The topic of marrying for money, especially for younger women is trending in China.
This viral Youtube video shows the nasty side of the debate. A woman shouts at her boyfriend in the subway:
Look at you, you are useless, why am I going to marry you? You don’t have money. Man without money is garbage.
In the press, online and in popular culture, the mistress (二奶) and the “third person” (小三), a gentler term meaning the lover, is getting greater and greater attention. The idea that a potential mistress will have an affair to get money, often from a man who is established and much older, features prominently within this ongoing discussion.
The Baidu Baike (Wiki-style) entry on the “third person forum” where wives and lovers go on the net to discuss their extra-marital problems, categorizes the recent phenomenon as this:
The appearance of the “third” is a kind of threat to love and marriage, and a challenge to the moral compass of contemporary people. Some couples have become enemies due to the “third” and some families have disbanded because of the “third.” Because of the appearance of the “third,” there have also been some criminal cases. Not only have “thirds” carry the tide against traditional values, but they have also continuously challenged the law, and affect the stability and harmony of society.
A thread on the “Alternative Love” (here meaning affairs) page of the Sina Lady Forum has garnered 32 pages of comments and over 15,000 views . It speaks of a younger woman in love with a married senior member of a partnering company. The moderator of the board, ThePromiseof2014 said said in response:
I’ve seen so many “thirds” in this forum, some has lasted 7 years, some 3, some 10, some 15, and all their histories have been filled with bitter tears. Almost everyone have said, if they could start all over again, they wouldn’t have chosen this path, and they also say to the potential “third,” don’t go down this road, however without the experience they can’t understand. Is it only possible to feel the hurt by experiencing it?
The comment indicates it isn’t just a common problem, but a problem with many facets.
Chen Xiwo is a novelist based in Hong Kong. In a controversial microblog post from June, he argued against the idea that it’s wrong to get involved with married people, because they might end up together. However, he acknowledges simply that mistresses are often in it for the money:
When you are trying to accept extra-marital person of the opposite sex, you have to realize that you must lose out on something. Of course, when the one who has accepted is lost, then the “third” who wants money is also lost. If you knew this was going to happen, and they got together anyway, then that is love. Why can’t we accept this kind of love?
A report from the Beijing Evening News (北京晚报) last month and re-posted on ifeng.com, a popular and liberal news portal, says schools have even set up for wives to defend against the “third person,” especially wives from rich families.
Along with other commenters, Cactusandlittlehedgehog expressed the notion that money and love is a pervading social problem:
What good can a school like this do to get rid of the “third person” problem? With too much money, people become stupid.