Dear Ms Wai — Ex is Breaking Us Up!

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I’m Italian marrying a Chinese guy next month. However I got a text from his ex-girlfriend of several years ago. She says they are childhood sweethearts and she thinks a Chinese guy could never truly love a foreigner. She accused me of being the third wheel and made it seem like I was some mistress who stole him. They broke up long before I even met him! I knew about his ex but he made it seem like a long time ago, and they never talk. But now that we are a month away from our wedding she’s ruining everything. My parents and a few friends have already bought their tickets for the wedding and everything is booked for a big party at a nearby luxury hotel. We took our wedding photos a few weeks ago and we look so in love but now I don’t know. He says he is still willing to marry me but he can’t guarantee he will always love me.  I mean, no one can guarantee that of course, but shouldn’t he be more optimistic about that on his wedding day?!

Meanwhile his mom flew in when she heard the news and she is begging me to still marry him, that everything will work out in the end. She says he’s just nervous but deep down he loves me. I appreciate her support but now I have cold feet too. How can I marry him knowing what I know now?! But how can I cancel the wedding after so many people have put so much money into it?!

We were so happy last week. This ex-girlfriend ruined everything!

-The Crying Bride-to-Be

First thing first, put all those people coming and all that “money spent” out of your mind. That plays no part in this huge decision you are about to make. Refunds can given, plane tickets can be used to visit for fun (instead of a wedding) and really none of that matters. There is no way you want marry a guy just because your mom bought a plane ticket. (Although I suspect your true worry isn’t the money but rather the shame. That cancelling at the last minute would be some sort of judgement against you and you don’t want to feel embarrassed in front of your closest friends and family. Again, forget about this. It won’t help your decision.)

Instead, focus on him. You say he loved you last week and this week he changed suddenly. People don’t change suddenly without a reason. It could be this wedding. He could be very nervous about settling down and starting a family and sees this as a way out, or a way to avoid the responsibility.

Or he could have been secretly in love with his ex all this time and her coming forward is his dream come true and all he wants to do marry her and have a million babies and live happily ever after.

Without more information I don’t know which is true.

One phone call wouldn’t be able to break an unshakable love. So what’s really going on?

But what I do know is this is not a new concern for him. It’s something he has been thinking for awhile but wasn’t brave enough to speak it out. Because no one can change someones mind that quickly. You say he was in love with you last week, and after the call from the ex he is not longer certain.

That’s bull.

If he was really truly madly in love with you, nothing an ex could say would change his mind. He would defend you, defend your relationship and love and tell her to move on with his life. But instead he thought, “she has a point…”

You don’t want a guy “willing” to marry you. You want a guy desperate to marry you. You want a guy that loves you so much right now he can’t imagine living his life without you.

So now you got to figure out why? Why is he suddenly changing his tune? Is it really because of this ex? If they truly haven’t contacted each other in years, then I’m gonna say no. But is it something she said?

Does you guy think maybe a foreigner and Chinese relationship is too hard to work? Does he think your standards are too high and he will have to work too hard to get a bigger house for his foreign bride and pay high tuition costs at an international school for your kid? Have you talked about maybe someday going back to Europe and he’s agreed but maybe see’s that as more pressure and something he doesn’t want to actually do? Does he think (as many guys do) that foreign women divorce easily and you will leave him one day? Does he think marrying a local girl would just be easier?

You need to take the wedding, and the pressure, off the table. (I assume you haven’t gotten the marriage certificate yet and are still legally unwed.) Postpone it if you can’t outright cancel it, but don’t go into this marriage in this situation. How will you feel when the officiator says “till death do you part,” and your guy answers, “Well, I can’t guarantee that.”

Right now, you need to talk to your guy without the pressure of the wedding. Find out what he is really thinking and what he really wants. Does he actually love this girl from the past, or did she just say all the right things to trigger his fears about the future with you? In general Chinese guys don’t open up so easily so this could take some time to get to this true feelings. You are lucky to have his mom on your side, and maybe she has some insights about where his mind is at but you need to hear it from him and then you need to decide what is best for you.

Surviving a multicultural relationship is hard enough when you have a strong, steady foundation of love between you. Surviving it on your crumbly foundation of sand is basically impossible. You might have felt secure and in a great relationship last week, but if just one little phone call from an ex changed everything, perhaps your relationship wasn’t as strong as you thought, and you need to look at everything with clear eyes.

Do you have a question for Ms. Wai? Write a comment of e-mail her at

Ms Wai

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