After relocating to China a few years ago, I met Mandy online via QQ (China’s Version of Facebook) in 2011. When I first moved to China, I was dating a lot because I didn’t want to settle for just anyone. I guess I was “testing the waters”. I know that I don’t fall in love easily and I grow bored quickly. When I meet Mao Yali (Mandy) in person I found her to be charming, tough and focused in life. I liked her a lot.
We began to date October 7, 2011, but…
Prior to starting our relationship, I had spent a weekend with a woman in Shanghai. Much to my surprise the Shanghainese woman emailed me to tell me she was having my baby. Before I told anyone I needed to tell Mandy first to allow her a chance to get out of this relationship; for a Chinese woman sharing her man with a child that’s not her’s is unthinkable. I don’t think she really understood the magnitude of me being a father at first, and the responsibility of sharing parenting duties with another woman who has more money, higher status and who is older than her–all being incredibly relevant in Chinese culture.
My experience of not having a father gives me a sense of duty to my son even though his mother didn’t want anything but for me to acknowledge him. Mandy was determined to stand by me, but still there were many bumps on our road; she didn’t understand that the more she tried to control me and my movements on how I would handle being a father, the more she was losing me. We had to work through all of this.
The fact that I am 15 years older than Mandy makes it feel like a lot of responsibility and the balancing act is on my shoulders. I don’t want her to feel that she has to compete for my love, or to feel that she is 2nd because she is not. She is first in my life when it comes to love. I know she too puts so much into loving me, and I feel that strongly. She doesn’t care how much money I have, or where we live–in China or elsewhere–as long as we are together. Every day I work to match that kind of love, which can sometimes seem like a mountain to climb because all of the shitty things I have seen in life–my fear of love. I wasted some time waiting for her to leave–a self-fulfilling prophecy that I don’t want to see come to fruition.
Two years later, I look within and say to myself “Don’t worry about the end–enjoy this journey; look at her–she loves you–even with your round belly and complicated life!”
I am lucky! And in love!