家人在一段異國戀情的位置 – interracial relationships and importance of family’s support

I was facing a writer’s block with my 4th blogiversary last week. I wondered what interesting piece of writing I can create for my 200th post and celebration of my blog’s existence. 

Luckily, there’s always Momzilla who will randomly call us on Sunday morning and give me lots to talk about.

Momzilla’s phone call was really unexpected. To be honest I was worried seeing her name on the screen at 8 AM. She knows we may still be asleep so unless it’s an emergency, she would not call. One hour later Sing came back to the bedroom – I could see he was very tense.

Apparently Sing’s cousin’s prewedding photoshoot was  enough to trigger the ‘Baby alert’ at that side of the family. Because finally they are getting married and are flying to Bali to get their pictures done. That’s just one step closer to the wedding and banquet.

Once they get married, the baby will magically show up. When is our baby coming? How come so many years with no accident? Why we rushed to get married if we don’t have a baby yet?

But it was just the beginning. The further she got into her complaints, the more I realized the title of this post shouldn’t even be ‘家人在一段異國戀情的位置 – interracial 

relationships and importance of family’s support’ but just ‘Importance of family’s support of your relationship’.

Doesn’t matter if it’s a long distance, interracial or international marriage. In long run, family’s support is one of the piles used to build a relationship.

I’m not talking about ourselves only, but I’m looking at our friends who married girls from China or South East Asia. Their parents would look down at their wives and complain about money, advantage and what is there to gain.
I know old people have a way different thinking, but as long as their child is happy, who are they to judge? This is not a business someone can run.

At 8 AM, we faced the following questions all of the sudden:

  • Why did you get married so fast? You had no real plan for future.
  • Can you support yourself when you’re back in Hong Kong?
  • Can your wife’s family support you if she gets pregnant and I can’t help?
  • Can she find a job not speaking Cantonese fluently?
  • What if you cannot find a job, who will support you?

I don’t say Momzilla isn’t right asking these questions, to be honest they are actually very realistic and down to earth questions that probably all international couples have to face, but I think it’s 5 years and 1 Hong Kong apartment too late to be asking them. It’s not like anything’s going to change if she asks, especially when we are independent here in Ireland and have our own, good income.

I guess the saddest part of this conversation is that I realized that Momzilla never really accepted me. She won’t say it straight to my face, she will smile to me, feed me, bring gifts if she comes over, but this seems to be just to keep her face and not because she genuinely likes me.
I thought all the time we spent together helped to build some relationship. Even recently I kept sending her WhatsApp messages in Cantonese but I never heard from her.

At the end, this experience brought Sing and me even closer to each other, but I can’t shake off the feeling of disappointment. I look at the way my parents treat us, always equally – if I get a kinder surprise, Sing is getting one as well; it just makes me think why can’t I be treated the same way?

I appreciate all the financial support we ever got, but isn’t it bit like bullying us with money? I help you so I can tell you what to do. You owe me. Well, I do. However, I also owe my parents, yet they do not call us in the morning saying our life choices were poor and maybe we shouldn’t marry that fast.

I might sound really bitter, maybe in a day or two I won’t feel the same way, but today I feel betrayed. I realized that love is one thing, but your family’s support is needed to form a healthy relationship. I want Sing to feel like part of my family, and I want to be treated like part of his family. Yet, I’m still the outsider. Can I say an incubator? Just give a birth and get the hell out.

Doesn’t matter if it’s financial or mental support, but it has to be there.

My parents do not have money, but they will come over to take care of Biscuit when we fly on holiday. My dad would help around the house, do some home improvement. When we argue, they will even take his side as ‘he doesn’t speak the language, he doesn’t know what’s going on, cut him some slack’. I really appreciate the way they treat Sing and I hope he feels like we are one family.

I love the fact my dad will send Sing football games reminder and my mom will call him ‘Synus’ (Polish: little son). Because what kind of family we would be if he couldn’t just come to them and feel comfortable?

The day we got married two families should make one. I guess we may need another 5 years or a baby to make that happen, but at least it helped me realize my situation and how critical, to me, is family and family’s support.
I will carry on and still try to make an effort to befriend my husband’s family. I do not want any of them out of our lives, doesn’t matter how it is today. But I won’t change my life or who I am for that.

Have you been in a similar situation? Would you agree that family’s support is one of the pillars of a healthy relationship? What would be your advise to anyone in this situation? I would love to read your stories!

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28 thoughts on “家人在一段異國戀情的位置 – interracial relationships and importance of family’s support

  1. I partly know what your talking about. My Chinese mother-in-law pushes us to marry because my Chinese boyfriend is already 30. She also wants us to buy apartments (plural!) but we are still students! I think she gives my boyfriend even more stress but I don’t understand and he doesn’t want to bother me with her. I’m sure that once we are married she will start asking about kids. I don’t know if she accepted me because I just saw her once personally but I also have the support from my family. They are treating us equally. I guess I just have to live with a more nosey/demanding mother-in-law…

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  2. I really enjoy the sincere way you write. The story is interesting to read and every time I learn something. The list of things your Mother-in law writes maybe normal. But, give me a break; It is time to blend and accept that you are family now. Hope you like Ireland. Maybe living far and on your own where just you two depend on each other is the best way for now. Nice how your parents help out.

