If you’ve ever found yourself falling for a Chinoy, you probably know the term “Great Wall.” It’s the obstacle you face when your Chinese love interest is allowed to date people only of the same descent. Below, two girls share the problems they faced when they went up against the so-called Great Wall.
How did the two of you meet? And for how long were you guys together?
"Spencer* and I met in college. We were classmates in history, and we both ended up shifting to the same course at the end of that semester. We were together for over four years."
When did you find out that he wasn’t allowed to date someone outside his ethnicity?
"I had already been crushing on him from the start, so I asked if he had a Great Wall. He said that his parents preferred for him to have a Chinese girlfriend, but they wouldn't stop him if he fell for a Filipina. That turned out to be a lie."
What are some of the things you had to deal with because he wasn’t allowed to date someone who wasn’t Chinese?
"I never got to meet his parents because they didn't really acknowledge our relationship. I also had to hide our relationship from my family, because I knew that if learned about our situation, they would encourage me to break things off.
"I also had to deal with his parents’ assumptions of me. They genuinely believed that my goal was to get pregnant so that he would be forced to marry me and give me access to their money.
"It really hurt because they didn’t even try to get to know me."
Were you able to get through these struggles?
"Actually, we pretty much avoided addressing the issue altogether. I guess that was the biggest flaw in our relationship. Instead of trying to face things head on, we stayed in our little bubble. It also didn't help that his family wasn't willing to compromise—because I wasn’t Chinese, I couldn’t be with their son.
"We were great together, but ultimately the pressure was too much for the both of us, so we decided that it would be best to just be friends."
Can you share some insights you’ve gained throughout your relationship?
"Family really plays a huge role in romantic relationships here in the Philippines. It's not like in places like the States, where it's totally normal for people to introduce their partners to their families after they’ve already gotten engaged.
"Before my relationship with Spencer*, I didn't think racism was a big thing here. I just hope that the future generations don't have to go through the same thing I experienced.
"Lastly, there is no wrong type of love—even if everyone around you says you're making a mistake, or that you shouldn't be with a certain person."
What’s your relationship like now?
"We're friends. I've made peace with and accepted the fact that things are better this way."
How did you and your BF meet? How long have you been together?
"We met in our senior year of college, and we've been together for two years."
When did you find out that he wasn’t allowed to date someone outside of his ethnicity?
"While it wasn’t something that was explicitly said, there was clear resistance from his parents. They pointed out several things they didn't like about me, all of which didn't really point to my character or behavior—they were just nitpicking. We later on decided that it was a matter of 'preference,' and it all narrowed down to fact that I wasn’t Chinese."
What are some of the things you had to deal with because he wasn’t allowed to date someone who isn’t Chinese?
"What I've really had to deal with was not really having the relationship with his family that I would’ve liked. I don't interact with his parents—they've established a clear distance between us. I used to be the type of person to really crave the approval of my partner's family, but the overall experience has taught me to be more confident in my own skin, to love who I am and stand in my own truth, and be more trusting in the relationship."
Has his parents’ view of you changed after two years of being together?
"Lately, his family has been more okay with us spending more and more time together. Sometimes, he still has to lie about where he’s going so he can see me, but hopefully, this would change in the next few years. Since we're going to be in our mid-20s, hopefully there will be less resistance from them."
It can be really difficult to come to terms with the fact that your boyfriend’s parents don’t approve of you. How have you gotten through it?
"My boyfriend has been so loving and reassuring in the past two years. He's never made me feel unwanted or unloved, and he's always given me support when I feel down, always followed through with our plans, and always inspires me to feel brave. When your partner is there for you, you will feel it—and you'll know you can take on anything.
"It also helps that my family and our friends are supportive of our relationship. It's not really us against the world because we have the love and support of others, too. I've realized that what matters is our love and friendship. He's stayed committed to me despite the struggles before."
What’s your relationship like now?
"We're still good. We're enjoying the present as much as we're making plans for the future. He's my best friend, and I wouldn't change anything about him."
While some love stories have bitter endings, a lot of them inspire us to pursue relationships that we know will make us happy, despite judgments and prejudice. The pursuit of loving relationships is a universal instinct and right, and everyone should have the freedom to love.
Closeup, a brand that has stood for closeness for over 50 years, is now fighting for the freedom to love by celebrating love and closeness in all forms. Watch Lost Loves, a short film that features real couples sharing their brave and true stories of their love in the face of doubt and judgment all across the world.
To learn more about Closeup’s #FreedomToLove campaign, follow Closeup on Facebook.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.