Ask the Yangxifu: When Chinese Men "Disappear" in New Relationships | Speaking of China

64 Responses

  1. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 2:50 am | | Reply

    If someone I really liked disappeared for their own reasons and did not see fit to elaborate (or possibly even if they did) I’m not sure I would want them back (or if I did, I would probably not act on it). Race has nothing to do with it – I feel we are all deserved respect, which means an explanation for such a disappearance at they very least. Cultural differences don’t change my view of this. If I did get an explanation and the reason had nothing to do with me and was all about him, I’d wish him well but I would not want him back – I want a partner who is committed to being with me even through our personal crises, not being pushed away when he’s having an issue because he’s ashamed or just too stressed. Again, my views on this don’t change when culture differences are added into the mix.

    I might be more willing to forgive a good friend and repair the friendship, but I don’t think I’d try to repair such a partnership.

    As for “maybe it was something you did”, I completely agree with you, although that transcends culture. I would say that if it was something you did and rather than talk to you about it, he just disappeared, that’s not respectful. Not sure I’d want that guy back.

    If it was something I did that he didn’t like, but I saw no problem with (more on my own experience with this in a moment), I wouldn’t consider it as something I’d done “wrong”, but rather revealing a basic incompatibility between us. So, it’d be better if we just broke up. And again, if his response is to pull away rather than talk to me about it, he’s not the right guy for me.

    As per my own experience, I once dated an Indian guy. We were in Bombay, and I was getting some clothing tailored. I wanted to check the tailoring work while still at the store, and he wanted to leave. I was all “hon, it’ll just take a second, please don’t worry” and he was all “I said we should go, so we are going!”. I said “And I said I wanted to check this. Please stop.” “I said, LET’S GO.” “I’m sorry to have to be so blunt – no.”

    I felt and still feel I was in the right, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that rather than treat me as an equal, he got mad at me because I dared to argue with him in public (it was hardly an argument – I was holding my ground and trying not to “fight”) and because I wouldn’t let him be the lead decision-maker. I wouldn’t sweetly defer to him. He started pulling away. We did break up.

    Did I do something “wrong” to cause this? According to him, I am sure I did.

    But I don’t feel that I did, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Of course I tried to take my former significant others’ and now my husband’s feelings and ideas into account. I don’t insist that everything must be my way. But…I’m better off without a guy like that – the measure of whether I did something “wrong” is my own conscience, with some consideration for him. It did not rest with him alone.

    That’s my only addition – if you really feel you’ve done something to drive away a guy, Chinese or not, first ask yourself: was it respectful of him to pull away without telling you why? If not, maybe it’s better that he’s gone. If you’ve decided that he was justified in doing that (in some very new or still-casual relationships I can see how that would be justified). Then ask yourself if what you did was truly “wrong” by your standards, or if you are just deferring to him. If you do feel that what you did was wrong, and you feel that he had every right to pull away, by all means talk to him about it.

    But if your assessment doesn’t pass one of these two litmus tests, maybe it’s just best to move on.

    And that transcends culture!
    Jenna Cody recently posted..Divided We Beg…or do we?

  2. JW
    JW June 28, 2013 at 8:58 am | | Reply

    I agree with the poster above, Jenna Cody!

  3. askdsk
    askdsk June 28, 2013 at 10:43 am | | Reply

    It seems every post from Jody has to do with gender equality and how sexist Asian men are. Cultural has a lot to do with these men’ behavior. Failure to understand the source of their motives won’t build a successful relationship. Asians are far less direct in general. Not every group of people deal with negative experience in life with an intelligent rant. I call it cultural imperialism. If you are not interested in inter cultural relationships, take your crusade elsewhere.

  4. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 10:50 am | | Reply

    “Culture’ having a lot to do with the behavior doesn’t make it less sexist. It’s still sexist.

    But anyway, I didn’t say here that “Asian men are sexist”. My best Taiwanese guy friend is, in fact, something of a feminist. Definitely an egalitarian, at least. So obviously not all Asian men are sexist. If I were single (I’m not) and interested in intercultural relationships (I would be if I were single), that’s the kind of guy I’d want to date. From another culture, but sharing similar values.

    I did say regardless of the culture I wouldn’t tolerate that treatment. I don’t care where you’re from or what culture you’re from – a foreign one, an Asian one, my own Western one – it’s just a dealbreaker for me.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..Divided We Beg…or do we?

  5. Amanda
    Amanda June 28, 2013 at 10:53 am | | Reply

    When I worked in China, a big cultural issue we had to work on in my office was that my Chinese coworkers wouldn’t report a problem. On one hand, this guy you dated might have just been a flake and it had nothing to do with him being Chinese. On the other hand, it might be that he kept quiet about problems, which led you to believe that everything was going well until he cut things off.

    As for how you should act after, I would say to chase after him would only cause you more pain.
    Amanda recently posted..Guest Post on Expat Relocations

  6. New at This
    New at This June 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm | | Reply

    I’m unable to contribute any useful advice on this topic because I am still so utterly confused with trying to properly interpret my new boyfriend’s way of communicating, or I should say lack thereof. Although I know we have opposite cultural ways (I’m American) I still can’t help but take it personally when he “withdrawals” from our relationship at times. There is attraction and shared beliefs between us, and we have discussed a serious future. He came on so strong in the beginning with talk of living together, children, and marriage. It threw me for a loop but I appreciated his dedication. Now he’s aloof at times. I pride myself on being adaptive but am unsure if this is something I can handle. I feel one of the main points of pairing off with someone is to be expressive with one another. I don’t know how to address and fix problems in a relationship without actual communication. I don’t want to ditch this relationship without giving it a fair chance, though. Ideas?

  7. AG
    AG June 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm | | Reply

    @New at This
    I had exactly similar experience like yours except I was on the receiving end as man. We started really strong with passion, mutual admiration, shared value. We felt like soul mates. She wished she had met me earlier. I felt the same way. Then we slowed down. Every thing became negative for stupid argument. She became emotionally withdrawn from me. See me less and less. Yet she never fully explained what really changed. Unfortunately, we are all introvert types. Her English heritage is famous for such indirect introverted behavior. At end, the negative feeling is overwhelming. We both have incredible long term memory which only makes any negative incidents accumulative. Some time you just wish to be able to forget in order to forgive.

