Love & Culture

I know this personal but I am very curious to know about this topic since I am working here in Brasil for almost a year then got a wonderful relationship but our engagement was destroyed since she told me besides time & space but family culture where all her relatives join in the relationship, also to the part the my work is related to travelling, can anyone advise me about this...thank you

Well, I know that I'm going to take a lot of heat over my following comments from some of our members who are born Brazilians. Any criticism of anything at all in Brazil is always seen as a personal attack on Brazilians and the country. But here goes anyway!

I am speaking from over 13 years experience in this country and making statements about subjects that have been studied time-and-time-again, they've been documented and proven. So if you see it as a personal affront, take that up with the individuals (mostly universities and the Brazilian government) who conducted them.

First of all Brazilians have a very different cultural vision of just what love really is in the first place. Two of those great differences are sex and fidelity. Brazilians in general have much more liberal views about sex than most other cultures in the developed world and as a result casual sex, even anonymous sex, is much more acceptable here. As a result adolescents become sexually active at a far younger age than in most other nations, teen pregnancies are much more common as are the incidences of sexually transmissible diseases. While everybody in the rest of the world knows everything about AIDS, for example, and practices safe sex here in Brazil especially the young people are going in the exactly opposite direction. Fewer individuals are practicing safe sex every year. There is a frightening fact that has recently come to media attention about organized groups of HIV infected individuals on social networks like Facebook advocating knowingly engaging in unprotected sex without telling their partner. Their aim is to deliberately infect as many people as possible.

Then there's "Amor de Carnaval", the Brazilian attitude toward casual sex or extremely short relationships around the Carnaval period each year. What would be considered totally promiscuous behavior in most other countries is not only tolerated by government at all levels, but sometimes actually condoned if not outrightly encouraged. Amazing for a nation where abortion is still illegal. This year during Carnaval they even had a "Capsula de Sexo" (a plexiglass bed chamber) suspended in the air above the streets of Salvador, Bahia where couples could go and engage in sex in full view of everybody. This was reported by ALL the news media and was quite acceptable to the people, yet would result in stiff jail sentences in other countries not only for the participants, but also for the organizers.

Fidelity is also another serious problem in Brazil. It used to be that many Brazilian men had no concept of fidelity, cheated regularly on girlfriends and spouses. Well recent studies now show that over 50 percent of women surveyed admit that they too don't put much stock in fidelity and that they too have cheated on their boyfriends and spouses. This speaks volumes about the moral values that are being taught in the schools and homes nowadays (or more correctly NOT being taught).

Blind jealousy is a serious and deadly problem in Brazil. Culturally Brazilians not only accept jealousy as the norm, but they actually believe that you HAVE TO BE jealous or you're not truly in love. In most of the civilized world we consider jealousy (especially jealousy without any foundation) to be an abhorition which demonstrates a total absence of trust, love and even self-confidence. Many Brazilians (both women and men) lose their lives each year, murdered for nothing else than unfounded jealousy. This tragedy grows exponentially every year.

Here in Brazil, and any expat will confirm this, it seems that LOVE is something that is more closely related to material wealth than with emotion. You're loved passionately until the money runs out and then the party comes to a screaching halt. Not that there aren't "gold diggers" everywhere in the world, it just seems that it is much more commonplace here in Brazil. From my own personal experience the only time you can actually believe it when somebody says, "I LOVE YOU", is when they tell you knowing that you're flat broke!!!

What Brazilians really do love is their family, the extended family. We expats for the most part end up being a financial support system not only for our spouse or companions, but also for all of the other members in their extended family. This largely results from the misconception that all Brazilians share that we're all wealthy, and why shouldn't we be when they ALL know that the streets are paved with gold and money grows on trees where we come from. They don't stop to think that just like them we have to work for a living, pay our bills and pay taxes where we come from.

My sincere advice to anyone contemplating a romantic relationship in Brazil is as follows:

1.  Never discuss your financial situation with ANYBODY here in Brazil, not even with your closest friends and certainly not with anyone you're romantically involved with.

2.  DO NOT just assume that you should pay for everything and that it's necessary to spend lavishly on anyone you're involved with. If they don't like you for who you are, and it they're not satisfied with reasonable spending, then turn and run as fast as you can.

3.  Keep tight control over your wallet, learn how to be assertive and to say no without feeling guilty about it. You DO NOT need to justify yourself for saying no to requests for money or gifts. No is an explaination in itself. Otherwise you're going to be constantly hit up for loans or to pick up the tab by/from every member of your Brazilian partner's extended family, and in many cases even circle of friends. BRAZILIANS HAVE THE STRANGE IDEA THE THE WORDS "LOAN" AND "PRESENT" ARE SYNONYMOUS. You'll rarely see any money you loan out repaid, if ever.

4. Nothing lasts forever, especially love - at least not here in Brazil; so don't expect it to. Enjoy your relationship while it lasts - live for YOURSELF, enjoy each moment, but don't become dependent on the relationship or you're likely to be lost in a sea of sorrows when it all goes south.

Well, that's it... I expect my mailbox to start filling up with nasty comments from those who can't handle the truth, but what the heck I've got big shoulders!!!

