Dear Ms. Wai — Will My Daughter be an Issue?

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Hi, Im Portuguese and I met a Chinese guy, we’re loving talking to each other but he never asked my age and I afraid to tell him cause I know his culture is strict but as westerners we are very open-minded.
       I’m 35 and he is 23 years old. The thing is I wasn’t lucky and I’m divorced with a precious little girl. He doesn’t know yet, I’m just getting the courage to say to him but at the same time this is funny cause for me as a westerner it’s completely normal. The foreign people don’t care about that if they love someone so is that the same thing with the men I’m talking to?

To be honest, it could be a hurdle in your relationship, not just with this guy, but his family as well. Young Chinese people are much more open-minded and willing to accept age differences and non-traditional families, especially ones like the guy you met, who is living abroad and obviously more familiar with foreign cultures.

But the stumbling block might be his family. The older generation is more traditional and older women are usually seen as less attractive wives to families. I once had a Chinese friend who had an older girlfriend and his family constantly berated him with questions like “what happens when people think she is your mom?” And stuff like that. It was really rude in my eyes, but they eventually wore him down. They did break up over the age difference, despite my friend having no issues with it at first. And a child from a previous marriage might be even more difficult for the family to accept.

So you need to figure out what kind of family this guy has. When he talks about his family does he say they are old fashioned or traditional? Does his family support him living abroad or do they want him to return to take care of them? Do they like traveling to other countries or do they stay in the same city in China? These are ways to begin to gauge how accepting/open minded they might be.

But the most important thing is to tell him about your daughter and your age and see what his reaction is. It’s best to do it immediately, today even, because you being a mom is a big part of your life and he can’t really get to know you fully if he doesn’t know it. I know it can be hard to be vulnerable with a guy you like, especially if things are going well, but it’s better to do it now before things get more serious.

If he’s totally okay with it all, ask him what his parents might think. If he doesn’t really answer you, or says his parents might not accept it, then that is a red flag. Ask him if he’s ever disagreed or stood up to his parents before. That can be an indicator of how he will fight for you and the relationship if his parents disagree. If he says his parents wouldn’t care at all, then that’s a good sign. But if you do get serious you should make a point of meeting his parents, even just on a video call, and introducing them to your daughter just so you can be sure they understand the situation fully. (And to see their reaction.)

But really the most important thing for you to do is tell him about your daughter while you are still in the early stages of your relationship, just so everything can be out in the open. After all, a good relationship is built on trust and if you keep such a big part of your life secret, you are building it on a house of cards. Honesty is one of the most important parts of any relationship and you need to be honest with him immediately, then worry about the rest later.

Ms Wai

One comment

  1. Oh what a good letter. I’ve always been into older women so this is right up my alley. And I’ve always been a sucker for kids so even better. Indeed, I think that revealing the presence of the child should be done asap. If too much time has passed, the guy might feel mislead. Tell him exactly why you never mentioned it. And be honest about it. Honest should work in this case, I believe. Let’s hope for the best.

    As for the guy’s family being overly traditional, well I have a good answer for that. If he uses that as an excuse, please tell him that he has his own life and that family should not be making any of his life’s big decisions. Yikes, this topic is getting heavy. But seriously, go as far as telling him to remind his family that he has his own life and that they shouldn’t be overbearing. Remind him of that every time you feel like he needs to hear it. If he chooses his family over you, then move on.

    As a side note, even if everything turns out fine, there may be another issue – the child’s father. From my experience, the child’s father can turn out to be problematic due to feelings of jealousy. So please keep a short lease on him if there’s the need for him to be around.

    Boa sorte 😀

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