Dating and finding love as an expat in Dominican Republic


With cultural barriers and different dating norms, finding love as an expat abroad can be exciting and challenging at the same time.

Is it easy to meet other fellow single people in Dominican Republic?

How do you go about meeting people (through friends, online dating, apps, meetup groups)?

How safe is it to date in Dominican Republic?

How do you deal with cultural differences when dating?

What are certain dating etiquettes and rules when dating in Dominican Republic?

How do you deal with getting into a serious relationship if you know you might be leaving the Dominican Republic?

Thank you for sharing your experience,


Oh my this will be interesting!

Dating here is a whole other world.

Basics: let's face it more than half of "marriages" end in divorce. Now throw in language issues, cultural differences, educational difference and financial issues and it can be tough!!!!

Let me address you questions!

Its very easy to meet people who say they are single. But are they? Most often not. The culture is one where people are not used to being or living alone. And financially its much easier for 2 to live almost as cheaply as one. 

Oftentimes they are not single and will lie to your face. And be very skeptical of anyone who says they are separated!  A man with children will be tied forever to the mother of his children and vice versa. 

Often women are the target of sankies in tourist areas. And of course the men are targets as well.  It is not limited - anyone with access to tourists can be a sankt or sankiette! 

Rule of thumb: if it seems too good to be true - it is!

It is very possible to find true love, to have that wonderful relationship in a foreign country.  It never happens on a vacation so stop watching Hollywood movies.  Locals who are not looking for a free ride are rarely interested in tourists! 

If you live and work here or are retired here,  you can meet good . people just be wary and  if you see red flags pay attention.

For those wanting to leave and take their new love with them, it will be a struggle. This country is flagged in terms of getting into other countries so be ready. You will need to document every call, visit, Whatsapp etc to prove your relationships are real.

When dating I day behave like the locals do. No self respecting Dominicana pays on a date. As a self respecting Expat neither will I.

Once in a relationship the financial challenges can be overwhelming. Often family and friends see you as an ATM machine! Put up boundaries really early and stick to them.

There are hundreds of cultural differences that will Pop up all the time. Learn the language! Ask lots of question about everything! If you don't understand keep at it until you do!

One big issue is assaulting women. Sadly some Latino men feel they own their women.  The first sign of physical violence get out. The rate of feminicide is very high here. Murder suicides are in the news weekly!

The same goes for men. Some Latina women are very aggressive and violent. No woman has the right to attack a man either. I am not referring to self defense.

To socialize and meet singles just get out there. Meet people and I don't mean in tourist bars!  Stay away from tourist areas to meet interesting locals!

Right on every point. Just think about it:  what could an attractive 20 year old find appealing in a 60 year old or older, other than their bank account?  Love can be found,however it is as rare as a Dominican white tail deer.

People are more likely to find their love, if they look for it among their equals in the same social class. There are other social classes in DR than sanky pankies and chapiadoras. Expats just need to look for matches in the similar Dominican social group. Just like in their home countries, one wouldn't downshift the requirements and expectations for an ideal date, neither it should happen here. It's illogical to expect unequal people to keep up the same standards.

One of the points I made was that  Dominicans of certain social classes (I really hate those words)  do not associate with expats or tourists. So they have no access. Many many of the romances happen while on vacation or happen in tourist areas where expats have moved to.

You find much more of "normal" interactions in  places like Santiago and Santo Domingo, where people live and work!

True about tourist areas but still even in tourist areas there are Dominicans who own restaurants and other local companies, who are doctors, lawyers, accountants and other similar professions who can offer quality interaction.

But in this question, I truly believe the language is a key to success. As I can see it from my perspective, it's too too difficult to get a successful relationship without speaking good Spanish.

planner, you have posted some fine points, but the two below stand out to me.

'To socialize and meet singles just get out there. Meet people and I don't mean in tourist bars!  Stay away from tourist areas to meet interesting locals!'

'You find much more of "normal" interactions in  places like Santiago and Santo Domingo, where people live and work!'

It is highly unlikely that one will find an equal for a long term stable relationship in a bar in a resort area. And even more so if you can't correspond in Spanish. You may find someone who speaks your foreign language but do ask yourself from whom they have learnt it - almost certainly another foreigner or foreigners.

For sure you will find a wider choice in the big cities and more western entertainment venues and options. And equally on line using the various DR focused social media platforms but again you will need good Spanish understanding to find the right match imo.

But don't discount the regional towns and countryside. You will be surprised who you can meet in some remoter parts of DR. And that is not so surprising with an agricultural based economy and plenty of government employees serving a large rural population.  A lot goes on in the rural colmados, bodegas and car washes at weekends.

