“I’m thinking of breaking up”

Illustration by Ruth Silbermayr-Song (http://www.ruthsilbermayrsong.com)

Illustration by Ruth Silbermayr-Song (http://www.ruthsilbermayrsong.com)

One of my husband’s friends is working as a trainer at a gym. It’s the trainers job to find people they can train. The competition is fierce and more often than not, he doesn’t have anyone to train. If he doesn’t have anyone to train, he earns about 1000 CNY a month (around 120 EUR or 165 USD).

One day, my husband tells me of one of their conversations:

The trainer’s girlfriend just celebrated her birthday. Originally, he wanted to take her shopping and pay for her clothes. His girlfriend suggests: “Why don’t you just give me the money instead?”
He: “How much would you want?”
She: “2000 CNY.”

When he talks with my husband a bit later, he says: “I’m thinking of breaking up. I just gave her 2000 CNY for her birthday. I can’t bear it anymore.”

6 months later, they are still together.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? I’d love to read your comments.

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18 thoughts on ““I’m thinking of breaking up”

  1. This is linked to this article


    from MHKH

    The comparative lack of chinese women to men means they can dictate the terms. For chinese women, this usually means house, car, expensive brands. Basically MONEY. That’s why it is quite common to see really old western men with young chinese women… because money takes priority and the man has a pension (guaranteed income). Even a western man on social benefits is more appealing to a chinese man earning an average wage in China – I think they are about the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s often rather the security that people think comes with owning a house or having money. You can’t rely on the state, so you have to find other ways to make sure you’ll have money in old age or when you need it.
      But this is not to say that every woman is like that here, there are also women who don’t demand a car, lots of money and a house or who are willing to work hard for those things themselves or together with their partner.


  2. Wow, 1000 as a personal trainer is really low payment. I am used that they earn rather much even in China. I mean all the qualifications he has to get which takes several years should secure a much higher payment than that.
    Sorry that I dont go into that other part but I am just so, well, shocked 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1000 is low, especially in Shenzhen, but I don’t think it’s that uncommon as a starting salary for a trainer at a gym. Those jobs come with benefits – if you have people to train, you’ll make a lot more than that, 1000 is the amount you’ll get if you don’t have anyone to train.


      • makes sense. I noticed that here in China there seem to be much more low base salary jobs, but which offer the chance to high bonuses, than in the west. If you serve a lot of clients/customers/etc. then your bonus can skyrocket, if not then your life will be tough. In some industries the bonus seems to be really related how hard you work, in others it seems rather based on luck. We had a HR who asked to skip big parts of a candidate’s interview and test, just so we could hire him and for her to get her bonus… whoever thought of such a payment scheme?! 😦

        Hope he’s lucky and he gets some people to train tough…


        • He’s doing a lot better now financially than he used to. But it surely isn’t an easy job if you’re not that outgoing and good in talking people into taking up sports with a personal trainer.

          Many companies here have these kinds of bonuses where you get money if you find a new employee for the company.


  3. The first thing that comes to mind for me is: Why don’t they just talk about their situation? Any good relationship is based on good communication. Doesn’t she know how little he makes? He can’t hide it forever. If she’s a demanding girlfriend who won’t listen to reason, she’ll probably be a demanding wife. As @myhongkonghusband says, this attitude has a lot to do with the comparative lack of women. Still, I can’t believe that all Chinese women would be so materialistic. There may be more young men than women in China, but are there more RICH men than women who hope to find a rich husband. I don’t think so.


    • Not all Chinese women are that materialistic, but demanding women and wives are not that uncommon either. On the one hand, standing up for themselves is a good thing (e.g. not accepting a guy who treats them badly), but on the other hand, if it’s out of control like that and leads to an unequal relationship, it will probably cause more severe problems on the long run.

      I’m not sure about the rich men to women ratio, so can’t comment on that one.


  4. Poor guy.

    Yes not all Chinese girls are like that, but he got one of the bad ones. He shouldn’t be such a sucker, he should be a man and not be afraid to be alone and find a new girl.

    Of course, I don’t know any of the details but based on this story that’s what I think.


  5. I think there is a lot of pressure on women in Shenzhen as well. Women seem to wear the most ridiculous outfits, wear heels climbing mountains, get weaves and wigs, and heavy makeup, and more. Lately I’ve seen a ton of moms who are wearing mini-skirts and croptops and they look younger than their kids in their school uniforms.
    It sucks to have that much pressure to be thin, beautiful, and coiffed. I wonder what the trainer friend gets out of the relationship. Is he with a pretty girl and feels like he has to spend money to keep her? Would he be happier if he had a more authentic relationship?


    • I can’t answer for him, but I’m pretty sure that his girlfriend is bringing sth into the relationship as well. If you don’t know about the money request, she seems like a nice girl. I think that many guys here also expect that they have to buy stuff for their girlfriends, just maybe not things worth 2 month’s salaries when money is tight.


  6. I think it’s little bit scare of being alone. I think now ratio men to women is 5:1 in China, if he doesn’t take care of her someone else will and he might end up alone. Not every girl is like that but I know few using their power to get what they want (example: my cousin’s partners, always getting whatever they want). But it’s still better than one poor guy in HK recently hold hands with a girl while a white guy was hugging her … O-O for me if someone treats you like ATM there’s no point in being together. hopefully it’s just one time situation or something.

    PS. the title made me scared! 🙂


    • I think the ratio is rather something like 5:6, it’s definitely not 5:1. You’re right, for many men here it’s not easy to find (and keep) a girlfriend, especially if they don’t fulfil the car/house/money requirements.


      • good to know because few months ago I read one of the baidu posts defending that kind of behavior and a guy wrote that when you have 5 times more man than women you will have to accept it or be gay haha.


  7. I think some people spend more money than they earn and that’s kind of dangerous, This girl doesn’t know how much money her boyfriend earns? I wouldn’t dare to bluntly ask for 2,000 RMB to buy clothes knowing that it is 2 months of his salary…


    • She knows how much her boyfriend makes. I wouldn’t dare to ask for that amount either, especially knowing how little he earned at that time. It seems like some women here think that a boyfriend should show them with money or materialistic things how much they like them.


  8. Pingback: “I’m thinking of breaking up” | Shenzhen Writers Circle

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