Letters from Japan: ‘He Gave Me Money’
Ask Hilary: Questions From Readers Answered
Savvy Tokyo's resident "Love in Japan" columnist, Hilary Keyes, answers anonymous questions from readers on everything from dating in Japan to women’s health issues. Got something you’d like to ask Hilary? Send your question in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Ask Hilary."
My boyfriend and I have been together for six months. Due to the pandemic, he advised me to quit my night job in Japan and go back to my country to be with my kids (I’m a single mom). He gave me enough money for a year since it’s hard to get a job nowadays. He also gave me money for my son’s therapy. He also gave me advance gifts for Christmas and my birthday in March.
It’s my first time having a long distance relationship. I am 36 years old and he is 52 years old. He doesn’t have any social media accounts. His cell phone is old and only good for calls, texts, or emails. When I asked how we would communicate, he said by emails only.
He said our target to meet after the pandemic was maybe for his birthday in June, he could come visit me in my country. Or if it’s possible, I can visit him for my birthday in March.
Do you think he really loves me, or he just enjoyed my company, or are his feelings only starting to develop?
— First LDR
Dear First LDR,
I hope you and your kids are doing all right.
I want to repeat what you stated in your email: you met during a night job, then because of the pandemic he gave you a substantial sum of money, had you quit your job, sent you back to your home country and only allows you to contact him by email.
I’m more than slightly concerned about you actually falling in love with him. If your best friend told you the same story, what would your first reaction be? I’m pretty sure you would be worried about your friend.
Did you only see your LDR partner at your work or did you go on dates, visit each other’s homes and so on outside of that? Does he email regularly or do you have to initiate contact? Have you talked to him about using Skype/Zoom on his computer or tablet?
I’m asking this because I have the sneaking suspicion that he might be married. While he has been very generous, he has also put a lot of restrictions on your relationship that mainly protect him.
If your best friend told you the same story, what would your first reaction be?
There are still many people, especially in Japan, that don’t use social media, so that could genuinely be true of him as well. However, I’m a bit skeptical that someone who can afford to give you that kind of money would not have a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even a desktop computer he could use to communicate with you.
Furthermore, you are not the first person I’ve spoken with that has fallen for an older generous Japanese man, but in each other case they later found out that he was married with another family of his own.
There are a lot of points here that you should be cautious about — not only as an individual but as a single mother as well. You have your kids to think about, and, if he were to turn out to be a married man with no intention of being there for you or your family, there may come a time when you have to prioritize them instead.
Whatever you choose to do, do it with your eyes wide open. Best of luck.