James    Expat-blog Experts Team

Best piece of advice i have read regarding Brazil - should be handed out to all single gringos as they enter the country

Like to add another one - do not purchase an apartment or a house before you know the person you are moving together with - rent for a year or two. She (in most cases) will push to purchase but do not fall for it - in case it goes south it is much easier to cut your losses and run.

Interesting points, well highlighted by James (as usual). Things of money are quite challenging with your and get even more complicated when familly (always very near) gets involved.
I do not want to feel paternalistic but this is sometimes the fault of the gringo: arriving in Brazil, spending a lot on a very short time (like on holidays) and getting involved with a beautiful and young women. The reality is : if you are not rich in your native country, then you are not rich in Brazil. They are millions of people certainly richer than you in Brazil. What I mean is, people would not get involved in their native country with someone from a different social and revenue class (I know Cindarella stories exist too) so why gringoes are doing exactly that in Brazil? When old gringoes get involved with young and beautiful women who think they meet the prince charming (despite being a bit old) then get very quickly disapointed when discovering that the gringoes cannot sustain same spending for a few months/years. There is no doubt about the end of the story.

Of course it is the fault of the Gringo but then again who would not loose their head over a beautiful brasileira ! No need to make any excuses but a little bit of advice is always appreciated

The chance of having a long term, sucessful relationship is very slim i guess due to the difference in culture and social background but i think James post was ment as advice to avoid ruining your life while you keep on trying.

I spent 7000 euros in two weeks the first time I went to Brazil .....oh how that money would do me well right now ...!
Then I spent more money on getting married with the wrong girl , and now I`m spending on getting a divorce.
Extended family , that makes me laugh when I remember that I only had time to put on my pants and already there was a member of the family knocking , clapping their hand or shouting my ex wife name at the front door of the house, wanting to get in at all the costs  :dumbom:

Being a young brazilian male, for the same reasons that James pointed out about us BRazilians  I found English, IRish and Canadian girls to have the exactly same attributes. Can't say much about th Americans as the only girls I knew from there were Christians and did not posses such behaviours, but were very loud and grounded which are some of th things that put me off regardless where a girl comes from. Yes , I totally agree with some comentei above that say old guys come here thinking that they will marry a young beautiful woman and everything is going to be perfect, but they forget people have differences and in a marriage relationship both must work those differences in order for the marriage to work, but a lot of people are not willing to give in I must say. In terms of family members visiting relatives I must say, I rather us having such quality than not having any of it at all as I've seen many many many times in Canada, the UK and aia reland where I lived. People when they get involved in a relationship with someone outside their culture must really consider how the other person's culture work before make such a huge step. But most foreigners when they come here they think that a woman will fall for them because they are foreigners, have the pale skin, blue/green eyes, are filthy rich blah blah blah Beware we've got all of that here in Brazil, and only those who are uneducated, lack self respect,mare empovireshed will look for those traits in a guy. Every brazilian girl I know in my circle ( trust me I know a lot of nice, good looking succesful Young woman) would not consider a relationship with a foreigner based on the traibutes mentioned afore that they carry with them she they come here. There is a big stigma here in Brazil in terms of foreign men coming over, mainly old and desperate to get lucky, especially with underage girls, so people that are educated and affluent will not associate themselves with such characters.
If you really want a relationship with a brazilian guy/girl you must be willing to work on those differences all I can say.
In terms of sexuality I don't know if JAmes have traveled that much of the world. Such sexual behaviour you portray as being very rooted in Brazilian society are very common in Europe. You go to clubs in the UK, Ireland, SPain ( mentioned these places because I lived and studied there thats why the reference) such behaviour is the norm in their culture too, so that is not exclusive to urs only. Maybe age is catching up with you and you forgot that the world is not the same as it was 10/20 years ago, enlighting up a bit would help a long way, all I can say.

You are of course correct - Brazil is an enormeous country with more than 200 mill people in it and any generalization would fail. It is also a country with enormeous social divide where a large part of the population live in extreme poverty while others do their best to show off their welth (why is this not considered bad taste as in most other contries ?)

I doubt that the majority of gringoes who comes to Brazil has any illusions of why women from a poor background flock around them but at the same time we are only humans - a beautiful woman is beautiful regardless of social background - the difference only becomes apparent when you have lived together for some time. And that is why most people, not only in Brazil but around the world, marries within their own social class.

That said - it is not a rule written in stone - most people are able to change. Many gringoes who come to Brazil has been married before, at least the older ones, and are just looking for a different life. I have no doubt that most of them would make excellent husbands compared to the alternatives to many of these poor women - many of them end up as single mothers with a father who is either dead, in prison or dont give a shit.

And just to make it clear - any abuse of underage girls there is no excuse regardless of background or circumstanses - there are plenty of predators roaming the planet looking for them but i do not think it is correct to think that most gringoes in Brazil are like them

Well in my case, I am young and we have started our relationship as friends and later on it goes very well. I moved to Brasil for work and was able to live with her in there family, Her mother likes me so much but speaking of extended familly her relatives join the relationship..friends so its one point she gave up also I am travelling for my work which she wants me to be near as always.
Speaking of sex...we always do and i thought that here they always want to do it but not..I always want to make love with her sometimes she point I can say people here are affectionate but are not strong enough for there emotions.
Almost many points of James was right..

Old but interesting thread.  COVID happened since... did things change?