I am a Malay guy in my 30’s and I stay in Kuala Lumpur. I dated a French girl 7 years my junior. We were both attracted by the excitement of an interracial relationship.
Here are a few things worth mentioning as to why it worked out initially:
I Had My Own Place
The perk of being in my 30’s is that I am more financially stable compared to when I was in my 20’s. This means that I had my own little studio in the city, my own car and my own small business.
This translates to an ideal setup for her to live in comfort when she was in KL.
Having my own business also meant that I had more free time to be together with her and we can make trips when most people are working.
I’m Totally Not Religious at All
This is a big one. I lived and worked abroad most of my life so I was quite ‘westernized’ if you will.
Honestly, I don’t think she would be in a relationship with me if I were a typical Muslim.
So what were the pros of the relationship?
I Learned About Having Good Taste
The first time I visited her in Paris, she was so embarrassed with my winter jacket and overall style that she and her friends told me that I dress like a typical Asian tourist (ouch).
They feared that I might be an easy target for thugs targeting clueless tourists, which was a valid concern.
I had a makeover with the help of her fashionable friend and got a few tops, properly fitted pants, nice shoes, and a jacket that blends in with the Parisian crowd.
I haven’t felt this good looking at myself in the mirror for a long time.
I was also exposed to the real patisseries and fine-dining culture in Paris. Although expensive, it was a great experience and simply different from the fine dining we have in KL, no matter how expensive it is.
It’s just not the same.
We Both Liked the Attention
I know there are other Malay guys with European girls, but I can attest to the fact that it is still not mainstream yet.
We both liked the attention that we get when we’re out in public (I think she likes it more than me; I’m a little low profile by default).
Being in KL is fine, but when we venture out to vacation in more remote areas, the attention could be a bit overwhelming.
We Both Loved Traveling
Once a year, I fly into Paris for 2 to 4 weeks (my business was managed online). Twice a year, she flies into Malaysia and spends summer and winter here. It was a great lifestyle for both of us.
When she came over, we took mini-vacations in South East Asia like in Cambodia this one time. We had a great time.
So what were the cons of the relationship?
This should be expected if you’re dating interracially. There’s always some incompatibility. You just need to be honest with yourself if you both can tolerate it or not.
Parisians love dogs. Almost everyone has one. So it’s inevitable. If we ended up together, we’re going to get at least one.
The problem is, I’m more of a cat person. Also being from a Muslim background, I’m totally not used to dogs, but I am open about it.
Her dog in Paris was cute and I grew fond of it over time. Dogs truly are man’s best friend.
But one thing I can’t handle is the hair. Dog hair will be everywhere in your home. On your clothes, on your socks, in your mouth, just everywhere.
Unlike cats, you can’t leave dogs alone to do their thing, you have to walk them every day and apparently it gets sick quite often. It’s almost like having a small child.
Although I think most Malaysians are sociable, I think Parisians are on a whole ‘nother level. You have to expect social meetups with friends all the time.
When we were at social gatherings in Paris, I felt quite lonely because most of them would avoid speaking English.
Initially, it came across as a cold and unwelcoming vibe. But most are just simply shy to converse in English.
On top of all of that, I am an introvert, it took me some time to get used to and not take it personally.
Social & Religious Stigma
Being a Malay guy with a European girl in social settings, you can expect some traditional folks to ask the dreaded question:
“So when are you guys getting married?”
Or better yet, some of my friend’s wives would pull her to the side in isolation and ask her: “so where are you staying in Malaysia?”
She would answer: “I’m staying with my boyfriend.” Collective judgemental leering ensues.
But wait, it gets better. Here’s what a family member of mine blatantly asked me this one time at a gathering:
“So what Muslim name are you going to give her?”
I died inside.
She Was Actually Still Very Immature for Me
I think we all can attest to the fact that we do stupid things when we’re in love. Sometimes we realize that we are incompatible, but we somehow convince ourselves that it’s okay when it clearly isn’t.
Carefree Free Spirit
This was a big one. I noticed that we talk about different things. When I talked about an ‘adult’ topic like money, current happenings or career, she can’t follow or able to constructively add to the conversation.
For example, I was asking her, “Well if you eventually move here to KL with me, what are you going to do for money?” (Totally valid question).
She just gives me vague answers. She was too carefree. Being a millennial with 2 mortgages and a business to run, this kind of attitude towards money really burdens me.
We Were On Different Wavelengths
The other time we went to Langkawi with 2 of her friends. We rented a nice Airbnb villa and the hosts were an older couple from London.
I told them that I was also running an Airbnb back in KL, we immediately hit it off and talked for hours on end about everything under the sun (career, business, travels, etc.) and had a great time.
At some point, my GF decided to check up on me and tried to join in on the conversation. I noticed that she couldn’t chime in at all, got bored and left.
She rejoined her friends and played card games at our villa patio.
I looked at her when she was talking to her friends and that’s the first time I realized: “Huh, maybe she is too young for me.”
We were simply are not on the same wavelength.
Why it Ultimately Didn’t Work Out
Ultimately after 3 years of mostly long-distance, it didn’t work out. The main reason was that I felt like although she does like me, she wasn’t mature enough to actually be in a relationship.
I felt like I was not treated as her priority. Her priority at the time was to hang out with her friends. Her friends or anybody fun she just met rather than me (supposedly her boyfriend).
Being in her early 20’s, I can’t 100% blame her.
After multiple times of me talking to her face to face, my efforts seemed futile. She keeps doing the things that make me feel like I wasn’t prioritized and I had enough and ended it.
I’m not blaming her, it was both of our faults for letting this drag on for too long.
What I Should Really Look for in a Potential Partner When I’m In My 30’s
Well, I learned a lot about what I really should be looking for in a life partner. No matter the age difference nor the cultural difference, here’s what I think everyone should prioritize:
- Make sure I find someone I can really click and can talk about the same things.
- Make sure I find someone about my age. I can’t be dealing with someone too wide of an age gap.
- Make sure that we both prioritize each other and are happy.
- Every relationship has its pros and cons. Make sure that the pros outweigh the cons. If not, it’s time to have the talk and rip the bandage off.
- Legitimately, be honest with yourself. Whatever problems you’re facing now, it’ll only get worse with time.
There you have it. My experience in dating someone who is not only from a totally different culture than me but was 7 years my junior.
It was a bumpy ride, but we both ultimately learned a lot about ourselves.
For more stories like this, read: My Husband Was in an Inter-Racial Relationship Before He Met Me. Here’s Why It Didn’t Work Out and I Dated White Guys As An Asian Girl – Here’s Why It Can Suck.