  8. Sveta
    Sveta June 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm | | Reply

    In my experience it has been all sorts of Asians that disappear, or at least the types that I met. Good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with disappearing acts from Asian men.
    Sveta recently posted..Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James Rant

  9. Laura
    Laura June 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm | | Reply

    @Amanda,
    Thats so true, in fact when I moved to China with Siemens it was for the PM department and to solve the problems when finding issues in projects. Finally my Master thesis was about Escalation Management in high-tech..etc. During all the research I found some interesting things related to the relationship between the German Management and Chinese employees that helped to work on problem.
    Chinese colleagues “waited” too long to escalate the problem and that increases costs associated to that specific project-department and lots of delays. On the other hand, cause this is a 2 sides problem, Management was too busy to accept meetings with the PMs, and they still were thinking that in the project reporting it was enough will 5 mins and 1 slide…etc
    Escalating problems is done differently in every place, not only country but even home, every person.

    @ Jenna Cody,
    It must be very hard when someone disappears like that but in my case I could not say ” I couldnt tolerate it”. People have different reasons, I can tell you this is something I learned in China. There are many “deep” reasons that are not spoken. A person who doesnt call you could be going through something hard and then maybe is giving up, a person who is late could be having problems at home, someone who answers in rude ways could be having his hardest day ever, and etc etc.
    After all, there is no such a thing as a good moment or good words to break up with something.
    From my side, I still did not meet any sexist man here, I can say that I met more sexist men from western countries than in China, without hesitation.
    Honestly if he doesnt want to see “you” then move on.
    Laura recently posted..How did you spend Dragon Boat Festival?

  10. JJ
    JJ June 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm | | Reply

    This is not particular to Asian guys. Western guys (at least in Gen Y) do the exact same thing.

  11. SBC
    SBC June 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm | | Reply

    Good post Jocelyn!

    I agree that if it happens in the beginning of the relationship and the guy does a disappearing act it might be useful to initiate a conversation casually about what you did wrong, or what happened. Some cultures are more indirect than others and prefer to not say anything even when they are suffering.

    Having said that though, if the person still doesnt bother to at least try and explain then move on and be happy about good riddance. IR’s are a 2 way street. I hear a lot of western women on this forum talk about understanding the chinese man’s culture and adjusting their behavior accordingly.

    But, understanding your culture and adapting is as much his job as yours. If he isnt willing to do even that… well he’s just not that into you. Better to move on than waste time and blame yourself for it.

  12. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | | Reply

    @Laura – when I say I couldn’t tolerate it, I don’t mean I would chase after him and insist on an explanation. Quite the opposite – what I mean is, if he did that, miss him as I might, I would not try to get him back because I would feel I deserved to be treated with more respect. So I’d let him go. If he tried to come back later I’d gently tell him “it’s over, because I really can’t accept that kind of treatment. It was not OK to do that to me.”
    I really feel it is disrespectful to disappear on someone you are dating, or even friends with (I could probably forgive a friend, though). I don’t think it’s culturally based, because it happens in many cultures, including in the West. Perhaps it happens more in Asia, but it’s not a phenomenon only there.

    I spent some time thinking about this last night, and despite what askdsk wrote above, I don’t think it’s an issue of sexism. Sexism is a big issue in intercultural relationships (and monocultural ones! Plenty of Western men are horribly sexist! And no, just because someone is from ‘a different culture’ doesn’t make sexist attitudes OK. It is perfectly possible to have been raised in ‘another culture’ culture and NOT be sexist) but this has more to do with losing face/indirectness/difficulty with conflict and confrontation – things that are more prevalent in Asian cultures but are also common enough in the West.

    In fact, for the ‘disappearing acts’ this post talks about, there’s even a slang word for it – “pulling The Fade”.

    And considering the fact that in Asia, couples date, argue, break up etc. all the time, no, it is not just standard procedure to disappear.

    I have a high tolerance for indirectness – sometimes my husband can be quite indirect (and he’s Western) and I’ve learned how to interpret it. I’ve had to tell him point blank that when he’s annoyed by something that indirect pseudo-sarcasm is not a good way to deal with it and I won’t react to it well, but otherwise I can tell by his body language that he does/doesn’t like something. That’s a big undercurrent in various Asian cultures that I can accept.

    But the disappearing act? No, sorry, culture does not excuse that. Do that to me and you’re out. I won’t run after you. Come back and I’ll tell you “sorry, not OK. Don’t let the door hit ya on your way out.” I did have a private student do it to me once – suddenly dropped off the face of the earth, then came back months later wanting to resume class with no explanation. If she had told me there was a family or other crisis, etc. (even just “there’s a big issue in my life right now”, no need to tell me what it is, I can get a good enough idea without details) it would have been no problem, I probably would have said “that’s fine”. But when she came back after an unexplained absence, I had to gently tell her “I’m sorry, but my class time is valuable too. This is my job. This is how I earn my living. I can’t do that if my students are going to disappear with no explanation for periods of time. So I hope you understand that I can’t continue the class. Best wishes.”

    I’m also terrible at certain kinds of very indirect ‘hints’ (i.e., not telling you the main issue, but dropping indirect, seemingly unrelated hints around it hoping you’ll read between the lines and get what they are really thinking). I’d be willing to try and be more receptive to this – it seems to be a common cultural trait in Taiwan – if I were any good at it at all, but I’m not. By nature I take people and what they say at face value. And so if someone doesn’t tell me in some way (doesn’t have to be head-on, but it at least has to be somewhat clear) then I will probably not understand. This has been an issue with friendships here but so far I’ve been able to handle it. It’s been great at work – when my (overseas Chinese) boss or one of the Taiwanese office workers tries to be extremely indirect about something, I just “don’t get it” (sincerely, I don’t, I’m not faking it), which means they HAVE TO tell me directly or it never happens. Works wonders.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..Divided We Beg…or do we?

  13. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm | | Reply

    “I hear a lot of western women on this forum talk about understanding the chinese man’s culture and adjusting their behavior accordingly.
    But, understanding your culture and adapting is as much his job as yours.”

    Can this get about ten million upvotes please?

    In fact, this topic deserves to be its own blog post, no? It’s not just the Western woman’s job (or the woman’s job, period) to adjust to the man’s culture. It’s his job to adjust, too. That goes for Western men dating Asian women (funny how many expat guys date around here in Taiwan and never quite get that point) and Western women dating Asian men.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..Divided We Beg…or do we?

  14. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm | | Reply

    By the way, I never said I couldn’t tolerate someone being late or exceptionally rude that day, or even a friend who’s a bit unresponsive for awhile. Those things I generally let go. People have their good days and bad. Sometimes they’re good weeks, months or seasons…or bad ones.

    I’m talking only about the full-on disappearing act. The Fade. That’s where I draw a big, bright line.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..Divided We Beg…or do we?

