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Barry from Australia is a questioning soul who looks at social issues from an alternative point of view and instead of asking, “Why?”, he asks “Why not?” He’s convinced that many of his previous incarnations were spent in China. He feels drawn to the people there; attracted by their rich culture and way of life. If given one wish from God, he’d reply, “I want everyone on Earth to be the same colour, speak the same language, and treat each other as they themselves would like to be treated.”
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We're born alone. We die alone.    

By Barry Pittman
29720 Views | 254 Comments | 5/19/2016 4:02:07 PM

“Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.” (excerpt from ”Game of Thrones”).

It was nearly ten o’clock at night a few days ago.  My phone buzzed briefly as a WeChat message from Tina came in.  To my shock, within three minutes she’d summarily and unexpectedly dissolved our relationship of some two years or so.  She wanted out.

The final excruciating nail was driven into my heart when she said, “When you come to collect your things from my apartment, let me know so I can be sure not to be here.”

Followers of my rambling blog series have joyfully accompanied me over past times on my remarkable journey with Tina, ever since I'd flown to China to initially meet her in 2013. Since then, she had visited me in Australia later in the same year and I in turn had returned to China in 2014 as an English teacher, simply to be near her.  Actions speak louder than words, after all.

So the shock of being dumped like this was a little hard to take.  I'd left my newly purchased home in Brisbane, my job and indeed, my whole way of life to be close to Tina, to work as an English teacher in China, a job I’d never performed before.  I was highly nervous about it all, but I believed the pain of regret at not trying would be far greater than the pain of giving it a go and then possibly failing. 

I thus feel that in an overall sense, I’d done way more than my fair share to keep this relationship going but sadly, it wasn’t to be.

“In my hour of need

I truly am indeed

Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that

There are more hearts broken in the world

That can't be mended

Left unattended

What do we do

What do we do

Alone again, naturally”

The mournful words of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s bleak song began rattling around in my mind. It seemed that indeed, my whole life had been comprised of a multiple succession of short term relationships with ladies that invariably ended prematurely.  Five years was the longest I’d ever been with anybody. This was one reason why I had no children.  I'd never been with anyone long enough to seriously consider this possibility. 

“What's wrong? Is it me?  Or is it them?”

As usual, the answer to this rhetorical question lay somewhere in the middle.  No doubt fault lay on both sides in every relationship break down. I couldn’t help comparing myself however to my older brother, who’d been with the same lady for nearly twenty years.  What was his secret?

When I die, I'll have no one to leave all my worldly goods to except for one older brother who God love him, most likely will pass away before I do, as he's already not in the best of health.  I have no other family or relatives.  So if I had a wife, she'd be in a good position to inherit everything I own.

As I sat in my university dorm reflecting upon Tina’s decision to cut me loose, I realised small warning signs had in fact been evident for some weeks, indicating that things weren’t well with us. Trivial matters had occurred, such as Tina declining to look for a shirt for me to purchase when I had asked her, since she was familiar with the clothing stores around here.  There was also her increased moodiness of late. Or the fact that these days, she no longer ever visited me at the university.

Then there were her recent words, telling me that she wouldn't accompany me to the airport when I leave China next month, a surprising and disappointing decision indeed given we were supposed to be best friends and more, and she knew I had difficulty with Chinese language.

With the benefit of hindsight, I should’ve seen the ominous writing on the wall.  Detected the distant thunder sounding forebodingly on the horizon. Maybe I could then have done something, made a special effort to act a little more kindly and considerately toward her?

“You’re utterly stuffed now Barry, at least on this website. No Chinese lady here will ever want to go out with you, after reading all your exploits with Tina over the past couple of  years.  No doubt they'll be chattering about what an uncaring bastard you are on the CLM forums!”

This worrying admonition from my teacher friend was interesting.  Would the fact that I’d written so many blogs about my ever burgeoning relationship with Tina prove to be my ultimate downfall?  Was I to become a doomed pariah on the website as far as Chinese ladies were concerned, now that my profile here had been grudgingly and quite sadly reactivated?

My personal opinion to this is no.  The reason being that I believe only a small percentage of people ever bother to spend more than a fleeting minute or two browsing the blog area. My view is most Chinese ladies in the CLM database would never realise that I’ve been an active blogger, unless I spill the beans and tell them.  Of course, some will know and some will condemn.  Most however will reckon I’m just another lonely plodder reaching out for a prospective partner.  Just another solitary, slippery fish amongst a whole moving feast of 'em of all shapes and sizes.

To conclude, my feelings can best be described as bittersweet. I'm reminded of an old saying.  Precious indeed are the dwindling memories of a departed friend or lover. Like the mellow rays of the setting sun, they fall tenderly yet tearfully upon the aching heart.

