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South American WH ( Not wanting to generalize)

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Traveler1985 posted 8/25/2013 02:50 AM

I have a legitimate question and I have been trying to decide how to word this carefully. I am not one to generalize, ever. I believe each person has their own story, their own characteristics, issues, talents, strengths and weaknesses. I have noticed however, that there are different expectations and things that are/are not accepted in various different cultures with regards to relationships.

Again, I absolutely do not want to generalize, but my WH is South American, I am North American. I know that he is not every man in SAm, he is his own person, with his own story. BUT I also have many friends who are from SAm, and/or who are with or have been with SAm men, and I have some concerns.

I would love to hear especially from Men/ Women who were raised in a SAm household, or who are with a partner who grew up in SAm.

I have been with my WH for nearly 3 years, and recently found out about one PA. We are in R now. I have a friend in SAm who is European and she is engaged to another man from SAm. She has experienced the same thing and she mentioned that cheating is so common in SAm and it got me thinking, and paying attention.

In the learning library it says several things that I cannot apply to my relationship and our R, like 'avoid cordial kisses, hugs and dancing with the opposite sex'...this is impossible with someone who is from a South American culture, currently living in SAm. To not give a polite kiss on the cheek when meeting would be considered very offensive.

For reference, my WH's mother is a fantastic, loving woman who raised 10 children on her own, so he was definitely raised to respect his mother and sisters, and all women.

So my question is, with the knowledge I have of the 'machismo' ( I hate that word), crap that goes on in SAm, how do I ever begin to believe that my WH is being faithful?

He is now making leaps and bounds to be totally transparent, learn about healing himself and us, reading self-help books, talking openly with me, showing me his phone, email, etc... but knowing how so many men there cheat on their wives and it's just sort of laughed makes me really scared.

Again, I realize not all people from SAm are like this, but if you have met many people in relationships there, you might know what I mean. I happened upon a girl in the airport not long ago who was actually doing cultural studies in this SAm country and she had interviewed a man who had been married 30+ years, he was openly telling her ( while his wife was in the room) that he had slept with dozens of other women over the years, but that his wife is the one he really loves because he always comes back home to her, so she shouldn't be jealous...lucky her. The girl told me that she met dozens of couples in her time studying there and that general consensus was that as long as their wives didn't find out, cheating was ok. ( this honestly scares me)

The more I talk with people there ( foreigners and locals alike) the more I realize that this kind of behaviour is sadly common. So common that it seems to be more of a joke that needs to be hidden from the women, rather than a disgusting breach of relationship boundaries and vows.

with him coming from a culture that is naturally very touchy ( which I LOVE from him), very loving, very physical ( hugs, dancing etc) can I ever feel comfortable and begin to trust him again?

I would really like some insight into this, as it is something that definitely plays into my relationship. I get the sense there that his friends and colleagues are more about encouraging him to hide things than to be honest with me. It feels like a big boys club sometimes and it makes me so sad. He has gotten much better at not hiding things, but this generalization about "South American Men" still really bothers me.

Has anyone got any insight into cultural differences that might impact reconciliation?

Thanks for listening and sorry if I offended anyone, I really don't like generalizing.

[This message edited by Traveler1985 at 2:53 AM, August 25th (Sunday)]

Lionne posted 8/25/2013 08:49 AM

I have ZERO personal experience. But in recovery, my SAFWH met a gentleman from central america who was in treatment for SA. He echoed your observation. His plan was to start an SA group in his town when he went home. Wasn't hopeful it would be well attended.
If I were you I'd have a frank discussion and a strong prenup.

salsagrl posted 8/25/2013 09:42 AM

I sent you a private message...

Traveler1985 posted 8/25/2013 16:45 PM


That is definitely true in our area, for the time being. There is little interest in any kind of 'recovery' because it's not really seen as much of a problem, for many people, or maybe it's not seen as a problem that can be solved. I do feel lucky though because my WH has told me that he wants to break that stereotype and be a better man to me. Hoping for the best

I would love to hear more insights into this, feel free to private message me, I know this is a delicate subject and I don't intend to stereotype an entire culture, I just would love some more insight from people who have experienced this or who have grown up in a similar setting.

Thanks all

[This message edited by Traveler1985 at 4:46 PM, August 25th (Sunday)]

Kelany posted 8/25/2013 18:22 PM

This lost pinged my radar because 3 of 4 of my husbads affair partners were from Central America. It seemed there was a very different view on affairs by them from my husband's understanding.

Traveler1985 posted 8/26/2013 16:35 PM

Yes it is definitely tricky, and something I am trying to come to terms with. I was chatting with my European friend yesterday who's South American fiancé also cheated on her, she I have referred her to this site, because she is having a really hard time, as he refuses to even talk about what happened.

I am wondering if there is maybe some kind of option to do MC online via Skype perhaps? We just don't have the option of doing MC while we are still living in SAm. I feel lucky that my WH is so willing to be open and willing to do IC and MC, however, I feel like we have a long way to go due to the cultural differences. Even last night I spotted a slightly over the line flirtatious Facebook message between him and a 'friend'... Trying to be patient and just work with him on this. This is so hard.

I would love any recommendations on tools/books/ support websites in Spanish as well, as this would really help my WH, and he is searching for more resources but is not very tech savvy.

Anyone else have anything to add regarding cultural differences and how to work through them in R?

sullymeishadomi posted 8/26/2013 19:06 PM

I had pm'd you but...

My experience, knowledge of those a I know south of this border and the many warnings from my South American is very common and accepted in the countries south of the border to cheat. In the spouses country literally almost everyone cheats. At least those he knows or knows of..and thats a lot of people.

Flirty messages on fb are over the line. The females I know do this to at least annoy the wife if not go after the h.

How to reconcile through this? One day at a time and see him as an individual not the sum of his culture.

[This message edited by sullymeishadomi at 7:09 PM, August 26th (Monday)]

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