Marriage: The ultimate goal of most relationships in China is marriage, and Chinese young adults are often under a lot of pressure from the elders in their family to find a good husband or wife and get married relatively early.This pressure is particularly acute for women, who can be called “left-over women” if they pass the age of 26 or 27 without finding a husband, but men can find themselves similarly left-over if they wait too long to get married.)Sex: In general, sex before marriage in China is less common and considered more serious than it is in many Western cultures.Attitudes toward sex are changing, especially in the more cosmopolitan cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but in general many Chinese women see sex as a sign that a relationship is headed towards marriage, and many Chinese men say they would prefer to marry a woman who hasn’t had premarital sex.And if their child’s significant other doesn’t meet with the parents’ approval, continuing the relationship may be very difficult.(That’s why if you’re dating someone Chinese, it’s very important you make a good first impression with the parents!For example, although many men get married without any of these things, Chinese women will often say that they’re looking for a man who owns a house and a car, because that’s the sort of person who probably has a stable career and will be able to provide for her and for their future children in the long-term. As one contestant on China’s most popular dating show put it, ‘I’d rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle.’Parental involvement: Every parent is different, of course, but in general Chinese parents expect to be more involved in their children’s relationships than you might expect -- and than their kids might want!
Pragmatic purposes: More so than Westerners, many Chinese view dating as a pragmatic affair.
It’s not always about finding love so much as it is about finding a potential marriage partner who fits with one’s own ideals.
By Charles Custer As you might imagine for a nation with a few thousand years of relatively continuous tradition, dating is a little bit different in China than it is in most Western countries.
The basics are the same, of course -- people are people everywhere -- but there are still quite a few things that are different about Chinese dating in general.
For example: When it starts: Because of China’s rigorous college entrance examination, dating is rarely tolerated among high school students. That doesn’t mean that Chinese teens don’t have high school crushes or even relationships (mostly secret ones), but in general, Chinese students leave high school with a lot less romantic experience than their American counterparts.
For a lot of Chinese people, serious dating starts after they’ve finished school.