Different generations may have different viewpoints on matters, but what better way to learn about one another than by having an honest discussion? The latest episode of The Zoe and Liang Show sees hosts Zoe Tay and Guo Liang ask two of their younger showbiz friends — Zhang Zetong and Juin Teh — about casual relationships.
“In a normal relationship, we start as strangers, then we hold hands, kiss and hug, and we’ll only do what couples do after we officially become a couple,” Zetong, 30, explained.
“But I think nowadays, many people do it the other way around. We have sex before we get to know each other.”
“Then you gradually build rapport and such,” Guo Liang, 54, suggested.
“Yes, then you find out you get along well and become a couple,” Zetong said.
Juin, 32, added: “Perhaps nowadays, we’re making friends faster than we were before, so we have more choices than before. Sometimes, people might think, ‘Why don’t I try more? Only when I’ve tried more can I know what I really want.’
“If I only date one person and get married, how could I know that this person is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with?”
Guo Liang noticed that the difference wasn’t that his generation wouldn’t go through a “number of trials” but that they would be in consecutive relationships instead of dating multiple people at the same time like the younger generation seems to be doing.
Zoe’s explanation for this change in mentality was: “Women have more power now, and there’s a greater chance for women to receive higher education.
“And nowadays, Western culture could easily become rooted in your mindset. When you see and hear about the behaviour of people around you, you’ll find that acceptable.”
But this didn’t mean that what Zoe Tay learnt about casual relationships nowadays hadn’t “shocked her to the core”.
“I haven’t taken in what you’ve said, seriously, because I’ve always followed the conventions,” the 54-year-old added. “If I changed boyfriends, my dad would say, ‘You’re easy.’ An easy woman is someone whom everyone can sleep with, and that’s no good.
“When I was younger, you had to be serious about the boyfriend you got and stay loyal.”
In pregnancy, ‘the decision lies with the woman’
When Guo Liang wondered what would happen if a woman in a casual relationship got pregnant, Zetong suggested that the power should remain in her hands too.
“The conclusion my friends and I have come to is that the woman would have to decide whether to keep the baby, then the man will support her decision,” he said. “If you want to keep your baby, then fine, we’ll live together, we’ll stay together or even get married.
“That’s the part a man should be responsible for, but first the decision lies with the woman.”
“What if she doesn’t want the baby?” Guo Liang asked.
Zetong responded: “Then that’s fine, it might be because they don’t want a child — it might not be because she doesn’t love you. Some women don’t want it because they don’t want a child, or because they don’t want to bear the burden.
“If she doesn’t want the child, you can stay together, but in the future, there’s nothing that she can hold you responsible for.”
Zoe Tay wondered: “In that case, why would she tell the man of her pregnancy?”
Juin responded that it had happened to one of her friends, who then wanted to base her decision on the reaction of the man.
“Judging from his reaction, it didn’t seem he wanted that baby a lot, and told her to make her own decision,” she said. “Some women are okay with it, they can accept it whether a man says yes or no, or they may think he doesn’t love them that much or want to start a family with them.”
Juin added that women of her generation would likely not feel regret if they unintentionally got pregnant in a casual relationship or wish they were in a serious one instead.
She said: “Some women might think this is better, since they know the man doesn’t care. Even if they got together for the sake of the baby, they wouldn’t find happiness in the end.
“So they might as well put it out in the open instead of dragging everyone into misery.”