Bars can be filthy places...but not whore houses!
Some months ago I got an email from a Chinese female friend who recently relocated to Sweden for work. She was telling me about settling into her new country, that she loved most parts of her new life, and that she'd met a 'great guy' that she was dating.
However, there was one big dark cloud on her blue sky, and that was that the 'great guy' had a lot of Swedish female friends.
"Sometimes he hangs out with them for a whole day! I cannot stand it. I feel so jealous. Why are he seeing other women when he's got me?!"
They had only been dating for 2 months and already she was thinking about telling him to choose between his female friends and her.
"Do you think this is OK to say?" She asked me. "In China I wouldn't accept that my boyfriend had any other female friends if he was dating me."
I threw myself on the computer and wrote back to her saying "no no no NOOOOOOOO! It's not OK! He's probably known some of his female friends for years meanwhile he met you only 2 months ago! Of course he's going to choose his female friends! Why don't you try to get to know them yourself instead of just being jealous about it? Maybe they are really nice?! Besides, if they are his long-term friends he doesn't have any interest in them, otherwise they would have hooked up long time ago!"
But my friend refused to adapt to a culture where 'female friends' are considered OK, and broke it off with the guy. I haven't heard from her since then but I hope she's managed to move on and find a guy with no female friends.
Even though I can understand her reaction (where she is coming from, I totally believe that her boyfriend would get rid of his female friends if she asked him to) I still think she has some nerves, telling a guy she's been dating for a very short time that he should get rid of his friends. I mean, they weren't even living together! It's not a small thing to ask for I think.
Then, one of my male (laowai) friends told me about a mix couple he knows in Shanghai. An American guy married to a lovely, Shanghainese woman. They sound like the happiest, most joyful couple ever, and why?
"She wears the pants. Controls all their money. Gives him an allowance every month. And forbids him to go out and drink beers with his male friends. She doesn't want temptation to be put in front of him. In her eyes, going to bars is the same as going to a whore house."
Ah, OK, interesting. So I asked how the guy feels about all his restrictions.
"Ah he loves it. Saves a lot of money. And says he's sick of drinking anyways!"
Well, then, that's a prefect match!! Great that they can get along on something as sticky as that, I thought, until I heard about the guy going on a "trip to Hong Kong to renew his visa but ended up 'secretly bringing a good male friend' and partying for 4 days straight."
"So, what's that all about?" I asked.
"Well, it would be such a big deal if she would find out, so he didn't tell her."
Understandable. Totally understandable.
However, I keep asking myself:
Is that sort of relationship really a sustainable one? Where one comes up with the rules, and the other one follows them, but only 'most of the time' because quite frankly, they are too harsh? (I mean, every guy would like to have a beer with his mates every now and then, no?!).
I guess what I am trying to say with this post is that culture gaps when dating someone from a foreign country are always going to be large. But when is large too large? And what is OK to ask for? Would you guys give up beers with mates/ long time female friends if your girlfriend asked you to? Just because of culture differences?
My bf (like always) went against me on the questions, saying that the girl had all the rights to ask for these things.
"Oh really," I said. "So why don't you stop going out with your friends then for beers because I 'feel so bad' about that!"
"Eh.... well... no, I know you don't!"
"Well what if I did? Would you then give it up?"
"Not the same thing!"
Not the same thing? Really? I mean, if this girl is scared of letting her husband mingle amongst temptation, then why shouldn't I be?
I would really like to hear your guys opinion on this one, because I think the demands are too high, especially since the guy is already secretly going out with his friends (they have only been together for 2 years). What do you guys think? Can high demands be excuse with 'culture differences?' And is a relationship like that sustainable or not?