dating locally. understanding the lifestyle and what to look for

dating locally. understanding the mexican lifestyle and what to look for

During my years here, well, in the beginning anyway, I tried dating after I got settled. But it just didn’t work. For me, there were (are) too many cultural differences. Maybe it’s different when you’re younger, but being in my mid-40s at the time, it was just too much.

The very first thing I would say about dating a local person is to be aware of the social aspect of it. Mexican people are very in to social standing. And one of the best ways (to them) to increase that social standing is to date a non-Mexican. True story. Many Mexican men and woman prefer to date non-Mexicans for this reason. You will have to ask them exactly why that is.

My best guess from living here is that it has a lot to do with television and Hollywood movies where buffed American men are always seen driving fast expensive cars with a hot chick at their side. In movies, money is never an issue. The same cannot be said for reality. I think it boils down to cultural and / or lifestyle envy, again, one that is not very realistic.

If you are going to date, I suggest first comparing their lifestyle with their means. If they have an office job or they work tourism, look at how they live and compare it to their job title and income.

I understand this can (and should be) done everywhere, but here in Mexico, it’s important to weed out anything illegal. While more men than women tend to indulge in illegal activities to make a living, woman are not exempt from it.

If your new Mexican guy or gal love interest has somewhat of a lavish lifestyle, they drive an expensive car, wear designer clothes, has a more-than-fantastic abode, you may want to rethink things since Mexico is not known for its high wages.

The average salary paid here is around 12,000 peso per month for a full time job. Some office jobs pay less, while some other occupations like managers, are paid more. But not more enough to support an overly lavish lifestyle.

That said, money is scarce here and there are a lot of locals who will do anything, say anything and be anything you want to hook you. To them, it really doesn’t matter what you look like (fat or shinny, tall or short, green or orange) or if you’re even a nice person. As a foreigner, it’s “a known fact” that you have money, again, this is a television-based assumption.

The Mexican men and women usually move pretty quickly with the I love you’s and the let’s move in together. Once hooked, it’s not uncommon to start seeing your guy or gal unable to come up with their half of — the rent, grocery bill, gas, utilities, car payments — and leave you paying for 100 percent of nearly everything.

Another cultural difference I found was in the area of maturity. I dated one Mexican guy younger and one older than myself and oddly enough, had a similar experience with both in that neither were very motivated in day-to-day life. They floated enough to get by and seemed flustered when I chose to work. They took it personally, always voicing “you’re rather work than spend time with me”, which lead to arguments and a lot of eye rolling on my part.

In both cases I left and each time, they made it difficult. Trying to get rid of your Mexican boyfriend is not easy.

I would also suggest keeping an ear out for overly enthusiastic “helpfulness” in the way of name-sharing big ticket items. If you’re new love interest is overly keen on “helping you” by putting things in their name to save you money (annual payments), I would consider that a red flag.

As a foreigner, if you’ve driven a car into Mexico from the U.S. or Canada, then you know you have to pay Aduana (Mexican Customs). After six months, you have to either leave the country or pay to have the vehicle permanently imported, both of which cost cash. Owning a home also requires payment of a fideicomiso (a renewable bank trust).

However, Mexican nationals do not have to pay these fees, so by offering to name switch from yours to theirs, you would no longer have to make those payments. The catch is this. In Mexico, the legal owner of anything is the name on the legal paperwork, regardless of who paid for it.

If you buy a car and register it in a Mexican national’s name, they are the legal owner, period. Same goes for real estate. I know a woman who makes a living doing this. So far, she’s acquired two houses and three vehicles from dating non-Mexican men and, in due time, switching their assets over into her name for “money saving purposes”. Once the relationship comes to an end, she walks away with those assets.

If you’re really hoping your new romantic interest is the real deal, I would suggest approaching it with a business attitude at first. Keep your assets in your name always. Make sure your new love interest is not living outside their means. Make sure they practice a legal living. If they’re not and there’s a (police) problem, you are guilty by association. Period. Laws are different here in Mexico.

Look for signs of them being overly eager to “move forward” with asset sharing, moving in together, having kids, getting married, or smaller things like constantly borrowing your car or credit / debit cards.

Mexicans who do have good (legal) jobs and a borderline lavish lifestyle are likely living on credit. Credit cards are handed out here like candy at Halloween. They also come with a start rate of 39% annual interest for clients with good credit scores.

If your new love interest constantly has a lot of new things, there’s a chance it’s all on credit…credit cards and store credit, which has an even higher interest rate. Getting married, which is also often on the fast-track “to do list” with their new foreign love, means inheriting that debt.

A few years ago, I knew a couple, a Mexican guy and non-Mexican girl, who got together. He loved her. She moved here to be with him. When she arrived, he bought her a new scooter (with a bank loan) to get around since he didn’t have a car.

He was able to score them a house with cheap rent from a family member, his uncle. Less than 12 months after she moved here, she was not only paying full rent on the house, but she also had to make his monthly bank payments on a scooter that he bought her.

Just some food for thought.