To the Girl Whose Boyfriend’s ¥8,000/Mo Salary “Wasn’t Enough”

(Photo by Thomas Hawk via

My husband and I were having dinner the other night at a vegetarian restaurant in Hangzhou. It just so happens that you were dining only a few feet across from us with your girlfriend.

When we first sat down, I saw the both of you enjoying a bowl of the sour and spicy vegetarian “fish” soup with pickled vegetables. I remembered how delicious that dish was, and how I hadn’t ordered it in a long time. I thought to myself, those girls have good taste.

But that was before my husband and I overheard your conversation.

You told your friend about how dissatisfied you were with your boyfriend. You said his salary of “only” 8,000 RMB a month wasn’t good enough. You flicked your expensively dyed long hair aside with great disdain as you said, “He can’t possibly support me.”

Your girlfriend, wearing black faux-leather leggings and stiletto-heeled boots just like you, nodded in agreement.

The two of you went on to belittle this young man, who you fell in love with in college, for another reason. His hometown was somewhere outside of Hangzhou. It was yet another black mark against him. Yet more proof he would never be “rich enough” for you.

I’ve heard this sort of thing before.

Years ago I learned that, for many people in China, marriage is all about having a home, car and money. I understand that women often evaluate men based on these marriage must-haves. I’m aware that there was even a girl on TV who once famously said she’d rather be crying in the back of a BMW than smiling on the back of a bicycle.

There’s a woman in China who once told me, “The purpose of life and marriage is to make money.” On the surface, she has it all. She and her husband own at least five apartments, drive a brand new BMW, have a son, and earn lots of money through the family business.

But privately, she is the saddest woman I have ever met.

She is bitter and constantly complains. Despite her huge bank accounts, she is stingy to the core. Her husband has cheated on her; she fights with him all the time. Her son is on the way to becoming a juvenile delinquent. For a time, things were so bad that she actually threatened to commit suicide.

I would not be surprised if she had cried in the backseat of her shiny new BMW.

Never would I wish to change places with this woman, even though she has so much money. I’ve realized I’m actually happier than she ever will be. There are far more important things in life her money can never buy. A peaceful, happy marriage. Love. Friendship. Kindness. Generosity. The ability to see hope in the darkest hours.

You can’t measure these things in dollars or yuan. I don’t care what that woman once told me – money isn’t everything. It never was.

So if you decide to break up with this guy just because he makes ¥8,000 a month and isn’t from Hangzhou, there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

If you end up marrying a wealthier man, maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe he’ll be a nice guy who just happens to be rich.

But if he isn’t so nice after all, then maybe you’ll discover what it’s really like to have tears in your eyes in the back of your luxury car.

And if that happens, believe me when I say this: I won’t be crying for you.

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32 Replies to “To the Girl Whose Boyfriend’s ¥8,000/Mo Salary “Wasn’t Enough””

  1. The thing is a lot of us won’t put up with their crap.

    I became significantly wealthier in my 30s. I tire of the dates where it is pretty much a job interview. The first question asked how much do you make.

    You steer it away and it goes back to money again.

    I figured it’s cheaper to have a surrogate for my potential sons/daughters.

  2. When we applied for my husband’s green card here, I had to prove that I was rich enough to afford to support him!

    But he has told me that his nephew back in China doesn’t even try to find a wife because he knows that he doesn’t make enough money at the age of 32.

  3. Dating out of race is an option, but the playing field is yet to be leveled.

    Asian Men Discriminated Against in Dating:

    1. I see that the anime fans in Belgium for example fancy Asians very much, you just have to look at the right place’s, and dancings are not one of them 😉

  4. Very good article. I have also seen this from time to time during my time in China. It is sad. My husband has been through those interviews for a date with a Chinese girl and he was sick of it. I can imagine why.

  5. I’ve met plenty of American women with the same thought process. One had a mother who always told her entitled daughter, “A man should always pay for the pleasure of your company.” When a group of us took her boyfriend out for his birthday, she wouldn’t even chip in. Even on his birthday, she felt he should always pay for her meal. The rest of us chipped in extra to pay for her so her boyfriend wouldn’t have to.

    I was aghast when she explained this mentality. I MAY have told her that I have far more respect for an honest prostitute who lays out her fees in advance.

