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You Have Changed – You are Not the Person I First Met

How many times have we heard that in our life? In our search for a relationship during our lives, we meet someone we are interested in starting a relationship. In the old days, it could be at school, at a club, a social event or at the office. We start a conversation and see if we are able to make a date and get to know each other better.

In the beginning, we try to give the best impression to this person. Maybe a friend introduced you to this person and told you about their interests and hobbies. You try to keep conversations on subjects the other person has an interest. You try to show your best manors and grooming. Over time, if the relationship continues, you get comfortable and your true self becomes more exposed. Sometimes the relationship ends up in trouble or ends. It could be weeks, months or even years.

Even if the relationship turns into cohabitation or marriage, over time our differences can become a problem. I have heard different excuses, such as “we have grown in different directions” or “he/she is not the same person I first met.”

I have even had friends that had a vision of the person they think they can change the person into and see that person with that vision or conception. I remember when a female friend told me her boyfriend is not the same as he was when they met. I told her he is the same, she was not able to change him to the person she envisioned him to become. She thought for a while and then agreed with me.

If you were lucky, and this problem occurred before you moved in together or become married, all it becomes is a breakup. You go on with your life and start over.

Over the past 15-20 years with the internet, many of us tried the internet dating sites. We sign up, answer questions, fill out a profile and even post a photograph. Most of us try to be honest, but we will tend to tell about how wonderful we are all our great accomplishments and about our caring and warm personality. We do not discuss our weaknesses, faults or personality flaws. Some even deceive and use old photos when our bodies were thin and firm.

After you make a connection, you send messages and emails to each other. Eventually it goes to phone calls or voice and video chat. How many times we see the other person on video or meet in person and they do not look at all like their photo on their profile. Again, no big problem, you either disconnect the connection, or if you met in person, you finish your drink and dinner and go home and delete the person from your speed dial.

Now to discuss international meetings since this is what many of the readers here are experiencing. With the difficulties, finding ladies in our home country more and more are looking at ladies from Asia or Europe. Many Caucasian men, me included, find Asian ladies exotic and beautiful. We have also heard how Asian women through their culture are taught to take such good care of their man.

So we go online and visit all the sites to meet a beautiful and in most cases young lady. As soon as you add your profile, you mailbox will be filled with hundreds of ladies interested in you. At first, you will feel so special, so many of these beautiful ladies want to get to know you better. Over time, you will find a few or even one lady you want to get to know better. You email each other and then move on to one of the instant messaging systems such as Yahoo. You will hear how this young lady is interested in an older American or European man since we are more reliable, mature and responsible than most men in their country. This is true but in many cases, it is more and never said. Why do you think these women spend a big part of their meager budget to spend hours in an internet café?

As I have written many times, here in the Philippines it is very difficult to earn a wage to support yourself or your family. Many Filipinos need a lot less to be content. They are not used to the large houses, central air conditioning, or even modern conveniences such as a stove. However, from watching movies or television they see how we live in our country. Then many hear about how a friend’s life has improved when they move to America or Europe. Some have friends or hear about a Filipina who is living with a foreigner here in the Philippines.

With this dream of such an improved life, many of these ladies will tell the man in emails how she will treat him and take care of him. They will tell you how they enjoy every hobby the man mentions or tells him how exciting it would be to learn his hobby so they can do these things together.

Is this much different from dating in your home country. Not really, we try to be what the person we are interested in dating is interested in doing. The difference is you never get to build the relationship as you do if the lady is in your own city. There is the old saying that “Long distance relationships do not last.” Now you are starting on a relationship that is half way around the world.

From most of the relationships between a Foreigner and a Filipina, I know or have heard about, most of these ladies are from a poor family located in the Provinces. I have spoken or joked with ladies who have a better job living in the city, if they were interested in a foreigner. Most of the time they look shocked and say no. This is because they feel they can have a good “Filipino” life and do not need a foreigner husband to support them.

So now, I have discussed how we meet. What is the next step? You take your vacation and fly to the Philippines. You stay in a nice hotel and have the lady meet you there. You have a wonderful week or two. You eat in nice restaurants, you spend the day visiting places or you go shopping and buy your lady gifts that to you are not expensive but they could never afford. By the end of your vacation, you are on a cloud and so sad you have to fly home.

Think about all your past relationships and how wonderful they were in the beginning, and how they ended. If you are honest, you can see it was the fault of both. The truth about you comes out and the same of your partner.

