Guest Post: Crying Over Him After 5 & A Half Years

What if the love you always hoped for never came to be, despite how hard you tried to make it happen? That’s what happened to an anonymous woman who desperately loved a young Chinese man who went to her university. She shares their story in this emotional post.

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By Rick Obst from Eugene, United States – Spring House Chinese Restaurant, CC BY 2.0,

Five and a half years ago, I met you for the first time when I went out to eat at a small Chinese restaurant with my grandmother. It was a magical moment to me even still today.

I was much younger then, fresh out of high school and going to a little community college. You had just moved to America to start at the university soon. I was in the same boat; about to transfer into the same university, but also in a poor and unhappy relationship.

The moment I saw you, you looked at me and smiled, even though it was an obligatory smile to the customer, I felt that smile all the way to my toes, and I remember blushing so hard I thought my head might pop.

You wore glasses just like me, I still remember they were circle frames, and you looked so handsome. You kind of reminded me of Harry Potter, because that was still pretty big then, right? But you were also Chinese, and you didn’t speak much.

Oh, but I tried so hard to talk to you. I tried really, really hard.

I had already learned some Chinese beforehand, but you renewed it. I started bringing a dictionary every time my grandmother and I ate there. When I turned 20, I wrote it out, in Chinese, telling you it was my birthday. I remember you smiling a little but you still never talked to me.

Then one day you did talk to me. As we talked a little bit, you made me love a culture I knew so little about a little bit more, because you were a part of it. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know you.

I fell in love.

My relationship ended. I looked for you. I tried. I couldn’t have done more than if I waved a flag in your face that said, “Please, ask me out!”

I knew you liked me. I saw it on your face. The way you acted. How you talked when you said hello. How you smiled at me differently than the other customers when I would come in. How you would ask the other servers to trade with you so you could have me at your table and you could sit and talk. How close you would get to me even though it was in front of my grandmother. You even started testing my Chinese, seeing what new I might have learned on my own.

But, you never asked me out.

Then someone else did, someone else took the chance and asked me out. I remember thinking about you. I thought about how no matter how much I tried, or poked, or talked, or bugged, or wrote sweet things in my poor attempts at Chinese, you didn’t want to ask me out. So I said yes.

Then you actually asked me out, after I had already said yes! You asked me to go shopping with you, because you needed a new jacket for winter and didn’t know where to go. You waited too long and I said yes.

But I went shopping with you anyways. I explained that since I was just helping you find a good store, it would be ok. I remember how fun we had had. How well we had gotten along. All the misunderstandings when we tried talking but you would reassure me that it was ok. It was so perfect and fun.

But I had already said yes to someone else, and it ended that day.

When I told you that I intended to go out with the guy, because I had said yes, you never talked to me again. Never.

Then I had gone to the college with the one I said yes to one day. I was helping him reregister for school because he wanted to go back. You were there in the office, and you looked up, surprised to see me there with him. I remember seeing you, and remembering how hard I had fallen for you. I made myself swallow it all down, because I cared about the man I was sitting next to as well. I had already made my choice and commitment. But you smiled at me, and came over to us, and talked to us. You mostly talked to him, I remember that. But it made me so happy to talk to you again. And then you let me exchange phone numbers with you again. Our friendship felt like it was at least renewed. I tried to approach it as just friends.

But for three years, we never really talked again. Not much. We ran into each other often, chatted a little, and would catch up.

Then last year, you surprised me. You did something out of the ordinary. You called me on the phone, and told me that you had a gift for me. It was so surprising. You wanted me to go out to lunch with you and catch up.

My god, I said yes! I didn’t care, I missed you so much.

We talked for hours, all night. We went out again, and again, at least 5 more times. We talked about the past, about everything we had done. We talked about the one time that we had gone out and how awkward it had been.

Then I told you how badly I had wanted you to ask me out. Then you confessed that you had thought I was so cute and it was sweet that I would eat every Sunday with my grandmother. You told me that all your coworkers had teased you and questioned you why you had never asked me out. Who cares if I had had a boyfriend at first, they told you. I clearly liked you more and I was unhappy. You even told me, you remember seeing us together and that I never stopped looking at you the whole time. You said how mean he had been towards me from the moment I had come inside. You remembered all of that.

You told me you had never realized how much I had liked you. You always assumed I wouldn’t want to go out with you. You laughed as we talked, because you couldn’t believe how foolish you were to not have noticed.

But now it was too late.

