I receive several searches on this blog and several emails from ladies looking for information about Dominican men, what it is like to have a relationship with them, are they really macho and jealous, how do you know if they are genuine or a sanky panky, and other such questions, so I thought I would write a little bit about them. I must however stress that this is my experience and observations and obviously does not apply to all Dominicans.
There are several good points about living with a Dominican man. They are fun to be with, usually very optimistic, laugh a lot and are very caring. Most will have your happiness at heart, and will do anything they can to make you happy. Whilst it is said that they tend to be macho, this does not usually reflect in an expectation that the woman of the household should do all the chores. My husband cooks, cleans and does the shopping. He will not usually do the clothes washing, ironing nor go to the colmado as those are apparently women’s work. I have no idea why those particular chores, unless it is as he was used to the women going down to the river to do the washing. In most Dominican households the children will be given chores to do from an early age, and whilst they do tend to be different chores for boys and girls, all of the Dominican men I have met have no issue at all with helping around the house.
A key cultural issue is the importance of the family. In a country where there are very few people who have a pension, the children are expected to support their parents when they get old, both financially and physically when needed. Very few elderly people go into an old people’s home, but live with one of their children. In the UK, most wives expect to be number one in their husband’s lives. In the DR the parent will always come first. In addition if a family member needs help, especially if they are sick, the other members rally round and help. This does not mean that you are constantly handing over cash, but the culture of sharing and helping each other is ingrained and an important part of daily life.
One of the most charming things about Dominicans is their childlike innocence and behaviour, due in the main I think to a lack of education and exposure to the wider world. Whilst this childlike behaviour has its charms, it can become frustrating. The men hate conflict, hate getting into trouble, and so will avoid telling you the truth if they think it will upset you. It is not lying per se, it is just truth avoidance! Learning to understand this and spotting when it happens is a challenge. I always look them in the eyes now, as I read in some FBI interrogation thingy that if the eyes dart to the left they are lying!
In order for the relationship to work, both have to learn to understand, appreciate and adapt to each other’s culture and learn that neither are right or wrong, just different. Those of us who live in the developed world refer often to the past – I remember when you did that or said that. Dominican men live in the present, and don’t like always having the past brought up. So don’t do it – it achieves nothing.
It takes time, perseverance and understanding to adapt to a different culture and to live together in a different way than you would with a man of your own country, culture and background. But then if you wanted to do that, you would not have had a relationship with a Dominican, would you?