GF and Extent of Her Family Involvement


After spending 6 weeks traveling with my GF through the Central Visayas, we go to Ormoc, Leyte, to visit her family.  I have been letting her handling my money and she keeps meticulous records for our travels, and assumed  she would be as frugal once home.

Her family is very nice, but it seems that everything we do, there are cousins and friends whom she invites, which is assumed I will pay for everything.  She had mentioned going to Kalanggaman Island, and instead of the two of us, 30 of her family joins us, with me paying for the boat and most of the food. I bit my lip, and tried to be a good sport. I mentioned to her that some things I would like not to do as a family, bit as a couple, as well as me wanting to know what plans are instead of having things spring on me.

A few days later, we visit Tacloban  for an overnight stay (assuming this would be a couples trip), and she later tells me a couple of her friends are meeting us for dinner, and at the end of the meal, I wound up footing the bill.

The next morning she said we were meeting another of her friends, and I told her no.  I drove back to Ormoc not sure what to say. Once I calmed down, I sat her down and told her that she needs to check with me first before assuming I will be paying for whatever she wants you do and treating her family and friends. I also reminded her that sometimes I would like to do some thing just as a couple. She apologized and started crying, but I think my point was taken.

Is this typical? Should I not let her have access to my money?  I am really hoping this will not be a pattern.

Damn! That’s a screwed up situation. Like, what the hell is she thinking, showing off possibly? Ughhh, hope I don’t ever have to go through that. I hope it works out for you and good on you for putting a line in the sand.

Wow, good thing you had plenty of pesos with you. It sounds pretty typical, from what I hear and see. She landed a foreigner so she's showing off and being generous to her family.. with your money. Not sure why you are letting her handle your funds so early in the relationship. I would also keep my larger financial situation private if possible. You are to be commended for discussing the problem with her though.

Someone from a developing country cannot begin to comprehend the hard work, stress and years it takes us to become financially stable and earn our money, save for retirement, etc. Not to mention the amount we will need to age comfortably back in our home country, etc. They tend to spend today and worry about tomorrow later, in my experience. And the big family is something you need to keep in mind - family is extremely important to Filipinos and the daughters tend to bear responsibility for the parents.

I've have been done this road! It absolutely will not stop! Get control of ALL your money! NOW!!
Yes this is typical! Give her only what is needed as needed! Learn to do everything yourself! Then wait and see how it goes! They will try other ways to get what they want from you! My I ask your age?

Thats why I always tell my friends to let their girlfriends and wifes continue to work on their own ... like that they do what they want with their money... there is too often this mindset of  the foreigner who will say to their Gf/wife now you stop working and the wife becomes financially dependent of their BF/husband. It is a big mistake in my point of view

There is also the custom that one person will pay everything in the restaurant. If everybody has the same status, one will volunteer to offer the restaurant. And the next time somebody else will volunteer. If there is a big difference of status among the guests, the one perceived as richest is expected to pay... it is not showing off, it is a tradition/custom among filipinos.

Is she the eldest in her familly ? If yes she is expected to be the breadwinner of her family

It is very typical my friend.  I living here for 5 years and it is always like that. Keep your money at your pocket and tell her what she can do and what she cannot do. And repeat this in every similar case, otherwise she will forget. It will take many months and nerves to reeducate her. They are not evil but when they see white guy, they think we have unlimited budget.

I have also come across this after seeing three women over there. The first met me at the airport with a friend and her young daughter and after checking in at the hotel the four of us hired a taxi to go see her family some hours drive from CDO. Because of bad weather and high winds we could not get to our destination because of trees which had come down in the storm so we had to seek a hotel for the night and I ended up footing the bill for the hotel and food. I had already spent about 8000 pesos on food for her family and they live a simple life farming so when we got there I some how ended up buying them a pig. One of my girlfriends Brothers was having his birthday so I had brought hum a personalised football shirt from England but he just took it without a word of thanks.

The second lady I went to see was the same I ended u footing the bill for meals, cinema trips etc until one day she suggested that we go to a Karaoke bar and her cousin called her when we were in the hotel room. I asked her what he was wanting and she said he was going to come with us. At this point I put my foot down and told her to tell him that he better bring money because I was not paying for  him.

I also had the same experience in Tacloban with another girlfriend where I suggested we take her two kids swimming and I ended up footing the bill for about twenty people in total.

This is obviously common over there so I have decided if I return I will make it very clear that I will not foot the bill for more than four people including my girlfriend and myself and if I were you I would handle all money matters.

Thanks for the replies.  I am 60 years old retired dentist with a profound hearing loss from birth. Ana is 30, a public health nurse, whose mom is about to retire from City Human Resources Management with a full pension. She has an older sister who is a CPA and works in Canada. She assured me that her family would not be asking for loans back before I met her, which seems to be true.