Every date we went on, you were more attentive then the last. You went back to teaching me about your culture. You told me things that I should know before I went to China. You even scolded me for using my chopsticks improperly but were impressed that I could use them so well. You called me a Chinese girl in disguise when I explained some of my beliefs and dreams and hopes. I told you how my number one dream was to be a mother and good wife. You liked that. You didn’t think many American girls wanted that anymore. You liked that I wanted to be a teacher, and I liked you just sharing things with me about your childhood and your past and what your home was like.

Then you came to me one night online, after seeing me so often now. I wanted to go out again soon. I wanted to show you a great place to go hiking and have picnics. It was my favorite place in the world. I told you, you could bring friends here. We could bring friends too.

But you stopped me.

You told me you had gone to talk to one of your professors. “I asked my professor if it was wrong for me to want to try and take a girl from her boyfriend,” you said. “I never hung out with you in the past as much as I have these last few weeks. I never realized what a great a girl you are. You are a lot like Chinese girls. I really like you. I want you to be my girlfriend.”

You said that to me, and I didn’t know what to say at first.

Then you continued, and told me, “But I respect your boyfriend. I like him. He is a good man and you seem happy with him, I’m not going to talk to you anymore after today. We shouldn’t be friends. I had fun together though.”

I cried.

I cried for hours. Every time I thought about you, my eyes watered and I had to swallow the pain I felt deep in my chest. I cared for and loved my boyfriend. But my feelings for you had never changed. They had never died. I know and feel I can only blame myself. But I’ve chosen my path and I can’t stray from it. Some things have to be set in stone.

But here I am writing this right now. That’s because tonight, tonight I re-lived that moment I first met you 5 and a half years ago.

You walked into the store I work at now. You turned and looked at me, with shock in your eyes, and a smile creeping onto your lips. A smile spread across mine, and I felt the tingle in my toes again. For a brief moment, I felt that giddy feeling again of seeing you.

And you talked to me.

I told you it was my last semester of college, and it was yours too. But I had customers I had to take care of. You wanted to linger. You skirted around, trying to talk to me. But I was busy. So I smiled, and I said, “You can message me online.”

But then your smile was gone.

You looked away, just briefly and told me “I can’t, not anymore.” The pain came back again. My hurt came back, but I just smiled it off. “Are you seeing someone now?” I asked you. You said yes. “That’s great,” I said. You still lingered though, you wanted to talk to me more. I could see it. When the line formed again you apologized and left, with a short good bye. You didn’t even buy the thing you had come in to buy.

So I swallowed my pain.

The customer looked at me and asked, “Is he your boyfriend? You two really seem to have a connection.” I didn’t know what else to say but, “No, we just used to be good friends.

Tonight, I am here crying over you again.

I don’t know what else to do but to cry and accept the fact that all that remains between us is gone. Not even a friendship remains. In a year I will leave for japan. I don’t know where you will be after your graduation. You were still trying to stay in America, but you know you may return to China for good as well.

I can only hope and pray you are happy, and that I made the right choices. That, eventually, whatever it is that I still feel for you will go away one day. That it will become just another fond distant, sometimes painful, memory.

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23 Replies to “Guest Post: Crying Over Him After 5 & A Half Years”

  1. Oh my gosh, that is so sad! My heart is just breaking for you. I so wish you could get in touch with him, and tell him you two were really meant to be.

  2. I feel for you. 5 years and a half is quite some time and you still remember him. You really fell for this Asian guy, he is so lucky, I wish things turned out the way that you want to for both of you. Anyway crying is good for the soul. I wish for your healing and recovery, who knows you might bumped into one another someday and if that day comes I wish he would be happy to see you again.

  3. Hello,

    Such a sad and beautiful sorry. I can really relate to it as I was in the same situation before. I hope you stay strong. Please be fine, I know you can.
    Stay safe dear xx

      1. Thank you Jocelyn for posting this. I am so glad to find out I am not alone.

        I am a Chinese engineer working in the bay area and I am now in the same situation except I am the customer. There is this waitress with whom I have been flirting for four months. I started to become a weekly regular customer and I even bought and gave her a toy wedding ring because she joked about it several times.

        However I was not able to make the next move to get her number and take her out because either:

        1) She is not at work.
        2) She seems really busy and we do not have the chance to have a conversation that lasts for minutes.
        3) I am too shy because I am usually surrounded by other customers.

        It took me a long time to find the right moment to give her the ring and the same opportunity just never seems to come again. This almost drives me crazy.

        1. Thanks for the comment — and so sorry it has been hard for you to make the next move. Have you ever tried just directly asking her, “When do you get off work?” When she answers, you could suggest hanging out after her shift, which is not an uncommon way to get some time with a waiter/waitress you like.

  4. My heart bleeds.

    This is just another where have all the good men gone type post.

    There is or rather was a good man who you declined and immediately put into the friend zone in preference for somebody else.

