“I love you with all my heart”: Do parents get involved in your relationship problems?
“My entire life I’ve devoted to my son.” This is what 39-year-old actor Yuchen Zhu’s 71-year-old mother said in the reality show My Little One (《我家那小子》). Just how true is that statement? Zhu’s mother described how, for the last 10 years, she wakes up at 4:00 am every morning just to boil him fresh pear juice and then cook his meals for the rest of the day. She says that the amount of work she does for the family is equivalent to that of two maids. And, although she had already done so much, he still wasn’t happy. Naturally, this has sparked debate among netizens.
The story of Zhu reminded Ann (our assistant matchmaker) about a call we received. The voice on the other end sounded like she’d been through and experienced a lot in life. It was that of a 70-year-old aunt who wanted to sign up her 40-year-old daughter for our 1-on-1 matchmaking service. During the phone call, she said, “My husband and I are getting older and older and I can’t bear the thought of my daughter being alone after we’re gone.” Many parents have come to 2RedBeans with the same fear. We could feel the worry in their hearts.
When we talk to our clients, however, they say their parents are always pushing them to get married but are never satisfied with the people they’re attracted to.
Ann recalls the story of 35-year-old Mr. M. After graduate school, M started a successful business but because of his busy schedule and small social circle, there was no way M was able to find Mrs. Right. On top of that, there was pressure from his parents to “start a family.” Recommended by a friend, M came to us in the hopes of finding Mrs. Right. However, things didn’t go as planned. M’s parents accidentally found out he was using our matchmaking service. They tried to intervene and make demands. “They asked me to find a girl who fit the concept of their generation,” he said, causing his parents to always lament about why he didn’t choose the one they liked. The two sides were at a stalemate with no one willing to budge. After hearing this, Bessie, our matchmaker, suggested talking to M’s parents. Bessie discovered there was a breakdown in communication between him and his parents. When they would express their opinions, M would either agree or disagree but would never tell them how he felt. This caused his parents to sometimes think, “Our child respects our opinions,” and other times think, “Our child has a terrible attitude.” But, it’s not that he doesn’t want to tell them how he really feels, it’s that he thinks talking to them is ineffective. Which is why most of the time he simply gives up and does what his parents say. This behavior is the manifest of a lack communication in a family relationship.
Bessie tried to open a line of communication between both sides. With the help of Bessie, M and his parents voiced and listened to each other’s frustrations and grievances. This resolved the negativity and the contempt that built up between parents and child began to slowly melt away. Both sides still loved each other, after all.
After this conversation, we started recommending women to M more often. If he felt a connection after meeting her for the first time, he’d talk openly with his parents about the relationship: “How does he feel about the girl?,” “What are his next steps?,” etc. Eventually, M told Ann that his parents actually had no requirements for girls, but that they only wanted to understand why he made the choices he made. As long as this happened, they’d support his decisions.
M eventually fell in love with the third girl he dated. He even recently posted their wedding photos in his WeChat moments. M’s parents are very happy for him. In reality, blame never rests solely on one side. If parents want their children to understand their intentions, they should allow them some space and be more trusting of their decisions. If children want more freedom, they can be more considerate of their parents. To achieve mutual understanding, both sides need to make an effort!
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