  15. Laura
    Laura June 28, 2013 at 10:01 pm | | Reply

    @Jenna Cody,
    I didn’t say you said you can’t tolerate someone being late or etc…I just listed more examples of cases that some other people can’t handle or understand.
    And I do aplaud that you would not chase him trying to get an explanation, I wouldnt do it either because I think if someone runs from me there is definetely nothing worthy enough there.
    On the other hand, I also know that some people would not do it cause of peers (Oh you look desperate!), that’s also related to losing your face.
    If there is nothing going on between us and he does think that he needs to break up with me, I prefer he totally runs away instead of invite me for dinner or a coffee and be nice and bring some small gift and sugar coated words, cause that is just too painful. If you want to run away, just do it dont sugar coat everything. It doesnt make me feel better, is just a waste of time and during that time is difficult to hold the tears.
    If I need to choose between any of those extreme options, please run.

    And I give you vote on what you said that people assume we need to get used to his culture, it is assumed, and I do reply, so he does!
    When two people / families are getting together is a two sides thing. Some people get it, some just dont.

    You could summarize my whole comment in few words: There is no good way to break up.

  16. askdsk
    askdsk June 28, 2013 at 10:47 pm | | Reply

    Another not so perfect analogy you could use is how to deal with cheaters. People commonly say once a cheater, always a cheater. Do cheaters deserve a second chance? It depends on your own views. I think it is just as easily to write someone off without trying to do something about it. Being in a relationship with a person from a different culture requires you to think outside your comfort zone. There might be hidden reasons for someone to run away without facing the music. Being passive is generally considered a weakness in the west. But I am not sure it is easy for an Asian guy (or a guy) to turn a girl down in the face. If a guy runs away, it is a sign your relationship won’t work on his terms. How you interpret it and your actions will show your patience and tolerance.

  17. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm | | Reply

    It’s not easy to turn down a woman or break up with her to her face, that’s true in any culture.

    But ya still gotta do it, I think. You don’t get to hide behind “but it’s haaaarrrdd!” That goes for women, too, actually. You have to do hard things sometimes. You don’t get a pass.

    @Laura – yeah, I’d rather not get sugar coated words, gifts or whatever, and definitely not dinner. I’d rather it be short and to the point, maybe at a coffeeshop. “I’m sorry, this isn’t working for me, I think it’s best if we break up.” I don’t even need a longer explanation – usually the signs are already there, right? I know people say you should do it in person, but I once got a break-up e-mail and while at the time it stung, now I think it was a good idea: it allowed me to react in private, and I didn’t have to see his face. I don’t think I would do that, but I see the reasoning.

    @askdsk – there is a difference between “outside your comfort zone” and “a dealbreaker”. This describes what is for me a dealbreaker. If a guy were more indirect than I was comfortable with (my husband is sometimes and I try to be understanding, even as I gently explain that I really need him to be direct, that making sarcastic remarks isn’t going to help me understand what’s going on), then that’s a challenge to face. But if a guy pulls The Fade, that’s a dealbreaker. Why *would* I do anything about it? There’s a point at which I have to accept that I am who I am, and I can’t change my whole self for a man. Nor should I have to!

  18. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 28, 2013 at 11:40 pm | | Reply

    I wouldn’t put up with The Fade in a Western man, either…I can understand some indirectness based on culture, but The Fade doesn’t get a pass based on culture for me.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..Divided We Beg…or do we?

  19. Bruce
    Bruce June 29, 2013 at 11:25 am | | Reply

    I still think that both parties have to want the relationship to work . Do you know that some men/women don’t even know what they want in life? Yes that means that you have to argue a little and make up a little. tease him a little bit and pinch her a little bit. Don’t expect him to initial everything . I know I know women are independent nowadays but still you need ” real men” to share your lives with. You can be a strong, ironwoman or a VP of the company, you still need a man to share your life with. That man doesn’t have to be smart like you and he doesn’t have to make high income like you.

  20. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody June 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm | | Reply

    @Bruce – what is a “real man”? I would say anyone who identifies as a man is a real man. There isn’t an exam you have to take or a club you have to join. There are no arbitrary standards.

    And anyway, you’ve heard of lesbians, right? Not every woman wants a man to share her life with.

    Not every woman wants anyone to share her life with, in fact. Some do prefer to be single, prefer solitude.

    The same actually goes for men – if you’re going to say “a woman needs a man to share her life with”, then why not also say “A man need a woman to share his life with”? But, as I said, there are gay people, and there are people who prefer to be alone.

    Finally, I agree with you on the income. That shouldn’t really matter unless what you are looking for is a lifestyle just as much as love (and if so, hey, that’s not my bag but I won’t judge you for it). But “doesn’t have to be as smart as you?” I suppose not, if you really love him. But that comment is dangerously close to saying “lower your standards ladies” and I can’t agree with that.

  21. Bruce
    Bruce June 30, 2013 at 7:13 am | | Reply

    Well, women always complain about men who make less income and don’t find women with higher income compatible. Some people are smart but w/o common sense :). I’m not just smart, I’m a smart ass :) lol. Have you seen older women who are in their 50’s? Look at how lonely they are and much harder to please ( some). At least, I’m open minded that women can make more than men and still have loving marriages/relationships. I admire women who WON’T kick their men to the curb when they don’t make enough income like they used to.

    Bruce :)

  22. Mary
    Mary July 1, 2013 at 2:15 am | | Reply

    Dear Jocelyne, I was so surprised when I visited your blog today and found my question answered here!! I was so amazed!! Thank you so much!
    I will elaborate a little bit more on my story, since now some time has passed and I think I have a better grasp of the situation.
    I thought long and hard about reason #1, I blamed myself a lot. Maybe did I say something wrong? Or was I not attentive and caring enough? I felt really bad about myself, but thinking back about my words or actions I could not find a definite answer. After some time I realized I could not possibly have done something so wrong that could lead to this radical change. And even tough at the beginning I could really feel him trying to avoid contact or doing anything that could make me believe he was still interested in me, after some time passed he still always answered my texts, still helped me when I needed, supported me through my final exams. He still shows that I’m an important friend for him in one way or the other. I can feel him trying to come a little closer and then taking a step back.
    What I think may have really happened is reason #2. He is a student that worked really hard to come studying in my country, he studies many many hours every day and he is very goal oriented in what he wants to achieve. He has a plan for the next few years that include traveling to other countries to continue his studies. He told one of my close friends that he does not want to have a girlfriend right now because then he will think about marriage and taking care of her.
    What you suggest, Jocelyn, it’s something I wanted to do for a long time now but was always unsure of. Since we don’t meet anymore just the two of us, I would like to write to him to say how important he’s been for me, how I feel I become a better person thanks to sharing views with him and just how much I appreciated him and his presence in my life. I can’t stand the idea of him not knowing, because I missed my chance to tell him before he distanced himself. But I’m also scared that it would be a drastic move from me that will burden him in his situation, and that he may withdraw the friendship that still remains between us and close himself totally from me. Maybe would it be better to stand by with patience and care until he finds his way through life? I just don’t know if I can find a way to stay next to him this way.
    Thank you Jocelyn for your post, as it helped me confirm my thoughts on the matter and have a better understanding.

