Am I setting myself up for failure?


I’ve just been worrying about the long-term possibilities of my relationship with my boyfriend. We’re planning to get married, and he’s applied for a visa to move to Canada, and we’re madly in love with each other. I know he’s the kind of man who will help me be a better person and who will lead me to heaven, as I’ve heard other posters say a spouse should. I just worry sometimes that I’m not up to the task.

One of the reasons I love him is that he takes such good care of his family. He has two daughters from a previous (non) marriage, and he supports them (his mother is raising them while he’s working overseas - it’s a cultural thing), and he sends money to his grandmother for medication, and is sending money to his sister whose husband left her with a newborn baby at home. He encourages me to treat my family the same way - not necessarily financially, but to look after their needs and to make sure they’re okay. He wouldn’t hear of me missing my brother’s wedding, even though it’s a 15 hour flight and I’d have to take time off work.

My problem is that I worry that I’m going to resent his high standards and his generosity later on. I’m worried I’ll want the comforts that we can’t afford if we’re supporting his family. I know that I can’t ask him to stop supporting his relatives, although we will certainly discuss making sure what we give is within our means. It’s a cultural issue - he’s Filipino, and in his culture those with money support those without. And I agree with it and admire it, but I’m worried I’m going to change my mind in five years or ten.

He gives first, and trusts God and his own resources to meet his own needs. I feel safer meeting my own needs first, and then giving. I’m worried that I’ll go to buy clothes for his daughters or diapers for our future kids and find there’s no money in the bank because he’s given it to someone who needs it more, and I’m going to lose it. Or that I’ll resent him being around less for our family because he’s working overtime to send money to an aunt or uncle that we only see once a year or less.

I guess it comes down to me being a little selfish and not really being sure that God will provide if we keep giving it all away when He does. And I guess I’m afraid that my husband-to-be isn’t going to be able to say no when we can’t help someone.

Besides talking about this with my boyfriend, should I be worrying about this? Is this a case of needing to let go and put more faith in God, or is it a case of needing to sort out the cultural issues before marriage? Or both?


if you don’t sort this out before marriage it means nothing but misery afterward if you can’t agree on the basics, and handling finances is definitely the basics. if you are marrying a person from another culture, race, religion, whatever, you must be ready to embrace those differences, not approach marriage as if they have already made a barrier between you. He can’t ask you to change in ways fundamental to your identity and core values, neither can you ask it of him.

you have asked this before on other threads, and the answer has been the same. this man is not currently free to marry because his other obligations at present will not allow him to give full time, attention and commitment of all his wordly goods to a new wife and family.


I don’t think you are being “selfish,” I think you are being realistic.

Know thyself.

Only you know what you are capable of, and what you are not. Only you know what items are on your “must have” list and your “dealbreaker” list. Perhaps you are discovering a new dealbreaker.

Honestly, I would be uncomfortable in a marriage which entailed multiple entanglements of overseas relatives and feeling like I was second fiddle to everyone else.

But, perhaps what it takes is a conversation that lines out financial assistance and priortizing them as well as an agreement that no monies will be distributed without prior conversation and agreement by both of you. If he can agree to that, maybe there is no problem.

It sounds as if you think he will make unilateral decisions without consulting you. If so, yes you are right to be concerned about that regardless of whether that decision is painting the kitchen or sending money overseas. Spouses need to communicate and be on equal footing in a relationship.

To me-- and this is just my opinion only-- there have been a lot of concerns in previous posts of yours and they all revolve around cultural differences. These are very real-- and if you keep trying to tell yourself “cultural differences shouldn’t matter” you will miss the point that the DO matter and CAN sink a relationship.

Just keep your eyes open to that and don’t let all the “lovey dovey” blind you to the fact that he may be a very wonderful man but not the RIGHT man for you.


That is so totally an Asian thing. My boss brought his niece over here from Indonesia to go to college because his sister is divorced. He pays tuition and for an apartment for her too. Don’t worry… I have seen my boss talk the CEO into quadrupling his salary… and he still complains about tuition… (3 of his own kids… 1 in Catholic grade school, 1 in Catholic HS, and one at college too) He has pushed me and the immigration lawyer to complete his paperwork in no time flat so he can pay instate rates not international rates.

Asian men will do what it takes to get what they need for their entire family… you should see how the boss dotes on his youngest… went out and got a piano so she could take lessons… when the older ones said they were bored… he bought a ping pong table for them… His wife has a Macy’s, Bergner’s, and every high end department store credit card…

It baffles me sometimes too… but he manages… his immediate family never does without.


Most, but not all… :smiley: But yes, it’s cultural thing.

