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Ask Tara: Relationship Advice from a Chinese and American Perspective


My best girlfriend, who is Chinese, is dating an American classmate. If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that I am also dating an American, so she has been using me as her own personal relationship coach (which I am more than happy to be!).

I guess other foreign students might have similar situations if they are dating Americans, so I want to share our discussions with you guys. Also, the advice I would give if she was in China asking about a Chinese guy would be very different, so I’ll highlight the different reactions in China and the U.S. for the same situation.

Have you had any of these problems? Do you agree with my answers? Let me know in the comments!

Problem 1:

“We had a very romantic and intimate second date, but after that, he did not call or text me for three days! What is going wrong? Will he contact me again? If he won’t call me, should I call him?”

American answer: It depends on how much you like him. If you like him and want to hang out again, just call him and ask him out. Who cares!

It is possible he won’t call you again; maybe he found you are not the right person for him. If that’s the case, move on and find someone else. You guys have only been out for twice, nothing has been developed yet, no big deal!

It is also normal that three days would go by without him calling, because he may be just busy at school, or maybe seeing other dates; after all, you guys have only gone on two dates. TWO!

Chinese answer: Firstly, this wouldn’t even happen in China after having such a big, romantic date. People in China make emotional commitment right away and make lifelong commitment after intimacy, which sounds really scary to Americans.

If this ever happened, this guy would be considered a very non-sensitive type, and will be blamed to death when he shows up again. Guys in China are very attached, and girls are used to be spoiled by the over-attention from dates.

Problem 2:

“We went out on Thursday, and he scheduled the next date on next Wednesday. What will he do during the week?”

American answer: What he will do during the week has nothing to do with you. You guys only went out twice; you are not supposed to know his personal business, and he is not supposed to know yours either.

Seeing each other once a week at the beginning of dating is absolutely the normal pace. You guys are taking time to know and evaluate each other.

Chinese answer: Ohhhh, that is so dangerous! He must have another girlfriend now, you should be careful! He does not sound like a reliable guy. You should watch out.

Problem 3:

“He wanted to take me to his hometown to see his family. What does it mean?”

America answer: That is cool. Have fun. Meeting his family is a positive sign that means things are going well, but it is really not a marriage sign, or even an engagement sign.

American parents will not ask their kids a lot about their personal lives, and basically do not get involved that much. Therefore, parents do not serve as the final judge for the relationship, and you do not have to feel stressed about going to see his parents.

Chinese answer: Wow! Congrats! When will be the engagement date (or wedding date)?

In China, meeting parents is a big big deal in relationship. Seeing parents means you guys are 95% certain to get married. Family is like the final approval - you make sure everything is marriage-ready, then get final approval from the parents. After that, you guys HAVE TO get married, otherwise, your entire family will have their feelings hurt.

Do you agree more with the Chinese answer or the American answer? How would you answer these questions? Leave a comment with your opinion!
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