I am not telling you to give up your thoughts of finding a Filipino for a wife, just think about the amount of time needed to really get to know someone. Visit more than once. Tell about your moods, your lifestyle and ask questions about hers and her needs and dreams. If you are planning to bring her to your country, tell her about life there, the weather and the lifestyle. Even in America life and lifestyle is different depending where you live.

If you are planning to move here, visit the city you plan to live. Get to know other foreigners and ask about their life. Once you are here, build the relationship slowly. Set your boundaries and explain your needs. Learn as much about the customs and norms. As I have written, the Filipino culture is so different from the American or European culture. One boundary you need to discuss is the ladies family. Does she expect you to support any of her family or does she expect to let members of the family live with you?

I knew my wife Elena for about three years before I moved here. I visited her three times and the last two I stayed in her house. With all this, once here there were things or personality traits I never knew about her and some she did not know about me. We have worked out most but no relationship or marriage is perfect. The best part is we love each other enough to get through the problems.

35 Responses to “You Have Changed – You are Not the Person I First Met”

  1. rich says:

    mine is perfect 🙂 and the line has been drawn 🙂

  2. Bruce, perfectly written! I have quite a lot of experince from this, and I fully agree with you!

  3. julie says:

    hi bruce

    have a nice day…..nice topic here…i also agree


  4. jeff says:

    I am sure it is tough trying to get to know someone half a world away and I am sure 3 visits to see someone face to face is not much time in the big picture. I have read on several other sites these guys who talk about their Filipina fiancé that they met on a dating site or chat room and they have not even met in person. They will learn the hard way. Some people especially the young ones jump into relationships not thinking. I know I did in my first marriage at 22 years old. Young and dumb, I learned the hard way myself. But, I made the right decision the second time around. Maturity and wisdom with age. I am a self proclaimed philosopher and I have spoken with people whose relationship’s are in trouble and they agonize over what they should do. I say to them. “LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE MISERABLE” ! ! Words I live by.

    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for your views. It it true in any relationship and when you are half a world away and in a short time make plans that will change your life and financial situation in so many ways, you need to make sure all is the best it can be.

  5. richard tompkins says:

    Women marry men hoping they will change, Men marry women hoping they will not. Each is inevitably disappointed

  6. Evelyn says:

    “the best part is we love each other…..”—beautifully said,bruce..i like the statement..
    Did u know that a relationship needs feelings expressed?
    and did u know that romance should continue after marriage?
    Continue the fire burning…this is very important to most women…
    even just a tight hug after a day’s work;or leaving a simple note ;or even asking how her day was—-these acts are already heavenly for most women/wives..these are just simple ways how to keep the romance alive in every relationship…

    • jeff says:

      Evelyn, I agree, you must keep the romance alive in a relationship. Do something extra special or nice for your significant other. Plan a date with your partner and get away for a night or weekend. Sometimes a little goes a long way. The little things go a long way and will be noticed and appreciated.

    • Bruce says:


      I have always said and felt, a relationship is the most important job. And it needs constant work. Complacency causes problems.

  7. SteveinDavao says:

    Bruce, I think the last sentence said alot. It’s the love that ties people together. The rest is all “outside noise” as I call it. Stuff that buzzes around us and doesn’t matter, unless we let it.
    One advantage my wife anf I have is our faith. We both believe that marriage is scared and bigger than just the two of us.
    Never hurts to have Jesus on your side.

  8. Billy Escobar says:

    Honesty should be the key. Honesty to yourself in what you really desire from a relationship with someone from another country and culture. Then honesty with that person you are trying to “court”.

    Many times these long distance relationships are built up by stereotypes and generalizations which is normal when we first encounter different cultures and races. I think if a person were to approach a relationship and give the same respect to their partner then you have a beggining to a meaningful relationship.

    People all want the same thing most of the time. To love and be loved even if they don’t care to admit it.

    • Bruce says:

      You are correct, but many have conditions to “Love” it could be dreams of some level of financial support, amount of sex, communication, etc..
      We all need to go in with clear views and take time to be sure.

  9. Per says:

    Thank you for the – as usual – fine article.

    This topic is something I have thought much about and talked (mostly with women) about.
    “He has changed… what ever happened to the person I once met?”
    Your one answer is very true:
    “I told her he is the same, she was not able to change him to the person she envisioned him to become.”

    But there is another aspect, that is one of my hobbyhorses… the difference between Love and being In-Love.

    The saying is that Love is blind. But I disagree. In-Love is blind, but real Love is not… the difference between Love and In-Love is night and day.