  6. I wonder how those women do before they get married. Do they work and then after they get married they expect to be “taken care of”? I’ve always shuddered at the word 养 as in 养老婆 (support, provide for your wife), it’s the same verb used to raise kids or pets… as if a wife is a pretty little thing you have to take care of because she’s unable to do anything by herself. I told my boyfriend from the first minute that I didn’t need anyone to “support” me.

    On the other hand, let’s look at the problem from the other side. What about those men whose main requirement for a partner is that she is skinny and beautiful? I’m sorry, but those kind of people (men looking for dolls and women looking for wallets) totally deserve what they end up getting…

    1. Oooohh, this is an excellent point. Met a lot of men in the dance world that wouldn’t so much as look at a girl who wasn’t half their age and half their weight.

  7. A lot has to do with imbalances in power for one reason or another. I haven’t personally met any gold-diggers in the United States, although we hear about cases like Donald Trump, where a rich man keeps marrying younger, more beautiful wives.

    When we lived in the Philippines, it was common for Filipino women to marry older, presumably richer, Western men.

    I suppose the imbalance in China is related to the larger number of males in the population and the girls taking advantage of it.

    1. Hi Nicki,

      I agree with this ‘gold digging’ coming from an imbalance of power but I don’t think it’s just to do with the skewed sex ratio in China. My husband and his colleagues are very open about what they get paid at work (although I think they’re supposed to be discreet about it…!) and his female colleagues really get paid pittence.

      Although there are differences in his colleagues education/work background it’s not enough to justify the difference in salaries.

      It’s never occurred to me to marry for money but then if I got paid what some of these women do then things might be different!

  8. In my case, it was somewhat reversed. D doesn’t earn a lot. I’m still studying but once I start working, I will earn about $2000 a month. His family requires him to give them a large portion of their money every month, and I freelance and have never asked him for more than a quick dinner, which he insisted to pay for. However,despite being low maintenance as anything, it wasn’t good enough for his family. I still need to eventually marry him, have kids with him.
    And all the wonderful things that come with marriage. Suddenly the realization came that they won’t get their monthly allowance from him if we were to get married so the quick solution: force him to breakup with me. It’s sad how jtseeverec to some extent in this case.

    1. Oh, Eleni, that’s terrible. The Ruby Ronin talked about that once, the idea that a Chinese son was expected to support his parents. 🙁

      I guess I am lucky that Andy only has to help buy his parents washing machines.

  9. I have known white women who were “bought” by rich Asian men. One white woman’s father literally demanded bride price from his future son in law who was very wealthy, in return for having to tell friends his son-in-law is Chinese. This was back in 1987. Then there was this Japanese guy who literally bought his white Aussie wife from her parents. So right or wrong, money plays a major role. There was also a report somewhere, that an Asian guy has to be able earn at least five times more than the white guy to be considered dateable by a white woman.

    1. I don’t know about that, David. My Chinese-American guy impressed be because he could cook and dance.

      On the other hand, maybe earning 5 times more than your peers is easier.

    2. I don’t know about that, David. My Chinese-American guy impressed me because he could cook and dance.

      On the other hand, maybe earning 5 times more than your peers is easier.

  10. As I said I’ve been looking into Surrogacy. Eggs $2-3000. Fertilization in a lab $2000. Surrogacy in Russia $22,000.

    $30,000 if you want a child. Cheaper than getting married.

  11. Asian men who are fluently in English massively migrate to the West for better materialistic life, mostly got eliminated by women in the western world. Western women travel to the East out of curiosity who may accept Asian men as a person, found out local men mostly have very limited English proficiency.

    Yuuuuuuuuge. I mean huge mismatch.

    For men of color esp. Asian men in the western world, most of us are surrounded by women from the colonial oppressors (they don’t demean us these days, they ignore us instead); some of us gained access, more of us got eliminated, most of us are treated as incomplete human beings. Sexual preference is highly determined by racial phenotype; neotenous Asian men are treated as adolescent boys instead of datable men, requiring higher income than men from other groups to compensate this insufficiency. Keep connection with women of the same ethnic group is the safest bet, though for our tradition it’s kinda “no money no romance”.

    If a man find woman from another ethnic group attractive, try to befriend with the men of the same group to see if it is possible to get along with this ethnic group. At the end of the day, spiritual compatibility matters more than superficial physical attraction. Stay and work in the US, at least I know I am not compatible with Anglo-Germans.

