Friday, August 03, 2012

A love story - Part 11

The Chinese, and I read somewhere, men in general, have a tendency to either idolize or demonize women. That is, women are seen as either
The 1994 Stanley Kwan movie “紅玫瑰白玫瑰” Red Rose White Rose (click here for a link to a China download website) illustrates this angel-or-devil classification very well.
"There are 2 women in Zhen Bao's life. One he calls "White Rose" - his chaste wife. The other, "Red Rose" - is his passionate mistress."
"He is a decent, respectable man who draws a clear distinction between a lady and a whore."
I received one serious marriage proposal in my life to date. As you will tell later, I felt compelled to turn down that marriage proposal for it would cast me into the 紅玫瑰 (Red Rose) role for which 我跳进黄河也洗不清 ["I cannot wash myself/my-reputation clean even if I jump into the Yellow River"].


Part 11 - The proposal

As mentioned in Parts 9 and 10, I broke up with AL once again after my trip to France and SMS won me over to begin a relationship with him. For a couple of years, AL and I were back to normal platonic friends. I cannot recall if we hung out (sorry, my memory system is pretty flaky). I think at most we had a couple of meals together chatting over life as we used to.

At that point, I felt that I had lost out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be with the "the one for life" with AL. The strange coincidences (click here and here) that led SMS to dance into my life at various points made me wonder if I was given a second chance at this game of "the one for life".
Slowly over time, I learned in my relationship with SMS that he was not willing to wait for about 4 years -- until I get my own home in Singapore -- before I join him in France. On my side, I was not willing to compromise my need for something to fall back on should the relationship fail. After all, as SMS revealed over time, he was only willing to offer lodgings in exchange for having a live-in girlfriend. I would have to make my own way to his part of France (not bustling Paris, but the Côte d'Azur region) and find my own source of income. Marriage was not on the cards -- not at all. From his perspective, he had already had one marriage which ended in divorce and an affair that burned him badly, he was not interested in offering a stable relationship arrangement. Thus, if I choose to go ahead with SMS, I definitely want and need a safety net of my own to fall back on. To top it off, I wanted to be independently wealthy, so that SMS's wealthy family cannot accuse me of being a gold-digger in the relationship.
To put a long story short, I decided to enter MLM full-time, driven by greed and a desperate wish to build a financial safety net quickly so as to pursue this rare second chance at love. I ignored the signs of potential trouble -- e.g. that the MLM that I joined did not have a mathematically sustainable reward system, the products were priced way beyond (10 times or more) its competitors, heavy sales psychology and group/peer pressure were employed throughout -- from making a sales to training sessions for "motivating" the independent representatives. Still I pursued that MLM blindly.
Note: With hindsight, I am not proud of myself for my actions/behaviour. That said, IMHO, not all direct sales systems are bad. E.g. I support my younger sister in her part-time pursuit at another well-established direct-sales company.
As part of the MLM sales process, we were required to list and approach every single person I know. Of course, given my rapport with AL, he was eventually roped in. I knew very well that he joined not because of the products, not because of the "training system", not because of the social network that MLM offered -- I knew very well that he joined to "buy" time with me. He consistently looked at me with those forlorn puppy love eyes which I pretended not to understand. Finally, after he attended the MLM's "life changing" weekend motivational camp, he said the following to me after sending me home to my doorstep.

"If I divorce my wife, 
      will you marry me?"

When I heard it, I was angry.
For one, whether AL divorced his wife (6Snoopys) or otherwise, it has nothing to do with me. Whatever happens between them is strictly their problem between 2 mentally capable adults. 
Secondly, I felt that AL should clear his problems with his wife (6Snoopys) before even thinking about engaging with another relationship. It was as if he had not learned anything about the pain caused by our love triangle -- with AL, 6Snoopys, and I. 
Thirdly, his conditional proposal gave me the sense that AL
(a) is afraid to be alone in life; and/or
(b) refused to be responsible and accountable for his potential divorce. It is like if anyone asked, AL can easily reply that his mistress (a.k.a. me -- the "Red Rose") insisted that he divorced his wife (a.k.a. 6Snoopys -- the "White Rose"), and he would come out of the mess still smelling like roses -- a.k.a. a "decent, respectable man". 
Fourthly, I felt insulted that AL, who knew clearly that I had embarked on another romantic relationship, would expect me to drop all other suitor(s) to wait-in-line for his availability.
And finally, even if AL did eventually become available, what made him think that our past together entitled him a short-cut to my hand-in-marriage? No way. While we were still friends, we have both changed over the years, we are no longer the same 2 persons who fell deeply and madly in love with each other almost a decade ago.
So no prize for guessing my answer. In the manners of a typical lady, I just replied, "No" -- no further explanation given.


