Having met the family

Well, after all my boyfriend did tell his family that I’m a foreigner and I did move to Taipei and was introduced to them. So haaaaaaaa :smiling_imp: to all of you, who kept saying, that my boyfriend was not beeing honest…But anyways…

After having met his family, I must say, that they are really nice people and do not at all feel discriminated. But that’s the thing, they are too nice and too attached to us/him.
All his mom does is cooking and meditating. She calls several times a day and tells us to come “home” and eat. I already put on some weight, since I’m here. Eventhough she is a very good cook, I don’t like to eat with them. You cannot just eat a little, she is always watching and complaining if you don’t eat more…I don’t eat meat, so she cooks special dishes for me, how could I not eat them up?
All his dad does is supporting Ah-Bian and playing mahjong. He also calls several times a day and tells us to come over to chat or just comes over himself, but we do not really chat. All we do when we go over to their place is to watch TV. They don’t really talk a lot…
The rest of the family, I mean all the uncles, aunts, cousins and kids where really nice too, but mostly all of them asked us, when we are planning to get married. What?! Not too soon?! Why…blablabla…

I know, I should be thankful, that they accept me as a foreigner and that they are such nice people. I am, but if this goes on like this for ever, then they will definitely drive me crazy :?

So how are your inlaws?

It doesn’t end there. After marriage there is massive pressure to have a baby boy. Although most Chinese don’t like the traditional Confusian tradition and can be outspoken about it, their cultur is drowned in it and it becomes a great inner conflict for these people. In Confusius thought a woman is not whole until she has a child, a boy child to carry on the husband’s glorious name.


So how are your inlaws?[/quote]

How can they be your inlaws if you and your boyfriend aren’t married yet?

Their kid just came home from a spell overseas. Of course they want to see him as much as they can.

Mesheel, welcome to the reality of Taiwanese families.

My advice from what I have seen so far:

  1. Forget about personal space, you have lost it now.
  2. You are obliged to eat everything given to you.
  3. Do whatever you are told.
  4. Make boy babies.
  5. Wear lots of clothes in the winter, and none in the summer. It stops the complaining from ma.
  6. When grandma says eat, DO IT. Even if you are wet, injured, asleep, dead.
  7. You have as much guanxi as the family pet.
  8. If someone interupts you then shut up, its your fault for pre-interrupting.
  9. Get some Prozac for the weekends, they are a fucking drag.


Sparkling dinner conversation isn’t really a Taiwanese trait. Sounds of mastication are, however, replete with visual accompaniment. Want to have a lot of fun? Ask them about their favourite author - blank stare time… :smiling_imp:

If you want to tolerate things while at the inlaws, learn to love karaoke, volunteer with the dishes whenever possible (It’s often more stimulating than the conversation going on in the livingroom), eat lots, bring reading material, and take naps - lots of naps.


You wouldn’t know it from looking at me (I’m fat)… but I know the trick to dealing with this food pushing. Just accept the food, but leave it on your plate. Don’t eat it… but don’t make a big deal of not being hungry.

I thought this was an extremely strange ritual to go through at first, and for some time afterward… but it works in nearly all situations with Taiwanese family/friends/co-workers… As long as there is still food on your plate, your host will not keep trying to give you more food.

give it some times since maybe they are still trying to adjust to you as well. Both parties are still at the Getting to know you stage but before you know it, Mesheel, you will be playing majon, singing, bbqing and haning out w/ the in-laws!!! Learn to love them and you will def. enjoy your life more here in Taiwan!!!

Also, good luck w/ your job search!

All his mom does is cooking and meditating. She calls several times a day and tells us to come “home” and eat. [/quote]
This sort of thing drives me and my wife absolutely nuts. All of my wife’s sisters are full grown adults but still live with mom and dad. Mom just can’t stop being the care giver. Every day, she makes a huge dinner. If any of the daughters will be coming home late, she keeps food back to make for them when they get home, sometimes as late as midnight. She doesn’t reheat the food from dinner; she makes everything fresh for them. None of the daughters can cook, clean or wash their own clothes. Mom does everything. This drives my wife and I nuts because her mom and dad are getting old, but none of the daughters have the basic skills to take care of themselves- much less take care of their parents. They always ask us to “come home” for dinner (it’s not my damn home!), but of course when we get there, nobody talks much. The only person in the family who is always social is my wife’s mom, but she is always too busy cooking or cleaning to talk to us when we go over. IMO, the relationship between children and parents should evolve; my mom in-law’s behaviour is something to be expected from a mother of young kids. She should be relaxing at her age and enjoying talking to her mature (or should be mature) kids rather than trying to wipe their backsides for them. I see this sort of thing a lot. Chinese parents generally don’t deal very well with their kids growing up.

Oh, and if my wife or I get sick (which happens frequently because we work during the week in Dongguan, the most polluted shithole in Guangdong), mom in-law immediately says that it’s because we eat outside too much and that if we “came home” to eat and had her soup more often, then we wouldn’t get sick.

Yup. When we go over for dinner, the TV is never turned off. My family isn’t perfect, but when I was a child the TV was never on during dinner.

Before I married my wife and moved to HK, I worried a bit that I would get into arguments with her parents because we have different ways of seeing things. However, I’ve hardly had any arguments with the in-laws. The biggest reason is that they just don’t talk. When there are arguments in the family, though, they are HUGE and can get really out of hand. This is precisely because nobody knows how to communicate with each other.

