“How old is your daughter?” the man behind the counter at CiCi’s Pizza asked.
I responded somewhat entertained somewhat embarrassed, “She is not my daughter; she is my wife and she is 28 years old.”
At the time my wife was looking away from the man out the window and my wife is very small lady. The truth is she probably looked at least 10 years younger than her age and actually still does look 10 years younger than her age now. It is strange how people can look so different when they are the same age. I am currently 48 years old and I went to my 30 year high school reunion last summer. It was amazing to see how different people my age look. Some of my classmates looked young and vital while others looked like they had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.
The point of this article is to write about the phenomenon of foreign men like myself traveling to the Philippines to marry much younger Filipinas. I am not saying that a relationship between a much older foreign man and a much younger Filipina can’t be a good one. In my wife and I’s circle of friends we know two such couples one where the American man was 70 years old and married a 35 year old Filipina and the other was 52 years old and he married a 25 year old Filipina. The younger of the two couples has three boys. The older gentleman was incapable of having kids and my wife pities his wife because she does not feel that a family is complete without children. Both couples seem to be happy.
Did I myself rob the cradle? This of course is debatable and I guess it does not really matter since we have a happy family, but for some strange reason I feel like writing about it.
One reason I think I might have traveled to the Philippines to rob the cradle is that I do realize that had my wife lived in the US we would have never gotten together. The women I went out with before getting married did not look as good as my wife. Sometimes I think well if I had rescued her from a burning building maybe we would have started talking and hit it off and one thing leads to another. Then I see myself in a mirror and I recalculate that I would have probably had to save her entire family from that hypothetical burning building for a beautiful woman my wife’s age to talk to me. Truth be told even if I had started talking with my wife in person I don’t things would have progressed the way they did. My wife and I were true pen pals we exchanged hand-written letters for over a year before we actually spoke to each other on the phone. I express myself better through the written word than the spoken one.
On the side of me not robbing the cradle is the fact that I intentionally tried to avoid doing so when I went on the internet dating site I was in my mid 30’s and I only chose to write ladies between the ages of 25 and 30 years. I still remember seeing an 18 year old’s profile the dating site who was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, but I did not write to her because I feel that most people truly are not adults until about 25 years of age. Also I felt and still believe that there are compatibility problems when the age difference is more than 10 years difference in age between a couple.
On my last visit to the Philippines, I saw a couple in a restaurant the foreign man looked about 80 years old and the Filipina looked about 18 years old. I don’t believe I am the one to judge right and wrong, but I have difficult time believing that a couple with this great an age difference could have much in common. We just got a Christmas card from a family we used to know a few years ago now my wife felt the need to send them one. Anyways they are no longer in our circle of friends for other reasons than what this article is about. The man has three grown children from his first marriage who are all older than his Filipina wife the couple now has two boys close to our kid’s age. The Filipina wife says that the man’s children don’t respect her and see her as a gold-digger.
Relationships where one spouse is old enough to be the others parent seem awkward to me although as I said earlier I know of cases where it seems to work. I am not sure I personally would feel my wife was my equal partner if she were young enough to be my daughter. If anyone has any insights they would like to share I and I think others would be interested in reading them.