    In-Love is an emotion, based fully and only in oneself and is based on needs we feel (the needs differ from person to person… it can be yearning for feeling loved, for sex, for fulfillment, for “soul-mate companionship”, for social acceptance or longing for a family, for status or security or whatever). What we do is that we project the ability to fulfill those needs on a person. “Oh, he /she is so wonderful! Makes me feel (safe/loved/needed/blabla fill in as you please)”. But there is no substance at all in the object of our projects as to actually fulfilling those needs, neither wanting to or having the capacity to… we simply just thing s/he is the answer to our needs. And the stronger our longing, the stronger our projection is.
    So when we look at the person, we dont actually see him/her for what or who s/he really is… we see our projection.
    So… the other answer is “Nothing changed… s/he is the same as when you met, but its first now that your pinky lovey-dovey projections have been slowly but steadily crushed and you can see him/her for who s/he really is… The show is over… and what you see is the reality of the wall and not the movie you have been projecting on the wall.
    Sounds harsh, maybe, but this is my conclusion from talking with, listening to problems, consulting mostly women, but also men, over many many years: In-love is almost a neurotic state that has nothing to do with reality.

    So… what is Love?
    Love is clear-sighted… you see the person for who s/he really is… both the good and the bad… the strengths and the weaknesses… and you admire and appreciate the person for his/her actual traits, and not for what you want those traits to be. And you actually care for the person.
    Love doesnt want to change to other person, because Love sees reality and likes the reality it sees. And respects the persons rights to be, think, feel, dream, strive, etc what s/he wants.
    One thing I ask women or men who come to me about their Inloveness: does s/he make you want to become more yourself? Or do you feel you need to hide and change things in yourself to please him/her? Real love allows the other person to grow and become more herself/himself, and encourages you the same… to become more yourself.

    You can be unhappily In-Love, because In-Love is selfish, since its foundations are in our needs. And if the object of our fixation and projection chooses someone els, our needs are not fulfilled.
    You can never be unhappy Loving someone, even if s/he chooses someone els. Because Love is not based in our needs, but in the knowledge and respect and appreciation and care of the other person. Love wants the other person to be happy… and if s/he finds someone that makes him/her happy, you will be happy with them, even if s/he choses someone els. (Been there).

    Well… my 2 cents… or maybe 2 dollars (I must send you some money to cover the electrons I use on this site) 😀

    But my question is: why do only people like me, with Asperger Syndrome, seem to see this? Does one really need to be retarded to understand reality? 😀

    So, my advice is: marry your best friend. Dont find someone who “needs” you, or someone you can “fix” or “change”. Marry the person who actually has the traits you like!
    Life has enough problems as it is. You dont need to marry one. Or as a wise teacher to me once said… he was a very radical left-wing (I don’t mean “american left-wing” I mean “european left-wing super duper “fight for the proletarians rights” left wing)… he always talked about the “struggle of the classes” and all that stuff… then I found out that he lived in a very nice, calm suburban housing area and his wife was a house-wife. I called him on this and he said: “You need to understand one thing Per: to have the strength to be radical during the day, you need a calm conservative home to relax in in the evenings”. And he was right. Life has enough struggles as it is… you need someone by your side that does not contribute to that struggle, but with whom you can relax and enjoy time with.

    • Bruce says:

      Again you are right in many ways. We tend to fall in lust and think it is love. As I mentioned, to me, one example of love is having a big argument and then kiss and tell each other you love them.

      As for payment, there is the PayPal donate button. 🙂

      • Per says:

        Ahhh… arguments… one thought about that:
        Never strive to win an argument, especially with your loved-one. If an argument arrises, strive only to find what is right, not who is right.
        And more important: only argue the issue, never the person. An argument should be aimed only at problem-solving and therefore only about the issue, not the person. Making an argument personal isnt the best way to make life at home enjoyable… 😀 And by being able to kiss after an argument tells me that you and your wife argue in a constructive way to solve problems and not to win over the other.

        As for the payment… its done. 🙂
        This was my first time using PayPal. It was actually very easy, once I got my account up. 🙂 I strongly recommend it to all your readers. You are a most valuable asset to all us who, for what-ever reasons, are interested in Phils in general and Davao in particular.

        • Bruce says:


          Good thought, but many women like the fight and will not rationalize who it right. Remember, behind every successful man is a woman telling what he did wrong.

          Question, if a man is in the middle of a forest and there is no woman close enough to hear him talk, is he still wrong?

          As for the generous donation, Thank you very much. It would be nice if more readers felt as you do. As you said in your email to me, a magazine subscription has a cost and with my site you get much needed information three times a week.

