Chinese Courtship Etiquette

If you are seeking a Chinese lady in China for dating, you have to understand what are the cultural courtship differences between Chinese dating culture and western standards.

As human beings, everyone of us is different, however we are social beings who tend to behave and fit into our own culture. Therefore it is important in a cross cultural relationship to understand the rules and etiquette about first dates, making out, marriage, social expectations.

Understanding Chinese culture

Almost all Chinese society is patriarchal. In a family with sons and daughters, ranking in the family is based on hierarchy: Males in order of descending age followed by females. For example, a 5-year-old son outranks his 35-year-old mother (and the father will let both the mother and son know this). Young women are at the bottom of the totem pole and they will be reminded constantly.

The one child policy in China has forced couple to favor male over female because a son can carry on the family surname. A newborn son has four doting grandparents and parents which give rise to phenomenon of spoiled brats nicknamed “Little Emperors”.

Influence of Chinese parents’ background

Attitudes toward sex, relationships will be generally more conservative and traditional. However it depends on the Chinese parents’ educational background, whether they are affluent or come from the countryside.

A Chinese woman in China maybe ultra conservative or liberal which depend on whether she will obey her parents rule or want to break free.

How to win over her Chinese parents

If you are already in a serious relationship with a Chinese girl, then you have to work hard to win over her parents. If you are not wealthy, then stereotypically her Chinese parents may not like their daughter dating a “gui lo” (white ghost) a Cantonese that describe a foreign white man.

The fact that you are a “gui lo” work against you in the first place. You have to tread carefully and play your chess right when you are meeting prospective parents-in-law.

Tips to win over her Chinese parents

Obedience and conforming to social rules is extremely important in Chinese families than in Western families. Chinese society is much more hierarchical and less egalitarian.

  • Do not argue or talk back. “Saving face” is very important to a Chinese; which mean avoid embarrassing her parents in front of family members or friends
  • Bring small gift such as exotic fruits, chocolate, premium chinese dried food (scallops, mushrooms, abalone) – when visiting  her parents’ house will win huge points with them
  • Always be polite. Do not address her parents or elders by their first names like in the west

Money is a huge factor. Chinese parents will always respect money. Showing that you are a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc.) will win you big bonus points.

Be prepared to field a lot of questions about your parents including what they do, how you were brought up and your job. The better your job or more educated you are, the more they will like you.

Why divorce is unacceptable in Chinese society

If you are divorced, that’s a big strike against you. Chinese people dislike Westerners culture of letting their hormones run their lives, changing partners the way they would change clothes.

Chinese people view marriage as sacred and a couple will work out the marriage problems. One of the partner may even choose to suffer silently then resorting to the easy way of divorce.

In the west, divorce is common and westerners treat marriage like a lottery game with the mentality that you will not win on the first try. For the Chinese people, divorce is completely unthinkable and society despised those who are divorced.

If a Chinese woman is divorced, she will not get remarried easily. Chinese people treat a female divorcee as “discarded goods”, because divorce is the only the last resort they will choose.

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