I’m one of the exception (I’m Indonesian). Call me selfish but I often disagree with my mum who is extremely kind in supporting other family members financially although we are not that rich. My mum has similar mindset with your boyfriend, “everything comes from God and we should share it with others as God will provide.”

I guess there’s no right/wrong answer here. It’s just principle. For me, I’ll help those who really need help. You know, Asian people sometimes take for granted that family SHOULD help when needed. I think I’m just more realistic. I will help if I could and I’ll learn to say no if it’s beyond my capacity. :slight_smile:

I agree with puzzleannie, you must talk about it before marriage. I’m sure you don’t want to force him to choose either you or his family, if the matter gets worse one day (I hope not!).

I’ll pray for the best for you… :slight_smile:


Wow I was thinking about this sort of thing for days now.

I have been umemployed for a long time now, and have had trouble getting a job. If I get a job, my dad says he wants me to take a portion of my income to help pay for the assistance that my dad already receives from some ladies who come to our house to help take care of my mom when my dad goes out. (mom has dementia)

But I have not had a regular permanent job since graduating college a couple of years ago:mad: I had one dinky temp job and since then I cannot find a job. I am trying. Not only that, I am trying to save some money to move out. And when I move out I want to start going to church because my dad would not permit me to go otherwise, he is Muslim. And I also want to learn how to budget my money once I get a job, so I can finally buy some things that I have wanted to buy with my own money that I wanted for a long time. I told him that I can try the best that I can but as a new employee starting a new career, I would hope that I am able to at least enjoy an independent life; budget my money, use it for things I have wanted to buy with my own money, tithe, etc. I’m afraid that my father will “force” me to pay more than I can and hence have less money for discretionary income.

I do not want to fall prey to greed but I thought that if I am able to manage my own money, then whatever money that my father does spend on me in the process can be used for the ladies that help come over to take care of my mom. I feel a bit selfish sometimes. Does this make me a bad person? I do however feel that if someone is in grave, dire need of money this may be a different story, I don’t know. But this hurts me a lot. I don’t want to feel as if I am a bad child who deserves to be punished by God because I have reservations about allocating my hopefully-to-be-earned money disproportionately.


Hi JW:)

I think your concerns like others have said, are realisitic. A concern I’d have is will he be able to take care of you and future children you may have together? I don’t believe a man needs to ‘take care’ of a woman, per se…but if much of his money is going out the door to his family–which is very noble indeed–will there be enough to support most of his immediate family’s needs–(you and future children)? When you want to be a sahm someday, if you choose that route…will you even be able to? It’s so wise to think about these things before getting married. I hope that it all works out…I have followed your love story here – and know that you both seem to be very much in love. :slight_smile: You’re in my prayers.


I agree with this post very much! Well said (as always) 1ke.:slight_smile:


Lady Bug maybe you should start a seperate thread so more people could advise you. Do think your dad may want to keep it so you don’t have enough money to move out on your own? And how old are you?


I am trying to know myself, and figure out what I’m capable of. I guess the issue is that I really believe in these values, but I haven’t really been living them. I agree with him that the extended family is important. Ideally, I would love to live near his family and help them financially and have them be around to help me raise my children. I’d love to be one big clan going to Church on Sundays and getting together and having my kids be really close to their cousins and extended family. That’s the cultural background he comes from, and I want to be a part of that. And part of that culture is sending money to the relatives who need it, so I need to figure out whether that’s a dealbreaker, like you said, 1ke.

That’s the thing - I know I won’t be suffering, I just wonder if I’ll get a case of envy when I look at the neighbours. And I know I shouldn’t, but I might. I’ve been dirt poor before, and I know I don’t like it. Making ends meet with a small rainy day fund would be fine.

Thanks for the prayers. Of course, we will talk about it more before marriage. I guess I get worried when things like immigration are still up in the air, so I start overanalyzing.

I got concerned about all this when he told me how much he’s sending to his family these days. On the other hand, we’re not engaged yet so he has no reason not to send the money. We don’t need it for “us” yet, and we’re NOT planning an expensive wedding. I have no evidence that he’d continue to send that much money after we get married, I just started worrying about it. (I really shouldn’t post at night. It’s never a good thing.) This is something we need to discuss.

Thanks WG. I’ll take all the prayers I can get! I believe he’ll be able to take care of me and our kids when we have them, and I know he wants me to be able to be a SAHM. I’ve just been worrying about how that’s going to happen with things like grandmothers getting sick and sisters being abandoned.

This worry-fest started because of a conversation I had with a friend who married a Filipina woman. His wife (who is only 20) gives money away left right and center, and he is at his wit’s end. Then I read something online about how the thing you love most about your fiance tends to be the thing that drives you insane about your husband, and it got me thinking. I definitely think too much, but I figure going in with my eyes open is probably better than being blinded by love… right?


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