Today I’m launching my “Dear Q” column for friends, family, and strangers’ irksome relationship issues. All posts will be anonymous. Read on for the first installment…
I’m a Swedish girl, with an older Chinese boyfriend who hasn’t read the female empowerment memo. I have none of the good things to be expected of a Swedish relationship (a guy who listens to and respects you) and I’ve quite involuntarily started to settle for material things (perhaps not unlike a Chinese mistress). We’ve been together for a year and I’m just not happy, but I keep hoping that he’ll tune into relationship equality. My friends tell me it’s a lost cause, my mom says he’s a bastard, and my father wants me to “put my legs on my back” (a Swedish expression for running away at great speed). Is there any reason to harbor hopes that things will change?
Swedish Girl in Beijing
Dear Swedish Girl,
The weather fluctuates, last year’s It Bag becomes this year’s fashion faux pas, but some things never change. If your boyfriend grew up in a more chauvinistic decade or has grown accustomed to amorous subservience from women, then it’s unlikely that things will take a U-turn from here. You’ve stuck with him for a year so he must have some redeeming qualities. Do you love him for his saving graces? perhaps he has a brilliant mind, washboard abs, or can fix a broken door hinge faster than you can say “snap”? If so, then have a heart-to-heart about the big issues that bother you and agree to compromise on some of the smaller things. Or are you still with him just for creature comforts? The latter is not worth it. You’ll get accustomed to substituting fancy meals for fulfilling conversations and a piece of bling for a lifelong soul mate. As your love grows staler your material wants will get bigger, leaving you both emotionally and financially drained. Better to break it off in this case and find a boy — Swedish, Chinese, or other – whose feminist unfriendly behavior ends at opening doors for you.