Chinese dating is just as confusing, and wonderful, as any other type of dating. For Westerners, a willingness to learn about Chinese culture can make an interracial or international relationship stronger. For Chinese people who want to meet others from the same ethnic background, Internet dating sites can help.
As with any culture, not everyone from China shares the same beliefs. Still, there are some attitudes about dating that are common among the Chinese. An important one is the involvement of family. In the United States, we're used to the idea that we make our own choices about whom we date and whom we marry. But in traditional Chinese families, the parents may expect to have a say. Issues that often emerge include:
- Age. Parents may want daughters to marry older men. This is because older men have had more time to become established, earn some money, and provide a stable home. Men, on the other hand, are not expected to marry older women.
- Ethnic background. Some native Chinese object to racial differences. In fact, it can be considered disgraceful to marry someone of another race.
- Family connections. Chinese parents may prefer their children to date people who are already known to the family, or whose backgrounds the parents have explored. Traditional Chinese family connections include an extended network of aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on. Parents may feel more secure if someone in that network can vouch for the person their child is dating.
- "Saving face." Traditional Chinese families believe that the actions of any family member reflect back on the family as a whole. Dating the wrong person can bring disgrace or embarrassment to the entire family.
- Parental pressure. Because family is very important in Chinese culture, it can be incredibly difficult for a Chinese person to go against the family's wishes. A person may be an independent adult in every other way but still feel obligated to accept their parents' decision about whom to marry. Parents may even threaten to disown a child who defies their wishes.
Beyond the Stereotypes
You're bound to get into trouble if you assume that for all Chinese, dating is the same. You'll meet people who were born in the United States and have never lived in China, but who still follow traditional Chinese culture. You'll also find people who moved here as adults but are completely comfortable with American-style dating. And of course, you'll find everything in between as well.
What that means is that there's not really any such thing as "Chinese dating." As with any dating situations, it's about getting to know a unique person, their outlook on life, and their personal interests, hopes and dreams.
Where to Look for Chinese Dating
If you're interested in meeting people of Chinese background, you have many options. People who live in ethnically diverse cities will have many chances to meet and talk with people who are Chinese or Chinese-American.
If you live in a community where there aren't many Asian residents, the Internet can help. Increasingly, dating web sites offer chances for Chinese dating. There are three main types of Chinese dating sites:
- Portals from general dating sites: Most web sites allow you to request a specific ethnic background, and some large sites have entry portals designed specifically for people interested in meeting Chinese dates. For example, Chinese LoveLinks is related to the more general LoveLinks site.
- Sites specifically for Chinese dating: Some of these are primarily intended to connect Chinese women and Western men. Others, like Asian Romance, advertise themselves as friendly places where people of Chinese backgrounds can meet.
- Dating sites in China: If you can read Chinese and you're willing to travel or to have a long distance relationship, China has its own dating sites.
A Note for Men Interested in Chinese Dating
Many American men are especially attracted to Asian women. But many Chinese-American women share the same complaints about the men who are interested in dating them. They're tired of being treated like "China dolls," or the stereotype that they're "exotic," and of the fact that some men seem more interested in their looks than their minds. There is also a common notion that Chinese women are obedient or subservient. Many Chinese-American women are offended by this idea. That's not to say that a man looking for an exotic but obedient helpmate can't find love with a Chinese woman, just that it's easy to offend if you let stereotypes guide your dating attempts.