China Elevator Stories

“It Has Hit Me Really Hard That He Has A Girlfriend”

A co-worker in Shenzhen confides in me a story of being unhappily in love.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


I want to go for lunch. On my way to the restaurant, I walk past a café and hear somebody call me by my Chinese name. I think that this is just my imagination and walk on. But then I hear somebody call my name again.

One of my female coworkers is sitting in front of the café, on a table hidden behind some bushes. I have never talked to her before and go over and ask what she’s doing here.

She informs me: “I needed to get some fresh air.”
“Are you feeling unwell?”
“I am. Are you going to eat something?”
I reply: “That’s my plan. Have you eaten yet?”
She says: “I haven’t. I haven’t felt like eating for over three days.”
“Are you feeling unwell physically or emotionally?”
She answers: “Emotionally.”

She gestures me to sit down on the chair opposite of her. I sit down and ask: “What’s the matter?”
“There’s this guy. We have always been chatting on QQ. A few days ago he told me that he has had a girlfriend for the past 6 months and that they are going to buy a house in Northeast China. He’s from Northeast China, just like me. People from Northeast China like to be with other people from Northeast China. We got along so well. It has hit me really hard that he has a girlfriend.”
“Did you know each other only via QQ?”
“Well, kind of.”

I’m trying to get a better picture of the situation, so I ask her: “How old are you?”
“I was born in 1985.”
“How long have you known each other?”
“For 9 years.”
“That’s a really long time. Is he living here in Shenzhen or in Northeast China?”
“In Shenzhen.”

I go on: “Have you ever met him in real life?”
She says: “One time I saw him at a subway stop. I only saw him from a distance but I knew it was him from the photos. I walked towards him. He was typing something on the phone, looked up and smiled at me. At that time I was still a bit away from him, but I think he also knew that this was me. Before I could reach him, the subway arrived and he got on it. I was waiting for the subway into the other direction. I then messaged him that I just saw him.”

“When he told me he had a girlfriend, I wanted to call him. I wanted him to give me an explanation, to hear his voice. I called his number, but he didn’t pick up the phone. I called again, but he still didn’t pick up. He has started ignoring me. I have already deleted his QQ contact and his WeChat contact. If only I could talk to him. I’d like to talk to him and let him know that we could still be friends. Do you think that there’s any chance that he might add me again on QQ?”

I tell her my opinion: “To be honest, I don’t think he will. But I also think that this is better for you. If he keeps contact with you, you might just get hurt even more. It might take some time, but I think it’s best if you try to forget him. Have you talked about this with your Chinese friends? Maybe they have a better understanding of the whole situation.”
She says: “Not really. I’ve been living in Shenzhen for a very long time, but I’m only friends with a few co-workers. I really don’t feel like going back to work at the moment. I thought sitting here might make me feel a little bit better. When I’m at home, I think about it way too much.”

“Have you tried to go out and distract your mind? Don’t think about it too much. Sometimes things happen for a reason. Maybe it didn’t work out because it wasn’t supposed to work out. I do believe in destiny. Maybe you’re not destined to be together, and you’ll meet someone else.”
“I once believed it was destiny that we met. You know, seeing him at the subway stop and things.”

I inquire: “Have you ever told him about your feelings or ever talked about your relationship to each other?”
She tells me: “No, never. I’ve had feelings for him ever since, but I never told him. I’m not sure if he had feelings for me or not, he never told me. Except for that, I used to tell him everything. I could tell him everything. Now that I’ve deleted his QQ contact, it feels like there’s something missing. And since he’s buying a house with his girlfriend, I guess they want to get married. You see, he’s already 34. Maybe his family is giving him pressure. After all, 34 is an age where a Chinese guy should settle down and get married.”
“I’m not sure what his feelings for you were in the past, but he seems to have moved on. I know it’s not easy, but you should do the same.”

She tells me that it was good she could talk to me about this. A little while later I go to get something to eat and she goes back to the office.

Has a stranger ever entrusted you with such personal matters?