…and the in laws expect that they will take care of the kid while mom and dad are at work. My wife and I don’t have to worry about whether we’ll have a boy or girl, but her parents have in the past made it clear that they want (and expect, as if it is some sort of natural right) to take care of our kids. Over my dead body. I want my kids to have a good relationship with their grandparents, but I will not let somebody else rear them. I don’t care if I have to halt my career to take care of my kids; they will be reared the way my wife and I see fit. Since I can cook, clean and do general household stuff (and my wife can’t) I have known all along that I will probably end up being the primary care giver for our kids. I don’t really have a problem with that. The in-laws were quite stunned when my wife casually mentioned that I would slow down or completely give up work if necessary to take care of our kids. It was as if she had told them the Earth is flat.

OK, rant’s over. Thanks for the opportunity to vent, Mesheel.

Not related to in-laws and such but whenever I visit Taiwanese they turn the TV on for me if it isn’t already running. Happened in Malaysia, too. At home I would do the opposite, i.e. turn the TV off or leave it off so that people can chat without starring at the box.
Then again I find people haven’t really to say much, even at lunch/dinner it’s all about eating and getting out as fast as you can (if you are at a restaurant), no sitting back over a cup of coffee and chatting.
Guess that’s a fine example of different cultures and while I can’t really get used to it I just accept it (or avoid it where I can :wink: ) …

Thanks for all these incouraging posts.

well, i know confucian traditions and i am not planning on following them. i will take my time to get married, especially after i have met the family, and i will not get pregnant any time soon…at least that is not the plan.

good point, they are not. i just thought it would make it less complicated if i used the world inlaws, but for all you english teachers out there, it’s my pleasure to rephrase my question here:
how is your boyfriends/girlsfriends family or your inlaws?

true too and they did have their part of the cake during chinese new year. we spent most our time over at their place with the rest of the familiy eating…eating and eating… :shock:

Patterson, well this does not sound very encouraging though. I will try tigermans advice and just not eat as much as I am told to. Since the weather is better now, I started jogging again. So I won’t feel that bad eating all the time…

Thanks MiakaW. I’m still hunting for a job, but I hope I’ll find one soon, at least then I will have a good excuse for not going to eat with the parents… :smiling_imp:

As in-laws go, they don’t sound too bad to me. My ex-in-laws were vindictive control freaks. They are Americans, not Taiwanese folks.

When food gets pushed on me here, I take a bit, praise its quality and taste, then protest that I’m just too full to eat it all. Had something earlier, you see.

Could be a lot worse. They could be yelling at their son to dump you, which would bring endless misery to him, and by extension, to you. In-laws have the ability to do that.

I continue to think that people who actually consider marriage are either incredibly brave or incredibly naive. I couldn’t do it again.

Considering marriage is okay. Actually doing it is when the trouble really begins.

No, no, of course I didn’t mean that, dearest.

Well, I was thinking of taking my boyfriend back home and get a little and silent marriage there. I would never, ever want to get married in Taiwan, but I’m not so sure if I have much to say in that matter anymore. He has such a big family and he’s parents, I am sure, would want to have a real big thing…anyways…

Jive Turkey, I absolutely feel with you. Eventhough I am not married, my boyfriends family just seems to be like your in-laws…

Mesheel, most of the replies to your question seem to be negative.

I am quite happy with my Taiwanese In-laws and most of the above me replies does not apply to them. Although its a different mentality than Europe, In-Laws are still individuals.

I find that if I would have Western In-Laws, it would be certainly a different thing , but maybe not better…

I agree mesheel, Jive Turkey’s description was right on the money. My motherinlaw cooks incessantly for anyone who might show up at whatever hour. But what else would she do? Much as I like them and appreciate their kindness, their house is uncluttered with books, music, art, computers, musical instruments, hobbies or diversions and their minds are uncluttered as well. Even my wife has confessed that she gets bored talking with her mom, because her mom knows nothing but her narrow daily routine and could never discuss abstract ideas.

No pressure for a boy baby in our family though, because the parents had 3 girls and 2 boys and each sister already has a daughter. So I don’t believe they were disappointed when they learned that my wife’s pregnant with another girl. In fact they’re thrilled that they’ll get another baby to raise (though they won’t have her as much as they’d like).

But I find it amusing how two sets of Taiwanese inlaws will fight for control of a grandchild. When my wife’s sister had her daughter and needed to drop it off with grandparents during the week, apparently the child should’ve been left with the husband’s parents and they were eager. But the child’s parents wanted to leave the kid with the mother’s parents, so they engaged in a routine of lying and deceit for a year so the other grandparents wouldn’t find out that the other grannies were raising the child. The other sister went through similar games. And that is one reason why, for now, I think they’re happy that their daughter married a foreigner – my parents are too far away to fight for control of the baby, so they are pretty much assured partial custody rights.

If you just want to get a little, I don’t think it matters where you “take” your boyfriend. :bouncy:

oh boy, I picked up all sorts of crap for wanting to marry the Mrs. My father-in-law said that foreign/chinese kids end up crazy because the chromosomes are different.

Two big, smart, talented, handsome boys later, grandpa now keeps his mouth shut.

Every once in a while I will look at the boys then slowly turn and give grandpa a look of “Durins Bane, foreign stud”. Oh yeah…rubbing it in feels so good.


… I know the trick to dealing with this food pushing. Just accept the food, but leave it on your plate. Don’t eat it… but don’t make a big deal of not being hungry.[/quote]

I have taught them the meaning of “NO”. They think I am mean and impolite but in the end there is peace. Generally speaking, I cook my own food or eat out when with the inlaws. They don’t even prepare food for me anymore, it’s great! no pressure.

My father used to have endless conversations about marriage. Two things have always held true.

  1. marriage is a job, if you don’t work at it, you loose the job.
  2. Marry your friend because love fades and friendship might be the only glue that binds during the bad times.

There is nothing wrong with marriage if one is smart about it.