So you’re a Chinese man in China and you’ve seen a foreign lady around who’s caught your eye? Or you’ve befriended a non-native lovely and thinking about taking the next steps towards dating? As a Western woman in China who has dated my fair share of Chinese men, here are some things I think you need to consider if you want to date a foreigner in China:
If you’re going to date a foreigner in China, people are going to stare at you. Chinese-Foreign couples attract a lot of attention in public, Asian Male -Western Female (AMWF) couples maybe more so, though they generally attract more positive attention than Western Male – Asian Female (WMAF) couples.
Sometimes your date is going to want to eat non-Chinese food – imagine if you moved to a foreign country, you certainly wouldn’t expect to never eat Chinese food ever again. You don’t need to have deep knowledge of foreign cuisine, but if you’re considering dating a foreigner in China, you need to be willing to admit if you don’t know what a “schnitzel” or a “risotto” is and probably learn how to use cutlery.
Dating a foreigner means you’re going to need to communicate a lot and cut the BS – cross-cultural differences can lead to a lot of misunderstandings and derail the whole thing before it ever leaves the station. You’re gonna have to be willing to say things out loud about feelings and whatnot and stop expecting your partner to read your mind. It’s gonna take time to learn which parts of eachothers’ expectations and behaviours are cultural and learn to negotiate or navigate around them.
Your parents will probably object. If that matters to you, dating a foreigner may not be the way to go. If your parents can’t really accept you dating a foreigner, the minefield only widens with potential obstacles in living together, getting married and raising kids. More so with foreign cultures where the role of our own parents is more likely as occasional babysitters, rarely full-time carers for our children, and seldom housemates. Problems with the inlaws is one of the most common problems we see in AMWF relationships in China.
Is being the breadwinner important to you? Depending on industry, job and level of experience, your foreign Juliet will potentially be earning more money than you. Possibly a lot more. If that’s gonna hurt your squishy little balls too much, you might be better off staying in the 1950’s where you belong – that goes for all men.
People are going to gossip about you – your friends, your co-workers, your family, strangers on the street, the subway, in restaurants… When you date a foreigner in China it’s still way more interesting to everyone around the couple than it should be. Any information you do share with anyone is gonna get passed around and probably come back to you at some point. You’ve been warned.
With the belief that hybrid babies are smarter and better looking, the pressure will be on to get those rocket-scientist-supermodel kids out for everyone to look at right now!
You made it this far and still not discouraged from wooing your foreign friend? Excellent! Read up on how to meet foreign girls, from our WWAM sage Ms Wai, and stay tuned for my next post about the upsides of dating a foreigner in China.
Have your say – do you agree or disagree? Do you have any more to add to the list?
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Well done. I would add that there is an assumption that the Chinese person (regardless of male or female) in the relationship with a foreigner is to get a visa out of China or to have a much better life style (as per your above comment about earning potential). When I was dating Dawu in China and living together, people just assumed that Dawu was looking for a visa out, disregarding any sort of other legitimacy of the relationship. We then got married and had a child, which then turned into comments about how much better his life was with me and that he wouldn’t be able to live where we lived if it wasn’t for me, his foreign wife. My advice would be to just ignore as much as possible the gossip, as it is ruthless, and even if you change your official status, it then morphs into something else. Futhermore, foreign women who want to have kids with Chinese men need to understand the concept of “Zuoyezi”, to lay in rest, which starts a bit before the baby is born. Even if you are dating rock star Chinese artist, this concept will come up from him or his parents. It was an interesting experience. ?
Thanks Karen! That’s a really good point about people’s assumptions about the legitimacy of the relationship and assumptions about what the Chinese partner is getting out of it.
And a big yes to your point about having kids – that’s a whole other post or possibly 10 🙂