I have encountered negative comments online about being married to a Panamanian.  Has anyone experienced problems with having a spouse who is not the same nationality as you are?  The comments are generally from women (at least that is the profile they have online) so I am interested to know if we should avoid social situations that could be awkward. We generally visit to see extended family all over Panama but part of our time is spent in Boquete because that is Nena's hometown.

How very curious that wives are not welcome in their own country by expats by virtue of being married to a foreigner (of the same country as the expats).


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I have learned to embrace the culture.  I even like mañana because I never need to change the plans I already had.

What I don't like is hearing the culture card played when an important issue like safe driving and safe cars is being discussed.  Your grandchildren will appreciate it if you do everything possible to change the "culture" and protect them.

mañana is one of the main roadblocks to better driving. Or any other issue that needs attention. And changing mañana must be done by Panamanians; doubtful that any outside influence will be successful.  I don't see any expats worried about anyone's children, mostly it involves getting to PriceSmart and back or some other such destination.

Nena yells at every crazy driver she sees but it is because she learned to drive in the USA. Two wrecks in 40 years, one maybe her fault, the other she got tagged by a Domino's driver (I don't believe he was Panamanian). She has adapted to the culture of the US but still retains all the good things that make her Panamanian.  Perhaps in 40 years the expats will be the same?


Never saw an expat worried about anyone's children? Well you see one now. I used to yell at drivers all the time on our little road because kids play ball in the street. Most people are familiar with me now though, and know better. So maybe outside influences can work. I do not want to see aftermath of one of these kiddos being hit because of someone's "culture." Came to Panama 10 years ago. Never been to pricemart. Not once. Don't even know that I could find it if I wanted to go.

As I recall Jim, those comments referred to your criticism of expats who were having difficulty learning Spanish.  Someone said, in effect, it's easy for you because you have a Spanish-speaking spouse to depend on, which most of us don't.  They weren't disparaging your wife, they were disparaging your lack of empathy.

Hola Judy,

I think you are onto something here. I had my DNA run last year and learned that there is a gene associated with empathy. I do not have that gene! 

Nena chides me from time to time about it. Her DNA results reveal that she has the gene so she is normally concerned about others.  I do help old ladies across the street, I put out iced bottled water for our postman when Texas temps top 90, I hand out fruit snacks to our trash truck driver any time I see him, and I always return my shopping cart to the store. 


It is awesome that you and Nena are married for 40 yrs. and counting. It can be tough and more so I imagine earlier on when it wasn't so common to have the mixed marriages in Panama.

I know some people are jealous of successful marriages between nationals and expats. Envy is a strong feeling and of course not everyone is in it for some sort of benefit.

A real dangerous matter  for a woman  is to marry a hard core Muslim man.

How this is relevant to the discussion escapes me.

He's trying to start a RANT...;-)

Kinda depends on where she is in the pecking order, Robert. I think Muslim men must treat all wives equally. Based on what little I know about Islam, equal treatment does not have to mean good treatment as Christians understand it.

Regardless, we were more interested in Latin cultures and they have their own problems.


Yes, like jealousy.....Extreme jealousy.......enuff so to ruin a relationship.........How many times have I seen it......Not ALL Latinas, mind you, but enuff to make it a collective trait.......plus theres a LOT of latina lunatics out there.....definately here in Panama.......Potential Lorena Bobbits.......wouldnt want to trust em with a sharp kitchen knife.........Remember this is a matriarchal society....women are used to ultimately running the show........even if it doesnt start out that way.........I would take a Colombiana over a Panamanian any day as a rule but I know there are exceptions on both sides of the Darien..........


For the residents and visitors of Boquete Panama.RT

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