The Different Types of Love: Lynn Yeow-De Vito & Beppe De Vito
In this series, we explore the different forms and facets of love that exist in this world. Some may be more straightforward, while others can’t be easily defined. But love holds no boundaries and the celebration of the human heart should be captured with richness, colour and dimension.
What were your first impressions of one another?
LYNN: We met by the pool, right? I thought he was quite a loud, party guy–very friendly. And he was still with his ex-wife then. Actually, I don’t have much recollection.
BEPPE: Okay, here’s my version. When I met her, I was married and out with a friend. Lynn was at the same event. We got close when we started to work together and I remember her saying, “I don’t like white guys at all. I will never date a white guy.” That was in response to me warning her about a few white chefs. So even when we both became single eventually, we weren’t on each other’s radar at all. It wasn’t love at first sight [laughs]. There could not be two people who are more different in taste than the both of us. We have very little in common. But love is another thing, right?
How long did you date before you got married?
LYNN: It was fast and furious.
BEPPE: Yeah, not even a year.
LYNN: No, I’m sure it was more than a year, because I was trying for a baby before we got married. I really wanted a baby and he made a joke once: “I think we should invest in the pregnancy test company because you buy so many to pee on them.”
BEPPE: Anyway, who’s counting?
LYNN: We knew each other for so long.
BEPPE: We used to travel together as a group. She would go with her boyfriend, while I would fly solo. That lasted a couple of years… we went to China, Japan… everyone was coupled up except me and she would always look after me. We were building more of a brother-sister relationship because we were always hanging out together. And when my separation became official, I kinda felt that she went out of her way to look after me even more. Coincidentally, her relationship also ended and I felt the obligation to do the same for her. So we started to spend even more time together—just the two of us—events, dinners, movies. We didn’t even realise that we started dating. I remember one day we were at the cinema, and there was a moment when our elbows touched and there was a little spark [laughs].
Did you feel a spark too?
LYNN: I think that night was quite awkward. But, yes, it was mutual.
BEPPE: Previously, there were a few times at events, where people would make comments like: “Hey, you and Lynn eh? Come on, it’s so obvious.” And my response would be: She’s like my sister, that’s incest! Honestly, she doesn’t even like white guys. I guess people saw something way before we were even aware of what was going on between us. Soon after, it got to a stage where things started to get weird. And you know when you are into somebody, you can appear to be cold? It reached a point where we decided to talk about what was going on.
When did this chat take place?
BEPPE: It happened late one night when we were out in Geylang. I used to live in an apartment around the east coast area and since I was drunk, I said to her, “Look, I can’t drive you home. Why don’t you stay over?”
LYNN: I ended up in his guest room, but the room had nothing—no toothbrush, no towel, etc.… so I went to his room and knocked on the door to ask for a towel and a toothbrush.
BEPPE: I told myself: If you don’t do it now, it’s never going to happen!
So you made a move?
BEPPE: Yes, but I was really afraid of losing our friendship.
LYNN: I think we had a half-hour conversation, in bed.
BEPPE: Like: Should we really do this? It wasn’t half an hour… it was more like 5 minutes [laughs]. Then we were like f*** it, let’s go for it.
LYNN: It felt really long…
BEPPE: Yeah and at one stage, she asked me to shut up.
LYNN: I was contemplating so many things: Is he still going to be my friend? Are we going to do this forever? Is this just for fun? The next day, I thought: Oh no, it’s going to be so awkward—maybe he’s never going to call me again.
BEPPE: But it was great. The next day felt like we were a couple; after all, we were already spending so much time together—literally every day.
LYNN: I didn’t really want to get married unless I had a child, so we talked about that too. We tried for a while, then I got pregnant.
You were absolutely sure that you wanted him to be the father?
LYNN: We moved in first.
BEPPE: I didn’t care what came first you know. We decided that this was it.
LYNN: I have never moved in with anyone before, even when I was with my ex-boyfriends.
BEPPE: Once we bought an apartment, I moved out of my house and we were living together—all within a month.
LYNN: It was really fast. Everything fell into place.
BEPPE: We knew everything about each other already, except the intimate parts. The first night was great, so I signed up for that [laughs].
Were there any cultural or language barriers?
BEPPE: Aren’t there always between men and women? [laughs]
Ha ha… I know you’re Italian.
BEPPE: I’ve been living in Singapore for about 12 to 13 years? I’m also not much of a stickler when it comes to my heritage.
LYNN: I think after we had kids, there were differences in the way we wanted to raise them.
Why did you choose to marry each other?
BEPPE: Because she was perfect.
