial considerations built into them--and always have--although no women want to admit that. And let us be honest: American women are among the most calculating of all women everywhere...and among the least faithful.
  15. Jim posted on 12/03/2013 12:13 PM
    Funny hearing all these negative responses from a country where mixed race marriage and same sex marriage seem to be so readily accepted nowadays. Not too long ago it was the norm for a young women to marry an older man, check your history books. Divorce rates between men and women of the same race, background and "correct" age range are at about 50 percent, which tells me maybe we should not judge this couple too harshly. Sounds to me like a whole lot of jealousy out there. Good luck to you all.
  16. marcus posted on 12/05/2013 03:20 AM
    @ David
    A wonderful story and all the best to you and your lovely wife. I saw you left your email address in one of your post comments so I look forward to writing to you and introducing myself.
    @ Starling and others who criticize
    Bill Curran’s post which in part I quote “Unhappy people seek out reasons to complain about the world and like to make others unhappy. One plus one equals two. The sum is greater than the individual parts. You are both happier and better taken care of then you were before you married. I believe you are living your dreams. I believe your wife is living her dreams. Why would any sane person have any problem with that?”
    I would urge Starling and the other critics who by the way are outnumbered by David’s supporters to stop taking out their own unhappiness on others that are living a happy life as alluded to in Bills posts.
    Furthermore there are Hubs/blogs around that are set up purely to try to denigrate the Filipino race and their country as a whole and categories the vast majority as scammers, sly, manipulative, lazy and worse. Furthermore, the authors of these hubs only publish the posts that support their view and delete the rest before anyone gets to read them. One particular hub is called:- Why do so many men report bad Filipina dating/marrying experiences? Link is:-
    http://ulyssesulysses.hubpages.com/hub/Why_do_so_many_men_report_bad_Filipina_dating_marrying_experiences
    And the main authors ( objectivelyspeaking, TanfromAustralia and Ulysses Ulysses) plus a few other followers (who make up the most of the posts because they delete the others who have a differing view) spend their time beating each other’s chest with back and forth banter about how disgusting they think the Filipino race is as whole and calling their country a sewer etc. Shame on them!
    These authors of course deleted my couple of posts simply because they are not willing to accept any other opinion or views and just want their own little group of Filipino knockers to send each other notes on their little public forum to get each other’s rocks off in some perverted way.
    My last post read:-
    “I’m 99% sure you will delete this post because you guys cannot face reality & you continue to live in the dark distant past being unable to accept the fact that there is good & bad in every race. You insist on denigrating the Filipino people and their culture as a whole which is proven by your many broad brush posts on your hub. In reality you are just racist pigs.
    I have read in detail your hub guidelines & your data trying to back up your argument & it is so old & limited info it’s ridiculous. If I hear the phrase “As a former migration lawyer who worked in that field for six (6) years and having dealt personally with a large number of Filipinas and their foreign male sponsors” again I’ll spew!!
    You will know doubt be very proud of yourselves that in the 15 months of your hub going you have had almost 50 people post comments on your hub…..Wow! what an astonishing result & outcry from so many given your so called epidemic problem! Even googling “bad Filipina dating” the hub site comes up way up there at number 3 on the list, however still only 50 people interested over a 15 month period! Such a massive problem! You know in business I have learnt that if you give poor customer service to a customer, then that customer will tell on average 13 people of their poor experience. However, if a client receives impeccable service, on average they will tell only 1 person of their experience. So get with reality here guys, you have the few that have been burnt with a bad Western/Filipina relationship coming in & telling their stories. However more than 10 times that amount are not even telling their story because they are busy enjoying their beautiful lives! And then you have all the posts of differing view that you delete. What a joke!.
    You continue to say how the Philippine economy doesn’t contribute and the rest of the world supports them. Well just a couple of stats for you:-
    Stat 1:-
    Source - Crikey - Independent media, independent minds article dated 21/11/13
    The Philippine economy has strengthened, posting sustained growth in every quarter since PNoy won power, so much so that the country is now considered one of Asia’s investment bright spots by international financial institutions and economists. Annual GDP growth rates reached a high of 7.5% in the second quarter of 2013 after four quarters of annualised growth above 6%. That second-quarter performance made the Philippines the fastest-growing economy in south-east Asia and put it on par with China.
    Stat 2
    Economic boom spreads wealth wider in Philippines
    By Teresa Cerojano, Associated Press, Updated July 4, 2013 8:49am

    In this May 17, 2013 photo, trading continues at the Philippine Stock Exchange at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines where the Philippine economy skyrocketed 7.8 percent in the first quarter, outpacing China.