Do I ever regret turning down a marriage proposal with a man that I had loved over so many years? Sometimes I wonder about the "what if's" but I don't dwell upon it.

In AL's case, I have learned over the years, from my relationship with him and from his sharing about his relationship with 6Snoopys, that his marriage relationship is precisely what he had created subconsciously. From my observation, AL is like the typical "responsible" Asian man who takes care of everything for his spouse and family. I would bet that 6Snoopys was attracted to him during their university days because of this "reliability"[可靠] about him. Over the years, as AL makes more and more of the big and small decisions in the couple's life, his partner will grow to become more and more dependent on him for every aspect of life [i.e. become a 小女人, i.e. a dependent woman]. As a result, the very dependency that AL eventually resented was actually groomed by him. It did not matter if AL's partner was 6Snoopys or myself, the result would still be the same -- a husband who subconsciously created a dependent wife (小女人), and he subsequently turn around to resent her dependence on him.

I never told AL about this observation of mine -- I did not have the heart to hurt him further. I never really regretted my decision as such. In fact, I consider it a blessing that my love life with AL was strewn with challenges. That experience forced me to learn the good/bad/ugly about myself, about the nature of romantic love, and to grow wiser over the years.


Story to be continued... in subsequent parts.


  1. Hi Winking Doll,

    I want to say that your head firmly remains clear, even when your heart kept trying to usurp it.

    Clearly seen in your experiences is how you intelligently and sensibly struggled on, despite the storms raging in you, which you had to endure as a woman.

    You have been spot-on in observing the men who tugged so hard at your heart, and decisive in moving on despite it all.

    Sadly, I have to admit I only wish our late mother had been stronger in this sense.
    We struggled beside her over this, until the end, when there was nothing more we could do for her in her final decline.

    This is why I want to carry on striving, the memories of where my parents fell to their failures, prompting me to carry their flag from thereon.

    But have I over-corrected and become another 'responsible' Asian man who creates 'over-dependents'?
    No, I have 'failed' crucially in this sense.
    Perhaps only my wife and boys can verify this.

    A few small steps I have made:

    - I'm proud of my wife's maiden name, and encourage her to use it whenever she wants to, until she asks, "Why can't I identify myself as Mrs Heah?"
    In fact, I don't mind carrying the married name of Mr Alan Lee.

    - I've hinted at my older boy's growing up and schooling difficulties, but the operational word in our family is not 'pity', and not merely 'protective': it's responsibly focused on 'training'.

    Training to interface with a mainstream society still ignorant and insensitive to his special needs, so that as an adult he can stand on his feet as much as he needs to.

    While still having all the family love and support we can continue to give.

    - I refused to lie to my mother about her flaws, even when she lamented that I should relent once in a while.
    I refused to hide from her the grim prognosis of her aggressive brain cancer.
    (Un)Fortunately by then, she was no longer in the mental condition to understand its full import.

    I still refuse to lie to my existing family, just to make things 'less troublesome' for them.
    The sooner one faces the reality and truth, the sooner one goes on to make the best life for oneself.

    1. Hi Alan,

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your story. I appreciate learning from another's experience.

      > I only wish our late mother had been stronger in this sense.

      I think it is much (much+++) easier for me as a single woman without any dependents. I have a friend who is a single divorcee bringing up her son (just 1 son, compared to your mom's 3); and I admire her strength and resilience to carry on despite the multitude of challenges that she faces day-to-day.

      > Training to interface with a mainstream society still ignorant and insensitive to his special needs, so that as an adult he can stand on his feet as much as he needs to.

      I believe that one day your son will make you proud that you chose this tough-love route. In training your son to deal with an ignorant and insensitive world, you're giving him the best gift a parent can offer to his/her child -- the gift of an independent life.

      > I refused to lie to my mother about her flaws, even when she lamented that I should relent once in a while.

      Good that your late-mother at least bothered to lament to you honestly. I only challenged my mother a few times in life, but obviously my mother did/does not and cannot take to my expression of independent thoughts well. Instead of lamenting my independent streak, she plies on the emotional blackmail fast and thick. As the saying goes, "So sad, too bad, life goes on."

      Human interactions, especially within one's family, are tough, aren't they? IMHO, there is no single right or wrong approach to such matters. To deem so would be to negate the incredible range of human individuality and the strength of human resilience.

      Thanks again for sharing your stories.

      Cheers, WD.