As a Canadian woman who married a Mexican man and stayed in Mexico City for him, I have a lot of opinions about dating Mexican men.
While Mexican men have a reputation for being super macho, this is not always the case. Canadian men are more politically correct on the outside perhaps, but not on the inside. A Mexican man may just up and say what a Canadian (or American or European) man is thinking. Traditional mindsets of inequality between men and women are global, my friends.
That said, here's my advice for non-Mexican women about what to expect.
1. Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
Foreign women might be delighted by the effusiveness of Mexican men. While Western men seem unable to utter one romantic word at times, Mexican men have books of them at the ready to fling at you.
This can be all very enjoyable as long as you don’t take it to mean anything. Yes, while a Mexican man may say he loves you, that he’s been waiting to meet someone like you, or that he’ll follow you anywhere, please be very skeptical if this kind of talk occurs within the first month or week of dating.
Be especially skeptical if this follows the first date, especially a date where you didn’t sleep with him. So here we hit the heart of the matter – all these words mean he’s very interested in having sex with you, not spending his life with you. Proceed as you will, but don’t expect him to stick around after the deed is done.
Kind of the same advice you'd hear anywhere.
2. Actions, Not Words
Mexican men who are actually interested in pursuing a relationship with you will follow up their effusive words with actions. This could include:
- Inviting you to meet their family
- Following up after dates (via text, phone call, whatever) with further plans
- Not cancelling dates and showing up on time
- Speaking Spanish with you and not just using you for English practice
- Asking you about you and not just blathering on about themselves. They should be interested in your family, friends, work, and life at home.
- Scheduling dates that don’t just start with late drinks and end in your bedroom. This means going to markets mid-afternoon, renting bikes in the morning, and taking day trips out of the city.
3. Beware the Macho Man
Unless you’re into that kind of thing. Otherwise, I know I said that macho men are universal but Mexican men can be a special type of macho – a more obvious one, if you will.
Be aware that many Mexican men have been raised with macho attitudes – especially if they’re from outside of Mexico City, especially if they’re from the north of the country, especially if they’re from conservative states like Puebla.
Macho men in Mexico believe that:
- Women cook for men and don’t sit down to eat until the men are finished. Then the women clean up.
- Women do the laundry, cleaning, and ironing and that is what they are for.
- Women need to be protected from every kind of danger (they shouldn’t go out alone at night, they shouldn’t take public transport, they shouldn’t go out just with female friends, they shouldn’t leave the house period).
- Women should not spend time with other men if they are dating someone.
- Women must accept men’s bad behavior without complaint. This definitely includes bouts of ridiculous drunkenness. The woman tends to the man as if he is a sick baby and waits for him to get sober.
- Women get married and have children and spend plenty of time with their husband’s family.
- Men live with their parents until they get married. Then the wife takes the place of the mother's former role.
Be warned that macho behavior may not manifest itself until much further on in your relationship, such as when you begin to live together. Ask questions ahead of time.
I married a man who had no love of feminism and some engrained machismo. Why? He showed a willingness to learn about my beliefs and adapt to my expectations of an equal partnership. At the very least, you should see the following promising signs:
- He doesn’t openly ridicule women
- He has female friends that he regards as equals
- He treats his sister(s) and mother with respect
- He fundamentally believes women are equals, even if he still has some macho attitudes
- He is interested in your beliefs and opinions and while he may challenge you, he doesn’t automatically shut you down
- He is open to your cultural differences and willing to learn about them
- He isn’t critical of how you dress and accepts that you have the right to wear what you want.
- He doesn’t insist that you act a certain way around his family and friends (as long as you’re not being unfairly rude).
Foreign women may be in Mexico for a short or long time. Have a fling by all means but if you find yourself falling for someone, ask yourself the following questions: Are you willing to stay in Mexico for a man? If so, is this the man worth staying for?
Proceed slowly and analyze your date for signs of trustworthiness and good character. Looks fade, sweet words fade, but character lasts forever.
Staying in Mexico for someone is a major commitment, as I well know. You have to analyze if being apart from your family and friends and changing or altering your career is worth it. Compromise is inevitable.
Make sure your beloved is willing to compromise as well – you shouldn’t be the only one changing your life. This may mean going to couples therapy to iron out cultural differences etc. Or perhaps your boyfriend needs to pursue therapy of his own, commit to quitting drinking, or otherwise.
Be firm. You have needs too. Talk with him. Does he want a long-term relationship? Is he willing to move in with you, do fifty percent of the housework, pay his half of the bills, and support your dreams? If so my dear, you may have just found true love!
Post your questions and experiences in the comments section below!
By the way, if you're looking for somewhere to stay in Mexico then click this link to go to AirBnB and get $25 USD in travel credit -- my gift to you!