Introduction When in Italy, I used to joke that every Italian man was born with a slip of paper identifying his fidanzata. That was because I never met a man without a woman he was promised to marry. I learned later that many men tried to keep a woman in reserve, in case all their messing around turned up nothing better. I'm a woman, so I have much here about what is like for a foreign woman to date in Italy.
But I also have much here about marriage in Italy in general, and anecdotes about foreign men dating in Italy. Foreign Women and Deceit Dating in Italy can be difficult for a foreign woman. Why is it that men have less respect for foreign women, and not just in Italy? Why is it that most see them as a sport to enjoy while looking for the local woman to mother their children? I don't know, and I won't speculate, but I will advise foreign women in Italy to beware.
I had one Italian man assure me that most Italian men are just looking for as many foreign 'adventures' as possible and nothing more.
And there were the Italian men who asked me why most American women, specifically, moreso than other foreign women, were so naive as to believe all the lies the men told to get the women into bed. They strongly suspected that most American women were slightly retarded, especially compared to Italian women, who knew better than to believe anything the men said.
At no point did the men ever consider they might be wrong to use deception and deceit to attain their 'adventures'. And never did they show any remorse for the pain they certainly caused the women who were not versed in Italian male conceits, and who mistakenly believed they were embarking on a beautiful romance.
Most of these marriages are to poor Eastern European or Russian women, for reasons we can only guess at. I'm a woman, so what I can say comes from what foreign men have told me. Their first impression is generally that Italian women seem to take great care in their appearance, and dress sexily. Later understanding leads them to realize that is often a sign that women expect financial security from a marriage, moreso than in a country where women have a higher participation in the workforce than in Italy, and earn wages closer to men's wages, and where wages are generally high.
I've met men who thought they were in a loving relationship only to discover they were seen primarily as a good financial catch, and expected to support the Italian woman for the rest of her life, on his own, and that much of what she said to him and how she behaved was deceitful.
And I met an Italian woman who set her sights on marrying an American man studying medicine in Italy there are many , so she could live a comfortable life in America as a doctor's wife. She eventually did catch one, and is living, last I heard, as his wife in Boston.
I've met others who forged loving relationships with Italian women who wanted desperately to leave Italy behind and to move to a country where they could use their education to earn a decent living, and where they didn't feel they had to play a part with the man they loved.
I've met men from developing nations who thought they were in loving relationships with Italian women, only to find out they were adventures, and never considered serious matches because they were perceived as poor, with poor prospects. I've also met men from developing nations who married Italian women who wanted to be dominant in a relationship and had decided it would be easier to do this with a man who probably wanted desperately not to have to return to his home country.
So again, to both men and women dating in Italy, and in any country where the culture is different from your own, beware. Things many not be as you perceive them to be! Marriage in Italy, the Data What's marriage like in Italy? A recent study asked people from the States and people in Italy 'What is the point of marriage? Here are some of the data to give you an idea about marriage in Italy.
Married life in Italy is beginning later and later for mainly two reasons. The second reason marriage begins later now is anecdotally explained as many young men prefer to be spoiled at home by their housewife mothers, than to contribute housework in a working couple relationship, which is a growing norm, even in Italy.
Italy rates near the bottom on the European list of women's empowerment. Another reason is the growing number of young women entering the workforce. Many openly state for all to hear, their contempt for traditional Italian men who expect them to be their second mother, which often means being the couple's housekeeper, cook, baby-maker and bottle-washer. Once Italians marry, they are likely to remain married, for better or for worse. It means serial infidelity is the norm for over half of married Italians, rather than serial monogamy, as is the growing norm in English-speaking countries.
The three reasons divorce is low in Italy are: Italian women appear to know intuitively what a Canadian study has shown, that women and children suffer in divorces because of the poverty they are often subjected to by bum-fathers, more than any other factor. The latest statistics show that a change is occurring in the regions where women are very active in the workforce north-central Italy.
Half of all the new marriages in this recent period have ended in separation or divorce, most often because the couple say they want different things out of life out of the relationship, is more likely. Other studies show the young couples have trouble combining married life with two careers. And like everywhere, divorced men are more likely to remarry than divorced women. For a sobering viewpoint on infidelity in Italian marriages, check out this BBC article.
Children in Italy If a couple has a child most do, but nowadays, only one, maximum 2 , the child is usually prized and spoiled. Italy has very low rates of child abuse and childhood accidents. Children are another reason divorce is rare. For the good of the children, the couple will generally stay together, unhappily, and sometimes hostilely, at least until the child is Use of birth control is very, very high, teen pregnancies low, and abortion legal and on par with England and France's rates.
A recent study found some evidence that the low birth rates in Mediterranean EU countries correlated with their insistence on maintaining a traditional paternalistic society. Italy was recently singled out by the Financial Times newspaper as a country in Western Europe where feminism had lost the fight, and women's representations in society were on the low level of a developing nation. Women, it seems, would have the obligatory child in marriage, but were very reluctant to have more than one.
Many calculated that to earn social acceptance, they had to have the one child, but they could also maintain some freedom in a quite possibly loveless or unfaithful marriage by not having any more than one. And with only one child, it might be easier to continue working.
Actually, the latest evidence shows that healthy demographics a birth rate at replacement level depends on a modern economy paired with a modern society, modern in terms of making children and work compatible for women. Italy and Japan has not yet been able to accomplish that. Until it does, birth rates will continue to remain below replacement level. Getting Married in Italy If you are not Italian, but want to marry in Italy, one company offers just this service in romantic Venice.
Click here to go to the Venice Honeymoons site. And the Virtual Italia site offers an article explaining how to organize the wedding yourself. There are lots of Italian sites for wedding planning, in Italian.