I regret the relationship with Tina so suddenly ending like this.  I feel as if a hand grenade has just exploded in my face, with the worst effects yet to be realised.  I hope that lingering PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) doesn’t unwelcomely rear its ugly head down the track. 

I'm aware though that time is the great healer.  Today is just tomorrow's yesterday.  Things that seem crucial right now most likely will be but distant memories in the future.  It's not so much what happens to us right now that's important, but what our reaction to it is.  All of us have the absolute power to choose if we are to be hurting or happy, calm or relaxed, angry or embittered. 

On the positive side, I’m extremely appreciative of the good times that Tina and I shared.  She taught me a helluva lot about life and love. I’m proud of the fact that I started a whole new career in a whole new country to be with her.  I’m proud that I made a success of this amazing new life and have many gleeful memories of some very special times that I’ve encountered here. 

Most importantly, despite the inevitable sadness currently immersing me, I’m proud of the fact that I can stand up straight and tall and proclaim loudly ”Thank you Tina and may God bless you forever” and genuinely mean it.

I will indeed never forget all my marvellous experiences in China. I shall also never forget Tina. To say that someone can clinically remove all memories of a partner is wrong.  It can’t be done.  A bell once rung cannot be unsounded. But I now resolutely choose to move on with living and life as I must.

Things change. People leave. Shit happens.

As a post script, let me say the following.

After the above words were written, I had one last conversation with Tina, as I finalised a few matters with her.  She clarified for me what had gone wrong between us.  She advised that my relationbship with her had no future.

 “What do you mean, we have no future?”, I asked incredulously.

 “You don’t wish to stay with me in Sichuan for any longer. You’re flying back to Australia soon and even if you do return here, it’ll be to another area.”

Tina was right.  I had told her that as nice as working in Leshan was, the salary here was quite low.  I could earn much more by going to a big city somewhere. She wasn’t pleased.  Tina wanted me to remain with her, at least until 2019 when she could retire.  Sadly, this was unacceptable to me.  I had already given up a year of my life, working for peanuts in a small rural facility.  Hadn’t I the right to move to a more highly paid position?  Hadn’t I already amply demonstrated remarkable forbearance by leaving my comfortable life in Australia to live and work in regional China, in a job I’d never done before?

The bottom line is that Tina wanted someone to remain close to her.  She was stuck in a job pending retirement.  I never asked her to leave early, as I wanted her to be able to reap full retirement benefits, to help secure her future. But I wanted freedom to earn more.  A hard rock meets an immovable object.  A split as it turned out was inevitable. Especially as she'd told me she had no particular wish to live in Australia. Tina was quite content to remain in China.  Why then had she been dating a Western man?  Does this make sense?

Despite my profile reactivation, I won’t be jumping into a new relationship quickly.  Sometimes you're able to forge your greatest strength by facing your greatest weakness.  In my case, this was the fear of being alone.

But I now know more acutely than ever before that we’re born alone.  We die alone. Dust to dust. I’m thus prepared and willing to accept that most likely, I'll solitarily explore the arcane values of aloneness for some considerable time to come.

Often in fact, it’s better to be alone.  No one can then hurt you.  My weeping emotional wounds will slowly and inexorably morph into profound wisdom borne from the blowtorch of harsh experience.  My next partner will then in turn be able to blessedly reap the rewards of being with the smartest, wisest person that I've ever been in my life.

Now that's something of true and substantial value, I think.

(To be continued)

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2016-05-19 16:41:39 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Barry, before anything else, let me say how sorry I am about your relationship with Tina failing. Like everyone else here, I not only was pulling for you two to make it and become a life long couple, but I was sure you were basically there. I have been incredibly happy for you for some time now, and now I am incredibly sad for you.

You had a dream, you worked hard to make it happen, you were within moments of waking to that dream come true, and now you find yourself in an emotional nightmare, and I feel your pain, your sense of being lost, your fear of how long now to be happy again, and probably your belief that it maybe too late to make a new start. I suspect that everyone who reads the blogs is experienced enough in loss of love to empathize with you in depth.

I am sorry for your loss. Truly, painfully, irrevocably sorry.

Next let me say that what you have written above is amazing. The manner in which you have laid it all out, the step by step coherency of it all, the wonderful descriptions of what you were feeling, the literacy of it approaches brilliance. As I read this blog Barry, I found myself not only sympathizing with your plight, wanting it not to be true, but at the same time envying your writing skills. It is with a sad certainty that I say I could not have written what you wrote, and I envy you that.

But moving on beyond all that, I must say that if you truly want to stay with Tina, and make a lifelong future with her, based on your own brilliant blog above, you could easily make that happen. Everything I read above tells me that Tina is not leaving you because she doesn't love you enough; she is leaving you because you don't love her enough!

And the moment you board that plane to Australia, you will be proving her right...

