There are many perks of dating Colombian men. A Colombian boyfriend will give you a lot of attention, show you around his city and teach you about his culture, and can be very, very romantic. As with any other multicultural relationship, there can also be some challenges, or thins that you haven’t experienced before in past relationships.
You have arrived in Colombia and have started to get to know some people here. As you meet a couple of Colombian men that you are interested in, you may find some differences between Colombian dating culture and your home country’s dating culture.
It can be really challenging, especially if this is your first relationship with a Colombian man and especially if you don’t have other Gringa friends who have been in relationships with Colombian men to ask advice.
Here are some differences between Colombian dating culture and dating culture in the United States, and my suggestions on how to address them:
Dating Colombian men means having a Colombian family
Colombian men are family men. They are also very close with their mothers. For me, that was something very different. I haven’t lived with my parents since I was 17 and none of my past boyfriends lived in the same states as their families. So all of a sudden having Colombian in-law’s that I saw on a weekly basis and that messaged me every other day and that asked me personal questions was a bit overwhelming. I don’t even talk to my own family that much.
My suggestions from a Gringa point of view: take a breath and take it in. Respond to the messages, message them just to say hello, embrace the weekly lunches, and most importantly, get on your suegra’s good side.
Side note: *Some* Colombian men are used to having their mothers treat them like kings and wait on their every need. And *sometimes* this can translate to them expecting the same treatment from their girlfriends. If that’s what you’re interested in, go for it. I stayed far away from that type of relationship dynamic.
Colombians have expectations about how women should act.
Groomed, well-dressed, and juiciosa. For me, manicured nails, makeup, and perfectly smooth legs was never really my priority (you could say I grew up more of a “beach scrub”). I also had very little fashion sense. I got by living in a big city in the U.S. and definitely don’t dress in normal “gringa attire” here – i.e. flip flops, shorts, t-shirts – but I am not much of a fashionista. Colombian men, and Colombian culture in general, expect groomed and well-presented women.
Colombian dating culture also prefers women who are “juiciosa”. There isn’t a direct translation for this word but a loose definition is a well-behaved woman. A Colombian woman who focuses on her studies and her work, knows how to take care of her mother-in-law, doesn’t go out and get wasted every weekend, and that is dedicated to her man, is a Colombian woman in high demand.
This isn’t to say to be “juiciosa” is to be boring, but just that there are certain types of attributes and behaviors that Colombian men value in the women that they date. It all depends on the relationship, but this is where clear communication and understanding comes into extreme importance.
Going out without your Colombian boyfriend can be weird.
In the United States, I would always go out without my American boyfriend. My best friend in the States was a guy and it was normal for us to go out to the bars together both alone and with other friends. I also had girls night with no guys at all, friends or boyfriends.
Colombian dating etiquette can be a little different. It isn’t as common to go out dancing without your Colombian boyfriend, and certainly not with just guy-friends.
My suggestion: talk with your significant other about what makes you uncomfortable. Also, plan a lot of group dates.
Colombian relationships can get really intense really fast.
As my Colombian boyfriend Mario has explained this to me many times, “Si piensas, pierdes”. As in, if you hesitate on dating a woman, you’ll lose out to another Colombian man. This is because Colombian dating culture requires men to act fast. If a Colombian guy is interested in you, he will make it obvious to you right away.
This can also cause Colombian relationships to become really intense and serious, really early on in the relationship. Like, really intense. As someone who likes to take things slow and is very relaxed about my relationships, this caught me off guard a bit. There also isn’t really “just dating” phases. Usually once you start going out with someone more than just a couple times, you’re in.
My suggestion: Be aware of this. And, if you’re going to use a dating-app to meet potential romantic partners, make sure to follow my online dating guideline so you can avoid some too-intense people (I learned the hard way on this one).
Multicultural relationships can have miscommunication.
Even if your bilingual language skills are perfect.
Communication is made up of a couple different factors. The most important two: language and culture. Even if you are saying something in perfect Spanish to your partner, your cultural differences can still cause some steep miscommunication.
An example: I have an athletic build. Mario calls my “belly” a “chicharroncito” in a very cutesy way. Coming from a very aesthetic-focused land called Southern California, I took this as an extreme offense the first time I heard it and thought he was strongly hinting at me to lose weight. When in reality, he’s just being playful and joking around. And now I call his belly a chicharron as well.
My suggestion: over-communication is key. When Mario says something that doesn’t make me feel good (even if his intention was harmless), I tell him directly “I don’t like it when you say/do _____ because to me it says _____”. That’s it. The majority of the fights in our relationship have come from miscommunication, whether language-wise or cultural. For me, and for any multicultural relationship, it’s best to be direct with communicating how you feel.
What other cultural differences have you experienced in your relationships with Colombian men? Whether funny or serious, we’d love to hear them. Share them with us in the comment section below!
A big shout-out to my Gringa-Colombiana girlfriends for contributing their insight on dating Colombian men for this post.