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Started Dating...

I've been keeping to myself, happy to be alone, for many months now. Especially being such a mess this summer, I really was not good dating material! But, slowly, I found myself, nearly unintentionally, dating.

It is good! Been dating a classmate who was assigned to my workgroup, and, through a series of misunderstandings, she told me she was interested. Since I have been cautious, I hesitated for awhile, but kept talking to her. After a number of casual dates, I start to feel safer, and so something of a relationship has formed. I really like her - there are some things that are just amazing. The biggest - she is very, very respectful. There is none of the fundamental disrespect for masculinity, none of the BS I experienced in my marriage. Other good things abound.

The respect thing may just be a cultural difference: she is from China. But I've never experience this level of respect from a woman. I think I'm now spoiled, I don't think I will even look twice at an American woman ever again (no offense ladies!). Not fair I suppose, but to put it in perspective: The way this girl is respectful is unlike anything I've ever experienced, and unlike anything I've ever even heard of before. She keeps asking me what it is like when dating an American woman. The very first thought in my mind was: An American woman only cares about how you make her feel, and is not so interested in how she makes you feel. Looking back over my life, I feel that is true. It does make me worry that, maybe, this is just an American thing, and I have not had the same level of considerations for others...so it has kickstarted some additional self reflection.

The funny thing - this is all pre-sex. Been dating a little over a month, and became closer this last week. I've been hesitant to have sex, because I don't want to enter into the possibility of a refuser dynamic...It is easier to postpone having sex than worry about that dynamic. That, and I want to take things slow because I want to be sure! This seems to work well because she is also of the take it slow mindset. Part of it is cultural, but, being raised in China, they really don't date and have American style relationships (except in the bigger cities). It's more of an arranged marriage type of situation for most of China. Consequently she's not had a relationship before, so everything is kinda new to her. While that is something of a turn of, it is also kinda nice too, She has no baggage from past relationships. So, taking things a little at a time, and it seems healing to my heart.

I do not know if it will last, she is going back home in a few years. But the odd thing is I don't care.


FilteringMachine FilteringMachine 31-35, M 8 Responses Nov 5, 2012

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Your marriage sounds very painful. You have had similar experiences in love as I have. This new relationship sounds very hopeful and I hope this works out for you. After all that you did for her and as selfish and awful as she sounds, we all deserve someone that treats us well.

I wish there was some easy way for good people to be sure that they find other good people in the world. Surely she wasn't always like that or you wouldn't have married her in the first place, right?

Hmmm, I think I did not know what to look for when I met my ex. I just knew she wanted to have fun with me, and she was not afraid of the outdoors, and that was enough for me at the time! So different now.

Every relationship brings new knowledge and lessons. All the best on your continuing journey of self discovery. It is always useful to sit and reflect on the lessons learned. Be well.

When you say "respect" I assume you mean deference to men which seems to be a cultural affect of Asian society.

This may suit you perfectly. I do, however, like to think that the equal partner concept which is common today in the U.S. is a more preferable arrangement. Sharing the load is easier on everyone but it also requires a higher level of empathy and concerted effort to make sure all are having their needs met and feelings heard.

The only people who don't care about how they feel are those who are disconnected from themselves. I would rather be with someone with whom I can mutually share my feelings, ideas and all other aspects of intimacy.

I like to think of an equal partnership as well. Not sure how you go from someone being happy about being respected to saying that "deference" "suits them." In my life, equality in a relationship is not common. So uncommon, that I highly question the idea that it is common. More common is lip service to the idea of equal partnership, followed by 11 years of me working 40-70 hours a week, while she looks after two dogs and resentfully makes dinner. More common is me investing more and more energy to win affection, only to have more and more of that energy eaten up with nothing in return. So in my mind, what you call 'deference,' drawing up images like I want some kind of servant, well - that underscores why I feel the way I do. Because if I say I want to be treated with respect (you know, don't use me, lie to me, look down on me, act like I am stupid, act like I am one big inconvenience in your life, act like I should count my lucky stars because you will 'put up' with me...)...the image that gets drawn up is exactly what you have described. Respect means I get treated as well as I treat her. If you call that "deference" I don't really know what to say.

