Take a look at this picture. Though its quality is not very good, you can easily see five Chinese girls posing for a group photograph. Also you can suppose that these girls are friends and have fun together. But do all of them really have fun?
Now look again and say if you notice one of the girls doing something else besides posing? Hint: look at the girl in blue trousers.
The image of Mrs. Li (this is her name) all the time talking on telephone with her husband became so typical, that I hardly could imagine her doing anything else when she was spending time with us – her friends. It’s not, however, what she wanted. The truth is that her pathologically jealous husband left her no choice.
Before telling the story, I want to cite Lev Tolstoy who wrote:
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
By using this quote, I want to say that the story of my friend should not be generalized. In fact, in today’s society Chinese girls have more reasons to become jealous wives (and in fact they ARE!), than Chinese guys to become jealous husbands. For a proof go no further than to my previous article about marital infidelity in modern China.
Ling (Mrs. Li) and her future husband had been together since their early 20s. But later they separated and soon Li found a new girlfriend. It seemed that both of them would go their own path.
But things changed when Ling also started dating. Li – at that time her ex-boyfriend – suddenly changed. He did everything to stay in touch with Ling, showed himself as very considerate guy who is always ready to conform and give a friendly advice.
Unfortunately, due to the pressure from Ling new boyfriend’s family he broke up with her and she again left alone, sad and heartbroken. Li – who by then also became single – didn’t miss the opportunity and helped Ling to pass the difficult period, in the end winning her back.
She especially appreciated that Li successfully “protected” their relationship from his mother’s critics who clearly disliked her daughter-in-law-to-be, claiming that she wouldn’t be able to have normal kids (for she is very short)!
Well… the decision to marry wasn’t a matter of impulse. After the “reconciliation” and before tying the knot they had been together for few years. And these were happy years. Although during this period there were some worrying signs showing that her boyfriend is very jealous, but at that time it seemed that “the monster inside” can be tamed…
However, after the marriage things began to deteriorate rapidly. Simple questions turned into lengthy interrogations, text messages – into never-ending calls.
One day Ling’s aunt asked her to accompany her to buy some furniture. Ling called her husband and told him about it by telephone. He asked: “Why does your aunt ask you and not talks to me – your husband?”
It was followed by a series of other questions: “What kind of furniture will she buy? Where will both of you go? When will you come back home? Is there anyone else to accompany you? Is buying the furniture the only plan of your aunt for today?” After hanging up, he immediately dialed Ling aunt’s mobile for confirmation and continued calling her every half hour during that day.
Every time when Mrs. Li wanted to go out, she had to deal with dozens of questions, providing immediate and accurate answers in order to dissolve her husband’s suspicions. Fiction writers would envy the imagination with which Li painted the pictures of his wife’s possible cheating.
I remember that when one day we met for a chat in the coffee-shop, every time the telephone was ringing she visibly shivered, but even more she was afraid to miss the call – since it would cost a lot of nerves to explain later why she didn’t answer in time.
People in China worry about “face” things and don’t like to complain or show their weaknesses, but at some point she couldn’t handle it and tried to seek for professional help from psychologist. But Ling’s husband refused to go to a consultation together with her saying that if she is so stupid and offers him therapy – then SHE is mad and indeed needs treatment!
The worst thing was that the strict family rules were obviously one-sided. Not only Li could return home very late or even in the morning, but his wife was expected to be understanding – since it was about spending time with potential business partners or clients.
I don’t know what the future holds for my friend and her husband, but I am sure that if it wouldn’t be about a cute son that they have together, Ling would gather her courage and divorce.
Hoping for a happy family life, Crystal Tao