Maybe I used her as a crutch in my travels, since she speaks fluent English, Bisaya, and Tagalog, and has a handle on what things cost. She keeps meticulous records of expenses, but once home, she started seeing me as an ATM, so it seemed.

From this point forward, I think I will give her an allowance, since she is not currently working, due to not taking a nursing job in Germany.and instead has spent the past 8 weeks vacationing with me. I think my point has been taken.

I told her also that if she makes plans without my consent before the fact, then she needs to pay from HER funds.

Good plan. Sounds like a nice girl with complementary strengths.

Yes, I think so. She is very sweet and kind, very considerate, even wipes my mouth if she sees something, cooks, cleans, keeps my clothes laundered, and is very affectionate. She is smart, and has a great sense of humor.

So far, this family/friend deal has been the only hiccup in the 8 weeks we have spent together. It wasn't a huge amount, but I didn't wish it to continue.

Hello. May I add a thought. Seems the comments, as well as your conclusion are constructive solutions. A resource I've found accurate and effective in my dating life  interracial, intercontinental, cross cultures, etc. is "The Female Brain" by Louann Brizendine. It's old but simply written well. As the preacher said; "when you feel you're fighting Goliath you got to have some stones". LoL.

It will never get better my friend. I pretty much had to raise bloody hell and make my wifes family hate me to stop the endless freeloading. Now a year later, I am recovering financially and just bought a truck. I gave my wife and family a lecture about trickle down economics. They pretty much dont visit anymore but the fights ended. They pretty much devote their entire lives to freeloading parents and family here unlike in the US where you get what you work for....:

I found the best way is to be completely open in my financial situation.  We have after some trial and error decided to draw up a monthly budget with us mutually deciding how to spend the agreed apon sum after setting aside savings and vacation allowance.  We created an envelope system with weekly groceries, wife allowance, family allowance,  entertainment, Rent, bills etc.   Works great and no more arguments! ....and I feel she has a sense of ownership in the process.

One thing I am concerned with is, being retired and on disability, is to let her know the extent of my IRA and brokerage accounts. Maybe I should come up with a number for a monthly budget and go from there.

moonunit0103 :

One thing I am concerned with is, being retired and on disability, is to let her know the extent of my IRA and brokerage accounts. Maybe I should come up with a number for a monthly budget and go from there.

That's exactly what I did, and it has worked out fine. She is thrifty. It is me that refuses to give up a certain level of comfort. Now after several years together she has a good idea what my assets are, at least the property.  I have shown her the rough numbers as to my income, our expenses here, and my US expenses.. which are still significant since I spend half my time there. She also had no idea how much property and income taxes we pay in the US.

I have been supporting her while she finishes school and I pay for the condo we rent here but have explained that I cannot keep up this level of spending indefinitely - it has to come down at some point when she starts working and shares expenses, or we eventually make a move to the US.  I had to explain to her that if my assets are drawn down too much it will permanently reduce my income and affect our lifestyle together. She gets it completely and is always offering to move to a cheaper place but I like the benefits of where we live.

Imagine what I went through when the family found out I had both VA and   It was like the gold fairy came to town...

My GF has a Visa interview in April, in hopes she can visit on a tourist Visa, since she is an RN and has an international travel history of not overstaying. She plans to visit May to August, with me returning to Ormoc in October or November for an extended stay. I can see splitting time in both countries, unless she gets pregnant, then we will be in Philippines full time. Things have gotten too weird in the US, more traditional in PH.

Flying to Manila tomorrow ahead of my flight to NYC Thursday. Already sad I will be leaving her.

Background story:

When my then-gf and I met, it seemed like she was very in love with me. It was LDR, till I visited her and she insisted I stay with her. Big mistake with an emotional mistake, without clarifying all things financial yet.

When I tried to communicate with her about being watchful on our finance, eventually we fought a lot besides other issues.

Anyway TLDR, one day her step-sister SUDDENLY enrol her into a school with her, and then came and stay with us.

Without further detailing other interferences from the family, eventually she cheated on me with somebody else and I think her family helped her a great deal on that.

I was initially upset when we were together, but after we ended I was happier so I wouldn't waste any more of my time. She is better off draining somebody else if that somebody else is dumb enough to try to "steal" my girl, that is, the fact that someone who is prone to cheat anyway.


What she wants to do is to show off. What you must be willing to do is be that endless pit for one to gold dig.

Otherwise, ask yourself how long you want this to last and what sort of outcome are you looking forward to.

There is a possible ending though, which I realise could be for my ex and who she cheated with. It's that this person she's cheating with can give her that initial gold rush, but in time, she will be going overseas to work as a dance, also known as entertainer.