  23. Michelle
    Michelle July 1, 2013 at 2:55 am | | Reply

    @Mary: Thanks for sharing your story with the community! I think that if he’s withdrawing from you anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to let him know how you feel and tell him how much you appreciated him in your life. Like you said, you don’t want to miss your chance to tell him. I think that if you just want to let him know how important he’s been in your life but don’t have expectations of him for the future, you should make sure to tell him that. Maybe that’ll help take the pressure off. Then again, he might withdraw from you either way. And if that happens, I don’t think it’s necessarily better to just stand by and wait for him to come back or find his way. Even if he’s physically there in your life, one of the worst things is to be with someone who’s emotionally absent.
    Michelle recently posted..Things I Take For Granted in America

  24. Claire
    Claire July 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm | | Reply

    I can’t believe how often this seems to happen, it makes me feel really sad that if something is bothering them they just keep it to themselves and don’t tell the person that cares so much for their wellbeing. I think once you’ve got your head around it you usually know in your heart of hearts whether they really want to be with you or not. Sadly, it’s not always so simple as telling them to get lost when you do hear from them again though.

    Hope this works out ok, as with all the stories on here <3

  25. Bruce
    Bruce July 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm | | Reply

    Mary,

    It was not your fault. We all had false signals before. Sometimes, it’s all about timing. I was so focused on my job $$$ and school that I didn’t realized I was surrounded by beautiful women. I didn’t take a chance either in the past. Really bad timing at times. Finding a man that you like regardless of his income, education level , it’s not an easy task. As long as you’re happy and building a happy family together to me is the ULTIMATE LEVEL.

    Bruce

  26. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 1, 2013 at 8:46 pm | | Reply

    Mary,

    Instead of waiting “for him” and focusing on what you can do to get him back, I suggest instead doing what YOU want to do. Focus on your life and what you want out of it. You can still see him as a friend if you want, but make it clear to yourself and others that you are living life for you, not waiting for a lover to come back. Take some time for yourself and figure out what it is you want your life to look like – whether or not he or any man is in it – and try to take some time to truly accept that he may not be. Then go live that life.

    If he comes around and you still feel up to being with him, then go for it. I am not very forgiving about this sort of thing but that doesn’t mean everybody has to be so unforgiving. But if he doesn’t, you’ll still be living your life on your terms and it won’t regret having wasted time waiting for him at the expense of your own hopes, dreams and goals.

    This doesn’t mean he won’t come around (although be prepared: he may not). My husband and I were once on-again off-again friends. He couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to a relationship (we’d always had strong chemistry). I dated other guys but was still holding out for him, and making myself miserable. I was always trying to direct my life towards him, to up my chances. It was really lame, actually. I’m kind of embarrassed ro my former self. Then one day I just…stopped. It’s not that I stopped having feelings for him, but I stopped trying to mold my life around him. I dated another guy and went all-in. My friend-now-husband moved to Korea. The other guy and I broke up and I realized I was ready for another international move. I could have moved to Korea, again to follow this guy I was so smitten with, but I didn’t. I decided on Taiwan where I didn’t know a soul. I decided that if I was going to be single that I would go where I wanted to go, do what I wanted to do, and if the right guy – this guy or another – popped up, then great. If not, then oh well. My friend visited me about 2 months later, and 3 weeks after that announced that when his contract was up that he’d move to Taiwan, too. A few days after that we got together for real, and now we’re married.

    I won’t say it was fate, because I don’t believe in fate. And usually when a friendship doesn’t evolve quickly into a relationship that it never will. Usually when a relationship is rocky or on-again off-again, it doesn’t work out (don’t listen to Sex and the City’s terrible and unrealistic life narrative). But I can’t help but notice that the moment I decided I wasn’t going to follow a guy but just *be me* and do what I wanted to do, that I got the guy. Being yourself and living your life unapologetically is a very appealing thing.

    In my short 32 years I’ve learned one thing beyond a doubt: It’s not worth it to wait for a man. You’re worth more than that.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..“Hi, can I talk to you? Are you interested in meditation classes? Let’s have coffee! What’s your phone number?”

  27. forest
    forest July 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm | | Reply

    @Mary – A failed relationship may not have an explanation. Even you ask, you may not get honest answers. It is possible that he has feeling for you but he can not be with you for whatever reasons or he is scared of being in serious relationship?
    @Michelle – Good advise. I heard two introverts play guessing game and end up drifting apart. An open conversation is better.

  28. Naomi
    Naomi July 2, 2013 at 6:30 am | | Reply

    A Chinese friend of mine was telling me a bit about her college experiences. Her room had 6 girls in it, one of whom had a serious boyfriend. The girl would call her boyfriend very late every night using the land line in the room. She and her boyfriend would talk and laugh for hours until very late at night. As a result, the other girls lost a lot of sleep, and it started impacting their studies. However, none of the other 5 roommates would dare talk to the girl, not even to ask her to use her cell phone to call her boyfriend out in the hall.

    My friend explained that it’s just not done to confront people, not even for relatively minor matters. It’s just too embarrassing and awkward; it causes too much loss of face.

    So if a roommate isn’t able to bring up a relatively small issue like this, then it’s a little easier to understand why some guys would rather just disappear than deal with any issues in a new, cross-cultural relationship.

  29. Cephei
    Cephei July 2, 2013 at 7:53 am | | Reply

    In my opinion, the man just hasn’t the courage to break up with the girl directly, so he opts for the method he deems most simple: disappearing out of the life of the girl, so he won’t need to face her again aka running away from a troubled relationship. Despite the confusion and longterm pain it causes. He might have his reason for the break-up, be it shame, doubt, boredom or whatever, but any reason won’t justify this irresponsible action. The ‘disappearance act’ is a bad practice, which is looked down upon even in China. We call it ‘玩失踪’ (play lost), so it’s not something which affects Western women exclusively. The most straightforward explanation behind this phenomenon is that some men just haven’t learnt how to handle break-ups properly. But then again, who honestly wants to learn that? Anyhow, it’s not something to be proud of, so as a fellow Asian, I hope those guys who disappeared won’t tarnish the reputation of Asian men in general, for it’s only a small proportion of men who do that.

