The Dangerous Search for Foreign Men - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


The Dangerous Search for Foreign Men

Getting out of poverty is only one side of the story.


In Davao City, Philippines, Joanne’s co-workers are talking about her flight to Sweden at the end of June. The 28-year-old teacher will leave the country for good to marry her 36-year-old Swedish boyfriend, Mark. Rumor has it that the couple will get married in Sweden and Joanne, who paid her professional degree’s tuition by working as a housemaid since 12, has always looked forward to the day of her marriage.

The Dangerous Search for Foreign Men

In third world countries, being married to a foreigner from a relatively wealthier nation is a woman’s story of success. Why not? It becomes an instant way out of the poverty, not just for the woman but for her immediate family. Marrying a foreigner has become synonymous with searching for greener pasture. When a woman ends up with a foreign man even as old as 70, her relatives talk about it with a source of pride, while friends and other people perceive it as a source of both envy and inspiration.

The Dangerous Search for Foreign Men

But getting out of poverty is only one side of the story.

The Dangerous Search for Foreign MenA woman who marries a foreigner primarily for financial stability has to sacrifice other important things. Away from her country, she has no choice but to entrust her life to the hands of one man. She becomes dependent on him not just for money, but for emotional support. She might come to build friendships and establish connections with people in the foreign land, but everything takes time. The trusted friends and close relatives whom she can go to in times of troubles are sadly thousands of miles away.

In the worst scenarios, the woman’s knight-in-shining-armor may turn out to be a monster in disguise. After luring the victim into his lair, he reveals his real identity by treating his wife not as a partner but only as a servant, a sex slave and an occasional punching bag. With no one to go to, the wife is forever trapped in this hell until the day of her death (which may, unfortunately, come sooner than previously expected).

The unsuspecting woman may also become a victim of human trafficking. Coming to the foreign man’s place, she could be raped, locked in dark rooms, and eventually forced to work as drug courier or as a prostitute in residential brothels. But for as long as there is poverty and marriage seems to be the only way out, women cannot be stopped from undergoing interracial marriages and going to foreign lands to look for greener pastures.

The Dangerous Search for Foreign MenOK. Enough thinking about worst case scenarios. Despite all the potential downfalls in marrying supposedly wealthy men in foreign lands, there are also just as many stories of triumph — modern Cinderella tales. As in the case of Joanne, marrying her boyfriend in Sweden is a risk that seems to be worth a try. She has been acting tough all her life, trying to help lessen her family’s financial problems. To Joanne, and to all the women who are hoping for a better life through interracial marriage, may they live to have all the liberty and freedom in the world wherever fate takes them.


Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 4 Comments

  1. Hannah Mayers

    I believe “cultural differences” always have a role in preventing that “happily ever after.” For instance, one culture may think that treating a wife differently (like asking wife to do ALL household work, not allowing her to practice career and just giving her money enough for the family’s budget) may be normal to one culture but abusive to other culture(s).

  2. Sarah Evanston

    It cannot be denied that at a young age, girls have been fantasizing and believing in “happily ever after.” Stories that we grew up with made us believe in happy endings. We think that that “man” from faraway land would help us with our current struggles and will give us that “happily ever after” in the end. However, more often than not, the opposite happens 🙁

  3. Jen Spillane

    Well, I really hope it works out for Joanne, but I agree that women put themselves in a very risky situation when they marry in this way. The way to ensure safety and freedom for women is to empower them to provide for themselves.

  4. Jen Garcia

    I think this has something to do with “…And they live happily ever after” belief that most women had. Isn’t it that most of the ‘fairytale stories’ we grew up with involved young women (suffering, either financially or morally) who met their prince charming from a faraway place and gave them true satisfaction?!
    I believe a woman who expects that marrying a foreign man would bring ‘true happiness and fulfillment’ sees herself as the ‘woman who would meet and marry her prince charming’ to live happily ever after….

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *