By now it should come as no surprise that any natural disaster, regardless of where it happens in the world, will impact relationships and families. Whether you are just starting to navigate the Asian online dating experience, or have found that one true love – when tragedy strikes, everyone is affected.
Almost two weeks ago, typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippine islands, and other Asian communities. As we can all see from the news broadcasts, members of these communities are suffering immeasurable losses. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out for them. During such difficult times, it is understandable that we all feel the desire to help and ease such pain. For the special someone in your life, the hurts are very close to home. For your Filipina girlfriend or fiancé residing in the West, when reading or watching distressing news from “home,” this information may bring about fits of arguments, tears, and even accusations of not caring enough.
At times, the best advice to help our loved ones is to make sure that we take care of ourselves first. While some would argue that such ideas are “selfish,” consider the perspective that you can’t help anyone if you are significantly impaired. She needs you to be strong for her, and her family right now.
Below are a list of ideas that may help you and your loved one (your Filipina or Asian girlfriend) weather the storm of distressing feelings during a natural disaster in her homeland.
- Be patient, with her and with yourself. A lot of individuals and major infrastructure were impacted by the storm, this means non-response may not mean the worst has happened – it may mean that the phone/internet lines are knocked out and not yet up and running. When circumstances are difficult – it is important to offer and accept support. For your long distance girlfriend, fiancé, or wife –your companionship and care is vital.
- Self-Care is important! Knowing what you need to stay calm while your loved one is frustrated and emotionally reactive at any distressing trigger (rebroadcast of typhoon news, internet ad, call for volunteers in your community to raise funds/resources). Make sure you get enough sleep and stick to your routines as best you can.
- If your Filipina girlfriend wants to fly home straight away and help in person (bringing you as well), gently remind her that the current situation is desperate and that more families are leaving the impacted areas. Watching the news, and trying to establish communication via phone/Skype/etc. are better steps to identify what her family (your potential in-laws) may need during this time. Stepping off a plane into a natural disaster relief area unprepared may cause more harm than good.
- Set aside time to “hear her out” – listening is one of the most powerful gifts we can give to the loved ones in our lives. It really doesn’t matter if you’ve heard the story before, if she wants to discuss how much she loves and misses her Lola/(grandmother) – listen. This type of compassion is priceless and really shows that you care for her and her family overseas.
- Identify meaningful ways to help your extended family. When communication methods are reestablished, be prepared for the requests for support. It is natural to want to help everyone; however, it is important to identify legitimate ways to send resources and support to loved ones. Only send what you reasonably can. As Philippines President Aguino discussed in a recent newspaper article, all efforts are being made to avoid corruption and that organizations like the American Red Cross are one of the best approaches to ensure that monetary contributions reach victims.
It may be a safer bet to wait to send funds to relatives when banks and security are up and running before sending funds directly.
In closing, communication, care, and compassion help every couple navigate the stormy patches in relationships. Remembering that you have embraced an individual from a culture where family and one’s connection to family is hugely important – will help you appreciate how best to help your Filipina girlfriend or spouse.
Administrator’s Note: DO NOT send money to anyone you have not met in person, FOR ANY reason. We have had several reports of scammers using Typhoon Haiyan as a reason for soliciting money. DO NOT send money. DO Report them to CB Staff immediately.