Guest Post: Jealousy in Cross-Cultural Relationships (from China Elevator Stories)

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I’ve never been the jealous type of kind. That is, until I met my Chinese husband, Y. Well, I still wouldn’t say I’m a jealous kind of person, but in the first year of our relationship I have found myself feeling jealous from time to time. Jealousy has been quite a new feeling for me. I have always been one to say that if you trust somebody, there’s no need to be jealous.

So where did my jealousy come from?

I trust Y. I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t. So that’s not the problem. The problem was lying somewhere else. A feeling of jealousy crept up my chest on occasions where I saw Y joking with Chinese women. I don’t mind him talking to other women, mind you. But on these occasions, I felt like my Chinese wasn’t good enough to follow their jokes. Like I was the odd one out. My husband performs effortlessly on this stage that is China and Chinese language and Chinese women naturally do too.

He’s a great performer on this stage that is China. But at the same time, he doesn’t mind my not understanding every single word he’s saying. Often times, he’ll explain certain expressions or jokes patiently to me, without me even asking. He makes an effort to include me.

Being aware of where this feeling came from has helped me in finding a way to deal with it. This, and reminding myself of the fact that joking and laughing is what brought me and my husband together in the first place. We share the same sense of humor and we do have our own language, one that doesn’t need to be defined as Chinese, German or anything else. We connect somewhere beyond the world of languages.

I haven’t felt jealous recently, but I’m wondering: Will my husband have the same feeling of being the odd one out once we’re in Austria for the birth of our baby, surrounded by my German speaking family and friends? Or once our baby utters its first words of German? If he does, I hope that he’ll come to the same realization as I have: That no matter which language we use, there is a connection between us — me, him and our baby — that runs much deeper than words.

*Ruth Silbermayr-Song is an Austrian illustrator and blogger at China Elevator Stories currently living in Shenzhen in Southeastern China. She has married her Chinese husband in June 2013, after being together for less than half a year (you can read up on their whirlwind romance here: “How I turned my husband’s life upside down” ), and is currently pregnant with their first child. Their common language of communication is Chinese and love – lots of it. To read her full bio, click here.

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

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