"I said, look, haven’t your dad and I stayed together for life? At the time we thought, you’re already this old, already 31, and still not married. There’s no need to give it that much consideration; just settle down already. She won’t budge. Have you ever dated? [she asked.] Is it you dating or me dating? No, I haven’t dated. As soon as our parents arranged it we went and got married and raised a child and like this lived our whole lives. A bumpy ride, but we never thought about divorcing. Divorce when it comes to their generation is, oh, if I get married and get divorced isn’t that the same [as not marrying]? Therefore I say, what they think about is different. Their way of thinking is different. She hasn’t gotten married yet and she’s already thinking, what if I get divorced?"
ZHAO JIE, 66, retired medical clinic worker
"Generally in China, I feel, even with men our age, they would also tacitly approve of you being…as the saying goes, 'men manage external affairs; women manage internal affairs'…you are that manager of the internal affairs.
Although I can be aware of these things, I probably still feel my mom’s generation’s lifestyle is, I can’t say I accept it, but I will try to be the same as they are. If you want everything to be OK on the whole, you might just have to sacrifice these things. I think what my mom and dad have is a type of balance. And besides, if your male partner had also grown up under this model, he would tacitly approve of this being the case. Then a way to reduce conflicts is maybe to just also tacitly approve of the lifestyle of the previous generation."
LIU QI, 31, senior tax accountant