  30. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 2, 2013 at 11:20 am | | Reply

    I really feel that, cultural difference or not, this way of dealing with relationship problems is not healthy or effective. If your answer is to disappear because your culture encourages you to be *so* non-confrontational, then the problems never get solved. There is some wiggle-room, of course. It’s not like Chinese culture is totally non-confrontational in every way. I definitely have seen break-ups and heard of in-person break-ups, and seen fights and disagreements, in China and Taiwan. Things get done more indirectly – OK, whatever, I don’t think it’s always terribly efficient but I am willing to make allowances for the idea that face is as important as a quick solution, and anyway some problems do fade with time – but that doesn’t mean they never get done, in all cases (in some cases that’s absolutely true, though: there are issues in my workplace that none of the Taiwanese office staff want to confront, and so they will never get fixed. I am quitting soon for this reason).

    So a guy like that, regardless of his culture, would not be the guy for me. There are people like this in the West, too, and they would also not be right for me.

    And so even with that in mind I would not be inclined to forgive a man for doing this in a relationship.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  31. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 2, 2013 at 11:35 am | | Reply

    Here’s an interesting comparison:

    This reminds me of the time when I was on a China Eastern flight from Shanghai, not too long ago. So China, not Taiwan. Once we were at cruising altitude, someone turned on their iPad and commenced watching a movie or TV show, without headphones, at normal volume. The entire cabin could hear. I was 5 rows back and I could hear the dialogue clearly! A few minutes went by and nobody asked them to use headphones. So…OK, guess I’ve got to do it (I really prefer not, I don’t want people to think foreigners are all face-stealing boors, but if I have to, I will).

    I went up to him and said in Chinese (but with my usual Taiwanese drawl) “Sir, I’m sorry, but could you please use headphones? I can hear you 5 rows back. I’m sorry to bother you, but it’s really loud.”

    He looked at me like “whaaaaaaa?” and I repeated, “Please use headphones. Everyone can hear your movie. I don’t really want to listen to it.”

    He turned off his movie (didn’t plug in headphones – dunno why). He seemed really shocked that someone would think his actions were rude, or maybe just shocked that someone finally called him out on his entitled behavior.

    Everyone looked at me like ‘WHOAH!!!!” but I’m sorry, that dude was totally rude.

    And that’s why I think this is so important. Otherwise, people with entitlement issues will use the non-confrontational culture to their advantage and nobody will slap ‘em back to reality. There are indirect ways with dealing with such things, of course. I’m yet to be convinced of their efficacy, but people do employ them to non-confrontationally solve problems (with limited success), so most of the time I try to let the culture here do its own thing and only get involved when the issue is really egregious.

    Compare that to Taiwan, where I was on the high speed rail and someone behind me was playing Candy Crush at top volume. Again, nobody said anything, so I turned around and said “please turn the sound off or use headphones” (again in Chinese). Again the person looked at me, but said “you want me to turn off the sound? Why?”

    The person next to me: “Because it’s LOUD. I also want you to turn it off.”

    And they turned it off. ALRIIIIGHT!

    Or in a movie the other day here in Taipei, someone got a phone call and proceeded to take it…in the theater. At least three people shushed them. And they stopped.

    Call people out – disappearing boyfriends, rude people – on their crappy behavior and they’ll usually stop, or at least re-evaluate. That’s why this issue hits home for me. I don’t have to deal with it in a relationship, but it’s a huge point of culture shock for me generally.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  32. gang chen
    gang chen July 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm | | Reply

    I guess it all comes down to respecting other people and be civilized about it. Chinese society (mainland) in general is very “caring” to relatives and close friends, but can be shockingly rude to strangers.

  33. askdsk
    askdsk July 2, 2013 at 7:33 pm | | Reply

    This is one of those things there is no one or the right answer. You do want you are mostly comfortable with. Being direct can hurt people too. It is the idea of not putting yourself in the center of attention. Look at the issue from the other perspective. That should go both ways.

    @Jenna
    You should count how many times you use “I” or “me” in your reply. More than average westerner.
    It is a good idea to call people out. The world needs activist like yourself. Don’t make other people seem lame because they don’t want to join.

    What is more important than freedom is tolerance.

  34. Laura
    Laura July 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm | | Reply

    @ Jenna Cody,
    Regarding noisy situations not many people enjoy them but it is in fact something related to the country you are. Take a bus in Germany and you dont hear a fly, go to Spain and you hear people talking, take the metro in China and you will see people playing with the Ipad or Iphone.
    Considering the situation, in a plane, the air hostess should be the one telling that person to please turn off the volume. If she / he does not do it then if someone says something to the airhostess she should approach that person and tell him or her that is a bit noisy and other people..etc…etc.
    We all do things that are quite disturbing for others, all, what for you is annoying for others is not. Specially in over populated countries, like China.
    Go to Morocco, they do a break during movies at the cinema so that men can go out and smoke or talk, and yes they do answer the phone inside the cinema.
    There is something that makes me tired, as much as a phone call..and is people who eat pop corn in a very noisy way.
    Or people who talk a lot in public places, sometimes I hear a girl talking talking talking, seems like she talks alone, but I would never tell them to please stop eating pop corn or talk less.
    It doesnt mean is good or bad, but is different.
    I would like to see other western countries if they were overpopulated. That would be interesting.
    Laura recently posted..Lychees love

  35. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm | | Reply

    The flight attendant (I think this is a language difference: in American English we’d never say “air hostess” – it conjures up images of young women in short skirts on airplanes pouring coffee for businessmen – ick!) wasn’t much help.

    I do feel I was justified in asking him to use headphones. I was not willing to sit through a few hours’ worth of a movie on an airplane where there is no escape listening to that guy’s media. It’s not like I told him to turn it off.

    On the subway or on buses I don’t care so much. I can always move, and the ride won’t be very long so it doesn’t matter. I still think it’s rude, but it’s just not important so I let it go.

    If you’ve ever been on the Taiwan HSR, you’ll know that the etiquette there is more like that of Japan. Taiwan and China generally are very different. The HSR is super quiet, people line up etc.. There is a strong undercurrent in Taiwan of people who feel Taiwan should strive to be more like Japan in terms of politeness, and who are really horrified by what they see in China, and as a result, are often horrified when people assume they have “Chinese” manners (or are “Chinese” in anything other than ethnicity, in some cases). For example, one of my friends posted not long ago on Facebook, from Thailand, “The 426″ (a slang term for Chinese because in Taiwanese it sounds like 阿陸仔 – it may or may not be rude depending on context) “in Thailand are so rude! Always talking, spitting, cutting in line. I hope people here do not look at us and think we are the same.”

