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- Do Latin American Men Not Want the Wife Working?
On my blog, I tend to talk mostly about men dating Latina women than women dating Latino men whenever I bring up the topic of dating.
In fact, one of the few articles I have on foreign women dating Latino men can be read here.
Having said that, I just don't cover the topic much because I'm not a woman.
Still, there's obviously foreign women who come to Latin America to live down here.
While they tend to not be sex tourists like the many foreign men who come with them, they are just as likely to maybe find love someday or hookup in general.
And, for those that do, they come with their own dating experiences that sometimes resemble the experiences of the foreign men dating down here (like when Latin Americans show up late to dates) and sometimes the experiences they carry are very different from our own.
Over the years here, I have noticed a certain detail that only some foreign women have to confront when dating down here and it comes mixed with more traditional ideas of gender norms.
A few weeks ago, I encountered this little detail again when discussing life with other expats in Latin America.
Let's get to it.
"The Asshole Ex-Husband"
Every divorced woman has an asshole ex-husband, right?
In the same way every divorced dude has a "crazy" ex-wife. huh?
Well, it's all stereotypes but plenty of people do claim to have either of the above depending on how they feel about their failed marriage of the past.
Life in Latin America is no different.
So, over the last few months, I've been attending more random events in Mexico City just to get out more.
They don't usually result in anything too interesting but sometimes you get cool stories.
And the stories are cooler than sitting at home drinking vodka to music like here.
So, at one event I found on meetup.com as you can find here, it was basically just a physical exercise event.
Get out there to some park, do some jogging, talk with people, etc.
Anyway, the event went as expected: jog, jog, jog and more jogging.
At the event, I came across a Canadian gal to my surprise.
I say "to my surprise" because we were at a small park near Copilco metro.
I lived up there for about 6 months and never saw another foreigner in the area but, to my surprise, I have seen A LOT more foreigners in the area over the last 4 to 5 months.
Maybe what they say about the gringos invading Mexico City is true?
Anyway, she noticed I was a foreigner also and made small talk with me in between breaks and afterwards.
This woman -- who let's call Sarah -- wasn't new to Mexico City either.
She had been here actually for 13 years and was in her early 40s.
So more time down here than myself actually.
Long story short, she found a job working for a company in Mexico that sent her down here, met a local man she loved, married but no kids and ended up divorced.
Now, to be fair, it wasn't like I ran through her whole life story that one afternoon.
We did the usual basic questions of "what are you doing in Mexico?" and all that.
And that's how her story came out.
To my curiosity, I asked if they "live in the area" or if she traveled from another neighborhood to show up to this gathering.
Because, as I said, I'm just not AS USED to seeing foreigners in this area until recently.
That's when she dropped on me that "no, we're no together anymore."
And, while she didn't give the full 15 minute breakdown on why the marriage failed, we did talk about dating in Latin America as the topic came up with her mentioning her marriage not working.
To keep it brief, the ex-husband was a controlling type supposedly in her words.
Obviously, we don't have his side of the story to be fair but the basic complaint of the day was that he was just controlling and didn't like her working (ironically as that sounds given she came her on a work assignment).
Perhaps he was one of those "I can change her" types.
And, in the end, it just didn't work out.
He didn't want her working a job anymore when married (among other issues if I had to guess) and she wasn't ready to give up the career.
He wanted a stay at home mom but oddly picked what I can only guess was a real career woman given not many jobs in the late 2000s were sending employees abroad if I had to assume.
And that was it.
A cultural difference where the man wants to be the man and not have a woman working while she stays at home to take care of kids or something.
And, truth be told, I've seen this play out among other women down here in Latin America over the years.
How's the Colombian Ex Doing?
I've mentioned this before on my blog so I won't go into too much detail.
But I used to have a Colombian ex named Marcela.
We broke up many years ago.
To my surprise, she ended up moving to Mexico and lives in Sinaloa (I think Culiacan but I forgot as of right now) and she sometimes reaches out to me.
Though, to be fair, she hasn't reached out to me in a long while now.
But used to where sometimes the conservation turned flirtatious and sometimes she'd give updates on her life I guess.
One detail she told me similarly was how her husband is always working and his work requires him to travel and be outside of the house like 80% of the year or something away in some other state in Mexico.
And she's all home alone and horny.
But bored also.
And she has wanted to get a job in Mexico.
Now, for those who don't know, there are legal challenges to overcome when trying to be a foreigner in another country and get the legal right to work.
Be it any country really -- Mexico, the US, Colombia, etc.
Still, similar to the ex-husband of Sarah, Marcela told me long ago that it was an issue for their house.
He doesn't want her working (she doesn't even have kids yet to take care of) and he wants to be the only one working.
So she is left behind home alone most of the year with nothing to do but finger herself and text ex-boyfriends with no kids to raise, no job and nothing to do but knit sweaters or something.
Anyway, similar to Sarah, it has supposedly been a point of contention for them also.
No working wife allowed!
Now, as I said, I haven't talked to Marcela in some time now so I don't know if she's won the war and gotten a job yet or not.
Still, it's one of those other moments I've had down here where I've noticed that some Latino men really don't like the idea of their wife working.
But let's wrap this up with some final thoughts.
Now, to be fair, both incidents above involve Mexican men.
Obviously, Mexico isn't all of Latin America.
Are those Bolivian men of Potosi any more liberal on their women working?
I don't know!
Don't know any couples living in Potosi, Bolivia unfortunately.
Will update this article if I ever do....
Regardless, it's a topic anyhow.
Over the years in other incidents beyond the ones above, I have noticed a more conservative attitude among local men who don't want their wives working
While we have conservative men like that in the US also, I think most people would agree that most American men and men in other countries are more accepting of the wife working.
And definitely are not as commonly the type to put their foot down and demand she doesn't get a job.
In short, gender norms are a little more expected down here.
I have seen the same in other incidents involving other types of gender norms as I wrote here for example.
Still, as I implied already, not all of Latin America is the same.
As a non-Latin American, I can only say as a foreigner what I have noticed to be true is this:
1. Countries that are richer tend to have more men more liberal to the idea of the wife working.
2. In any country -- no matter how developed it is or not -- there are also poorer areas where you might face more pushback. In Mexico for example, a typical dude raised in Mexico City is probably more liberal to the idea than a dude in a small town of Hidalgo or Oaxaca maybe.
3. Generational differences likely matter. Sarah was in her 40s, Marcela is close to my age. Still, I think dudes who are maybe a little bit older are probably a little more conservative on this issue if I had to guess (like with anything else).
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
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