Ask Sara: How Do You Date a Salaryman?
By Sara Who
In a new feature, our resident love-in-Japan writer Sara Who will be answering your questions on everything from dating rules to finding a partner to love, marriage and more. Got a question you’d like to ask Sara? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, we’ve got a question that we’re sure many partners of Japanese men have struggled with:
Is he dating me or his job?
I’ve been dating my Japanese boyfriend for three years now. We met when we were still in university, but this April he graduated and was hired at a big company. In other words, he’s become a typical salaryman! My question is: How do you date a salaryman?
We live about 1 1/2 hours away from each other. He visits me some weekends, but I can’t visit him because he lives at his company dorm.
I’m worried about all the nomikai and business trips… how can I stay sane? I don’t wanna doubt him, but sometimes I can’t help but listen to the rumors about salarymen. What should I expect of a salaryman? How do I cope with the late nights and delayed responses?
– Salaryman Fan
Sorry to hear your relationship is suffering because of your boyfriend’s career. You seem mostly worried about him potentially cheating on you. Is there a reason why you feel he might not be faithful? Has he done anything in the past that could raise suspicion?
Whatever you heard about Japanese salarymen, it’s not because your boyfriend became one that he will suddenly start seeing other women behind your back. If your boyfriend truly cares about you and respects you, there is no need for you to doubt him. He is probably working long hours, and as you said, he lives in a dorm. His work is probably his first priority at the moment. I doubt he has much energy left to pursue other women.
In my opinion, your biggest problem is distance. It makes you feel insecure and it must be hard to meet so infrequently. How are you two planning to solve this issue in the future? As a young Japanese man just starting his career, I could see how this situation might not be bothering your boyfriend too much. Living in a company dorm is convenient and, with the rent being so cheap, it probably makes more sense for him to live there. Yet, your relationship is suffering because of his choice.
Unfortunately, when you date a Japanese salaryman, you have to be prepared to compromise a lot, but you also have to draw the line somewhere. Good communication is essential for a healthy relationship, so if you are not happy with the current situation, do voice your concerns. I’m sure your boyfriend wants you to feel secure and will compromise if you ask him. Why not talk with him to see if he would consider getting his own place? That way, you’d be able to spend more time together and you might feel more at ease. It’s also a good way to test your ability as a couple to deal with conflict. Now that he is not a student anymore, things are bound to change, so make sure you two are on the same page.
What do you think? How should our reader deal with her boyfriend’s new job? Do you have any experience dating a salaryman or woman? Let us know in the comments and make sure to come back next week when Sara will answer more of your questions!