    And so that woman on the HSR was quite rude even by local standards, and you’ll notice even a local told her to turn off the sound! The same in theaters – people will absolutely shush you if you are making noise or using your phone. Locals will – not just me!
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  36. forest
    forest July 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm | | Reply

    @Laura – about girls talk on train:
    One day, a group of girls talked on train, a man two rows down said to them “keep your voice down”, they stopped and started texting, apparently they were not happy about the man.
    The other day, four girls talked all the way until they got off the train, no one had any complaint.

    Both cases happened in none quiet car, (meaning talking is allowed) I was right next to them, but I did not and would not bother to do anything.

  37. Laura
    Laura July 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm | | Reply

    Yes Jenna, flight attendant and air hostess are “the same”, aircrew, steward…(though they can have different roles..one for pilows, another for welcoming people..) I use the obsolete term, i like it more!

    @forest,
    Where was it? I mean location, country or city…is the first time i hear about “none quiet car”, interesting
    Laura recently posted..Lychees love

  38. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm | | Reply

    I think four girls talking on a train is not a big a deal as a guy watching a movie on his iPad on an airplane at full volume. I absolutely do not regret saying something.

    I wouldn’t have asked those girls to quiet down either, because it’s just a subway (if it was a long-distance train I might have asked them to keep their voices down in the USA, but not in China).

  39. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 2, 2013 at 10:28 pm | | Reply

    I was also quite shocked by the iPad movie because while people do rude things in Taiwan (like playing iPhone games with the sound up on the train or MRT), I’ve never seen anyone be that rude. This was a Chinese flight, though, from Shanghai to New York (imagine listening to that guy’s movies all the way to New York! UGH!), which goes to show how different the two cultures are. I actually felt some culture shock.

    I did use a lot of 請/不好意思/對不起/不好意思麻煩你 when talking to him to try to be polite, even though he was the one being rude.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  40. forest
    forest July 4, 2013 at 6:01 am | | Reply

    @Laura – NYC area commute train designates its first car as quiet car. Rest of them are not, but most of time they are all pretty quiet.
    @Janna Cody – It is about one hour ride and the girls were loud. I think it comes down to tolerance.

  41. forest
    forest July 4, 2013 at 6:16 am | | Reply

    I think Western culture encourages advocating one’s needs, “Squeaky wheel gets the grease”. It has its merit and benefit. Believe most of Chinese men are lack of doing that. Maybe they are fed up with small issues but never say anything, running away is easier than confrontation?

  42. Mary
    Mary July 4, 2013 at 11:21 am | | Reply

    Thanks to everyone that commented to my story! It was so nice to read you!
    @Michelle you are right. I would just like to let him know my true feelings, that I never had the chance to really tell him. Then I think I will be able to let go more easily.

    @Claire Thank you for your words!

    @Bruce Thank you! Yes, I think it could be really bad timing. But at the same time, I wish that timing was not so much of an issue if you meet someone really special… Or probably I was not so special for him as he had became for me. Actually if I love a man, I don’t mind his income, I think everything can be built together. Finding the right person is the most important! The rest follows naturally.

    @Jenna Thank you for sharing your story. I think you are right, it’s best to focus on building own’s life instead of waiting for someone or molding around him. That never works, not to get a man or to advance in life. It’s better to try and make my life good and satisfying. At the same time it is also difficult sometimes to move on, when you realize how much more satifying it is to share your day with someone you are in love with.

    @forset I agree, not everything has an explanation, nor has reason. Or not everyone wants to give their reasons. I just wish I was not let to figure everything out for myself, because I spent weeks torturing myself thinking about all the possibilities.

    I don’t really look for answers actually, but I would like to get my sincere feelings across to him. That’s what matters most to me, as I don’t have control on the other person’s feelings anyway.

  43. askdsk
    askdsk July 4, 2013 at 11:31 am | | Reply

    @Mary
    You want to tell him about the feelings you had and what you have been through. It is not a sign of weakness or compromise in your part. Like you said, you do it for your own sake. Most men are clueless what can go on in a girl’s head. If he can also open up, it might be a good ending or even a new beginning. If he keeps disappearing, it is his loss most likely.
    I applause you for not labeling him and keeping the conversation going. I think that is real maturity and strength too.

  44. askdsk
    askdsk July 4, 2013 at 11:35 am | | Reply

    @forest
    Asians don’t stand up to themselves the same way as the other groups do. That is cultural. I don’t think it is all due to lack of empathy or selfishness. Asian culture values harmony and think maintaining a relationship can bring more benefits. I think the east and west can really learn from each other.

  45. Mary
    Mary July 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm | | Reply

    @forest Thank you so much for your words! I was actually hesitant about sharing my feelings with him, but you give me courage to do it as I believe it is the right thing to do. I believe feelings are precious and should not be wasted. Really thank you!!

  46. Mary
    Mary July 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm | | Reply

    @askdsk Ahhh, really sorry, my comment above was for you, not forest. Apologies to both of you!! I got the names mixed up!
    Anyway, I’m really impressed at how well you understood what I was thinking, askdsk. Thank you again so much, you make me feel a lot better now!!

  47. Logan Lo
    Logan Lo July 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm | | Reply

    This is a response to @JJ above and I can’t agree more.

    Although I’m Chinese, I definitely don’t think it’s an “Asian” thing. I actually started blogging because I hadn’t dated all that much prior to my 30s so I wanted to see how long it would take me to get to 150 dates.

    And early on – I’m ashamed to say – I “disappeared” quite a bit. And people disappeared on me. Because breaking-up is painful for both parties. It’s easier to just sort of fade away.

    But after about 15 dates, I stopped that and I would just come out and say that there was just something missing, which is always the truth and the case. Some people continued to disappear on me – Jewish, Irish, Chinese, Korean, Italian.

    It had nothing to do with their nationality, just their thinking that it was better that way.

    Can’t and don’t blame them. Some of those people I reconnected with over FB and are now friends with.
    Logan Lo recently posted..You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with

  48. Laura
    Laura July 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm | | Reply

    @Logan Lo,
    I read your posts and I enjoyed them a lot.
    I want to add something, I hate “goodbyes”, well in Spain we have two terms..
    ” Hasta otra / pronto / luego…”
    and
    “Adios” ( some people use this one, is hard to hear because adios is more used when you wont see that person again. Let´s say, is often used to say bye to those who pass away)

    I think that breaking up is like saying “Good bye”, in some cases, is an “Adios”. And I can say here that saying that is hard.
    When I need to leave a place, a place that I was attached to and creates lots of emotions inside my heart..then..I prefer to send an email, a nice email saying goodbye, with my contact details,..and I always mention to please understand that for me saying that is too hard in person, I am very emotional.

    Some people think is rude: I wanted to hug you, and kiss you and blabla..yes thats all nice and I love it, but I am a crier, I suffer a lot with that..

