Rich tea and sympathy

Well i guess i am looking for sympathy really, as i am going mad in taiwan, and hope that it will change. I arrived nearly 2 months ago now, with my Taiwanese girlfriend of 1 year. We decided to come here as she couldnt get a job in the u.k. She said she’d work for an international company and we’d wait for her to get a transfer. My girlfreind decided not to tell her parents about our relationship until just before we arrived. Her dad blew his stack. He is a very small minded man it would seem, but he is self made and so believes his opinions are valid. We are living in the parents house. Its a seperate rooms arrangement, no touching, no spending time in each others room. Her dad doesnt want to introduce me to people. He says that our relationship is damaging to his daughters propects of marrying a decent Taiwanese guy in the future. Thats why I am allowed to stay at their house. So he can keep me secret and keep his beady eye on his dauughter. My girlfriend now loves the fact that her dad is spoiling her with money and hasnt looked for a job in these 2 months. I started work within a week of arriving here. Although i love the job I get fed up with slaving away to come home and see her talking with her sisters and aunts. The plans we made in England seem a distant memory, as talk turns towards opening a buxiban and how to keep the father happy. I have no friends here as her house is in Shalu, some 30 minutes from Taichung. I havent been out for a beer, had a ‘smoke’ or even a conversation for the last 8 weeks. I am starting to go crazy, and would love to hear of similar experiences that have turned out well, or just to get some advice. I lived in Japan for 3 years and thought i’d be o.k. here. But so far, no dice. Whats a guy to do?


My advice is straight forward. You are bending over backwards and not gaining much respect for doing so. Hit the town. Meet some foreigners and woop it up. Have fun. Taichung is a fun town. Fuck 'em (family that is). Don’t buy into their xenophobic game. Get out and get your own life or continue to suffer as you are now those are your options.



Get out of there ASAP. That is a very unhealthy living arrangement. If you don’t assert yourself you will always be that family’s whipping boy.

Whipping boy? And slave cash cow. You’re staying with them in seclusion while a family that you know darn well aren’t keen on having you marry in plan on opening a bushi ban for “thier foreigner” to work at. And I’d bet anything that you’d work there at the going rate for new teachers while living in their “free” housing, looking at girl who has lost complete interest in you as a person. You’re the family commodity. GET OUT!!! GET OUT!!!

From what you’ve written, I would recommend dumping your “girlfriend”. If she is that insensitive and unsupportive, she isn’t worth hanging on to.

Look at it this way, there are basically two possibilities:

  1. you want to marry her and be with her forever, or
  2. you’re just in it for some temporary fun.

If the former, her behavior indicates that she puts her family far ahead of you, and her family is hostile to you. What does that foreshadow for your marriage?

If the latter, why not just say to yourself (as a friend of mine once did): “Fuck her. No, I already fucked her. Ok, the hell with her,” then accelerate the breakup process by moving out and finding another girlfriend who treats you better?

I visited a college girlfriend’s family in Alabama back about 20 years ago and had a remotely similar experience – her mother was as hostile as a rabid vampire bat to me, and my girlfriend didn’t want to say a word about it. This taught me what she valued, and also taught me where she’d gotten her rude-bitch attitudes form. Hasta la vista, baby.

Hmmph. Never heard of a man being so codependent. You must not have a lot of self-esteem if you’ve found yourself in this situation. My sincerest regrets to you.

My advice is clean and simple,

  1. Re-invent yourself…Call yourself the “Chocolate Lothario,” and go around the house making slurping noises.

  2. Tell her dad he is a nouveux riche cotton picker and just speak to him in French.

  3. Demand that they hire a food taster for you, so that you do not have taste sub-standard fare.

  4. Tell her dad that you would like to go shopping for women’s underwear with him and touch his leg in the car.

  5. Lay down the law!!! Tell your GF this is not kosher…Tell her you don’t like princesses


Listen to Chewycorns.

Excellent advice! Start NOW!

Turn the situation. ENJOY life.


Leave, posthaste!

And never look back…

Chill out Alien. The guy has found himself in a bad situation by following his heart. This is not codependent or a sign of lacking self-esteem. If this were his own country I’m sure he would have stood up for himself by now. But as it is, he’s stuck in a small town, in an alien culture, with hostile natives surrounding him and the one person who should be on his side is turnign away. The poor guy is overwhelmed. I’m not surprised he’s indecisive.

Patterson, you should check out the marriage thread. There are some good stories of love gone bad. In particular there is a good story of the dangers of marrying a Taiwanese woman who puts her family first.

In essence, you girlfriend is back in her native territory and is revealing some pretty unpalatable behavior. Remember, she is not experiencing culture shock or the heady joy of being somewhere new. A lot of foreigners act bad in Taiwan or any other country for the first while they are there. BUt this woman is from here. Part of her character is coming out. I don’t know how old you are but good women do not act like this. Yes, everyone can enjoy being spoiled for a few months, living off daddy at home. However, while doing this she should be clearly laying down boundaries for the family with respect to you.

Like the others I hear warning bells going off. I suggest you get your own place, out of town, at the least.

BTW. I lived in Taichung in my first year in Taiwan. First job was in Shalu.
Gangster heaven. The local neighbourhood lads were all related and got done for shooting up somebodyor another.

