My Taiwanese sister, who is a lot like me, is in an unhappy relationship. This is what she said:
“His family is traditional.”
“He wants me to be his ‘house’ wife, to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for him. He gives me money to go to the market in the morning, and then expects am at home all day.”
“He is very controlling, and stifles my freedom.”
I honestly think he is a good man. It’s just that they are not a good match.
Ever since I’ve known her, Taiwanese Sister has always been a social butterfly. Pretty, extroverted and very sociable, she loves to hop from one party to the next. She’s never had a shortage of suitors as most guys would find her interesting, it’s not easy for her to find a guy who can really accept her for who she is.
It’s similar to what my mom advised me when I first got back to Manila.
“Bonita, you need to hasa your sungay (refine your devil’s horns).
“Bonita, you have to be more demure. More womanly. Quieter.”
“Bonita, you cannot be too strong-willed. You need to learn how to be submissive to get a guy.”
These sentiments were echoed not just by mom, but also my siblings. They believed that strong-personalitied me cannot find anyone. That guys would want more typical girls who sat still, and was nice.
My last ex-boyfriend, like my Taiwanese sister’s boyfriend, wanted me to be a housewife. He wanted me to change so much that he was even willing to give me a monthly stipend of USD 1,500 just to remain at home and take care of his kids.
In the end, they want me to change.
They wanted to change the qualities that initially attracted them in the first place, and make you into their ideal woman.
My mom said I needed to change a little bit especially in the beginning to get guys’ interest. She felt that my strong personality would turn off men.
In the end, I realized that though change is good and inevitable, if change doesn’t come truly from within, it’s merely a superficial change.
If I pretend to be domestic and love being a housewife, sure, it would not be difficult to get married. The problem would be staying married.
And even if the guy married me, he is merely marrying an illusion, an ideal who is not really me. And if he is not marrying me for who I am, woe is us who wake up one day discovering that we’ve only married a dream. The reality we still have to face after the hard awakening.
I think that it’s important to differentiate good change and bad change.
Yes, there is a BIG difference between change that needs to be done regardless, and change that you ideally want people to become.
Change that needs to be done (aka good change) are changes like:
- Being less bitchy.
- Being more on time.
- Being nicer.
- Being more appreciative about life.
- Being friendlier.
- Being more generous.
The above are just examples of changes, that no matter what gender or age, we have to aspire for. It is always good to be nicer, less meaner, and more hardworking. And if you are not there yet, then it’s good to start becoming a better person.
Meanwhile, there are preferable changes. These are changes that would be nice to have, but don’t make someone better for you.
Take for example being more mahinhin (docile and shy).
Whereas some guys prefer girls who are mahinhin, being mahinhin doesn’t make a girl a better person. You can be shy and docile and still be an inner bitch.
Or a guy who prefers a more career minded woman. There is no difference between a career minded woman vs. a more domesticated woman. It’s just about preference.
So at the end of the day, wisdom is in differentiating between change that is necessary and change that is nice to have.
And I refuse to change myself on a quality that is just nice to have.
Fortunately, I met someone who loves me for who I am, strong personality and all. 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!