Dating in China – a Western Perspective

Cross cultural dating

Cross cultural dating


Ever wondered how dating works in other parts of the world? I certainly have. Do they experience the same joys, disappointments, confusion and frustration? Are there certain no-go areas or things you don’t discuss? Is it generally a laid back process or more formalized? I started thinking about these things when a friend of mine recently returned from China and told me he had tried his luck in the dating scene while there. I found this extremely interesting and decided to pick his brain about what it’s like for a Western guy to date in China.


Language Barrier

Although my friend has been in China for some time and has a relatively good grasp on the Chinese language he still found the language barrier challenging at times, particularly in terms of dating. He explained to me that because the same word can have different meanings based on tone and in what context it is used it’s easy to make a mistake or be misinterpreted, which is something you definitely don’t want to do when trying to impress a girl and ask her out on a date.


This Misconception of Stereotypes

According to my friend, this works both ways. He discovered through his dating experiences that Chinese girls regard Western guys as romantic. If they had been a fly on the wall during a few of my dates that stereotype would definitely be dispelled. As women of the West we know that this stereotype is a fallacy. It’s as simple as this. Some guys are romantic and some guys are not. Likewise, stereotypes exist about Chinese girls from a Western perspective. There has been a long believed opinion by many guys that Chinese girls are more subservient and meek. This is not just a perceived stereotype of Chinese girls but of other Asian girls around the world, and it is simply not accurate. Some girls are, some girls aren’t. It is an individual thing and one size does not fit all.


The Great Divide of Expectations

This one can be particularly tricky if you are both not on the same page. The Western expectation of dating is far more relaxed and doesn’t necessarily lead to something more committed, although this is by no means ruled out. In China, however, continuing to date regularly comes with the expectation that you will ultimately marry sometime in the future. From a Western perspective, if this is something that is not known or fully understood, it could easily lead to disappointment and heartache for the other party. The idea of stability is at the heart of relationships in China. Individuality and independence in dating has not yet caught up with the degree to which it is prevalent in the West.


So given these insights I asked my friend how successful was his dating experience in China. ‘Definitely not flawless’ was how he summed it up. He suggested that if he clearly understood the misconceptions out there before he threw himself into the dating world his strike rate and trail of broken hearts would have been much less. He was clearly exaggerating as he would not intentionally mislead or misrepresent himself, but nevertheless, he did confess that had he the benefit of these gems of wisdoms about the Chinese dating scene he would have been much better equipped in his endeavours into cross cultural relationships.


(About the guest-writer: Madonna Volkman is a writer for Girls Meet Guys Dating Sites Australia)

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