Are you concerned about potential problems when dating an American man as a Chinese woman? Cultural differences can prompt issues, but these relationships can work, says dating coach Lori Gorshow.
A Smaller World
Gorshow gives advice that pertains to any woman in a relationship, regardless of country of origin. "What a Chinese woman should pay attention to when she is dating an American man or any man, is how she feels when she is with him, talking with him on the phone or through the Internet," says Gorshow. "Do you feel special, cared about, and happy? Or, do you feel that your thoughts and opinions are not important, that he is not that interested in getting to know you or that he gets angry quickly when you express thoughts and ideas which are different than his?"
"A difference between a Chinese woman and an American woman is that Chinese woman historically has been the more dependent and compliant halves in a couple relationship," says Gorshow. "As a result, Chinese women tend to put the needs of the man ahead of their needs. Not for an American woman, who believes that a romantic relationship should balance the needs of both partners. This is one reason some American men look for a Chinese partner. These men want a woman who is subservient to his needs, which are behaviors that are more acceptable and traditional for Chinese women."
Beyond relationship issues, basic cultural differences must be overcome in order to have a chance at relationship success. Common cultural differences that may cause confusion or disagreements between an American man and a Chinese woman include, but are not limited to:
- American small talk can feel rude or intrusive to people from China.
- American culture focuses on the individual while Chinese culture focuses on the group as a whole.
- Because of the lack of space resulting from a large population, Chinese people may not need as much personal space as Americans.
- Humility and avoidance of conflict is a facet of Chinese culture whereas Americans are more confrontational and self-centered.
The couple needs to acknowledge the cultural differences and try to honor one another's limitations. If they experience fundamental differences they should examine if these issues might stem from deep-seated cultural differences and be willing to talk about it.
"Another distinction between American and Chinese women is that in the Western culture dating more than one person at a time is acceptable and encouraged," says Gorshow. "This trial and error approach to romance is thought to be important for finding the right partner. To choose the 'right' partner, an American man might be in contact with other Chinese women, visiting them, and calling them." For some Chinese women, this behavior is unacceptable.
The Possibility of Isolation
It's possible to bring a Chinese woman over to the United States under the auspices of an engagement, creating a situation where the woman may feel pressured to marry. "It is important for you to consider why you want to be in America and what would happen if you were with a man whose sole reason for choosing you is that he wants you to be dependent and compliant," says Gorshow. "If your interest in this man is only as a way to get to America and experience the lifestyle which is acceptable in Western society then you may find yourself in a relationship where you are very unhappy and isolated when you are denied this independence."
Happy Ever After
Relationships forged over the Internet from across the miles can become committed relationships or even happy marriages. When cultural differences are acknowledged and honored, love can blossom and bloom.