    So I kind of feel the same here, breaking up is not that different from saying goodbye or adios, and for some people, is too hard.
    Laura recently posted..Fighters also need a rest

  49. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm | | Reply

    @Mary – you’re right. It does hurt, it is absolutely difficult, but necessary. It’s the only way to an authentic life lived on mature terms.

    What has helped me is this realization: first, that I’m no good to anyone if I’m subjugating what I want to chase a guy who’s running from me. I’m not even good to that guy, because I’m no longer acting as a full, independent person. And who wants half-a-person? Nobody! So even if your mind is all-blasters-forward on getting that guy back, chasing him will do the opposite, whereas letting him go and living your life *might* bring him back to you (don’t count on it, though. We’re talking chances here, not guarantees).

    Another thing that’s helped me is this: why would I want to spend my days with someone who doesn’t want to spend their days with me? Of course it makes me feel better to spend time with someone I love, but at the end of the day it’ll feel really hollow if they’re just going through the motions and can’t match my feelings. I’ll feel patronized and humored. It won’t feel good at all.

    That whole “it’s so hard when you enjoy spending time much more with someone else” is deceptive: it tricks your brain into thinking that just being with him is enough. But it’s not – he has to also want to be with you for it to be satisfying, and you have no control over that.

    I’ve found once that thought pops into my head, it’s easier to just let go. It still hurts, but it’s easier.

    @askdsk – for once I agree with you. The non-confrontationalism isn’t selfishness or lack of empathy, it’s because a harmonious society is more important than individual needs (which in a way is very unselfish). My qualm with it is that it’s not efficient, it hurts feelings, it’s very hard to interpret unless you know the other person well so underlying problems don’t get fixed, because the person doesn’t know what to fix, and it enables bad or rude people to take advantage of others. Seen through the lens of Western culture it can come across as passive-aggressive (“I won’t tell you exactly why I’m mad at you, but I’ll show you through some sort of indirect and seemingly unrelated slight or odd behavior, and you’re supposed to put the pieces together to figure out what you’ve done to offend me, but I won’t tell you if you’re right” – I’m not saying this is the attitude behind it, but this is how it can be perceived in the West). It can be really, really difficult for Westerners to “get” it because as a rule we tend to HATE that kind of behavior. “Just freakin’ TELL ME already! This is ridiculous!” we want to shout. So when someone from that culture wonders why Westerners seem to get so upset when all the folks on the Asian side of the culture divide were trying to do was keep society harmonious, well, maybe that’s why.

    As a Westerner in Asia I try to “get it” when this happens, but I’m not very good at it and I can’t say I’ve been very successful. It doesn’t help that it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. As a result my Taiwanese friends tend mostly to be 奇怪 – more direct people that other Taiwanese think are “strange”. I haven’t dated any locals in Taiwan, but if I did this would be a problem. While I’m inclined to forgive friends and others for this behavior given a good reason (like, it’s a cultural thing or some personal issue they can’t talk about), I’m still not one to forgive a lover who does this. It’s a dealbreaker for me.

    But it is absolutely NOT coming from a place of “selfishness”.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  50. askdsk
    askdsk July 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm | | Reply

    @Jenna Cody
    There are things you won’t fit in living in a different country. I actually think it is a good thing so you can keep your own sanity. I learned to understand why locals act in certain ways and know they won’t be as mobile as expats. On the other hand, returning “home” gives you fresh perspectives. Many complaints you have now will feel different later on. People like yourself will be more entitled to speak up. I don’t disagree with the motives and goals, but I think most Asians there are ambivalent towards changes and will only slowly warm up. You will always have the choice not to confirm as a foreigner. I don’t think Asians don’t want to listen, but they always want to be understood first.

    I agree China and Taiwan are two countries divided by a common language.

  51. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm | | Reply

    I find in Taiwan that people listen…yes, they want to be understood first, but they do listen…they just don’t show it immediately. So it seems as though they haven’t really listened or tried to understand, or quite literally didn’t hear you (that happens too – that feeling that someone didn’t even hear your words – they probably did but didn’t react). But actually, they did listen, and are taking your opinion into consideration.

    I’ve been surprised so many times by people I thought weren’t really interested in what I had to say who would later come out with an idea that they said I inspired in them by something I said…which I thought they hadn’t heard at all, or had heard and dismissed or forgotten!

    I’ve learned to get used to that, but it’s taken years.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  52. Michelle
    Michelle July 4, 2013 at 9:05 pm | | Reply

    @Jenna: That sounds exactly like my husband! There were times in the past where I talked to him about certain issues, and he didn’t really react or respond. But later on, I noticed that he did change or do something different the second time around. I’ve definitely learned that his actions mean a lot more than his words (or lack of words). One small example of how his actions don’t match his words is how he’s constantly saying a certain restaurant or certain foods are too expensive, but when he actually eats them, I can tell that he’s enjoying himself.
    Michelle recently posted..Things I Take For Granted in America

  53. askdsk
    askdsk July 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm | | Reply

    I guess the attitude in China changed. When you become more confident, you also tend to be more arrogrant. I found people respect less to western values. They still want certain western life styles.

    Should men disappear? I agree it is less efficient.If someone grows up to hide feelings and avoid shames of discussing problems, it is easy to understand the behavior. It is also easier to fade away like another commentor said. You learn to accept it and move on too.

  54. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 5, 2013 at 1:11 am | | Reply

    I agree that if a guy does The Fade, you just have to accept it and move on. You can’t force them to talk – it makes you look crazy (even if you’re totally not).

    I guess my main point is, that’s SUCH a dealbreaker for me – and it’s a culture difference I can’t get totally over (I can’t even stand it in my own culture, and yes, it does happen)…

    …that if the guy did that and then came back, I would not take him back. It would be a total dealbreaker.

    And if the relationship had a long history of problems that he didn’t want to discuss at all, culture or not, I’d break up with him.

    I am a lot more forgiving of friends, because friends aren’t people who may someday legally be family to you. Friends don’t live with you and share your life, but a romantic partner may. And so I need a partner (and have one!) who will openly discuss issues, and culture differences don’t change that.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  55. askdsk
    askdsk July 5, 2013 at 5:07 am | | Reply

    I think your line is thinking is not uncommon, even among Chinese woemn. But I see a few American women around me are all in their second or third marriage. I do not think most men feel like being on a leash. Women are also pickier. Most men might prefer a strong willed woman to be a friend than lover too.

