So, you want to date in China?
Today I want to discuss some of the problems that may arise as you try to find ‘the one’ while working as a teacher in China.
Chinese girls are shy (it may not be your fault!)
Just like Asia is synonymous for its rice, Chinese girls are synonymous for being shy.
Though I’ve heard plenty of people tell me that many Chinese, especially the younger generations, know a little English, let me share what they don’t tell you.
Chinese women are shy.
Many Chinese lack the confidence to speak it. In school, many Chinese learn only how to write English. Only recently have more schools begun teaching oral English.
Unless they have practiced spoken English, or work in foreign trade, as many people in Ningbo do (it is a port city after all), their proficiency will be very weak.
My experience with two girls in China
There were two Chinese girls I knew. Before you ask, our relationship was purely friendly.
Neither could speak English well. Although one of the women, Eva (not her real name), could write and speak reasonably well on WeChat, in person…whoa!
We had to resort to texting each other and translating what we had written because she could not understand me. Even…when…I…spoke…this…slowly.
I have not heard from her since, despite our promise to meet again.
She felt embarrassed that she could not speak English as fluently as me, and instead would much rather communicate with foreigners who knew some Chinese.
If you are seeing a woman, and she suddenly begins avoiding you, unless you did something really vulgar, it could be because she lacks the confidence to speak to you.
Take me back to your country!
You might recall I said I met two Chinese girls whose English was not fantastic.
The second girl, Lucy (not her real name), took me out for dinner three times. We had agreed early on that our relationship would be strictly plutonic.
Fast forward to after our third meeting – she suddenly told me her dream was to get married.
But she didn’t want to marry just anyone…no…she wanted to marry a foreigner.
I was trying to figure out why she was telling me this, when she asked me if I liked her.
She wanted to study abroad and become a citizen in a foreign country. The only reason she was seeing me was not because she liked me; she liked what I represented.
Some Chinese girls may want you to bring them to your country.
According to people I have spoken to, foreigners and Chinese alike, this happens more often than you might think.
There are Chinese girls looking for foreign men to take them abroad because they believe they will have a better life overseas.
The issue is they may not actually love you; they’re just using you to get a permanent residency.
You may be hunted down
Additionally, I don’t know what the equivalent is in China, but in Japan, there are women called Gaijin Hunters. ‘Gaijin’ means ‘foreigner’ in Japanese.
These are women who literally ‘hunt’ for foreigners with the intent of either learning English or getting a higher status amongst their friends by spending time with you.
In China, if a woman keeps sending you documents for you to edit, or asks you to help improve her English, and is giving you nothing else in return, there is a very good chance she is using you.
Make sure her intention to be with you is genuine before you commit yourself to anything. You might be thinking of a long-term partnership, but is she?
Don’t start something in China unless you’re serious
The thing is, thinking about a long-term relationship, it goes both ways.
Many foreigners I’ve met have admitted to dating their teaching assistants. They get into the habit of asking their assistant to help them with everything.
Next thing they know, they are in a relationship. Every foreigner I’ve met has warned me not to date my assistant. Good thing is, I don’t have one!
The worst reason to date a woman is because you’re lonely. A relationship will not last if that is the only reason to have someone in your life.
When teaching in China, you will have moments of profound loneliness. This will only be exaggerated when communication difficulties arise.
To have a Chinese woman speak to you in English might seem like a dream come true after a while, but you really should wait until the feelings are there.
Back-up files available
The concept of the back-up boyfriend was not something I was aware of when in Australia.
In China however, you really need to be careful not to fall into this trap.
There is one girl I met, Fiona (not her real name), who often called me out to spend time with her. She loved travelling around Ningbo. Her boyfriend however, did not.
So, I accompanied her whenever she wanted to go somewhere, from a Buddhist temple, to a beautiful park.
If a girl only sees you sporadically, and does not commit to a relationship with you, it could mean she is interested, or in love, with another.
Teacher Nicholas accompanied Fiona to a beautiful park (note: representation only).
Be sure to always find out a girl’s relationship status. Don’t just assume that because she’s going out with you and behaving like your girlfriend that she actually is.
You may have a different experience in China
One thing that being in China has taught me is that no expat’s experience is the same.
There are similarities, sure, but what I talked about here, may never happen to you.
With any luck, if you’re single, and like I said earlier, ready to mingle, you will find the girl that’s right for you soon!
Have you had any dating dilemmas in China?