    Yet now you regret your choice and you try play victim when you put yourself into those boots?

    You’re almost saying as if Asian men are your backup or something you settle for in case your first choice doesn’t work our. Gee what a way to dehumanise us even more.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I don’t believe the author declined him in the way you suggest. If you read the story, you’ll see she wanted to go out with him and sent him signals she was interested; he didn’t pick up on it. Later when she was going out with another guy, she wanted to stop dating him and date this Chinese guy instead; this time, he declined her.

      In retrospect, I’m sure both of them could have done something differently to make this relationship possible. Certainly, she could have taken the initiative at first. It’s quite possible he didn’t read her signals well b/c of cultural differences.

  5. The wounds are probably fresh, but to an outside observer (who can relate!) you’re still early in the grieving process. Life and love don’t always have happy endings. Sometimes when we’re so fixated on a person we think that person is the “one” and fall into a mental trap. The truth is you did have a great connection with this guy, but your mind chose to only remember the happy moments and fantasize about the potential future together. You’ll get over him (aided by a period of no contact) and develop a connection with someone else, guaranteed. This is not the end of the world.

    At the same time, with Asian men you have to take the initiative a bit. I know you say that you could not have been clearer with your signals of interest, but he did tell you that he still thought you weren’t interested. You literally have to take the initiative of asking him out on a date and even initiating the kiss sometimes.

  6. As a asian american guy, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask her out. But I understand my asian brothers from the motherland. The dating culture is different , and on top of that theirs the fact that for them they probably think white women wouldn’t even give them a chance.

  7. So sorry to hear your story. I’m sure it’s hurting as much as it hurts you. I was in a stituation like this before 25 years ago and every time I see someone like that girl it makes me feel really sad in spite of how long it has been. First, it has to do with the way we were brought up. In Chinese culture, if a girl has a boyfriend we are taught to stay away because we don’t want be a thief. It is the philosophy that if one had a girlfriend, one would not want someone to steal from us either. The second reason is the environment in North America. We often see how Chinese guys are portrayed negatively by the media, so it usually takes a while for them to develop the courage to ask a white girl out. With already a lower self esteem, failure would only make it worse. So it takes the Chinese guy much longer to warm up before he can ask the white girl out. He wants to ensure that he stands a chance before he asks.

  8. Clearly neither of you know what you were doing, he much more so than you. I still feel you, as someone who’d been there and done that.

    A very wise prof of mine once said:
    “Even forlorn lovers who are separated by force do not die of love denial… Not all unrequited love leads to depression (it can produce a wry sense of humour).” But you have to put your mind to it.

    I’d say one truly happy relationship is enough to redeem yourself of this and all past failures. And when that happens, you’ll know.

    Good luck & enjoy Japan!

  9. 缘分 yuanfen is such a funny thing sometimes. I can relate to this story in some ways. I had my best guy friend that I cried about for three years. He didn’t want to try to be with me when we had many opportunties to be together. In fact, he wanted me to wait 8 years! (Still 3 or so years, but I don’t think we’ll end up together.)

    I cried about a Chinese guy I never met until last year. We had 6+ years of friendship that ended because I wanted it to end ( he has a girlfriend for about two years now and I decided it’s not worth it.)

    I just wanted to let you know you’re not the only one who has had so much pain inflicted upon them for loving someone at the wrong time. Much love

  10. This reminds me of an old Chow Yun-Fat movie “Hong Kong 1941…..The girl clearly wanted him, but Chow’s best friend was in love with her, so Chow stepped out of the way….And the film ended in typical heroic fashion (for CYF, that is….) He is on a refugee boat fleeing Hong Kong with his friend and the girl when a Japanese navy ship intercepts them (this was about the time of World War II, after all) and CYF does the only “decent” thing….He detonates an explosive (thereby killing himself) on the Japanese vessel insuring that his friend and the girl they both love, are able to flee to safety….I don’t know, but I can identify much more easily with a guy who decides to forgo romance so as not to harm an existing friendship…..But the woman could never forget him…Especially as the movie begins with her many years later, reminiscing about the past….The way I see it, it’s all about “doing the right thing,” and sometimes, it’s not about being with someone…..

  11. Yeah, I am rereading this where he says, ““But I respect your boyfriend. I like him. He is a good man and you seem happy with him, I’m not going to talk to you anymore after today. We shouldn’t be friends. I had fun together though.”

    I dunno, but that really resonates with me cuz I could I could see myself saying the same thing to a girl, even if I had feelings for her and I felt that her existing BF was a “good guy,” even if I didn’t know him that well, except by reputation….

    And I don’t see that type of response as necessarily an “Asian male” thing….

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