          • Per says:

            “Question, if a man is in the middle of a forest and there is no woman close enough to hear him talk, is he still wrong?”

            😀 I like that humor!
            The original koan is much more easy to answer, as an AS: yes, as sound is vibrations of molecules, a tree falling will make a sound (i.e. create motion in molecules) even if nobody hears it.
            And by the logic and koan you allude to in your question: yes, a man is intrinsically wrong as long as he disagrees with her. It matters not if a woman is near to hear you: a man is per definition intrinsically wrong. 🙂
            Unless she is a submissive “good Catholic” in which the reverse is true.

            “I am the man of the house, and I have my wife’s permission to say so”. 😀

            A play of words for your Swedish readers (totally untranslatable, but totally on-topic):
            Om man har förätit sig, så har man ätit mer än man borde.
            Om man har försovigt sig, har man sovit mer än man borde.
            Om man har försagt sig, så har man sagt mer än man borde.
            Om man har förlovat sig… har man då lovat mer än man borde?

          • Bruce says:

            You are so interesting with your logic. I know you described yourself and your affliction, which makes you read, think and analyze your response. You think of this as a problem, but in reality you are more intelligent answering after thought instead of just saying the first thing that comes to your mind.

            Too bad only Swedes can understand the last part.

  10. ian says:

    Per- you ask if one needs to be retarded in order to understand reality ? The answer is “no”- but it sure helps ! lol
    And if you actually do have Asperger Syndrome then you know of course that it has absolutely nothing to do with being retarded ! lol Except maybe socially retarded

    • Bruce says:

      At least here in the Philippines the Filipinos are more excepting of disabilities than in the States.

    • Per says:

      Well, in some situations, the English language is lacking. As far as I have found, “retarded” is the only word for any type of disturbed-development. But it has a connotation of being “stupid” since “retarded” means “held back” or “delayed” as to development and is used as “mentally handicapped”.

      In Swedish, we have the word “utvecklingsstörd” (literally “development-disturbed”). All development-disturbances don’t need to mean that one is stupid or mentally handicapped. So I like that word better, but it doesnt exist in English. But I prefer the word “abnormal” meaning “none-normative”. One can be abnormally strong or abnormally intelligent or abnormally sensitive, etc etc. I am none-normative. I am not “norm-typical”.

      As you well point out, I am handicapped in (large) social situations, but I have other areas where I function far above the average person. But being socially retarded makes life a strange and difficult place to navigate, because I dont understand the map or even seen the map… I just notice that I navigate differently from others, but never understood it before.

      As to social situations: one-on-one I am very good socially as I connect very easy to people and am very personal and allow thereby the other person to open up and be personal. But in larger social situations (larger than one-on-one), I can be a real mess… one reason being that I am always very personal, honest and frank… I just dont understand that thing you can say in one place or situation, you can’t say in another place or situation. I am “socially red-green colorblind” as I have come to put it. 😀
      And obviously, the signals I send out are different from others (people often misinterpret my facial expressions), and I dont understand their signals. I dont understand irony (unless I hear the voice dripping of it, but even then I have a hard time understanding it, simply because irony makes no sense to me). I often dont understand “humor” (and others dont understand my humor) and I dont understand most peoples tastes in most things… I have learned that if a book or movie is very popular, the chances are 90-to-1 that I wont like it. When I was 12 and my friends where listening to Black Sabbath or ABBA, I was listening to John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. or gamelan from Yogyacarta or dreaming up my own un-heard musics in my mind. When my friends were reading Donald Duck, I was reading encyclopedia or science rapports. And later in life, when my friends where reading economic rapports and such, I discovered comic books. 😀
      I can’t stand movies like “Signs” or “Predator” simply because it has such glaring lack of inner logic. But I can love the absurdness of “Johnny Dangerously” or “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum”. But I often laugh at places others dont laugh, and dont understand the humor of what others laugh at. I can be totally untouched by “Titanic”, but be touched to tears by a commercial for cat-food or an incident on “the Simpsons”. I feel isolated. I notice I dont function as others do, and they dont understand me. I am a Stranger in a Strange Land.

      I have no opinions. People get irritated at me… “You must have an opinion”… and I answer “No, I dont have enough information to have an opinion”. And they reply: “But you <i/i< have some opinion anyhow! And I reply again: “No. I have no opinion at all on this subject. I simply dont have enough knowledge of the facts to be able to have any opinion.” And they get angry at me… “But you must think something about it”. And I again reply: “No. I am sorry. I just dont have enough knowledge to form an opinion. And just “thinking” something about it is just stupid and useless and fills no function”.
      A problem in the world is that people have “opinions” of all sorts of things, with no knowledge at all about what they have “opinions” about.