Meanwhile this new person maybe continue working in the Philippines to help her take care of family.

Are you okay with this sort of ending?

It's not for me because I have my family who knew that I was going to marry down and derail myself off course from my future. I thought I could give her a lift up, but she was dragging me down.

Tried to be a good sport before. It's weird from the start when someone expect you to be The Giving Tree (google that story). I may embody the spirit, but it's not the narrative I want to define my life.

Yes Friend,

99% of Expats are ATM "American Treasury Machines or Aussie Treasury Machines".

Once the money runs out so does the  *******. No fool like an old expat fool in the Philippines.

So many sour grapes on this thread.  I’m sure there are always two sides with distorted expectations from each.  For every foreign/ Filipina relationship gone awry there is one that is flourishing.

Is why I shit down the bank from day one!

gordy5938 :

Is why I shit down the bank from day one!

I would have shut down the bank from day one, probably get better results.

Having different expectations about money/spending is a sure way to ruin your partnership. A fixed amount is deposited in our joint account monthly and we discuss what has to be paid for,then divide the remainder by four, giving us a weekly discretionary amount. If we  run short of money there's no more until next month. My wife pays our bills and buys what we need, I  am happy to help her family, but she knows that we must meet our own needs first. Two years ago we started with nothing, we now have the basic  household goods we need and an almost completed very modest house to live in. Though we intend to return to live in my home in New Zealand next year we will always have a home here to come back to. To be truthful I have sometimes commented that our money seems to disappear like water into sand!

Yes we pretty much came up with the same system.  It does get tight at the end of the month sometimes but for the most part it works well with some support for the greater family built into it,

You need to put your foot down hard just tell her you pay for two everyone else pays for themselves unless you have invited them
Shes taking you for a mug if she keeps on doing it next time she does it just pay for your own meals and leave she will either dump you or learn the lesson either way it's a win win situation

I am back in the US, but I made it clear to her that unless she asked and I approved, she would have to foot the bill for entertaining family and friends.

Until we arrived at her house, she had been so careful spending that I was blind-sided by trips that we took where she invited family to come along at my expense, as if I was their ATM.

I probably need to keep her in the dark about my finances, and figure out a budget.

She turned down a contract to work as a nurse in Germany to meet and vacation with me.  I am considering sending her a stipend until she visits this Summer. Since she lives at home with parent who both work, should I wait for her to ask or offer something?  I have already paid for plane Tix to MNL for her Visa interview at the US embassy, and bought her some luggage before I left.

Any thoughts on this?

You might want to send her $100/month, currently is 5,200 pesos.  She will be able to feed herself, not much else.  What is your plan B if she does not get a tourist visa?

Foreigners forget reality for relationships in the Philippines.
Financial and Youth.   
Going to Philippines and Filipina falls in love because love is in the relationship. 
Family expect, push and shame daughters to find "their Foriegner"   This is rice and future for her family.
You find youth, pleasure and someone that will always be caring.
You will never know when sure loves.
Take her, take care of her family.  Best you will EVER find.

Looks like this one really hit a nerve.

Pride, status within her family is THE MOST important thing in most pinay's lives.  No different than hens in a barnyard, they have a pecking order and with a trophy foreigner she must now live the part.  When i ran into this with my wife at the time, "Family or me dear, she said leave only my family will bury me"   She has stolen money to give to cousins, ignored requests, given away much...  In their defense this is the culture of the family, sharing, almost to the point of communist.  Whatever you buy they expect to be able to use and there is no expectation of them replacing anything they consume.
The family sees you as an ATM and expects you to share what you have with them.

This is my advice for you. Dont be blindfolded with love filipina lady showered on you. It is a their natural way to keep you in darkness till they suck you dry.

Checkout her really out, if she really loves you and do alot of test for her.

Dont be moved by Love, it is a deception. Open your inner eye to see things for yourself.


By the sounds of these last few comments it seems like the only thing these guys have to offer is a **** and an unwillingness to share anything else.  It doesn’t surprise me if they aren’t truly falling in love.

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Might be a bit of cynicism here in some of the comments, but YMMV. I had also contacted some girls who immediately tried to shake me down, and I limited my search to single women, no kids, with a degree in a health profession.  I had already bought a ticket when I signed on DIA and FC, so If things had not clicked with her, I had others to call.  I limited the conversations to texting only, which kept things on a friendly, not romantic basis with all of my contacts.

After chatting online for 6 weeks, my now GF shared a surgery report where she lost an ovary due to endometriosis last year before I even met her in person. That with only texting and sharing photos, established a level of trust,, and she was exactly as she claimed when we met in person. She was the first woman I wanted to meet when I arrived.