Observatio only Brother F.
There still seem to be elements of 'absolute thinking' peeking through your post (nowhere near what it used to be like though)

Tread your own path.

Ooookayyy, what to say? I am going to risk being very non-PC! I see a red flag here, and only because of what I have been told....My husband is chinese and my brother also married a chinese lady.

My sister in law told me about how many chinese ladies (especially from the mainland) will do anything to "bag a white man"( my words) White men are their ticket out, and are perceived as being nicer than chinese men. Also, your social status goes up astronomically if you can "bag" one of these trophies. And there, even having a white man in your family structure (uncle, soninlaw, nephew) is seen as advantageous, as more business or career oppotunities will be available to you.

Now, am I saying this to tell you to beware and forget about this lady? Of course not. I'm just always leery of anyone who is uber-agreeable. Also, lots of people, especially women, imo, like to pump their bf on info regarding their exes, to be able to present a more favourable persona.

I can appreciate how good it feels to be flooded with all this 'respect', you are a starving man being served a feast, lets hope its genuine.

Here's to enjoying your dating adventures!

Yeah, I have considered those things, and she has even told me straight up that one thing she likes about me is that I don't view women as subservient , but as an equal. Apparently this is not common in her hometown. She is not uber-agreeable at all, and was quite skeptical of my intentions initially, so, I am not too worried about it. The main thing I worry about is - what if we totally fall in love? And she is going back to China? Too early to think about I suppose. Maybe I am not cautious enough...

Yeah, if I fall in love with her, and she does not fall in love with me, then I have to end it. Like my motto - there is no honor in loving someone who does not love you! It's a bit early to be talking about love, I feel, but it seems things are headed that direction.

"The main thing I worry about is - what if we totally fall in love? And she is going back to China?" As you said she is going back in few years... So you have few years to decide what to do... You can marry her... Or she can find a job and get a working visa... Though I agree with redwaterlady's concern... Many Chinese,Thai,Nigerian,Eastern European women would do any tricks to marry American or Westerner... She might be a real gem, of course.... But you are in a very vulnerable position(still)... So take it slowly and maybe date others as well... Just to broad your experience.... Very good luck!

Congrats! :) Don't generalize all of us American women though-some of us are good :)

hmmm, maybe. I've had two long term relationships before, both riddled with problems that had lack of respect at the core. I know a sample of two is not large enough to generalize, but when all my friends confront the same problem, and I've always had the same problem, and honestly every one I know has the same problem...well, it all rather adds up!!

haha, you haven't had enough long-term relationships to compare. You are still a little bitter, but I am glad you are happy with this woman. It's too bad you haven't met very many respectful women. Culture plays a role in it, but it's called having manners and being empathetic. I hope you continue down the happy road. :)

There may be danger associated with getting healed in or by company. The best healing will happen when you are alone.

I won't comment on the cultural difference..that is your opinion, and your entitled to it..But I will say that when your out of a sexless relationship, and in a normal loving relationship, you beigin to realize the level of differences that now appear. Respect is one of the biggest. You asssumed your spouse respected you. However, when you enter a loving relationship all of a sudden your aware, how this person cares about how you feel, what you are saying, thinking, This person has respect for you, your situations. And it hits you, how all of this was either non existent with your spouse, or was here at a very low level.

I don't associate this lady's attitude or bevavior with her culture or nationality.....i associate it with her heart.

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you for your continued success in healing, and for finding a love interest. It is important to recognize that we can love and be loved again after what we thought were dead-end relationships. To that I salute you.

Neuilly is right. It is her heart and her attitudes towards her partner (i.e. you) and much much less her cultural or ethnical background that you are experiencing. There are Chinese or Asian women who are as disrespectful or self-centered/selfish as your ex was. The act of refusing transcends ethnical and cultural boundaries. You don't need to look any further than the multinational nature of the membership and their spouses in ILIASM to see that refusing is really equal opportunity and a cross-border phenomenon.

Meanwhile, enjoy your new relationship. We have all learned the "what not to do's" from our last marriages. Now you have a new lease on life, go forth and love without reservation.

I think you may be right Neuilly. Maybe I just can't believe it and so I attribute it to cultural differences. It is just such a contrast!!!

i know..i am in a new relationship, and so I know..