      I love to be wrong.
      The best times in my life, is when I am proved wrong. I have no sense of self-importance. I dont care who is right, I only care about what is right. And when I am proven wrong, I become very happy, because it teaches me more about life and reality (and myself).

      I simply have never understood people. Its like everybody is playing a game, but nobody has told me the rules. I tend to take people and what they say at face value, but people dont say what they mean or do what they say. Its confusing.

      And I have always been out-of-synch with my peers. I have had friends of very different ages, but not understood age. As a child, I could spend more time talking with my friends parents than with them. As an adult, I can spend more time talking with my friends children than with them… Im just out-of-synch. For me, I am the same age I have always been, its just the others that change (and to my dismay, I have noticed that my body changes… it sucks… bodies are really stupidly constructed vehicles for our minds).

      Iv lived all my life until a year ago, not understanding all this. Iv never understood social interactions or people. I have noticed people react very strongly on me, but never understood why. I have felt like a “stranger in a strange land”. I am normal, but every one els acts and reacts strangely and inconsistent. It was actually after an incident at work only a year ago that I came to understand that I must have a malfunctioning mirror-neuron and therefore logically must have some level of Autism, and since I can function fairly well, I concluded it must be a high-functioning autism, in other words Asperger Syndrome. (honestly… just knowing about what a mirror-neuron is, without being a psychologist should shout out AS in big neon signs… what “normal” person has ever even heard of a “mirror neuron” let alone knows what it is and what function it fills in the mind? 😀 I’m a composer and artist for crying out loud… not a neuropsychologist).
      I have since done some tests with a psychologist and the results point in that direction and have therefore been referred now to an expert in neuropsychology.

      Anyhow: this insight has significantly made my life much much better. I now understand that its not every one els that is strange and acts strange, its actually me that is malfunctioning in these aspects. And it doesnt only explain why my social life doesnt function as others, but many other things in my life. It was as if all my questions suddenly where answered, everything fell into place… what had seemed like many diverse strange questions just fell down into place and I saw it was a jigsaw puzzle… all the pieces connected nicely and the full picture of my life became visible.
      Its just a bummer I had to wate untill 51 before I found this. Life would have been much much more easy if I had known I had AS at age 8. School, work, love, friendships and life would have been very different.
      My life has been a very sad and lonely place, filled with confusion, simply because I didnt understand that I had AS.

      But now things are great. Well… better… well… at least I now know whats wrong. 😀

      Hummm… sounds like I am complaining, but Im not. Im just stating facts to try to explain. But its difficult to explain. Only and AS can understand. Try to explain the color orange… then try to explain it to a blind person. Only an AS can see what an AS sees. Others maybe think they do, but they cant… I am socially red-green color blind… and all who sees all the colors just dosnt understand what life is like when one is colorblind. And reversely… a colorblind person can never fully understand what colors are…

      Well… I have rambled enough now and had a few glasses of wine during the process, so I am not sure about the proof-reading… but I think you get some grip of what I am trying to say. In either case, its best I sign off now, while I still can focus on the screen 😀

      Have a great one 🙂

      • Per says:

        Shit… seeing it posted, I see its not a reply… its a novel… typical me… 😀
        Bruce… feel free to delete it if you think it takes too much space or is too OT.

        • Bruce says:

          It is long, but I hope everyone takes the time to read it. It is wonderful how you learned about yourself and how to deal with life on your terms than of others.

      • Bruce says:

        I think I would enjoy knowing you in person. I try to be honest since you need a great memory to lie. I prefer small groups to feeling lost i nthe crowd with large groups. I can write here about my thoughts but cannot stand in front of a crowd and tell them the information.
        I treat everyone with respect until they prove they do not deserve it.
        With learning and occupations, I learn by doing, not by reading about it.

        I am not artist like you but can appreciate your art. Yes I have visited your site.

        Thanks again for your generosity.

  11. Simon says:

    My advice is to check out Chris Rock doing:

    I am looking at coming to Dumagunte(sp?)and visit for the first time and perhaps stay and retire there.

  12. Rizza says:

    i agree with you Bruce… Per is really talented and artistic..i think Simon is talking about Dumaguete…

  13. Liezel says:

    Hello Per, can i have your website? I am really interested with ur inner talent and i know you’re great!…

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