Love or Security?

As is typical, Paul's immigration thread ( is quickly drifting off topic. This thread is an outlet for part of that drift.

Rebecca brought up the issue about why a young Nicaraguan might be interested in an old Gringo. Or, more specifically, is it love? Back when I live in Costa Rica I was told the following but a Costa Rican woman.

She said, "in Costa Rica we don't marry for love, we marry for security". She was very matter of fact about it. It sounded cold. Ten years later, the word I would use rather than cold is honest.

While usanos at least like to think this is not the case, I believe it it happens more often than one would expect. Or maybe that should be one would admit. I leave this up to the reader to fill in their own personal details or details of those around them.

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For the mother is why many young gals marry gringos or older wealthier Nicas. Is a mixed bag-if your over 50 or so don't delude yourself-be happy you are in the situation and accept things-If you had no money she would not be with you. Nica men are amongst the worst fathers for both economic & cultural reasons so the bar is not set too high for you to compete. Also, Nica woman are well aware of their fleeting window of beauty as they have Aunts and other relatives who are mostly single women raising kids. As you move up the income scale there is a sliver of 'middle class' or wealthier Nicas that enjoy stable families so security is not so much priority to them. But even here unlike USA age of the man is not as relatively significant.

Gringos have money and plenty of time, Nicas have no money and no time (if they are working...)

It's all in the local culture (and somewhat global...)

In Nicaragua, females marrying for security is also a time honored tradition and standard practice carried out by the natural born Nicaraguans. It is not uncommon for the "extended family" to be [mother in-law, brother(s) in-law, distance cousins, etc.] to expect some sort of financial (or material - i.e. use of a car) assistance (upon occasional request) from the male who is getting married.

Amongst the natural born Nicaraguans - particulaly those of middle or upper middle class - it's not uncommon for a potential mother in-law to ask of a potential suitor (and investigate) for her daughter what their family names are (two last names) and to inquire from what region of the country they come from. The reason for these questions is first to find out if the family name is of some prestigious status (as measured by wealth - i.e. land holdings, businesses, properties, etc.) and second, because some of these family names may belong to families in say - Granada and/or Leon - the second question serves as a double check that the region they come from can confirm that they haven't wasted their wealth and are not wealthy in name only. In Nicaragua, wealth is largely inherited and associated with all the noble family names. The idea - perhaps more so than in other parts of the western world - is to either marry up (i.e security), or combine families in name and wealth (mutual security).

BTW, the marrying for securitty proposition is also somewhat of a wide world practice even in advanced countries. As an example (based on personal experience), in Germany (near US militray basis on the Germany countryside) local women call the chance of snagging a GI, a chance to "move to the land of the big WalMart" (i.e security) and make themselves approachable.

As the Tica lady said to Fyl, it is what it is. I hope this is not contrued as denigrating comment(s) on women, it is simply a reflection of the reality of geoeconomical and cultural conditions in different parts of the world.

Animals do it and so do we humans

Just about everything that you wrote is true, only that it is a practice , checking out family history and finances, that was more common back in the old days, and mainly amongst people, the irony , the very rich and the country folk. City folk did it but not as much. Abput girls marryin into money well, girls are told from very small to pick a partner that is in a better position or with at least with good prospects, as we say Que te saque de pobre, not marry a poor man. When a poor boy and a girl get married or get together here we say Se juntaron las ganas de comer con el hambre. I guess is part of our natural behavior. The female mates with the stronger male so we just do the Monkey see monkey do.

There's also a tradition of bright poor boys marrying up

I think Alexander Hamilton did, and there have been others.

The son-in-law phenomenon isn't as well-known, but it's also what it is.

Rebecca Brown

You can´t hide your lyin´ eyes

For nicas it has always been pretty clear. No young girl is marrying or moving in with an old man for love. Whether he is a nica or not it doesn´t matter as long as he has money, Any old guy that thinks otherwise is a bit naive to say the least. After all What´s love got to do with it.

2 other reasons to marry


bragging rights

related to security, but with their own spin.

You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

After my mother died.... dad said he married to be loved; she married to be secure. Lot of that going around, everywhere. They were, however, with in a year of each others ages, and my mother's people had more money than my father's -- the security was emotional. She wanted to die before he did, and she got her wish.

Rebecca Brown

The thing is that the Gringos aren't necessarily playing local rules. I think what gets weird is when someone who isn't from rough US stock takes up with a rough girl who sees him as either a ticket out or a complete bullshitter (I suspect the local situation with the gringo was obviously bullshit so she dropped him). If people who are more or less economic equals have a falling out and he goes back to his wife, or the honorary second consort, or whatever, the woman may be emotionally bruised, but it's not necessarily a huge economic hope gone down the drain.

The other thing is I've heard that here one of the women who married an older man is annoyed that he hasn't died yet. This isn't just a Nicaragua thing. When my uncle was recovering from his heart attack, a marrying widow who'd gone through a couple of earlier old men started paying attention to him (his business partner basically ran her off and my uncle was no fool, either). That's going for security, all right, and in a fairly cold and manipulative way. If it works for the guy, fine.

Some people seem to have married their very much younger wives and had it work out well.

Basically, the marriages that are between people of an age -- the Russian vet and her husband, couple of others between expatriates and Nicaraguan women who are more of their husband's economic class -- seem to involve fewer women looking out from mask-like faces. Security probably is a factor. The Russian vet and her husband are business partners.

Very much younger women often marry very old guys for the inheritance they'll get when the old man dies. Even some not so young women like the marrying widow who "set her cap" for my uncle.

Rebecca Brown

Having been married for

Having been married for twenty odd years, admittedly based on love, I would have to agree with fyl. My wife and I are the exception in my experience and StatsCan seems to back me up. Western culture, at least the affluent ones, seem to marry for the idea of romantic love, the current and rising divorce rate seems to indicate that perhaps cultures that are more pragmatic about marriage seem to have lower divorce rates. As I get set to walk my daughter down the aisle in a couple of weeks I can only hope that lightning strikes twice and they beat the odds, personally I think they will as they are very realistic young people and realize that sometimes "love is all you need" is just an old song not a life philosophy. Just my two cents.

Better Some Love

than none at all. For the lucky ones, love, security, friendship, even a business partner -someone you can count on as you take that walk towards the sunset. It takes a lot of work -and some romance- to keep something like that going.

Any union evolves. Perhaps the old guy doesn't get the romantic love of the movies, but grudging respect, even admiration, and certainly companionship, are desired goals. For the woman, security, a better life, the chance to bootstrap her children with the access his money brings. And finally, an opportunity to find a partner of her choosing (note that I didn't say husband).. This might be a better future than the handsome village boy who's a penniless drunk by 19, with fatherless children everywhere.

I just hit the 35 year mark. My mother once said to me "You should get down on your knees every day and thank God for Shelley" -and she was right.