    1. I have to disagree with this Jaime Lau as I’ve been previously asked out by two different Chinese men while living in the UK, however it was the language barrier then that was the problem, not their earning power of appearance.

      Neither of those two guys that asked me out were fluent and it was quite difficult to have an easy conversation – a lot of the time I would have to guess their meaning or supply words which they then didn’t understand.

      Money/appearance has never been a barrier for me dating asian men specifically, it’s always been language barrier.

      1. Guess you are from the UK. Tough these days to get marriage visas into UK with Theresa May and Amber Rudd in charge and the Chinese men probably know this as well.

    2. “Stay and work in the US, at least I know I am not compatible with Anglo-Germans.”

      These days when you deal with white Americans especially in the south or the Midwest, you will always have to wonder whether they voted for Trump, particularly if they are evangelical or church going whites.

  12. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” ♡

    Jocelyn, you are incredibly blessed, from what I’ve read of your blog posts over the past couple of years, to have such a handsome, compassionate and ambitious husband like Jun/John! ♡

    If that woman’s lucky, she’ll have a very rude awakening of reality – if not, then ignorance is bliss, I guess. =/

  13. While money matters some, it should not be more important than famI’ll or friends. What should matter is how that person is towards you and whether or not one can depend on them in emergencies. What is money if it comes between a couple and causes one to act rashly and Selfishly?

  14. I am in agreement that the dating situation in China is such that the woman judges the man based on his earnings and income. This is truly an unfortunate situation. I think that in South America, women don’t give a big emphasis on money as much as the quality of the man. I was relatively poor compared to the others and my wife from Brazil still chose to marry me. So, look to S. America, my fellow Chinese men.

  15. Sadly, racism and sexism, like many other social topics, are taboos for the ruling party, and to be shunned by media and education. To the extent that racist and sexist behavior is seen as what is normal. There is no need for “political correctness”, if you are oblivious to what is wrong in the first place. Oh what bliss is ignorance is…

  16. I wish this wasn’t so commonplace in China. I hate how everything is about $$$.

    I’m taking a class about postwar-present Japan and it seems that during Japan’s industrial boom the women over there had similar standards. In 80’s Japan, they wanted the three ‘highs’ (or takai, the word for high in Japanese): height is takai, salary is takai, intelligence is takai.

    Now in modern day Japan, they only ask for three things: Smart, funny, interesting.

    My professor’s comment (who is female) threw me off the most. She said:
    “I feel bad for the guys. Before they could just buy a house and make some money to get a girl. Now, they have to be interesting. Now that’s a lot harder to do!”

    Maybe China will grow out of its material phase too?

  17. I am 4th generation American Japanese, and my husband is Taiwanese born Chinese (came to the States when he was in grammar school). When I am “introduced” to my husband’s family acquaintances, I am praised for imaginary qualities I don’t have, i.e. detail-orientation, neatness, culinary prowess and general good-dog behaviour (I am naturally ornery, somewhat untidy, and unbelievably foulmouthed/scathing, thus car windows are always shut).

    Neither of us are particularly wealthy; I am the stay at home wife, and he now works as what equates to as production/qc manager at the industrial manufacturing business my father in law/mother in law run (who are privately well off, having profited in the Taiwan-China business rush in the 80s, as well as multiple property investments). We ended up married after a long courtship because we we realized we could spend our lives together with minimal desire to strangle or divorce one another, or worse, regret having children together and feeling trapped to our dying days.

    I’ve been to mainland China, the urban areas of Nanjing and Beijing specifically, and it was awful. Pollution, crowding, traffic, food safety, and strangers were very rude (seemed especially so to someone “white” like me). Taiwan has its share of pollution, backwardness and corruption, but natives take everything at a much more relaxed pace and attitude, almost unreasonably friendly.

    The cultural differences in either place can be incredibly grating, as you’ve found out. “Chinese” have an almost nil concept of what “Westerners” consider personal space, rhetorical or literal.

    My stepmother in law purchased a new apartment, thinking we (husband and I) would live with her and father in law. Less than a week in, I told my husband “I appreciate the lengths she is going to, but there is no way this can continue without one of us murdering the other.” She is a very driven, successful career businesswoman, and I respect her greatly for that and how much better she cares for my father in law (ex mother in law is a total two-faced troll). But I underlined to my husband that she and I are both fairly OCD, and while I am happy with having zero friends (six years in a new country and I still no new friends, but I am the type to tire easily from even convenience store socialization), my mother in law has zero social entanglements that are not family or business acquaintances (business lunches and dinners for days). He calls her a highly functioning sociopath, and she probably is. Her way is the right way, and if you can’t read her mind, you are poo on her shoe.