LYNN: Wow! You want to get lucky tonight? 🙂
BEPPE: I don’t really overthink things. It’s always about my gut feeling and most of the time, I’m right. She, on the other hand, tends to think too much. I could love something, while she has 100 bad things to say about it before she warms up to the idea of liking it. If I introduce someone to her, whether it’s a man or a woman, she will never trust that person until that person really proves his or her worth.
LYNN: That’s because I got burned before.
BEPPE: For me, if he’s your friend, he’s my friend. Welcome to the family.
LYNN: I’m much more cautious of people these days. Anyway, I chose to marry him because I felt that he would be a great father and husband. I saw the way he took care of his son (from his first marriage), how incredibly involved he was, and yet he strove and managed to put me first in everything.
BEPPE: [whispers] I don’t have a choice.
LYNN: If there’s one thing, it’s because I really trust him.
How long have you been married for?
Lynn: Next year will be 10 years.
Any plans to do something special?
BEPPE: She has to do it. If I do anything, it will be bad because she has to organise everything. I dare not even try.
LYNN: No, we don’t celebrate anything actually. We just travel.
BEPPE: Something will happen, but even till the last minute, we don’t know what’s going to happen. When we got married, it was like that. We were inviting people a month before our wedding in Venice.
LYNN: We’re not people who plan parties for ourselves.
BEPPE: But with kids, we have to plan a bit more because of their school holidays and schedules. We’re forced to change… I think I’m doing a slightly better job than someone else over here.
Do you feel she understands you like nobody ever has before?
LYNN: No. [laughs]
BEPPE: Quite the opposite. We both have a very hands-off approach to each other’s lives. She can do whatever she wants, and vice versa. It’s actually me that sometimes…
LYNN: He complains, “Why do you only call me when you need something?” I tell him that I am so busy. And he will go, “Can you just call and say Hi, How are you? How’s your day?”
BEPPE: Back to your question, she understands me in a way that I’m allowed to whatever I want, mostly with work. We don’t have very different personal lives. We do 95% of what we do together. When it comes to making decisions, we don’t get in each other’s way.
Who has more power in the relationship?
BEPPE: I have no power [laughs]. When I scold the kids, they will say, “Mama can tell me that, not you. You’re not the boss.”
LYNN: He gets really upset when he hears that, and scolds me for spoiling them.
How has the love between the two of you, changed since marriage?
BEPPE: I think it’s still growing.
LYNN: Whoa, so funny!
BEPPE: She’s the ice-cold one. Many times, I want to “kill” her, but I’m not a violent person, so I just bear with it. She won’t talk to me for two days over something silly—she really gets so annoyed about certain things. One time, it lasted for a week. Now, it’s down to a day. She’s getting better.
LYNN: I am more patient, I guess. We annoy each other a lot. Actually, he annoys me more than I annoy him.
What do you do that annoys him?
BEPPE: Oh, like everything. She says that she is more patient? Rubbish. You know, because of her job and her attitude—she will be there for you 1000%–whatever you need—everyone knows she is like that. But I’m not even getting 5% of that. I’m always the last person in the queue and I’ve got to beg for her time. For example, if she misses someone’s phone call, she will call them back, but she won’t call me back.
LYNN: [laughs] I don’t know the urgency.
BEPPE: It’s so annoying. Also, sometimes when we travel with other people and they’re not even close friends, she will really make sure that they are having a good time and are taken care of.
LYNN: He will always say, “WHAT ABOUT ME?!” Even when the children are around, he will remark, “It’s always about the kids.” But everything is about the kids.
BEPPE: So yeah… I don’t think she’s going to change or improve.
What do you do that annoys her?
LYNN: All the time.
BEPPE: [laughs] Like what? You can’t mention a single thing.
LYNN: [laughs] You’re annoying me now. He likes to shout but he won’t admit that he is shouting. He claims that he is just talking.
BEPPE: If I’m trying to make my point, I want to use a certain kind of tone. But she cares more about the tone than finishing our conversation.
LYNN: Most of the time it is about the kids. I’m annoyed by the kids and how he spoils them.
Were there times when you ever felt jealous?
LYNN: He gets jealous very easily.
BEPPE: Yeah, but not of your career.
LYNN: In general, it’s time and people.
BEPPE: It’s not really about people. Well, it depends on how you define jealousy right? We could be at a place where some stupid men are making advances at her, and I can laugh it off. I’m not like stupidly jealous.
LYNN: Yeah, it’s more about if he does not get enough time with me.
BEPPE: She chooses work first and never stops working. She works 24 hours, even when she is in bed with me—she can’t put away her phone. When we go away, she doesn’t stop too. And she will always put up with people who don’t deserve her attention and care. Oh, it annoys me that she’s not jealous at all too.
