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I can't do anything about this can I?

(8 Posts)
LassieKillsChickens Fri 17-Jul-15 08:41:58

We lived in SE Asia for a year a couple of years ago and had a lovely helper from the Philippines whom I am still in touch with via FB. We grew very fond of her, and her of us. She had been treated appallingly before and we paid for her to do some cooking courses and to finish her education then set her up with a laptop and a bank account when we left which was supposed to be for her future but of course ended up going to extended family. I wanted to give her options for when we left so that she could choose a family who would look after her.

We left earlier than expected and she went to work for my friend but she wasn't as happy. Whilst there she had struck up a "relationship' with a guy in the US via a FB game. Fast forward a few months and they were engaged. When my DH returned on business he met up with her and she brushed it off as "just on FB". Well, this guy is now in the Philippines on an extended Visa and they are getting married in a couple of weeks. He will then return to the US (Mass) and she will follow on once paperwork etc. is approved.

I'm really worried for her and just hope she knows what she's doing. I wonder if it's just run away with her and she doesn't know how to get out of it. A couple of times I have PM'd her via FB and HE has replied on her behalf. Last night I told her I wanted to send some money as a gift (I don't agree with the wedding but her family is so very poor and 50 quid is a lot of money to them). I needed her email address and some address info to transfer via Xoom. He replied (although only admitted that when I asked who was messaging me as it was clear it wasn't her).

I'm worried about what's going to happen to her. She's naive and never been in a relationship before. She is very close to her dad and 5 siblings (mum died last year). She's 35. He is 53. He's also morbidly obese and very, very religious. I'm astonished that she is considering leaving her family and moving to East Coast US. Of course she may be blissfully happy. But he is already monitoring her contact with others. I worry about her being treated like a slave once he has her back home.

I need to let it go though don't I? She's a grown woman and it's her life. I can't even ask her if it's definitely what she wants because he will read the messages. Anyone who's had a helper been through similar? I'm not looking for a debate on the issue of helpers btw; I know it's a controversial topic.


ToastedOrFresh Fri 17-Jul-15 08:56:07

Sorry, but your hands are kind of tied. I know you mean well but you are going to have to let her live her life.

If he's made promises to send money to her family, your P.I. helper probably thinks he is ok. That's more to do with her being naïve than anything else. You say fifty quid is a lot of money to her, I wonder how much money her fiancé has dazzled her with. Not much by western standards I would suggest.

Her letting her extended family have the laptop you gave her is a pretty good indication that property means nothing to her.

Also, as her mum died, she may be emotionally vulnerable.

LassieKillsChickens Fri 17-Jul-15 09:01:30

Sorry for not being clear. She kept the laptop. The money we put in the bank account went to extended family. I don't think her fiance has much money. He doesn't seem to work (spends all day playing FB games from what I can see, whilst she's doing all the chores). Perhaps they truly are in love and are happy.

Thanks for your reply. I agree, my hands are tied.

ToastedOrFresh Fri 17-Jul-15 09:16:47

Yup, sorry.

She's probably more patient than western women. I'm assuming living in Massachusetts will be an improvement for her.

If he's prepared to send money to her family back in Asia, even as and when, then that seems to be the arrangement with a lot of western men and Asian women.

If he just wants a servant, well, a lot of wives feel like that in marriages that are supposed to be equal.

He might just be a selfish, self centred man child rather than outright abusive. Just a pig to live with rather than nasty.

It's quite obviously not a marriage of equals which is a failing on his part rather than hers.

If it does all turn to custard, I hope she will be able to return home.

My husband used to work with a selfish pig of a man who lived at home until his parents died then he, as the only child, inherited the house. He was happy indulging his hobbies. However, he married late in life to a younger Thai woman. They have a child and live in his house. However, his attitude is that she looks after the child on her own and not to bother him with things that interrupt his life. (He's not out drinking and womanising either, I believe.)

He's not known to be abusive, she is free to come and go, as the only one in paid employment he keeps them financially, but of course all the housework and parenting is done by her.

I don't know what's in it for her but still. Other people's lives.

yallahabibi Sat 18-Jul-15 02:22:21

I have employed and worked with several people from the Phillipines and even lived there for a while but I am still surprised at the sacrifices amde for family.
There is certainly equal amounts of stigmatsion surrounding mixed age and race marriages in the Philippines but the local alternative is often not great.It is still a very parochial society and violence is frequent.
There is however , a huge value placed on living in the west .
OP ,If the wedding and move goes ahead have your ex helper bulid a support network in the US. There is bound to be other nationals and church related groups for her to participate in.

LassieKillsChickens Sat 18-Jul-15 09:41:38

Good idea yalla. I am treading very carefully at the moment. I cannot communicate with her without him seeing, so I am not questioning too much as I am afraid he will force her to cut contact. This would be very sad for us and her as my DSs adored her and miss her very much as she does them.

yallahabibi Sat 18-Jul-15 10:35:36

Perhaps investigate the Pinoy community in her potential new home town and be ready to link her with if need be . There are bound to be other ladies in similar set ups . You sound like a very good ex employer OP.

A10 Sun 19-Jul-15 14:50:51

I live in the Middle East, where there are loads of filippino domestic workers. I have worked in a charitable organisation helping some of these ladies who have ended up in extremely abusive employer/employee situations.

For a lot of them, their one ambition in life is to meet someone who will provide them with a passport and a life elsewhere, out of poverty and out of the shitty domestic worker 'career'.

They don't care if the suitor is young or old, rich or poor. They are prepared to abandon husbands and kids back home for a few years, as their carrot is the 'wife of' someone from a western country.

They believe this is their ticket to a better life, she and her family probably feel she has hit the lottery, if it is a bad marriage, she will suffer it for a few years, have a kid or two, and then make her break, she will have educated herself on her rights as a mother of a child of a western nationality, she will know her rights to maintenance etc.

She won't care that her husband treats her as an unpaid housekeeper, that he has little or no input into parenting, the alternative is a whole helluva lot worse, a life of abject poverty.

Her and her family will inevitably be better off in the future, it's quite mercenary, but you can't blame them for taking any opportunity to remove themselves from their miserable life.

I am friends with a beautiful filippino girl, who married a 65 year old American when she was 17years old and moved to the US, had a daughter, trained as a nurse, got her nationality, divorced her husband, and now at age 36 is married to a dream man same age as her, and is pregnant with their first child. Her new husband is extremely well off, they generously support her extended family in the filippines. She says it was all worth it.

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