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  3. Oh dear, Momzilla certainly is something else.
    I also must say that family support is crucial in many relationships. In fact without my parents we would have never gotten married due to some hard times in between. My wife “stayed with me” only because of my parents and well, now we are married for five years with two kids.
    With my wife’s family it is different. She never really got support from them when it comes to our relationship and perhaps due to this experience on how my parents tried hard to make up for my shortcomings that she didn’t leave me.
    Thus far from other couple I know where either the guy or the girl are from China (or both from China!) they have similar troubles with their Chinese families. All friendly on the outward appearence but often no real love accepting the partner of their children.Sometimes I got the feeling that the older generation there sees a marriage more like a duty …

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  4. Chinese mothers-in-law ( in fact many mothers-in law, not limited to chinese I think) are a weird bunch. They are very critical and offer advice when not asked and like to very direct with no diplomacy whatsoever. Actually chinese mothers are the same. My mom (chinese) is exactly like that with me and my sisters. She will call us up at all hours and go on a never ending rant about whatever’s on her mind. Once that’s done, it’s onto the next topic to pick on… any arguments you put forth are not valid. So the key is just to listen, smile politely and bear with it.
    The situation does improve once baby shows up. Suddenly there is a new plaything, a new joy, something else to talk about… but also a different thing to criticise. It will change to “oh she’s doing it like that? What kind of mom does that…” and if you involve her in child rearing, she’ll want to do it her way….if you disagree then it’s taken as a sign of rebellion.
    Use these years pre-baby to establish your boundaries and philosophies well. Communicate it to her what you’d like to do, if there is a plan, not to worry and how (if) you’d like her participation when baby comes along. This is important to discuss first rather than fight about it later.
    With my own mother, a little space and absence always helps. More than one week together under the same roof would drive us both insane. When I lived with her after my first child, I went into a post natal depression phase due to her criticisms and saying how I was just a “useless and terrible” mother. She didn’t support breastfeeding because she never did it herself and I suspect was secretly jealous that I did and she didn’t get to “feed the baby”. Nothing that the men in the house could or dared to say against her ideas.

    Don’t get me started on my mother-in-law. She’s Latina and that’s as bad/worse than chinese. I told husband that he will have to keep her in line or we will both go crazy. At one point I had both women breathing down my neck I was suffocating. So I fled with the baby to Jakarta for a month where husband was working. Admittedly things are worse when your husband isn’t around and you are just relying on the crazy women.

    So knowing what you might be in for can help to prepare you. Relationships with in laws and (sometimes parents) are often a battle and built on tensions… it wouldn’t be normal otherwise. 🙂

    Sorry for the long comment…!

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  5. Sure, having a supportive family makes things a lot easier but in the end it’s not a necessity. I’ve had both situations in three different international relationships. It’s really up to you as a couple. Meaning no offense here, but you’re both fairly young and care about making your families happy and hope that they’re accepting. As you get older, you realise more and more that it’s your life and as long as you’re not intentionally hurting anyone, you can and should live it the way you want to. Sure people can talk, but people always will. Try to tune it out. Smile and nod and go about living the way you want to. Momzilla may realise she’s wasting her breathe after awhile 😉

    I am lucky in that my partner’s HK parents are pretty laid back and always kind to me. Sure, they’re probably not thrilled that he’s with a foreigner who generally can’t communicate with them, but I understand that. It’s not the ideal. But I also think they’re just happy that he’s happy and in a good relationship.

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  6. I’ve just moved to HK with my family just under a year ago. I’m surprised how insular some people from the older generation can be. I’ve got my personal Momzilla too, but she’s Chinese Singaporean who lives in Malaysia.
    she’s pretty nasty too.
    Keep your head held high and look to the future.
    She’s the one who’s bitter and stuck in her ways.
    You’ve got one good thing going for you, and that’s the support of your husband.
    I don’t even have that, but I don’t care. Gonna keep on doing what I’m doing.

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  7. Oh man. My mother in law is Korean and she doesn’t even pretend to like me. She tried to make us cancel our wedding and didn’t even attend. It’s really hurtful that she wouldn’t even try to get to know me and hasn’t made any contact with me since we married. I think she likes to pretend I don’t exist. But at least she doesn’t pressure us to have a baby. Maybe that’s the upside?
    I think family support and approval can ease the way and help a lot, but at the end of the day you have to be happy with your partner. You aren’t marrying their family (though sometimes it is like that). It’s culture, but it’s also personalities.
    At least I can read your blog and know that you can understand some of my pain, haha 😉

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  8. Oh gosh I’m so sorry you have to endure your mother in law in this way. That’s unfair—and I agree. It shouldn’t even have anything to do with the fact that you guys are an interracial couple. Just be nice to your family members. It’s not that hard.

    Hopefully things take a turn some point down the road? Not sure if you can try talking to your MIL to kind of put things out in the open or if that’ll be a terrible idea?

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  9. I think I’m very lucky as both my family and my husband’s family have supported our interracial marriage. They haven’t started on the baby talk yet but it’s not been three years yet.

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  10. Hey Lina, just wanted to send you hugs regarding your issues with Momzilla.

    Family support can be helpful and Jun and I would not have been able to survive without it. But there are also some toxic and even abusive people in our family. I think it’s important to balance your relationship with the family but not at the cost of your well-being (or putting yourself in a position where someone is bullying you or harassing you).

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