What would make you leave him? Or is a deal-breaker in your marriage?
BEPPE: Infidelity is not something that I have to worry about at all. I forgive and forget very easily. We made a commitment and sometimes I have to remind her of that. Although I may annoy her, which she may take a bit too personally, or if I am annoyed with her, that doesn’t mean that I am going to be a worse husband tomorrow. At the end of the day, I’m still Italian and I like to express my emotions. Sometimes if I’m not able to suppress them, that’s all they are—emotions. I don’t think there is anything she could do that will be a deal-breaker; that’s my mindset. I come from a family where my parents had third parties involved, violence, yet they’re still together after 50 years. I used to be married and she left the relationship, not me.
What’s your favourite/imperfect thing about each other?
LYNN: His passion—when he fights and loves.
BEPPE: I can’t even finish an argument. I try to get her to see my point and even after an hour, when I ask her: “Do you understand where I’m coming from?” She just replies, “No, I don’t care. Whatever.” I feel like I’m talking to myself.
LYNN: [laughs] He’s like a woman and I’m the man. Honestly, that’s our relationship.
Is there anything missing in your relationship? If so, what can you do to improve it?
LYNN: More children!
BEPPE: No! More time for me! We never just do nothing. When it comes to work, I’m like Hitler, but I don’t have any structure in my private life. I don’t call my friends in my downtime. If you call me and I’m free, I’ll just go. I’m not a planner, but she’s the opposite. I can’t complain because without her, I’ll be a recluse.
Currently, you have 3 children with him?
And you want more?
BEPPE: Good luck. Not me. I want my wife back.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in married life?
LYNN: I have to remember that I have a plus-one, and to think about his feelings all the time. And to be more patient too.
BEPPE: I made a choice to be with her and I try not to let certain things annoy me too much.
LYNN: He gives in to me a lot, but it’s not enough.
BEPPE: [laughs] Too much actually.
LYNN: He thinks he does… could be more.
BEPPE: Could be more?
LYNN: I’m very impatient—I’m like Hitler in terms of the kids’ schedules.
BEPPE: The worst thing to do is to plan something for her. So for our 10th anniversary, I would rather be accused of doing nothing at all than for trying to do something for her that will make her unhappy.
Is there one quality that you admire in each other?
LYNN: He never, never says die. One day, if he loses everything, he will take on 10 jobs to put food on the table.
BEPPE: She has to be the superhero who does everything for everybody. If not, she feels like she is not important. Lynn, how do you feel when people do things for you?
LYNN: You have to do the right thing for me! He will make a suggestion: “Shall we go out for dinner?” And then he goes and plans an ang moh meal for me. I don’t even eat ang moh food! Only at his restaurants. After a while, he gets it. My wedding engagement ring was a perfect example. He gave me a budget to get my own ring.
BEPPE: She’s so fussy.
LYNN: Yeah, I got my own ring… I even drove myself to my own wedding.
BEPPE: I didn’t have a licence. She was in the driver’s seat, wearing a white gown. [laughs]
LYNN: I’m super independent, maybe the independence annoys him.
BEPPE: No, she has to be in charge.
Maybe your role is to let her be the superhero.
BEPPE: I don’t mind that at all… if only she were a little more patient and is willing to let go. She never lets go. It’s okay! Everyone loves you! You can chill out now.
Do you give compliments to each other all the time?
LYNN: Oh, he says that I don’t.
BEPPE: She doesn’t at all. I do.
LYNN: I’m the Chinese type. I just feed. Feeding equals love.
BEPPE: Sometimes she accuses me of not being romantic enough in certain situations.
LYNN: What? I don’t think I’ve accused you of not being romantic. Romance isn’t just about the physical. I find that our relationship is very stable. And I like stability. Maybe he likes some fireworks at times…
BEPPE: No, no… it’s not that. It’s just nice to hear…
Words of affirmation?
BEPPE: Yeah—I do it a lot, but I don’t get anything at all.
LYNN: No! I do it sometimes through text messages.
BEPPE: It’s been a few months since she gave me a kiss the moment she gets home. For me, when I go home, the first thing I do is to give her a big kiss on the lips and she’s like, “Go away”.
Let’s stick to food as her love language then.
BEPPE: That’s why I have a baby here [points to his stomach]. She just doesn’t stop feeding me.
LYNN: Yeah, he’s always complaining that I’m not loving—I feed you!
BEPPE: But it’s killing me. You may be feeding me cancer and lots of other stuff… you never know.