    I’ve had them discussing my fertility treatments over meal time (among other things, they tried to attend gynecological exams even), and decided to put my foot down fast. I didn’t want my mother in law to help me do the sitting month after I gave birth, bless her heart (ended up checking into a confinement hotel, expensive but worth it), I didn’t want to fly from Taiwan to her new villa in Nanjing while pregnant or with a newborn in tow. The stubbornness was half for me, and half because I know my husband loves his father to bits, and would, on his own, not say no to something “makes her happy, so it makes dad happy, so I’ll just do it even if I’m totally miserable”. She is loveable from a distance, so a distance we keep her at.

    My own grandmother had a very similar temperment, so I had plenty of practice saying no.

    I am lucky in that I can minimize my contact with my in laws. My sister in law is kind of, I hate to say it, an ignorant bumpkin (her cooking is always somehow awful, she fell off her moped whilst pregnant and never went to the hospital, and she commonly asks certain kinds of questions “Why is the sun so bright?”). But she is very kind, devoted to family, and is a saint for not dumping my brother in law (intelligent, but prone ridiculously poor decisionmaking and motor vehicle accidents). I dislike her because she an insufferable gossip who trash talks behind my husband’s back, and never disciplines her children (they were always running around at family dinners, destroying decorations and such, to the staffs’ dismay, im addition to outright ignoring/disrespecting their grandparents outside of being given gifts).

    Japanese families play the “face” game much more subtly so perhaps the comparison is unfair. I have learned, before marrying into my husband’s family, that I should respect those who deserve it, to wait for my elders and small children, that No means NO (most especially when people are pushing food on you and you’ve taken from almsot every dish on the table already, or someone is offering my child or I food that we are immediate-projectile-vomit allergic to). They’re always watching and judging, and after all these years, I don’t have the capacity or energy to waste one caring about their feeling miffed. We are all adults, and should be able to agree to disagree.

    The greatest hurdle is remembering to not stand down on the things that are important to you. And hopefully, your husband will support you, help you find compromises, take the time to understand why you are thinking/feeling/reacting the way you do to situations that stress you. You have made a choice of love, to live to a totally foreign place to be with him, not his family (although, you’ll never really get away from them!).

    It takes a certain strength, or social apathy, to be able to tell these people “No”. Not everyone can, and it takes a different kind of strength to perservere through constant unhappiness. They place priority on family and hierarchy, and you come from a culture of self-determination and individualism. Chinese/asian men must come to see that a woman who is looking to be taken care of/paid for is not worth his time, and a woman should come to see that a man looking for a second mom needs to hire a maid and move on. Marriage isn’t a game that ends at the altar. You aren’t stuck with this person forever, you choose to be with this person, and they, you.

    But it largely what it boils down to is…


    That, and learning to make your own tacos from scratch, because hell if you’re ever going to find a place with proper pork carnitas.

  18. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting a successful man. Money doesn’t make you happy, but being poor can make you miserable. Also, oftentimes money correlates with having a skill set or the motivation to better oneself which are admirable traits in a man.

    Don’t get me wrong this girl sounds shallow as hell, but western women are the exact same way. The only reason Americans don’t brag about their take home is because talking about money is less socially acceptable.

    As someone from America who has had his ups and downs, I can assure you that no women was interested in me when I was broke and had a dead end job.

    If you actually don’t care what your man’s take home is then you make up the minority of women and your man is lucky. However, considering that 1/3 of american women divorce their husbands, take half the money, the kids, and make the guy live in a 2 bedroom apartment while they live in a half million dollar home and are sleeping with some $%#$… I am going to go out on a limb and say that Asian women are at least a little better than their white counterparts in terms of loyalty (not gonna talk about their men >.>).

    This girl is probably going to use her boyfriend like a walking talking credit card for beauty products until she finds someone better off and then dump him. But I don’t envy women like that even though they live easy lives. Once they hit 50 they will realize that they produced nothing for society and wonder at how ultimately unfulfilling their existence has been. C’est la vie

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