Dear Guys with Asian Girlfriends,
We are all trying to find love in some form. Whether it’s the admiration and support from others or finding that one special person to spend the rest of your life with. In America, majority of us choose “the one” to be with based on love. We date, have a long term relationship, maybe get married or create some form of life-long commitment. But despite the fact that we want “love” in a relationship, it’s really hard to find it if you’ve never witnessed it. This is why us Asian girls get crazy.
After watching Crazy Rich Asians last night, my boyfriend and I headed over to Krispy Kreme around 10pm and discussed the movie over some original glazed and maple beauties. I listened to his frustration towards Nick’s over-controlling family and his mother’s endeavors to prevent her son from marrying an ABC (American Born Chinese) woman. For some reason I was upset with his frustration but I couldn’t pinpoint why. Later that night I figured it out and went over a cultural breakdown of how marriage is viewed to my mixed-race American boyfriend, born and raised in Atlanta.
As Americans, we are privileged enough to have a chance at some form of education for free and can take advantage of several subsidized programs if your family can’t afford to on their own - such as housing, food stamps, books, etc. Our natural instinct isn’t to “survive”, but to prepare ourselves for the real world, find love, and be happy. When you’re raised in harsh circumstances such as a third-world country, survival is imperative and the last thing on your mind is finding passion. In the case of marriage, any opportunity to seek a better life (and to basically remain alive and provide for your family) kicks in. This results in marriage not based on romantic love, but the unity of assets, income, gender roles, relocation to a place with better opportunities, and raising children.
I’ve had conversations with many of my First Generation Asian-American friends about their relationships, their journey to find love, and their parent’s relationship. Majority of us rarely witnessed affection between our parents, whether it’s cuddling, kissing, or even complimenting each other. Rarely did I experience what I saw in the media. As a kid, when I visited my non-Asian friend’s homes, I was always in awe when I watched their parents simply hold hands or give a kiss on the cheek goodbye. And that’s when I knew I wanted to find “true love”.
Overall, most of us Asians-American girls seek true love, or what we think it looks like. Especially in our mid-20’s when the pressures from family start sinking in and we are constantly reminded that our biological clock is ticking and we have to check off all our societal expectations (which is bullshit) - all before 30. This is all done while reminding us that we’re getting fat (whilst also trying to shove plates of Lumpia and Chicken Adobo down our throat). They also remind us that our partner has to be educated and have a great job. So it brings us to this: Asian-American Women confused as fuck because we struggle between the cultural pressures of finding a better life as Asian-Americans and the American desire to find passion in a relationship.
At times, this struggle between two ideas leads into a downwards spiral of craziness. We find a guy who is great but doesn’t do the millions of things on Instagram we expect him to do, such as post our cutest photo on #wcw, or propose after 2 years. Then we start going through our partner’s phone to see what the fuck is up, pressure him into buying us a ring ASAP, or cry about our boyfriends still being friends with exes on Facebook. Maybe even break a laptop (yes, I’ve done that with a past boyfriend). Naturally, you question whether or not you should be in a toxic relationship and deal with this shit. Although your instinct to break up is valid, perhaps ask yourself, “Why does she feel this way?”
I didn’t come to this understanding of myself and other women like me overnight. This took copious amounts of effort and thousands of dollars spent on therapy - all for the better. I was lucky enough to find a person who showed me empathy in the middle of all my rage and learned that my struggle rooted from my lack of understanding of what a “loving” relationships required and the cultural clash in our interracial relationship.
This post isn’t to make excuses for your Asian girlfriend (and honestly, I don’t blame you if you dump her). It is to help you understand what she’s probably dealing with from her nagging family and the decades of insecurities built up from criticism and the repeated mantra that she will “never be enough”. Perhaps this advice will help save what could be a wonderful life-long relationship with some work and fighting for. Let’s be real, I know the bulk of Asian families stigmatize therapy and I can’t be the only one who grew up hearing “only white people go to therapy”. There’s nothing wrong with getting help and I hope this encourages other women like myself to do the same. Everyone has baggage and the more you learn about each other, the better you work towards a healthy relationship.
Note: This post was written based on the views of an Asian-American woman in a hetero-relationship, not on behalf of all relationships. I can only write about what I’ve learned from my own experiences.