The Art of Walking Away....Part 2

So you’ve ignored the signs. 

Single child? Check

Wealthy, ie spoiled, never had the pressure to urgently go out into the world and make a mark…..check

Mother in law is a “won’t shut the fuck up” pain in the ass “know it all needs to get on a plane and get to

NY to give a speech to the UN and tell them how to solve all the world’s problems type”…..Big Time Check.

But let us not just blame the M&L.  Nope.  Can’t do that. ( to use a bit of 70’s, English, “No Way Jose”)

But if you really want to have a successful “marriage”, than you really need to understand the dynamic of the M&L and the Daughter, before you do.   And nearly all Laowai do not.  Simple as that.  Because it’s that dynamic that will decide how happy you are….or possibly not.

There are two more culprits, equally culpable in this downward spiral of vitriol and neverending angst. 

Who the fuck are they, you ask?  Well, the obvious one is your WIFE.

Now let’s be honest with ourselves.  Every culture has the “M&L Syndrome”.   Enough said.  It’s a worn out topic.  Read on.

The role of the wife is important in making a Sino-Laowai Marriage work.   In effect, the wife makes or breaks the success of a Chinese marriage.   Her role is that important. 

Does your wife ever dream of telling mother to “cool it”?

Does wife believe the best way for Son in Law to cope with M&L is to “ignore her”, or “walk away”?  (every time, mind you)

Or is she just happy her parents are here to “cook for her”.

In short, if your M&L is given free rein to say whatever she wants ,  than you have a spineless wife.  Also known as a “Traditional Chinese Girl”.

The weakness of my wife to stand up to her parents is appalling.   Case in point:

We currently have an AC unit down for the weekend.  Luckily, we have two units.  But it means temperatures within our household will reach 90 degrees this weekend, except for the upper floor with the working unit.   Still, it will make our daughter’s bedroom uncomfortably hot.   And by coincidence they have either the hottest or the coldest room, anyway.  I could simply solve this problem by having the girls sleep in another room.  Those rooms are much cooler.  But the problem is each bedroom is occupied by an inlaw.  

When I broached the possibility of having the inlaws actually sleep together in the same bed for once, the “Traditional Chinese Girl” demurred.  She’d simply rather have her own 2 children sweat it out than upset her selfish parents.     As simple as that.  What if I made the demand directly?  The inlaws would agree, but this would only lead to an argument with my wife.  She would take her pound of flesh.  That would of course, come from Yours Truly.   

Yet getting along with the M&L, and NOT having any stress, or arguments in front of the children, etc, can still be AVOIDED….if only the other culprit in this matter had simply gotten his shit straight from Day One.

In other words, You.

You are the other person to blame in this mess.  It’s easy to blame the M&L.  And even the spoiled, kiss ass, suck up, selfish “husband can go to hell as long as my mom is here to cook me dinner” wife.

Why is the Son in Law to blame?  Why is he nearly as culpable as the Wife?  Simple.  It was his silly, craven, poorly thought out idea to go learn Chinese…..(dumbass).

“I want to be one with the China Nation”.

“I seek harmony with the Chinese People”. 

“I want to be respected.”

(More likely than not the most use one has gotten out of his Chinese has been the ability to pick up babes in a club….but then you had to “fall in love” with one, didn’t you?)

Blah, blah, blah.

What did Mastery of the Chinese Language actually get you?  This is what it got me: the ability to speak to my inlaws!  The ability to understand them.   I understood them too much, actually.   
More than I ever wanted, too.

“Why are you not in a company?”  (remember, I have my own business)

“My daughter works so hard, why are you eating?”

“Why do you eat so much?”

“Why do you exercise everyday?  You should be home working.”

“The food you cooked is too salty.”

“The food you cooked isn’t salty enough.”

“Your food is overcooked”.

“Your food is undercooked”.

“Why doesn’t the satellite TV work?  I can’t watch my channels.”

“Why do you sleep so early?”

“Why do you wake so late?”

“Why are you watching TV?”

“The Doctor you took me to is useless”.  

“Why did you not wash your bowl?”

“Why did you not put your bowl away after washing it”? (I now use paper plates)

And today…..

“My friends son in law is an inventor.  He works so hard.  I’m too embarrassed to tell my friend about you.”

In sum, I've never put up with so much, from one person, as I do daily with my M&L.  I've never had to ignore one person as often as I do her.  (I need to say those few crazy feminists criticizing my posts will probably not be commenting on this one....)

What is my saving grace?  How do I continue to exist without buying a gun?  I am very fortunate to have a very healthy ego.  Only my day to day Focus and Sense of Self Confidence keeps me going.   It’s this very healthy Ego that helps me “turn the cheek”.    My own mother is just as strong willed as my M&L.  (But she gets it.  She knows when she walks into my house, the benefit of the doubt belongs to me.)  

But I will not lie:  it is rapidly drained when living with the Inlaws.   A Man with a lesser sense of the above would have long since wilted.   And I need to remind you it’s taken over twenty years for me to get to this point.   

Back to my point…..So if you want to marry a Chinese Girl, you absolutely need to be able to speak Mandarin.  But if you want to actually try and live a harmonious existence with her family, than its best you didn’t.

Am I overreaching?  Of course I am.  If you marry a girl you truly love, from the same societal background as yourself, what I just said may not matter.   Or your wife may have several siblings, which will keep your inlaws away more often than not.   Even better you may have a M&L that doesn’t pretend to have the answer to all the world’s problems.  In other words, a Quiet Mother in Law.  Otherwise, when your M&L spews venom in your direction, isn’t it best you just can’t understand a damn thing she’s saying? 

One thing I did not get from learning Chinese, at least when communicating with the M&L, is respect.  (Again, this is an international issue, across all cultures, but more deeply engrained within Chinese culture.) As I have revealed in earlier posts, my parents made the mistake of raising a family on only moderate means.  And I managed to take an upper class Chinese Daughter away from her parents, and her very bright future in China.  And this is really the root of the problem.   It angers my M&L so. 

Respect is nothing but FACE with Chinese Characteristics.  Unless her daughter’s life is on a constant, uninterrupted trajectory upwards, I will not be receiving this anytime soon. 

And as I speak Chinese all too fucking well, I will always be reminded of this.


  1. You did the right thing moving back to States and away from her parents. Now you just need to figure where in the States they despise, and prepare to move there.

  2. Not too sure about that idea. If they despise the surrounding area, they'll just stay in the house 24/7. So umm... how about a side hustle, away from the in-laws? Sounding better by the day, eh?

  3. The solution is my leaving forever. Bar that, than just leave for the short term. If they leave you see, than the wife will just freak out....she'll have no one to make her Chinese dinner anymore. Heaven forbid a Chinese marry a laowai, move to HIS country, than have to eat HIS food. No, no....can't have any of that.

  4. I guess more long visits to Shenzhen are in order. Wife and in-laws will be more happy anyway since you will be doing "business" like the Chinese.

  5. Can't your wife cook Chinese food?


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