    AIPC September 5, 2012
    The divorce rate in Australia is 43 per cent. That is: 43 per cent of marriages can be expected to end in separation within 30 years. Divorce rates are somewhat higher in the United States and Canada, at 48 per cent, and lower in Japan, 27 per cent and Singapore 10 per cent. Although divorce is not allowed in the Philippines the separation rate currently sits at 26%.

    Summary
    I am an experienced traveler in the Philippines & I know many people there & can talk here from experience. Although there is massive poverty in the Philippines the standout thing for me when compared to say Australian society (my home country) is that the Filipino’s are a very happy people. They smile, they are friendly, although there is traffic kayos everywhere, I have never seen any road rage or disgruntled drivers. They are an extremely courteous, friendly & happy people. Not like Australia & I am sure the USA, where it is common to see disputes, road rage & high stress levels as we go about our day to day living. There is a myth in West that somehow wealth & material items equals’ happiness in the eyes of the Filipinos. Although this definitely seems the case for most Australian’s & I’m sure those in the USA (& yes including Australian woman!), however the truth is that the vast majority of Filipino’s are not driven by material things like the majority of western culture. Happiness to the majority of Filipino’s is all about family & people. Sure the Pinay’s want security in their life but seriously who in this world doesn’t? Yes we all do! In fact when it comes to ‘happiness’, the Filipinos have it worked out far better than the west does, despite the wealth of western culture.
    Most Filipino women are genuine, loving, caring and faithful, yes FAITHFULL to their partner and yes for life. Of course those western men (and there are many of them, not the majority but many) who travel to Phil to try to sleep with a dozen Filipinas & then pick one as a wife on their first visit and get her a green card asap are asking for trouble. Not because their new Filipina wife will try to rip them off through some scam etc., but simply because these type of men are arseholes just wanting a young beautiful Filipina wife who they can sleep with, show off to their mates, get to clean their house, cook for them and then the guy generally treats them as subservient and like shit. These guys, which thank God are not the majority, are the guys that end up in trouble keeping their marriage together and then cry ‘Scam, Scam, Scam ’ when it falls apart.
    The decent guys who take the time to build a proper relationship and will find the most loving beautiful partner in a Filipina. Sure, like everybody she wants security in her life, however who doesn’t and for the majority of Filipinas it’s not security from material possessions as we in the western world think of security, they just want to be able to go to sleep at night knowing that they will wake up in the morning with food, love and safety, nothing more. From my experience the vast majority of the women in Australia who are in my dating age group (late 30’s to mid to late 40’s) are also looking for security. The only difference is that these Australian women are driven by material wealth & that makes them a riskier proposition for guys like me. My advice to guys in a similar situation to me is to not discount Filipino woman for a lifelong partner. I’ve been there many times and have had the same loving, wonderful Filipina partner for the last 3 years. I know many people who live there & others that have migrated there. Filipino’s are a beautiful people with the vast majority of the woman being very caring, loving, faithful & genuine.
  17. Leo Dermatas posted on 02/07/2014 07:51 PM
    David and his wife made a mutual agreement between them. It is nobody's business to judge them and in a very critical way and if they feel so strongly to complain then go to city hall to file a complain.
    They both before get together , were unhappy, and now both very happy, who's got problem with that,
    I highly respect both as they chose their way of living and not chosen the way by some bitchy losers.
showing all comments

Do Transnational Marriages Work?
International marriage agencies have long claimed a divorce rate of only 20 percent—significantly lower than the national average—among married couples they introduce. That statistic, bolstered by data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, found its way into the appendix of a 1999 report published by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and has been widely touted ever since.

Probably more reliable are the findings of several academic studies that conclude a transnational marriage is about as likely to succeed as any other. After reviewing the literature, Lisa Anne Simons, author of “Marriage, Migration, and Markets: International Matchmaking and International Feminism,” a 2001 doctoral dissertation at the University of Denver, concluded that, “marital breakdown … is no higher among international marriages than marriages in general.”—D.H. 

A Short History of Transnational Brides
- First introduced in the 1600s to increase the female population of Jamestown, Va., the first English settlement in America.

- Contributed significantly to the settlement of the American West in the mid-1800s.

- Increased exponentially following the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, making such relationships readily accessible. 

- Grooms generally are white, middle-aged, conservative, educated, divorced, and professional.

- Brides come primarily from the Philippines, followed by Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, and Colombia.

- About 30,000 foreign fiancées are now admitted to the U.S. each year.


How to Handle the Bureaucracy
- Connect on the Internet. 

- Make at least one trip to meet personally, documented by photos and other evidence.

- Apply for a K-1 fiancée visa, which, among other things, requires full financial disclosure and proof that the relationship is real.

- Make sure she knows you well enough to persuade an interviewer from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that it’s all on the up and up.

- Get married within 90 days of her arrival in the U.S.

Close

Advertisement