I’ve been working here in Saudi Arabia, and it’s amazing to see some of our married kabayans engage in illicit relationships while they still have spouses there in the Philippines. We call them TFCs, or “the false couples.” They even show bogus marriage certificates to the religious police, live in apartments reserved for families, and have the gall to attend church functions as couples. If you didn’t know these people, they can, in fact, pass as married.
I once asked a friend of mine point blank what happens when he goes back home for vacations. He said it’s like having controlled amnesia, and simply forgetting his illicit relationship abroad. Once home, they go back to their families, act like the loving husband or wife, dote on the achievements of their children, and go to church like what a devout parent and spouse does. When they return from their vacations, they go back to the same illicit relationships like nothing has happened.
What is the dynamics for this sort of relationships?
Who knows what goes on in the minds of these people? Loneliness? Giddiness at their newfound freedom? Revenge at how fate has dealt them a bad deck of cards? Anger at not finding the promised milk and honey in the streets of the dreamt-up paradise? Self-pity and despair at indebtedness despite nonstop hard work? It’s almost like provoking fate with the arrogance of, “So what if I am blatantly having an affair? So, what now!?” Imagine being in a strange country with almost no close friends at arm’s length to tug at their moral consciousness. So, what’s a lonely person to do?
Isn’t it ironic, if not pathetic, that the reason these OFWs go abroad is to earn money to improve the lives of their children by providing them the kind of education they never had? Or to build that dream house to grow old in? Yet, they have shortsighted and flash-in-the-pan relationships that destroy the very essence of those dreams. And these rootless, permissive scenarios are happening like it’s nobody’s business.
Similarly, some of those husbands and wives left at home suddenly find themselves flush with money, and give the same excuse—loneliness—to try some excitement of their own. Many of those I’ve flown with who are coming home for vacation often lament that instead of looking forward to a warm and pleasant homecoming, they dread coming back to a broken family, where their spouses have left them for younger mates.
It shows how people react when left to their own devices.
You, as a man of conscience, cringe at what you see, while those you’re seeing have comfortably created the “solution” to their perceived “problems.”