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The Pros and Cons of Dating Another Foreigner in China [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-10-20 16:08:23 |Display all floors
This post was edited by linda_sun at 2012-10-20 16:08

Oct 20, 2012By Andrea Scarlatelli, eChinacities.com With all the talk about foreigners dating Chinese (and the possible pitfalls and perks that situation may provide), it's sometimes hard to forget that foreigners also date…well, other foreigners. It's true that couples, especially married ones, move to China together, often for job-related reasons, but more often, foreigners come over here solo, and quickly find themselves looking for a partner with whom to share the fabulous craziness of this country. But while it may seem easier to just date a fellow foreigner of similar background to you (especially if you don't speak Chinese), foreigners dating foreigners can present almost as many obstacles as foreigners dating Chinese. Read on for some of the highlights and lowlights of dating your fellow countrymen and women.


Photo: cnn.com

Pros
1) They will happily put up with your "In China, I…" stories
Oh, we wearisome expats. We've all experienced that awful feeling of going home and, in the middle of elaborating on an obviously fascinating tidbit about living in China, being rudely shut down by blank stares or indifferently shrugged shoulders of friends or family members. But dating someone who is simultaneously experiencing his or her own This is China moments?! That, my friend, puts you on level footing. Now, you'll never have to worry that your romantic and, consequently, conversational partner is getting tired of hearing how some Chinese guy almost launched a snot rocket directly onto your foot or how foreigners need to just, like, get out of "the bubble," man—because you'll likely be hearing the exact same stories yourself! Let the titillating conversations begin…

2) Fewercross-cultural barriers to break down
I'm certainly not saying that all foreigners, (or even all Westerners) are culturally homogenous. There are plenty of couples where each partner comes from a different country, and I'm sure they encounter certain cultural barriers at some point or another. But it's not much of a stretch to say that "Western" couples (even those who come from different countries) have a much easier time navigating social and cultural norms than when a foreigner dates a Chinese. Living arrangements, gender roles, and social expectations that may not always fly here in China are all generally agreed upon by a large proportion of Westerners.

3) (Probable) Agreement on where to live
At least from my personal experiences with meeting (and saying goodbye to) fellow expats in China, it seems that most do not intend on staying here. Whether he or she moved here for a job, school, or just to blow through some money while "figuring things out," the likelihood is great that China is not a permanent resting place. This means that, while forging a relationship, both of you will probably have some sort of agreement about moving home…eventually. As long as that "eventually" remains flexible (my husband convinced me to move here for "one year" and we're happily settling into our fourth), long-term plans can be a source of excitement and even a way to bring you closer together. But all the foreigners I know who have married a Chinese citizen wrestle continuously with homesickness for family back home and their love for their Chinese partner who wants to remain in China. And trust me—China almost always wins.

4) Friendlier on the wallet
Certainly there are Chinese citizens who make plenty of money. One need only to glance outside an apartment window and watch the Porsches and Ferraris zoom down the streets to see that that's true. However, the average Chinese worker makes, at best, a modest salary—one that isn't necessarily conducive to the "expat lifestyle" to which foreigners tend to become so accustomed. Foreigners, however, have a higher probability of working for a foreign company and, thus, making more money. Two foreigners dating each other, then, would presumably have more money to spend on all those high-class excursions like 100 RMB all-you-can-drink open bars. And no discussion of finances and relationships in China would be complete without mentioning the costs associated with dating (and eventually marrying) a Chinese. While we've already covered the topic heavily in the past, it's worth repeating in brief: the expectations of owning an apartment and car (for the guys), not to mention that all of those annual hongbaos, presents and treated dinners with close friends and family quickly add up!

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Cons
1) Easier to miss out on local language and culture
This, to me, is the single biggest "con" of dating or marrying a fellow foreigner (sorry, sweetie!). Living in China offers us expats an incredible opportunity to learn a new culture, try new foods, see new sights, and learn a new language that is fast becoming the next big trend. But by dating a foreigner, your exposure to all things Chinese will, in all likelihood, become severely limited. Even if your romantic partner speaks Chinese, many local aspects of the culture—the real China that is forever closed to non-natives—will still be lost to you. And let's be honest: while you and your significant other can swear all you want that you'll learn Mandarin or take Chinese calligraphy classes together, you know perfectly well you'll be curled up on the couch watching a pirated DVD of The Dark Knight Rises in less time than it takes to order McDonald's delivery.

2) Simply finding another foreigner is more difficult
This one just comes down to simple math. Currently, about one million foreigners live in China, with around 300,000 of them in Shanghai and 180,000 of them in Beijing. So right there, that presents a major problem: the chances of meeting a fellow foreigner—who you can tolerate, never mind one with whom you might want to spend the rest of your life—is largely reduced purely because the number of foreigners available to meet is relatively miniscule. With over 1.3 billion Chinese people living here, and several hundred million of them available and looking, the dating pool of foreigners seems rather paltry compared to the dating ocean that is China.

3) Relationship here doesn't necessarily translate well to other countries
China can be a beautiful, exotic place full of travel, adventure, and a sense of newness that can sometimes lead to that elusive "discovery of self" that we've been hearing about since we were teenagers. It can also lead to the sense that this is not "real life"; that living in China is, in fact, a respite from the rest of the world and from our duties back home. All this to say that relationships formed and forged in China do not necessarily work once the two foreign parties involved here are put back in their original settings. In China things are often much easier—no extended family to make demands on one's time, reduced work pressure, partying that is not only accepted but expected…Two people who begin dating in China often find that they have less in common once it's time to go home.

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Post time 2012-10-21 09:10:34 |Display all floors

Very informative, Thanks
It doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are, or where you live; there are no boundaries if two pe ...

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Post time 2012-10-28 13:24:14 |Display all floors
Going to China and dating another foreigner would be like going to Germany's Oktoberfest
and ordering a Budweiser.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2012-10-28 13:27:44 |Display all floors
Going to China and dating another foreigner would be like going to a restaurant in Paris
and ordering a chicken fried steak.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2012-10-28 13:28:32 |Display all floors
Going to China and dating another foreigner would be like going big game hunting in Africa
and shooting at ground squirrels.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2012-10-28 19:55:43 |Display all floors
I am from the USA. I stay far away from foreigners here. Too many crazies. Every one of them that I meet, want a relationship. They either don't like Chinese men, or more likely, Chinese men don't like them. Its no wonder. Chinese women (for the most part) are beautiful. Very beautiful. I've also met some crazy Chinese women, but not nearly as many. I stay away from all foreigners; male and female. Too much drama for my liking and peace of mind. I don't speak Chinese but I have little problem finding lovely Chinese women who do speak English well.

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