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Recently I witnessed an online discussion in which some women were talking about the problems they had with their boyfriends/husbands. Almost all of them mentioned having arguments and fights with their partners. Others replied that it is perfectly normal and healthy that couples fight.


Then it dawned on me: I am not normal.


C. and I have never fought.


In fact, I don’t think I have ever fought with anybody (except my brother when we were kids, maybe). I am usually very quiet. I rarely raise my voice. I don’t remember yelling at anyone, at least in the last few years. And I am completely sure I have never punched anyone or broken dishes in a fit of rage (my roomate in Shanghai fought with her sister and did that. I was very scared).


It’s not that we agree on everything. But I just don’t feel the need for fighting! Calmly talking about it seems like a much better option. But I can think of a few instances in which C. and I did not agree, and they mainly have to do with our (his) apartment.


I never really considered the option of owning real estate. I like to pay for the things that I buy with money that I actually own. And recently, in Spain, we have heard a lot of cases of people buying property, getting a huge mortgage and then losing their job and being unable to pay. And, as a result, being evicted (which doesn’t cancel the debt with the bank, by the way). Let’s say that I just couldn’t see the point, apart from the fact that I don’t even know where I will be in 5 years.

我从来没有真正考虑过拥有房子。 我喜欢手中有现钱来买东西。最近,在西班牙,我们听到很多人为了购买房子,进行巨额抵押贷款,然后失去工作,无力偿还的案例。结果就是被驱逐(顺便说一句,这并不能抵消银行的债务)。我真的不明白为什么一定要买房子,事实上,我甚至不知道在5年后我会在哪里。

But for C. this is another story. He, as a Chinese man, needed to own an apartment. Chinese people are obsessed with buying property! When he started talking about buying I was not too happy about it. But he insisted so in the end I told him it was his money and he could do whatever he wanted with it. Yep, the apartment is 100% his and I am totally fine with this! No reason for fighting here.


Then, after purchasing the apartment, we had to buy some furniture. We went to Ikea as I couldn’t think of any other furniture store where the things don’t smell like poisonous chemicals or are ridiculously barroque or overpriced. The major point of disagreement was the sofa: he wanted to get a leather one. My parents had a leather sofa when I was a teenager and I hated it with all my heart. Try sitting there when it is hot and not ripping the skin in your legs off when you stand up! I managed to convince him of this one and we got a regular fabric sofa. He later admitted it is super comfy! Ikea also witnessed some other disagreements, mainly caused by his poor taste (what can we do, he is a man!)

在购买了房子之后,我们不得不买一些家具。我们去了宜家,因为我想不出还有哪家家具店的东西闻起来不像有毒的化学物质,或者是形状奇怪或者价格过高。我们主要的分歧点是沙发:他想要一个真皮的沙发。我十几岁的时候,我的父母有一个真皮沙发,我非常讨厌它。试着在天热的时候坐在那里,站起来的时候千万不要把腿上的皮扯掉! 我设法说服了他,买了一个普通的布艺沙发。后来他承认坐上去非常舒服!我们在宜家还有其他一些分歧,主要是因为他的品味太差(我能说什么呢,他是个男人!)

We have also had some other small disagreements that were quickly solved with a few words. For example, when he wanted to wear sport pants with a woollen jumper. I said I would pretend I didn’t know him if he went out like that. Then we also discussed if we should trim Nico’s fur. I was in favour, he was against. Finally we only trimmed it a little bit. We also get overexcited sometimes when we talk about politics but I tend to shut up on this one as I am not really well versed on the matter. Overall, I think we don’t fight because we have learned many valuable lessons from past relationships. He learned that picking fights or responding to provocation doesn’t lead to anything good. I learned that I have to be more vocal about my feelings instead of burying them. We are doing good.

我们还有其他一些小分歧,不过讨论了几句,很快就解决了。例如,当他想穿运动裤配羊毛套头衫时。 我说如果他穿成那样出去,我就假装不认识他。然后我们还讨论了我们该不该修剪Nico(他们家的狗)的毛。我赞成,但是他反对。最后我们只剪了一点。当我们谈论政治的时候,我们有时候也会辩论得过于激烈,但是我倾向于适时闭嘴,因为我对这一块儿不是很了解。总的来说,我认为我们不吵架是因为我们从过去的关系中学到了很多宝贵的经验。他认识到挑起争端或者对挑衅做出反应不会带来任何好结果。我认识到,我必须更直言不讳地表达自己的感受,而不是把它隐藏起来。我们都做得很好。

We mostly support and respect each other but I am sure we will have many more disagreements in the future, especially if we have kids. I just hope we can face them in the same calm manner as now! Because I can’t really see myself throwing things!




When we talk about our Chinese in-laws, our dear mother-in-laws are usually the protagonists. I have written about my Chinese MIL before (and it is one of my most viewed posts ever), but my FIL has never been properly introduced on this blog. It’s time to put an end to that!


C.’s father has a small convenience store in the alley where he lives. He mainly sells drinks and cigarettes to the neighbourhood people, mainly old people and migrant workers. He sits in the store all day, watching dvds on a portable dvd player, listening to the radio or chatting with the passersby. Before, he used to be a sales representative for a Chinese watch brand, so when C. was a kid he went to many places in China with his parents. But when foreign brands started coming to China, this watch factory couldn’t cope with the competition and had to close, so he lost his job.


When people see C. and his dad together, they always say that C. resembles his father. So I know what I will have to face when we get old! Their physical resemblance is truly remarkable: before C. got his braces almost 2 years ago, even their teeth were extremely similar.


Every time we go see him at the store, he always wants to give me some drink, ice cream or snack. Other times he wants to give us a potted plant (the plants and animals market is at the end of their alley) or frozen dumplings. The first word I learned in Suzhou dialect was “fie”, which means “I don’t want (that)” [like bu yao in Mandarin] because that is what C. always replies…


If he is not in the store, you can probably find him playing mahjong with some neighbours. He loves dogs and is very fond of Nico. He can cook some dishes (and often puts too much salt for my taste) . His Mandarin has a strong Suzhou accent and sometimes I can’t understand when he speaks.


C.’s father is always smoking and when we go to a restaurant he always brings his own alcohol, 黄酒 huangjiu or yellow rice wine (bringing your own drinks is acceptable in many restaurants in China). When there is a special occasion, like Chinese New Year, he likes wearing his gold watch and ring. We joke and tell him he looks like a mafia boss.