Get out. Dont leave a forwarding address. Have it out with them.


Well, I didnt expect so many responses, and such a big variety of advice. First up I am British, and 29, and I feel quite reserved and not very cavalier about things. Especially when this is my life I am dealing with. I think you all make valid points. I am taking it up the pooper and its not a nice sensation. But i am also licking my wounds a bit too. Maybe I am co-dependant, but i dont think thats the worst thing in the world. I think that my girlfriend, whom i did want to marry, is putting herself first rather than her family. But I would like her to put us first, and i dont know how long she will continue this selfish behaviour. I dont feel like the family cash cow, as i believe they have enough dough. But I feel like a prisoner, albeit a possibly self enforced one, especially as i have to eat what they eat, and when they eat etc. When I get fed up with it all i moan at her, then she gets upset at my moaning. I often end up feeling sorry for her, but i know that it isnt helping any. I guess i didnt realise how immature she is, and that she doesnt have the ability or experience to help me with my problems. I would like her to think about how tough all this is for me, and do the things she promised, like look for a job, wash, give me some sneaky sex… But there is definitely some major concern about the families behaviour. The father freezes out her sisters husband, who is taiwanese, because he thinks he is unworthy and got her pregnant before marriage. I see my parents smiling faces telling me i can do anything i want and i get upset by how racist this man appears. He doesnt like me for what i am, not who i am. Maybe the chocolate slurping would do me good for a while…!!! Anything to add???

[quote=“Mucha (Muzha) Man”]Chill out Alien. The guy has found himself in a bad situation by following his heart. This is not codependent or a sign of lacking self-esteem. If this were his own country I’m sure he would have stood up for himself by now. But as it is, he’s stuck in a small town, in an alien culture, with hostile natives surrounding him and the one person who should be on his side is turnign away. The poor guy is overwhelmed. I’m not surprised he’s indecisive.


Hostile natives! :unamused: He doesn’t have to be ‘stuck’ there! God! Grow up. He’s probably afraid that if he stands on his own two feet Big Daddy will say he’s ‘Just as I expected him to be…’.

But do leave, patterson. Move to Taizhong or Taipei. I bet the girlfriend wants you to leave too. Then she can have an excuse to get the hell out as well. Didn’t she warn you about Big Daddy?

Have you got wheels? Can you get a scoot (can you ride firstly? :blush: )

Head into town - Taichung ot Shalu - check out some foreign joints and start doing your own thing.


2 months there is long enough for you to save and move out.

You should ask your girlfriend what her plans are. If you and her have different opinions then just leave her and her parents. Her parents should respect your position as the boyfriend. Both of you are not teenagers and not to spend time together in a room is … old fashionedly screwed up. It is impossible for the girlfriend to satisfy both sides. You and her family. Girl friend should stay on your side. Mistake is you should not to stay in the family’s house. There is a cultural difference and your girlfriend should know better by now.

Get a job in Taipei teaching English. That’ll be easy. Tell your gf that you’ve got the job and that you’ll be moving there soon. Tell her you really hope that for the sake of your relationship she will move there with you, but that no matter what she decides you’ll be moving there because you can’t stand living with the current arrangements. Tell her that she doesn’t have to decide between you and her family, but she does have to decide if she’s serious about you or not. If she moves to Taipei (Taizhong’s too close) then you can still visit her family and try and make it up with them. If she doesn’t then you’ll have to forget about it.

I know two men (one British, one South African) who moved too Taiwan with Fiancess, and lived in misery for about a year with the inlaws before splitting up. Both got married ot different women last year. Things can change so much for couples when they move countries.



It seems pretty clear from your initial post that the two of you aren’t going to be able to move forward in any way with your relationship while you and she are both living under her father’s roof.

By moving out, you will be out from under his thumb, and you might get to see her in private. On the other hand, she might let her father run her life.

If she does decide to stay with you, you might need to change jobs, depending on how fanatical her father is – I would assume that the family knows where you work, and so would be able to continue to interfere.

Did you obtain your job through the family, and is your visa tied to your employer?

All in all, it sounds like a pretty unhappy situation you’re in, and you have my sympathy. Were I you, I would move out ASAP. It’s the start to resolving the whole situation one way or the other.

I agree with Alien’s first comment.
Moreover, why would you NOT move out? It seems that you are asking a question that you already know the answer to.
It seems that your woman has not been very supportive. Why were you not made aware of the family situation before (or did you dismiss it as exaggeration)? Why has she not tried to find a solution?
Without trying to sound too pious, I have been here more than long enough to tell you that it sounds like you are in with a woman who is firmly rooted in the Chinese ethos – family first.
The best thing you can do is try to make the heart grow fonder thorough absence. Move to Taichung or somewhere. Make her miss you. Get out of the sphere of influence of the old biggot.
Either you keep the girl or gain your freedom, either way you win.

Move out!!! You are wasting precious times of your life there and if she cant move with you or at least give you most of her time then there are thousands of other psycho shoajie’s who will.

Dont worry about her family as if things work out and you have a future with this girl, then the family will eventually come around. If they dont, then who cares. At least you wont be bothered by them too much then.

Kudos for lasting 2 months in that situation but enough is enough.

Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

Stop wasting your time. Your life and what you can offer to the world is worth more than hanging around those clowns. Get out and good luck.