It is so easy to interact and make friends everywhere throughout DR away from resorts if you adapt to Dominican life as an expat, and so find your match.

Yes good points.  I really meant away from tourist and Expat areas. That is where you have a much better chance of meeting interesting people.  Some of the best people I know here are from the countryside!

Talking about dating apps, I've been successfully using Tinder where one can get to know people from those social groups with 'no access'. Besides, it gives you an idea of what kind of person you are dealing with so you only connect with those who interest you.
I know, many will respond that Tinder is an app to find a partner for one night but surprisingly enough in the Dominican Republic it has served me to find good connections and friends too.

Awesome info, it all helps.

I first went to the Dominican Republic two years ago and that is when I first met my now wife.  I’m 35 yrs old attractive male she is 20 yrs old attractive female.  At first everyone assumed I was just the typical tourist as they are so used to Americans going back and yes you go through the typical seeing you as an ATM but I was determined to make it work and my stays got longer and our love grew and it got to where I just stopped leaving.  We were married in March of this year and had our first baby a month ago and life could not be better.  We have a nice three bedroom apartment in Santiago (for only $350 a month!) and live a very happy simple life.  Her and her family are the most loving and genuinely happy people.  Once you get used to life in DR it’s not bad at all!  I love it! Just get used to certain things and you’ll be fine.  I have 100 mb internet and 26 movie channels and a beautiful wife who cooks every day and cleans.  As far as her family looking at me as an atm they have learned to realize it is a genuine mairage and I’m not rich.  All in all I think it’s like anywhere else people are people if you meet someone and the love is genuine and real that is all you need.  If they are looking for money you can find women like that anywhere it doesn’t matter what country you are in.  It has to be real love to work.  If you find it in DR you can find your nice slice of paradise where the cost of living is great you can save a ton of money for your future and have a happy life together!

Glad you are happy &  congrats on your baby. I counted the months & you did the right thing. I have friends who have had long successful marriages with locals. It is rare but can happen.  Again, good for you!

Yes love stories do happen here. It is possible and it does happen,  true feelings are possible here just like anywhere. Good for you!

As a single very independent woman I can tell you dating is not easy here.   This is a machismo society and  there is not a lot of understanding of independent women. 

As I am in their society I am the one who needs to be understanding whenever possible without changing who I am.

For example:

Dated a man for 3 years, he told me that I must not love him as I never fought with him!  That cracked me up and no, I never fought with him. He was waiting for the screaming and carrying on as that is "proof" of love.

I did however prove my love ..... yes people, I baked a cake.  It was his birthday and I baked a cake. 

Total cost: 150 RD or  3 bucks.
Time:  45 minutes start to finish.
Proof of love:  unquantifiable!!!! 

We did have a slight argument one day.  I moved the washing machine when I was cleaning.  I clearly did not understand that this is man's work and I should not be moving furniture!  LOL

These are examples of the cultural differences!

In 1998, I married a lovely Dominican woman. Three months later I met an attorney who got me a $300 divorce.  We are still friends,............ the attorney & I.

And yet the people I know in various parts of the country, but not beach resorts, are all in stable long term relationships.

It comes down to the persons you meet in your life circle.

I do suspect dealing with the male macho culture here must be challenging for expat women. The less macho nature, and I generalize, of expat men definitely attracts potential partners.

And a true tell sign of potential, is that your partner is calm and not argumentative and aggressive. Walk away at the slightest hint and quickly. But you will need to be on a good level of communication to really know and so many arrive and indulge and the relationship is built on physical and financial needs which will turn out to be poor foundations.

Absolutely true.

On refection, I have to add that I did encounter quite a large number of expats with stable relationships when I was living in Las Terrenas for a couple of years. Maybe it is the fact that the town is a laid back vacation destination for the more wealthy Dominicans and less expats percentage wise. Maybe also those French and Italians that I knew were bi lingual and conversed in Spanish easily so providing a sound foundation for the relationship. It was also less of a retirement town and more a second home community with small hotels and a place away from city life with many expats having business interests there.

Those are also valid points.  When you speak Spanish easily then it is much harder to be fooled! It is certainly one piece of the puzzle.

OMG!! lol

I had some very interesting adventures when I was new to the country a couple of times a girl would show up with her friend after I invited HER to dinner. I couldn't believe that they could actually show up together with a straight face and expect me to pay. So I learned to get more specific before we talked on the phone.  I made sure they understood only them not them, their cousin, their aunt, their sister, their next door neighbor etc...  But I've had positive experiences as well and eventually met a good one.

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