If you’re moving to or living in China or are just wondering what it’s like to date a Chinese man, then you likely have questions about what you might be able to expect. When you enter the dating scene in any country that’s not your own, there are bound to be a few cultural differences.
All men are different and can’t be placed neatly into a category, but certain cultures and traditions often shape a person’s beliefs and actions. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the possible differences you might be able to expect when dating a Chinese man.
He May Seem Shy Around You
Though it’s not always the case, it may seem to you like he’s very shy or a little insecure. And while some Chinese guys may actually be shy, there are other potential explanations.
It’s common in Chinese culture for children to be taught that being polite and respectful is more important than expressing their opinions. They’re often taught that you must have good manners and wait your turn to speak, so if you want him to open up, make sure he has plenty of chances to talk without having to interject.
There’s also a chance that there’s a bit of a language barrier, so if he’s trying to speak your language, he may hold his tongue at times if he’s worried he’ll say something the wrong way. You could easily misinterpret it as him being shy.
If you want him to open up to you, be patient and respectful as you get to know him and give him plenty of time to speak. He may be shy, it may be his upbringing in a different culture from your own, or he may be taking his time as he works through a language barrier.
He’ll Probably Take Things Slowly
Many Chinese men won’t come out directly and tell you they like you. In Chinese culture, people aren’t often direct with their feelings, especially if they don’t know you very well. They tend to take their time getting to know you as well before things get more serious.
Though you may find some Chinese men who jump in quickly, many want to be sure that you’re really compatible before taking things to the next level. In Chinese culture, traditional families often teach their children that relationships are serious endeavors and not for fun.
Contrary to some other Western cultures, you don’t casually date many people before finding the one you want to settle down with. So, when a Chinese man likes and is interested in you, it’s likely that he’ll take things very slowly, especially if he gets the feeling that you consider the relationship to be a casual one.
Whether you’re looking for casual dating or a more serious long-term relationship, it’s a good idea to let him know early on, even if it seems like an uncomfortable conversation. Since not all Chinese men are the same, you can ask him about his intentions and tell him yours, so neither of you are wasting the other’s time if you’re not on the same page.
He’ll Likely Expect You to Be Exclusive
While there certainly are exceptions within different cultures, dating multiple people and casually hooking up in China is generally frowned upon. In contrast, it’s often widely accepted for people in Western cultures to date and hookup for fun and without any serious feelings or expectations.
When you date a Chinese man, there’s a good chance that he will immediately expect your relationship to be exclusive. For women who usually expect there to be a discussion first or for this stage to come later in the relationship, this might be a surprise.
If you’d like to continue seeing other people for a while, you may want to bring this up. For others, this will be a refreshing change since there often won’t be a need to have the dreaded conversation of whether or not you’re seeing other people.
He’s Probably Thinking about Marriage
Many Chinese men are raised in a very traditional Chinese culture, making them more serious and focused on dating for marriage. If they like you enough to date you, it probably is because he considers you marriage material and not just because he thinks it’ll be fun for a while.
For these men, they don’t want to jump from one woman to another until they finally find someone who makes them want to settle down. This part of traditional culture is why many Chinese men take things slowly.
They’ll likely spend a fair amount of time getting to know you before you really start “dating” because, by that point, he probably considers your relationship to be serious and heading for marriage.
If you get to the point where you’re dating a Chinese guy, it might be a good idea to be clear on whether or not you’re looking for a serious, committed relationship.
He May Express Love and Admiration Differently
Just as Chinese men may not tell you directly that they like you initially, they also tend to express their love in a less direct way than coming out and saying it. In Chinese culture, openly expressing deep emotions isn’t common, and it’s normal even for close family members to hardly ever directly tell each other that they love one another.
Instead, Chinese people and couples usually prefer to express their love through their behaviors and actions. A Chinese man will likely be very attentive and considerate to your needs and will show worry over you to express his love and affection.
He may offer to take you places, carry your bags, and pay for dinner. He may fret over you and remind you to dress warm or not to forget your lunch. For some Western women, this behavior may seem overbearing or patronizing, but it’s likely his way of showing you that he loves and admires you.
He Might Show His Affection Using Gifts
Since many Chinese men don’t commonly express their love verbally, they’ll often go to great lengths to express it in other ways. Sometimes this means showering you with sweet gestures and presents.
Gifts can range from flowers and candy to more practical items that he knows you need and could use. Presents can be his way of showing that he cares and that he can take care of you. Not every Chinese man will buy you gifts to show affection, but it’s definitely not an unusual way to express their love.
Chinese Men Might Not Like Public Displays of Affection
While not everyone feels this way, many Chinese people avoid public displays of affection like hugs and kisses. Traditional Chinese culture considers public kissing and touching to be taboo. People were expected to be more pragmatic than passionate in front of other people to seem more in control and avoid making others uncomfortable.
Times do seem to be changing among the younger generations in China; however, you may still date Chinese men who prefer to save any physical signs of affection for when you’re alone. This belief varies greatly depending on the individual.
Some men may sneak a quick peck in public when no one’s watching or full-on kissing may not bother them at all. Others will stick primarily to handholding and may feel comfortable hugging or snuggling with you on the metro on a cold day.
He’ll Likely Want to Provide for You
Because it’s common in Chinese culture to show your love rather than verbally express it, Chinese boyfriends often seek to be providers for their significant others to show how much they care.