#2016-05-19 16:58:26 by melcyan @melcyan

"What's wrong? Is it me? Or is it them?"
Choose the answer that gives you the power to create a better life.

#2016-05-19 20:53:28 by anonymous14929 @anonymous14929

I think John reads Tina better than you.

Why did you make your profile visible so soon? That action tells CLM members and especially Tina that your relationship is 100% finished.

Speaking of profiles, if you cannot see yourself long term in China then why have you said YES to the question "Are you prepared to relocate"?

#2016-05-19 21:08:24 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

I'm so sorry Barry. There are no words that can console at a time like this. I think all of us here know first hand the pain you are experiencing. It seems at such times we reach into our own experience because we don't know what else to say. So here goes. A couple of years ago, I knew it was time for me to leave China. I was involved in a serious relationship at the time with a woman I was crazy about. But not crazy enough about to stay in China. We made plans from me to get settled in America and for her to come over, but I knew in my heart she was not going to leave China, and so I was not surprised, though I was crushed, when she ultimately told me it was over. As much as I loved her, I know I did the right thing in leaving even though if I had stayed in China, I am certain we would be together today. But it all resulted in finding Yong, so all the missteps,all the misery was worth it. I believe that if it's right, it won't feel like a compromise for either of you, and if does feel like you are compromising yourself in some way, it probably wasn't right.Despite the pain, it sounds like you are in a very good place right now emotionally speaking, grateful for the past, immersed in the present and dealing with the reality of your situation, ready for what the future will bring. Good luck, and keep us posted.

#2016-05-20 00:46:45 by anonymous14931 @anonymous14931

Barry, I am interested to know if your work visa expiring is the reason you were heading back to Australia? If my memory serves a work visa is issued at 1 year intervals or am I wrong? Personally I would not have gotten on that plane if I didn't have to. You mention Tina has no true interest in living in Australia because she wants to get her retirement benefits in 4 years, understandable although I am confident if she had more chances to see Australia again she would eventually change her mind about living there.

I know we are not privy to all that happened but I will say that Chinese women can be quite brutal when ending a relationship as they have wills of steel. They don't cloud their decisions with emotional thoughts they come to a calculated decision and proceed with it. A+B=C, we mortal western men do not think this way, although we should!

I agree with John's comment "Tina is not leaving you because she doesn't love you enough; she is leaving you because you don't love her enough!" Is the money that important at your teaching job? You say you have no family except a brother, no kids etc in Australia, just a house and a job you left? So really these are material things except your brother who is love, family. In hindsight you have nothing keeping you from China and Tina, is your salary from your teaching job more important than Tina and a life filled with love?

I know China is not the cleanest, quietest country in the world as I have been there more a few times myself but I would gander to say no other country has "Tina".

I look forward to your next article on this....


#2016-05-20 10:25:36 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

'Everything I read above tells me that Tina is not leaving you because she doesn't love you enough; she is leaving you because you don't love her enough!
And the moment you board that plane to Australia, you will be proving her right... '

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.
No-one should take delight in saying 'I told you so'. That is, unless their middle name is 'Bastard'.
'Well Hello Mr Paul Bastard Fox !'

As a time-served acquaintance of Barry's, I can quite categorically tell you that what he has written here is 100% true.
However, he may have missed out one or two small details that he doesn't want to make public, and I respect that so I won't either.
However, what I WILL tell you is this.......

When Barry first decided to move to China to be with Tina and to teach English, I gave him nothing but encouragement. I helped him with his TESOL qualification and continually gave him help and advice whenever he asked me for it.

Initially, I saw a problem that Barry didn't. It was the paltry salary that he was going to be paid every month.
Fortunately for Barry, he has this really exciting vegan diet of seeds and nuts. Occasionally he may throw in a bit of fruit as a special treat, but as a non meat-eater he would never need to buy poultry with his paltry pay.

Pretty soon Barry realised that the salary he was earning was simply not enough. Had he been living alone at the university, consuming nothing but sunflower seeds, then there would have been no problem.
However, he was in a relationship and living part-time with Tina and part-time at the uni.

Therefore, there was inevitably too much month left at the end of the money.

Now I have no 'grapes-to-grind' or 'axes-to-crush', but Barry's little dilemma grew into a bit more of a problem. I told him on many occasions that his relationship with Tina was doomed, even as far back as last Christmas.

Whilst I will always wish Barry, (and Tina), all the best, I sincerely hope that they have both learned a lot from this and can both move forward without regret.

In the meantime, I have decided to adopt Barry as my step-father. He has no kids of his own, so when he shuffles-off-his-mortal......Paul Bastard Fox will be there to make sure that his estate is well-managed and cared for by the 'Paul Bastard Fox Institute for the Ever-So-Slightly Mentally Deranged'

You wrote

'Why did you make your profile visible so soon? That action tells CLM members and especially Tina that your relationship is 100% finished.'

