One day I found myself writing to Dr. Greg complaining about the lack of information on this website for Western women dating Chinese men. He agreed with me and explained that the problem was not limited to this website but was a general problem throughout the Internet and in the research literature as well. He invited me to write my own personal story about a Western woman dating a Chinese man and add it to this bog. So here I go.
It has been just over two years since I landed in Inner Mongolia mostly with the purpose of studying Chinese at the university while teaching English to children as a way to finance my studies. I am not a native English speaker (I am from Spain) but that has never been a problem for me to find a job here due to the few number of foreigners teaching English in this part of China and the big demand of work.
It wasn’t really until I started to feel confident with the language and cultural differences here that I realised I still hadn’t been properly dating anyone since my arrival a year and a half earlier; I met a few Han guys who I thought I was getting close to but then, all of a sudden, they would end up talking about their partners who were in some other city. Usually these guys were very concerned about money and work, kind of striving for success which would almost always depend on their English skills.
I felt pretty disappointed for the whole year and a half until a good friend of mine introduced me to my current boyfriend. Even though he is technically Chinese he belongs to the Mongolian ethnic group in China. His mother tongue is Mongolian and then he also had to learn Chinese. Since most of my really good friends at the time were–and still are–Mongolians, I thought I would give it a shot and meet him.
He turned out being a very nice and relaxed guy, not trying to impress me at all and money or social pressure was never our major topic of conversation. He also didn’t have any partner to talk about and so we just focused on getting to know each other.
That was almost seven months ago. Since then we have been in touch every day and meet more and more often with each passing week.
But as we are both not only two different persons but also from different cultures, we have had to deal with some misunderstandings along the way that I have to say were solved thanks to opting for an open-minded and understanding attitude from both.
The main difference is the way we open our relationship to others. For example, as soon as we started dating I told my family and friends back home, and they all were very happy to hear the news. My boyfriend, however, only started to tell his friends quite recently, one by one, and that’s about it. He has never told his family and doesn’t really have plans to do so for the moment.
At first I thought it was because I was a foreigner, so after I asked him I also asked my local girlfriends to see if this was a cultural difference. They all said they were doing the same with their Han or Mongolian boyfriends: otherwise their families could make a big thing out of it, intervene or even make wedding arrangements. Just like my boyfriend told me.
So after hearing them I totally understood his behaviour being just a cultural thing. This doesn’t bother me at all and so I never interfere in the way he handles it with his family and I no longer personalize it.
Another difference worth mentioning is the fact that sometimes he doesn’t tell me much about what he’s up to, nor does he ask many questions about my routine.
Most Spanish men I have dated or known in the past were very possessive and sometimes even sexists. They always wanted to know where I was, or what I was up to and with whom, but I have found none of these qualities in my current Mongolian boyfriend. I’m not complaining though, I definitely prefer my boyfriend’s way but I have to admit that, at first, I confused this lack of constant inquisitiveness (inquisition) with possible disinterest–but that is not the case.
To reassure myself, I finally decided to just ask him about his true feelings towards me one day and we discussed mine too. After that day everything got better, he started to open up and show more attention, and I learned that there was no need for me to be so paranoid.
He told me that even his very good friends sometimes won’t ask him too many questions, won’t tell each other what they are up to. I think this is very Mongolian as I’ve been many times at the homes of Mongolian families and was always surprised to find that no one would ask me many questions at all, compared to Spanish families or even Hans.
Apart from what I’ve already mentioned, we do have other differences but they are more like habits, for example, when cooking or in regard to timing… but we actually find them interesting or even sometimes funny to discover, and these never really have to be discussed or negotiated.
Overall, I really feel our relationship is the most stable and balanced one that I have ever had. I believe it is because we are both pretty respectful and understanding, always adding a pinch of humour to everything.
Peace, humour and love : )