Providing for you may mean paying for meals, paying for gas, or buying your groceries. If you end up living together, he may try to take on the responsibility of providing for many of your needs and wants. However, every relationship will be different.
If providing for you is one way he likes to show his love, it’s probably important for him to feel like he’s doing his job.
For more independent women, this may feel a little uncomfortable or insulting, but it’s important to remember that this may be his way of showing you how much he cares. You can either accept his generosity or gently remind him of the cultural differences and that while you greatly appreciate his efforts, it’s not necessary.
He’ll Likely Try to Take Care of You
Taking care of your non-monetary needs may be a big deal for a Chinese man as well, especially if he’s more traditional. He may do everything in his ability to make sure you feel happy and healthy.
He may pay close attention and try to pick up on your moods and needs intuitively. It’s common for them to go out of their way to help you and take care of you. This may mean dropping everything when you need him or caring for you when you’re sick.
Knowing that you’re happy and feel content in your well-being is sometimes a source of great pride for him as a man. Reciprocating and offering help when he needs it can also go a long way, but he may not always take you up on your offer if he believes it’s his responsibility.
It all depends on the person, but this dynamic of being very considerate to each other’s needs can make for a great relationship.
He’ll Probably Be Willing to Carry Your Purse
This one may seem strange and will probably be a bit funny to see in China’s streets if you’re from a Western country.
Men in China often have no problem carrying their girlfriend’s purse for her when they’re shopping and walking through town. Many men in other countries wouldn’t be caught dead with a purse on their arm for fear of embarrassment.
But because Chinese men often show love in different ways, they sometimes see carrying a woman’s purse as a way to be helpful and supportive. And it’s so common that it’s not seen as strange at all. It’s just another sweet way to show they care.
He May Strongly Value His Parents’ Opinions
Traditional Chinese values teach great respect for your parents from an early age, and many Chinese men carry these strong values throughout their entire lives. Because of this, they usually care very deeply about their parent’s opinions, even when it comes to their love life.
They generally aren’t going to bring home multiple women to meet mom and dad and will wait until they’re secure in the relationship before making that step. Once he finally does, he’ll probably consider their opinions when it comes to marriage.
That’s not to say he won’t ignore them if they don’t like a girl, but their approval will likely be vital to him. You can also usually expect his parents to play a significant role in your lives if you marry. He’ll want to keep them close so he can show them the same love and support that they’ve shown him throughout his life.
His Family Might Pressure You for Marriage and Kids
Part of the reason that Chinese men date primarily for marriage is how their parents raise them. Many Chinese parents push their children to get married and start a family and may even set up dates for their sons if they feel they’re taking too long.
So if he loves you enough to bring you around his parents, and if they like you, they may immediately start pushing you to get married and start making babies. If this kind of talk seems too fast, it’s important to show respect to his family and bring up your concerns with your boyfriend in private.
The decision is ultimately between the two of you, but you may have to hear frequent comments from his family members. As long as you both know where you stand and agree with each other, this doesn’t have to be a problem.
He Might Be into Matching Outfits
Matching and coordinating outfits are very common in China, especially among young couples, as a way to show others that you’re a couple without potentially embarrassing public displays of affection. These outfits, called qing lü zhuang (情侶裝), are quite popular, and some men look at it as another way to show their love and support.
Not all men will be on board with matching shirts and coordinated threads, but there’s a definite possibility that he may be interested in the idea if you are. It may seem silly to you or extremely sweet, depending on your views, so let him down gently if he brings it up and you’re not on board.
He May Not Mind Long-Distance
In many cultures, once you meet and fall in love, you plan your lives to always live in the same city and avoid being apart for extended periods. In fact, it’s not uncommon for couples to break up rather than be in a long-distance relationship.
In China, it’s a little more common for couples to live and work in different cities and still make things work long-term. Often, this is due to opportunities to make more money.
Many Chinese men will be more open to the idea of pursuing a long-distance relationship and try hard to make it work. Because they tend to be more serious about relationships and somewhat less inclined to dating for fun, they won’t mind putting in the effort.
That doesn’t mean you won’t come across any problems like in any other long-distance relationship, since they can be very challenging to keep going. But because he’s more willing to try, there may be a better chance that it will work out.
There Might Not Be Any Noticeable Difference at All
Though there are definite differences between cultures and how people typically date in other countries, there’s always a possibility that you may not notice anything different at all about the man you’re dating.
There are men of all types in every culture, and each man is an individual with his own beliefs, values, ways of expressing himself. Also, keep in mind that if he weren’t born and raised in China, he’d probably have picked up many different ideas about dating from whatever culture he’s raised in. That’s why none of these points are written as absolutes.
While being sensitive to potential cultural differences, you should really aim to treat all men the same, no matter their ethnicity. Mutual respect, consideration for each other’s feelings, showing commitment, and having fun together are all universal when it comes to dating anyone.
Final Word on Dating a Chinese Man
Dating someone outside of your culture can be challenging, but relationships, in general, aren’t always easy. The most important thing is to be aware of potential traditions and values that they may carry that might be different from your own, so everyone feels respected.
It can be a wonderful experience to learn more about another person’s culture and potentially find love at the same time. If you’re about to hit the Chinese dating scene, keep these possible differences in mind, but most importantly, have fun getting to know each Chinese man as an individual.