Her immediate family are all working, sister is a CPA in Calgary, Brother is in city administration, dad drives a taxi, and mom is an HR manager with the city. She told me that her family would not be shaking me down for a loan. And, her family is very devout, and I went to Mass with them 3 times while I was in Ormoc.

First filipino girl I met I married I was lucky

moonunit0103 :

Yes, I think so. She is very sweet and kind, very considerate, even wipes my mouth if she sees something, cooks, cleans, keeps my clothes laundered, and is very affectionate. She is smart, and has a great sense of humor.

So far, this family/friend deal has been the only hiccup in the 8 weeks we have spent together. It wasn't a huge amount, but I didn't wish it to continue.

The  bottom line is all foreigners are deemed wealthy and if she has not been overseas that would be her thinking as well.
But by the sound of it she is in love with you so its only a matter of education on whats expected and how things work. Sometimes a little explanation and understanding goes along way. I have been married for 30+ years and in the beginning we had to sort a few things out. As there were expectations on both sides and often not realized by the other.
Clear the air  and start again with everything out in the open. Good Luck

I agree. They will keep you broke if you let them have any control over the money. For me I think the realized I was going to close the bank and they started playing fair. Now after many fights I even managed to get a new truck! To thine own self be true and well...,explain how trickle down economics works.

When first I started living with my GF I asked what the cost to oporate her home and all needed other items was. The costs included her son and food for all living in her house. She gave me a number and has stuck to it for well over a year. Set the amount then hold to it. If we do something like take a trip I pay mostly because I want to take the trip to start with.
You both must look beyond the traditions of this country or it will bleed you both out.
Good luck.

Wow 30 people!

I had a similar instance (but not even close to as drastic) which also occured in Ormoc

So I met my girlfriend about a year ago, we met in person randomly, she was working at a mall in Cebu. So we meet and sort of hit it off and then we text back and forth for a couple of weeks. Finally we meet again and decide to go to Ormoc for a few days. What I didn't understand at first was this also included taking two friends from Cebu to Ormoc.

When we arrived in Ormoc, the first time I had dinner with her family at their house, it was great, but.... afterwords when we were about to leave I was informed that the father bought the Crab on a loan and didn't have any money to pay for the food. So I paid off what the father owed.

Then I also wanted to throw a party for my girlfriends mother (it was her birthday), my gf said I shouldn't spend a lot of money on it at first. Then, when the planning/preparation/day of event happened things started to cost more money then I was originally told it would (we ended up renting a jeep and going to this big swimming pool/hiking area by Albuera. It was still I great day and I am very happy the party happened!

On that trip I also paid for the two friends and their food/housing. Then when we got back to Cebu the two friends came with us to the next hotel and at that point I put my foot down sorta. The friends went out on the town that night but ended up outside the hotel at like 3am. I went down and gave them $20 and they found somewhere else to stay.

On the 2nd trip we stayed mainly in Ormoc and we found an apartment to rent for about $200 per month. Nothing crazy happened financially. I ended up buying each of her nieces and nephews Christmas Presents. I learned a lot about Christmas in Ormoc.

While I was back in the USA in January, February, and March her cousin (who is a "Freshman" in college, I don't really understand the Philippines High School/College System yet) also stayed in the apartment. A couple months ago when I sent money she gave money to her cousin to help her with her schooling instead of what I sent the money for. So we had a fight about that (not that I don't want to help with schooling, but that was not what the money was intended for).

Now I am currently on my 3rd trip here and we still have the apartment. And financially we are doing fine, my gf also has helped me with finding some Filipino workers.

Mainly what I am learning is that I will buy something and it will not work/break and my gf is not much into complaining (I think Filipinos in general do not complain, but the rule should be universal..... if you purchase something new.... the product should work!).

The list so far of things that have broke/do not work within a month or less of use.

Shower Heater (Citi installed, but it only worked sparingly, next they will hopefully replace with the "low pressure" version)
Electric Fan (Bought at Robinsons because I thought buying there would be better "quality" compared to The One or HM)
Electric Outlet/Extension cord (Bought at The One, worked for about 3 days before the wires sort of melted together)
Plastic Broom (Bought at Xnpansion sp?)


I won't comment anything negative about your girlfriend, you have already figured it out, but if you haven't your in big trouble.

The our hot water heater for the shower require sufficient water pressure. With the drought in the Manila area when you do have water, many time the pressure is too low. I've been taking lots of cold showers lately, sometimes no showers (no water) and have to keep several buckets filled to flush the toilet when there is no water.

A lot of cheap appliances are sold in the Philippines, sometimes shopping for price is not the best idea.
I order stuff from Shopee online, have had no problems with quick delivery and c.o.d.

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