Tina has activated her profile on another web-site. I have seen it with my own eyes, so please don't judge Barry for following her lead.

Don't forget, people....there are usually 3 sides to a story. His side, her side and then the truth.

We should all join together in wishing Barry and Tina all the happiness in the world. What's more, Barry deserves more credit than anyone. The sacrifices he made in order to give his relationship with Tina the maximum chance of success are beyond reproach.

That man did more, in order to demonstrate his determination. than most of us would even consider doing. I take my hat off to you Baz !

#2016-05-20 11:14:42 by anonymous14934 @anonymous14934

Barry,I still believe your kind and sincere. Don't be disappointed and sad.继续加油! SM

#2016-05-20 13:06:34 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot


"Everything I read above tells me that Tina is not leaving you because she doesn't love you enough; she is leaving you because you don't love her enough!

And the moment you board that plane to Australia, you will be proving her right..."

It would be a big mistake to think that I wrote those words as some kind of a putdown or an "I told you so". I'm not clear if Paul thinks I did or not, but more importantly I certainly hope Barry doesn't think that.

When two people are in breakup mode they both can, and usually do, misinterpret what the other person is thinking and feeling about many of the issues between them. People become entrenched in their own understanding of what is taking place, so much so that they fail to consider other possibilities that may better describe what is being felt or thought by the other. Sometimes, had they seen the more favourable way of looking at the other person's POV it may well have changed their mind about allowing the breakup to ensue.

Prior to my current marriage I've gone through 6 breakups of serious long term relationships, none shorter than 3 years, 2 being 12 years or longer. In all 6 of those breakups, in hindsight, in the light of a new day, I came to realize that I had misjudged things about the other person, and they way they were seeing things, and that misjudgment caused me to be more adamant about seeing the breakups through to the end than I otherwise might have been.

Now in the end, as to 5 of those broken relationships, I can say that even had I been more tuned into the other person's real feelings, and not misjudged them to some degree, the relationships would have ended just the same, because deep down, regardless of who pulled the pin first, I wanted out of them regardless of what the other person was thinking and feeling.

However, in one of the 6, when I came to see the reality of the problems between us, and that I had failed to truly understand how she was thinking and feeling about us, I realized that I had blown it badly, and that I had let someone go that I never should have, and I deeply regretted that for a long, long time. I am happy with my life now, so all regrets are gone, but I have to admit that had I opened my mind a little more, tuned myself into the relationship from my partner's POV, I would still be with that one partner out of the 6.

So what I was trying to convey to Barry is simply that based on what he has himself written, both now and in the past, I believe that Tina loves him deeply but does not feel loved by him, or not loved enough to risk her future on it.

I may be wrong of course, as I certainly don't know all the details of what has passed between Tina and Barry. But if I am right, then if Barry truly doesn't want the relationship to end, he can save it if he chooses by going back and showing Tina that he does love her enough that she should keep trying, with him, to resolve all problems and make it work. In that case he should not board that plane.

On the other hand, if deep down Barry wants the relationship to end, then he should board that plane and get on with his life, and allow Tina to get one with hers.

So Barry, if it felt like I was being harsh or uncaring, that was not my intent. I meant simply to suggest that you think very carefully about what is really coming between you and Tina, and be sure you don't want to go back and fix it, because it may well be possible to do so if you want to.

#2016-05-20 14:51:38 by seekdream @seekdream


Today read your the blogs, and can understand you write mean here. You're very interesting, sincere, no matter what kind of opinion, praise or blame, also calculate will deal with them.

Pick the petals of flowers that are not representative have the beauty of the flower
. Different culture of love, have to knowing and understanding each other more. Marriage is two people together to get man and woman to live, how to have a good day, happy life and too moist is the key of the marriage operate, marriage needs two people together to business, no matter men or women, in marriage to play their own role, don't cry because it is own fault, to trouble marriage and affect the stability of marriage.

Not already had the modern marriage once and for all, need two people together to sustain carefully, otherwise, the marriage will appear constantly. Now marriage actually very fragile, it is difficult to withstand the wind and rain, also very easy in the sudden storm. So, cultivating affection attentively, cherish together of two people is not easy, be kind to each other, be kind to the other half. Must learn to be grateful, respect and be respected, equality and mutual respect.

God bless and good luck to you Barry

#2016-05-20 18:24:57 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

No John, I did not read your words wrongly, nor did I accuse you of writing a 'put-down'

I am the one who is now essentially saying 'I told you so'.

There's an old saying - 'An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it'

In this case I feel that there are no 'error's' and certainly no 'mistakes'.

In my opinion, Barry and Tina were simply incompatible on levels that would be pretty impossible to change given their individual situations.

Their break-up was inevitable (IMHO)

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