  56. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 5, 2013 at 5:27 am | | Reply

    I don’t see how not accepting The Fade (as in, not forgiving a guy who comes back after doing it) is the same thing as “keeping a guy on a leash”. It’s not. It means having certain dealbreakers. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    And there’s nothing wrong with being a strong-willed woman – my feeling is, I haven’t found that guys generally prefer not to be with strong-willed women. In fact, some guys really like them. A lot more guys than you would think. And if a guy doesn’t like it, that’s not my problem, all it means is that he’s not the right guy for me.

    I actually broke up with someone over this. He felt that as “the man” that he should be in charge, make decisions, be the leader etc.. I don’t mind sharing leadership but I won’t be submissive or let someone else lead all the time…yet that was what he wanted. My fault for not seeing it sooner, but I could not accept that, so we broke up (he was Indian by the way). I still feel it was the right move – he had his ideas, and I couldn’t change them, but I also could not live by them.

    And, hey, maybe those divorces you mention are not due to the women’s personalities, but other factors? And if you know divorced American women, that means you know divorced American men, too (things may change now that gay marriage is becoming legal, but I assume you mean in the past when it wasn’t). Whatever caused the divorces was at least in some part their faults as much as the women. In fact, maybe the problem is that those men were too slow to catch up to the idea of women’s equality and independent thinking? So why focus on women getting divorced? Why not be egalitarian in your gender views?

    But being a strong-willed woman is a good thing, IMHO, and does not mean that your man is “on a leash”. Ask my husband if he thinks he’s on a leash. I am confident that he’d say no. I have my own style, but I never force anything on him, nor he on me.

    But that has nothing to do with the topic at hand – strong-willed or not, if a guy pulls the Fade on you, you’re perfectly in the right not to take him back.

  57. askdsk
    askdsk July 5, 2013 at 9:06 am | | Reply

    I think I will disappear.

  58. Jenna Cody
    Jenna Cody July 5, 2013 at 10:33 am | | Reply

    Interesting, to disappear the moment someone questions your ideas about gender roles and views on women.

    It’s not like I’m saying anything that modern ideas about equality and, you know, not being sexist haven’t said. It’s not like the idea that it’s OK for a woman to be strong-willed is revolutionary.

    Perhaps it is time you considered it.
    Jenna Cody recently posted..They Push And They Pull

  59. askdsk
    askdsk July 5, 2013 at 11:46 am | | Reply

    Sometimes you disppear because you can not win. I know it is lame in your opinion. Instead of getting bitter, you want to avoid people to save yourself.
    I see people like Mary asks questions about themselves also. That seems a good indication for successful relationships.

    Truth hurts. I respect people’s aversion to it.

    @ Jenna
    I will not reply to you anymore. Call me whatever you wish.

  60. forest
    forest July 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm | | Reply

    Strong will “my way or high way”.
    We all need to learn how to compromise.

  61. forest
    forest July 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm | | Reply

    Sorry, I mean Strong will does not equal to “my way or high way”.

    The unequal sign did not show for some reasons :(

  62. ackeibler
    ackeibler July 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm | | Reply

    When I first started dating my current boyfriend, who is Chinese, we had a rocky start. We work for the same company, but hadn’t really “met” until we all went on a company vacation to the beach, and his manager dragged him into drinking beer with the foreigners.

    After talking for a few weeks, we decided to officially be boyfriend and girlfriend. But immediately after, he was stand-offish. He was studying to take the exam to work as a government official (I forget the exact name of that), and that he needed some space. So, I gave him some space, and did what I could to be helpful — I brought him his favorite snack and drink into work each day, wished him goodnight early, and tried to be as cheerful as possible so he didn’t stress.

    As it turns out, he didn’t really like getting those drinks and snacks. He said it made him feel bad because he couldn’t give me anything in return. He broke up with me about a week later. He said he was just too busy for a girlfriend, and that his parents — whom I’d never met — didn’t like me anyway. He told me that he didn’t think I was really all that pretty and that we were a bad match, BUT he still wanted to be friends, AFTER his exam was over. He also told me that if he passed his exam and got a government job, he wanted to start dating me again because then he could afford a house.

    MIXED SIGNALS MUCH?!

    He took his exam, failed it, and never communicated with me again. Until I decided to text him. After that, we started spending ever weekend together. I gave him English lessons, which all turned out to be just sitting and talking to each other in Chinese or playing outside or having a beer. He took me mountain climbing and out to the movies. But he swore he had no feelings for me whatsoever and that we were just good friends. I hated hearing that, but I figured having a good friend was a good deal, too.

    Then, it came time for Spring Festival. He invited me to go home with him (Inner Mongolia)… but insisted it was just so I could see the farmlands there. Still no feelings for me. But on the train ride up, we slept on each others’ shoulders, and a few days after arriving at his house, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

    Later, I found out that his parents had protested me coming, but he told them to f*ck off and not interfere with his life. A pretty bold move!!! As it turns out, his parents and I get along great. His mom even gave me a talk on safe sex with her son. Now, we’re sharing an apartment, and we are both head-over-heels for each other. He says that he “got used” to me. To this day, I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not… but I do know that his feelings are VERY genuine, and it’s a complete turn around from the Disappearing Man/You’re Ugly Go Away act that happened only a few weeks after we got together.

    So, that’s a long story… but hopefully one that will help you. In my case, I’m 99% sure that it was based on a negative experience that had nothing to do with me (and maaaaybe a small bit of culture differences that he wasn’t used to, but didn’t want to work through because of his stress). I would suggest you give your guy a bit of space, but don’t disappear yourself. He probably values your friendship more than you realize. It took us four months to go from being distant to being back in a relationship, but the subtle persistence was worth it.

  63. Mary
    Mary July 8, 2013 at 12:51 am | | Reply

    ackeibler, wow your story is really amazing. And an inspiring one! Your guy must be a very interesting person!! I’m very happy that it worked out good for you. It must have been painful at the beginning for you… You have been strong and smart!
    Money, job, studies… always seem to be an impediment for men to have a girlfriend, but for us it is not what really matters, we just need the love, everything else can come and go but finding a person that we love is the most precious thing.
    Thanks for your words of advice, I think you are right and I will remember them!

  64. xingfenzhen
    xingfenzhen February 26, 2014 at 9:26 am | | Reply

    They just disappear because they don’t want to or don’t know how to break up. There could be many reasons, just as there are many reasons in normal break ups. It’s not a cultural things, but more of a maturity thing. After all, there is a lot drama in break ups, and just walking away from it is much easier.

    The only Chinese specific thing I can think of is the lack of school romances in China. After all, in a school setting, you can’t just disappear. So few people actually have experience in actually ending relationships when things are not going in the right direction and they don’t have the courage to spell it out and call things off, especially when there is no fault involved. Also the guys may start to change their behavior and starts to act like a bad boyfriend just so you can force to break up with him.

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